Is CBD and cannabis helpful to women? I recently started thinking about CBD (cannabidiol) and weed as an alternative for women who suffer from ailments such: as autoimmune diseases, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, menstrual cramps and menopause. Yes, men can have the first 3 but I was interested in, if and how, women were using them to cope.
Out of the 8% of the population affected by autoimmune diseases – 78% are women (these include rheumatoid arthritis, lupis, multiple sclerosis, celiac and type 1 diabetes). A common thread is inflammation and studies have shown that CBD has been proven to combat it.
Out of the 8% of the population affected by autoimmune diseases –
One such study focuses on the potential use of cannabinoids as an anti-inflammatory against autoimmune diseases.
You may find this hard to believe or even fathom, but eating disorders, out of all mental illnesses, have the highest mortality rate!
Here are some startling statistics in Canada according to NEDIC (National Eating Disorder Information Centre).
- It was estimated that females between the ages of 15 – 24 had an eating disorder (2002).
- 0.3% of adolescent females have anorexia and 1% have bulimia.
- Girls as young as 5 years of age are aware of dieting and weight-loss.
- Grade nine females who diet account for 30%.
- 37% of grade 9 females consider themselves as fat and 40% of grade 10 females also believe this.
- It is estimated that 10% of those diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa (which is characterized by self-starvation and extreme weight loss), and has the highest rate of mortality of any mental illness, will die within the first 10 years of being diagnosed with the disorder.
Studies have shown that normal functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is impaired in Anorexia patients. Evidence has led to a link between defects in the ECS and eating disorders, including obesity; some anorexia individuals are turning to CBD to counteract this defect instead of relying on antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs.
Eating disorders are covered under medical marijuana in Canada and in a few states. It is continually best to seek out out what’s allowed where you reside.
The prevalence of major depression is higher in females than in males – in 2010 the figure was estimated at 5.5% and 3.2% respectively. In Canada, the prevalence was 5.0% in females and 2.9% in males in 2002.
CBD has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety and depression. It also doesn’t come with the side effects associated with prescription drugs.
I recently read an article today about CBD vaginal suppositories for women. They are pill-size and when inserted dissolve. The question of course is does it help with menstrual cramps, commonly referred to as a period or ‘that time of the month.”
Dr. Hance Clarke who is the director of Pain Services and medical director of the Pain Research Unit at the Toronto General Hospital says there is limited research on this.
The idea or theory is that since CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties, it could help with pain associated with periods but more data is needed.
Are CBD Suppositories Safe?
There is also the question – how safe is it? Inserting any foreign object in the vagina poses a risk. A research conducted by the University of Guelph has identified a link between douches and vaginal infections claiming “that women who use some type of product for douching such as gels, washes and wipes are more susceptible to an infection.”
Further study shows that a large number of women use products inside the vagina even when the product is not intended for use in that area such as wipes and washes.
What this means is that more evidence-based information needs to be provided about the safety and efficacy of products such as CBD so that women can make an informed decision about choosing such products. More quality studies need to be conducted to address not only the benefits but the side effects of cannabis products.
It goes without saying that women should consult their doctors if they have severe pain before choosing an unregulated product.
Some early signs of menopause include mood swings, sleep disturbances, hot flashes and irregular periods as a result of changing estrogen levels in our bodies. We already know that studies have shown CBD has been used effectively for mood swings such as anxiety, and sleep loss.
An Expert View on PMS and Mood Swings
Dr. Julie Holland is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology and has a private practice in New Your City. She has written several books; two of these are “Moody Bitches” and “The Pot Book.”
In an interview with Goop the following is some of what Dr. Holland has to say.
In Moody Bitches, she talks about our moods and how women all over the world are medicating themselves to handle their emotions and mood swings with drugs, food, alcohol and addictive behaviours. In her book, she offers effective, alternative, natural therapies. She believes Cannabis could be the solution to treating PMS symptoms, as well as cramps, moodiness, anxiety and irritability. Given that medical cannabis laws have been passed in many states as well as in Canada, she feels that we are on the right track even though more research is needed.
The Pot Book
In her research for The Pot Book, she learned many women were using cannabis for cramps and PMS. She feels that women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety than men and are often being prescribed antidepressants and that cannabis can help with depression as well as mood swings.
The Pot Book is the complete guide to Cannabis and has over 50 contributors offering their areas of expertise. She believes Cannabis can be part of a healthy lifestyle and that it is a food as well as a medicine. The book addresses the risks, the benefits, the clinical indications of use and policies.
Both books are available through Amazon, in print copy and e-book format.
Moody Bitches: (talks about drugs, lack of sleep and not having sex and what makes you crazy)
Also available in EBook format.
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis
Also available in Ebook format.
If you are not a woman reading this, you still might enjoy listening to this video. It is about 14 minutes long but very interesting. Dr. Holland talks about what is in the book, what cannabis is, its uses and the need for policy change.
Dr. Holland says that New York City, where she has her private practice, arrests more people for marijuana offenses than any other city in the U.S.
Renewable bio-fuel, food, clothing, paper, and medicine – and America can’t have any of it. Because it makes us laugh. As a psychiatrist, I have to tell you: This is insanity!
As a woman, I wish CBD or cannabis (weed) was offered to me while I was a young woman. It was just not heard of. Today, women have the option of choosing for themselves and with so much documentation available, they can make an informed decision on how they want to take care of their bodies and what products they can take to accomplish this.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a legal or medical endorsement. It is up to you to seek medical attention or advice of a medical practitioner and to make sure CBD or medical marijuana is legal in your area of residence. See full medical disclaimer here.
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