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Does Cannabidiol (CBD) have a role in alleviating symptoms of oestrogen deficiency?
Women experience a sharp fall in oestrogen levels at around the age of 50, which can contribute to weight gain, cardiometabolic illness, osteoporosis, gastrointestinal issues, and cognitive decline. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the few therapeutic choices, but it can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, blood clots in women over 60.
As women are already treating the symptoms related to oestrogen decrease with CBD, scientists from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, were interested to know if CBD has a therapeutic value for these types of patients.
Their study, conducted in mice, found that oral CBD treatment for 18 weeks (25mg/kg dose) led to improved oral glucose tolerance, increased energy expenditure, improved bone mineral density and content.
The authors concluded that the results indicate that CBD treatment impacts the immune system and the gut microbiota to improve energy metabolism and bone homeostasis.
Another conclusion was that the data indicates that CBD modulates a gut-bone axis to favourably alleviate several chronic disease symptoms of post menopause.
So why is this information important?
Menopause is a normal part of life; women reach menopause after absence of periods for 12 months in a row. The usual age is between 45 and 55 years and the average in Aotearoa New Zealand is 52 years.
About 70% of women have significant symptoms with menopause and 40% will see a doctor because of their symptoms. The reduction in female hormones can cause symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, anxiety, palpitations, depression, decreased libido (sex drive), sleep problems and vaginal dryness.
Symptoms vary a lot in severity. Some women have very little discomfort, while others are affected so much that they are unable to carry out their normal everyday activities.
In the long term, after menopause women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis (thinning of bones) and heart disease, though lifestyle measures help to reduce this risk.
The data in mice study provides preclinical evidence to support further investigation of CBD as a therapeutic option for post menopause-related disorders.
Other therapeutic options with fewer safety concerns are needed for prevention of chronic disease/ undesirable symptoms in this underserved demographic.
In New Zealand, medicinal cannabis is an unregistered prescription medicine.
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