My best friend didn’t show up at our weekly coffee and chat gathering, the other day.
She couldn’t leave her house because she had to pay “regular visits” to the bathroom to vomit screaming in pain.
Her severe menstrual cramps were the reason.
When Tisha, a reader, and friend of mine, shared her struggle with endometriosis leaving a comment on my blog, I knew what the topic of my next article would be!
I had to examine women and health problems and find out whether CBD oil could offer a helping hand or not.
So, here is what we are going to do today, girls:
Pajamas, hair curlers, face mask, a cup of coffee or tea (Theresa, dark chocolate for you!) and girls’ talk. Let’s see if and how CBD oil can help the secrets of the boudoir remain secret 🙂
First things first, though
What is CBD oil
CBD (short for CannaBiDiol) is one of the more than 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant.
It’s a naturally occurring substance, the second most prevalent phytocannabinoid existing in the cannabis plant.
After its extraction from the plant, the isolated form of the compound (it is crystalline solid and very similar to natural sea salt in appearance) is added to carrier oil. This is done for two reasons:
- CBD isn’t water-soluble so it has to be diluted in a carrier oil like coconut, MCT or hemp seed oil.
- Due to its biochemical nature, Cannabidiol is absorbed by our system more efficiently when it enters our body mixed with oil.
Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), its famous and controversial sibling, cannabidiol is a safe, non-addictive and nonpsychotropic cannabinoid. This means that we won’t get a “high” using it. It seems, though, that it can give a “high” to our health and wellness, girls!
The Endocannabinoid System and Women’s Health
Don’t complain! I am stubborn and I will remind you what the ECS. Briefly!
The term Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is used to describe an extensive network of neurotransmitters (=endocannabinoids) and receptors (CB1 and CB2) which are situated on our cells and spread throughout our entire body. The ECS is responsible for the regulation promotion and maintenance of homeostasis (=balance) and overall health.
Both CB1 and CB2 receptors react to endogenous cannabinoids which are produced by our body (= endocannabinoids ) and phytocannabinoids (CBD and THC) that are extracted from the cannabis plant.
The ECS is considered as the most important physiologic system in your body. It is vital to
“every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond.”Dr. Dustin Sulak
Scientific research has found that it is connected to female health and plays a crucial role in premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and endometriosis.
It is also connected with menopause but I won’t talk to you about it now. Don’t be upset! I have already examined menopause in a previous article.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Menstrual Cycle Issues
We were given the gift to carry life in our bodies.
Unfortunately, for lots of us, the gift was wrapped in pain and decorated with a bow called mood alterations, stress, fluid retention, sleep disorders.
Our menstrual cycles are a constant physical and psychological battle against pain and bad mood. Every darn month!
How many of you have spent or are still spending hours lying on the bathroom floor near the toilet bowl, hugging it tightly as if it were the love of your life while emptying your stomach in it?
How many vases have you broken due to mood swings during your ovulation days? My Murano crystals are a distant memory. So is my China!
Been there? Done that?
My ancestors were the first to notice and describe the mood alterations associated with this specific period of the month in the life of women. Women have suffered from PMS forever. (perhaps this is the reason for the huge amount of broken amphorae in Greek museums!)
The torture starts in the second half of our menstrual cycle (around day 11 to 14) when the first signs of the premenstrual syndrome appear. It lasts for a few (for the lucky of us) or several days prior to our menstrual period.
What are these signs? I’ve always described them as a “lethal” blend of emotional disturbances, psychological ups and downs, and physical symptoms.
We get anxious and depressed. When we aren’t angry or stressed, we cry for no reason due to our mood swings and exaggerated oversensitivity.
We experience bloating because our body tends to retain fluids. Our appetite changes causing us food cravings and thus we often gain weight. Our breast hurts (mastalgia) and our sleep patterns are disturbed: we sleep either all day or not at all.
As if all these weren’t enough, acne reappears triumphantly on our skin!
To make life even more difficult, when the PMS symptoms stop, our menstrual period starts bringing cramps (Dysmenorrhea) and nausea.
You want to know what causes PMS, right?
Unfortunately, there is not a straightforward answer to this question.
The premenstrual syndrome is as enigmatic as the way the female brain works. 🙂
Men say they can’t understand us, females, right? Well, neither can scientists explain the actual causes of PMS or make a stable diagnosis of the issue.
According to most scientific evidence though, PMS is associated with our brain (coincidence?). To be specific, PMS may be caused by the interactions of our estrogens with certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Does the word neurotransmitters remind you of anything, ladies?
Don’t worry, I won’t give you a test!
I am sure you know the answer.
You are right!
According to a 2016 study, the Endocannabinoid System is linked to our reproductive system.
Anandamide is found in elevated concentrations in our uterus. It is considered the most important endocannabinoid because it plays a crucial role in activating essential body functions. Scientists suggest that when our female hormones fluctuate, the expression of the neurotransmitters and the receptors is altered.
Prior to or during our period, the levels of our estrogens are at their lowest point. Estrogens and endocannabinoid levels are interrelated so it is no surprise that anandamide has difficulties to survive and offer our system its health stimulating effects
This is where CBD enters the game
It comes to the rescue and protects anandamide by suppressing the enzyme FAAH (short for ‘fatty acid amide hydroxylase’), which is responsible for destroying the precious endocannabinoid.
With FAAH out of the way, anandamide survives, stays in our system for longer periods of time and offers our body its uplifting effects
CBD is related to the ECS, thus it’s related to our body’s equilibrium.
But it doesn’t stop here.
Clinical tests have shown that CBD oil can be effective in combating specific PMS symptoms:
- Pain: CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and can decrease pain associated with PMS and menstrual cramps
- Anxiety: The anxiolytic potential of CBD is supported by scientific studies. It can be used to fight stress and anxiety
- Sleep disorders: PMS sufferers often have difficulties to fall and stay asleep. As a result, they feel tired during the day. Lots of people report that the use of CBD has increased sleep length and has improved sleep patterns. These claims are fully supported by science. A 2013 study found that CBD has the ability to modulate sleep. By treating sleep disturbances, CBD relieves us from the inevitable fatigue caused by insomnia.
- Depression: A 2014 study found that CBD has antidepressive properties. Using CBD we can deal with the unpleasant mood swings and combat depression during that period of the month.
- Nausea: Science has brought evidence that cannabidiol can be efficient in dealing with nausea caused by chemo. Thus, it can help us combat nausea before or during our menstrual period. It can make us stop feeling sick and end up our relationship with the toilet bowl during those days!
- Acne: Scientific research has discovered that CBD oil “has potential as a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of acne vulgaris.”. Ok, acne isn’t as debilitating as the rest of the symptoms. It’s embarrassing and irritating though. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil can help us improve our skin health and feel self-confident and beautiful
Endometriosis and CBD Oil
Endometriosis is a painful, non-curable and chronic condition that affects 10% of the female population (there are 176 million endometriosis sufferers worldwide).
Despite this huge number of women suffering from the condition, science hasn’t made any significant progress in research or in treatment choices.
The cause of endometriosis hasn’t been revealed yet. There are theories pointing out factors like genetic predisposition or environmental determinants. Some others claim that its roots can be found in inflammation and autoimmunity.
But there’s one more recent theory.
According to Dr. Michele N. Ross, an endocannabinoid dysfunction may be the culprit of endometriosis. She supports that decreased function of our ECS may trigger the onset of growth of the endometrium outside of the uterus and cause more and more pain.
This shouldn’t surprise us.
According to Ethan Russo
A 2010 study gives additional support to Dr. Ross’s theory. The ECS has been found to be involved in both endometriosis and its associated pain.
Specifically, the CB1 receptors which mediate the endometriosis pain, exist on the nerve cells that cause endometrial growth. The scientists have found that “CB1 receptor agonists decrease, whereas CB1 receptor antagonists increase, endometriosis-associated hyperalgesia”. Having in mind that the CB1 receptors in the endometrial cells of endometriosis sufferers have a lower expression, it becomes clear that the activation of the receptors using phytocannabinoids like CBD would reduce the pain caused by the condition.
The blockbuster of the drugs prescribed for endometriosis is Lupron. Thousands of deaths are reported as a result of the drug. It is considered responsible for physical disabilities, several autoimmune diseases and increased risk of tumors. There are even Lupron survivor groups online (take a look at the Lupron Victims Hub)
Dr. Ross, in her book “Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency”, suggests that endocannabinoid deficiency can be treated with the help of cannabinoids like CBD and terpenes. This means a full spectrum product is needed.
Endometriosis sufferers that use CBD oil to treat the symptoms of the disease, confirm that it is both efficient and safe. Cannabidiol offers its analgesic and antispasmodic properties without the risk of adverse side effects or overdosing. It can give patients relief from pain, spasms, and nausea. It can treat sexual dysfunction and mood swings.
More importantly, and according to DR Ross, CBD oil can prevent and even reverse the progression of the ailment.
CBD oil products like topicals (salves, lotions) can be applied on the skin to alleviate pain by relaxing the pelvic and abdominal muscles. Systemic treatment with sublingual administration of CBD oil can help regulate the ECS.
My advice for any endometriosis sufferer who is on drugs and wants to try to ease the disease’s symptoms with CBD oil is always the same: You are not a doctor. Nor am I. Consult your trusted physician before giving CBD a try. There is a possibility of interactions between cannabidiol and your prescribed medicines.
Maintain Hormonal Balance with CBD
Our Endocrine system produces (or should produce) hormones at regular rate. Hormones are vital in controlling and regulating critical functions in our body.
I said should produce because, we know, that the production of these chemical messengers is often disrupted causing hormonal imbalance. This means we have either too low or too high hormone levels in our system which may cause pretty grave effects on our health.
We realize that there is something wrong with our hormones when our menstrual cycle gets irregular, when we gain weight (without exaggerating with food) or when we experience mood swings.
Scientific research has found that CBD can help us find relief from hormonal imbalance
Cannabidiol has been found to be able to regulate growth hormone, prolactin and cortisol levels (cortisol’s nickname is “the stress hormone”). Cannabinoids have important effects on our reproductive system, our metabolism, and our endocrine stress axis. These effects are connected with their impact with the neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of the secretion of the pituitary hormones
CBD oil can be combined with hempseed oil to form a powerful alliance. Hemp seed oil is packed with Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which can regulate hormones.
Wrapping it up
Don’t be disappointed, my fair ladies!
I know that the women and health problems topic isn’t completely covered.
I am afraid that if I continue this article will be as long as an encyclopedia and I don’t want to tire you.
I’ll be back. I promise!
We have seen how CBD oil can help us relieve health issues related to our reproductive system.
It is important to remind you that choosing a CBD oil product from a reliable and transparent brand, is essential for maximum effectiveness and quality of the product.
The cannabis sativa plant is a hyperaccumulator. It tends to absorb everything (from pesticides and bacteria to heavy metals and fungus) found in the ground it is cultivated in. The amount of the toxins absorbed by the plant will be reflected by the produced oil. Organic sourcing is essential for a top quality CBD oil!
To achieve maximum effectiveness, your CBD oil product has to be whole plant or full/broad spectrum. This means that CBD is extracted from the whole plant. Your product contains all the phytonutrients found in the hemp plant that will work in a synergistic way to provide you with all their beneficial effects.
You can search the web for a trustworthy brand. To help you avoid scams and low-quality products I wrote an article on CBD oil brands to avoid. Take a look at it!
Or you can trust the brands I trust!
Their CBD oils have high bioavailability and are a great choice if you want a systemic approach to your health issues. Their CBD salves, lotions or body butter can help you treat discomfort topically.
Well, girls! What should we do?
Do you want to hear my suggestion?
Let’s get rid of pain and suffering NOW!
If you have any questions or want to share any personal experience, please, leave a comment below.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to alleviate or cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.