While we look at all the applications of CBD, we’re eager to know how it affects women — specifically our hormones. We think the future of hemp is female; so how does hemp help us stay healthy? And are there any risks to know about?
CBD and Your Cycle
Does CBD help your monthly flow? What about cramps and mood swings, or acne? Signs are pointing to yes for all of the above. Because of CBD’s many applications, it can serve a number of purposes during your period to treat symptoms. Rub a balm on a sore lower back, use a suppository (thanks, Foria!) for uterine cramps and vaginal pain, and try a CBD topical to soothe inflamed skin.
CBD and Your Contraception
We know that CBD is processed by cytochrome P450, an enzyme in the liver that breaks down medication. Therefore, if someone is taking CBD at the same time, they’re taking an RX med, there’s a chance for interference. So… we’re left thinking… “WTF, I’m on the pill? Now what?”
We don’t know yet. “There is some data suggesting that CBD interferes with the efficacy of estrogen-based birth control possibly by interfering with estradiol binding,” said Dr. Patricia Frye, MD. Dr. Frye is a physician with an expertise in cannabis medicine, and its role for overall homeostasis, but shared that this area is still unclear to doctors. “In a 1983 animal study, CBD was found to bind to estrogen receptors but only at very high concentrations. They also found that cannabis extract in large doses had no estrogenic nor antiestrogenic effects,” – in essence, it could go either way. “There are no human studies to appropriately address this question,” she said.
Dr. Robert Flannery of Dr. Robb Farms (fun fact, he’s the first Ph.D. in the United States with certified technical expertise in growing commercial Cannabis) weighed in, too. He reminded us of the grapefruit rule: “If you've ever taken a medication where your doctor or pharmacist specifically mentioned avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking said medication, then you have experienced a similar situation of what could happen with taking CBD in conjunction with some medications.” It comes back to that CYP450 thing we were just talking about.
A lot of this is early speculation, but “With CBD slowing down the CYPs metabolism, the birth control pill's active ingredients will stay in the system for longer than they were intended for,” he said. “People will argue that this isn't necessarily bad since it likely will not cause a decrease in the efficacy of the birth control pills (more research is necessary to fully support such a claim),” — and that means it likely shouldn’t mess with how your pill works. But there’s a catch. “There is evidence to suggest that this potentially could increase the chances of breast cancer later in life (again, more research is necessary ).”
CBD and Your Libido
Signs are pointing to CBD enhancing your mood in the bedroom. Studies have shown that ingested cannabinoids can relax women to a point where they can better enjoy sex, and it can increase arousal and sexual energy. When used topically, cannabinoids may heighten sensation, remove painful barriers (like dyspareunia) and help women achieve orgasm, as evidenced by rave reviews of Foria (we’ll let you take some time to read those). When it comes to this area of women and hormones, it looks like all green lights here.
CBD and Your Mood
As for PMS and related hormonally-induced stress, anxiety, and depression, this one should be the most obvious; most studies have been done on CBD’s ability to mitigate emotional and mood impairments.
CBD and Your Fertility
It’s generally advised that pregnant and breastfeeding women do not use CBD products, purely because there isn’t enough clinical evidence to back 100-percent that it’s completely safe for a growing fetus or nursing newborn. There haven’t been any documented cases (that we’ve seen through our research) that show a definitive risk to infants, but as of now, doctors advise avoiding it as you want to be as cautious as possible.
But what about pre-baby? Can CBD help you get pregnant? Surprise, surprise — there’s no research. The only fertility research (so far) has been on sperm (shocking). That doesn’t mean people aren’t still trying methods that aren’t clinically backed by western medicine in an effort to conceive. Hopeful mothers consult herbalists, TCM doctors, naturopaths, and more in an effort to increase their odds of becoming pregnant — so could CBD help? It’s hard to say. Can it help reduce stress and inflammation, so your body is healthier overall? Potentially, yes. In theory, that could make for a healthier environment for conception, too. We’ll have to standby for more research on this topic.
That said, if you’re trying IVF or using a doctor-prescribed medication in your fertility process, you may want to avoid CBD unless your doctor says otherwise, as it could impact the way your body metabolizes those other medications.
Written By: Dominique Michelle Astorino, a wellness and fitness editor, CBD aficionado, and author (currently working on her first book). She graduated from the Annenberg School for Journalism at the University of Southern California and has written nearly 5,000 articles on how to live a happier, healthier life.