Many products containing CBD claim to help women with various health issues, including sleep, mood, symptoms of PMS or menopause, and sexual pleasure. Currently, very little evidence supports these extravagant promises, and there are concerns about the quality and safety of CBD products. 1,631 People reported taking CBD for mood disorders 70% Female 28% Male 2% Prefer not to say Of the participants taking CBD for a mood disorder, most stated that they had anxiety, depression, or both. The most common types of anxiety were generalized anxiety disorder (50% of all participants taking CBD for anxiety), social anxiety (10%), and panic disorder (10%). Your mood greatly impacts your work & personal life. This post covers CBD benefits for mood disorders, CBD and serotonin, & types of CBD products.
Why are women using CBD products — and do they work?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and other products containing CBD are being touted as a natural, organic remedy for a wide range of women’s health concerns. Sellers of these products make many claims: CBD has calming effects on sleep, mood, and anxiety; eases hot flashes and improves bone density by balancing hormonal changes of menopause; and has anti-inflammatory properties that clear skin, cure acne, and calm rosacea. It’s promoted for PMS symptoms like bloating and mood swings. And CBD-infused lubricants claim to boost arousal and enjoyment of sex. So, how much of this is true?
First, what is CBD?
CBD is a major ingredient in cannabis plants (like hemp and marijuana). It comes in different strengths and forms, often as CBD oil, but also in pills and powders. It can be absorbed through the skin, ingested, or inhaled. (Vaping it, however, may not be safe, as this blog post and web page from the CDC explain.)
Unlike marijuana, pure CBD products don’t make you feel high. A different ingredient in marijuana called THC makes people feel high.
Does CBD have proven benefits?
So far, there’s not much evidence on the medical benefits of CBD, partly because laws on marijuana made it difficult to study. Until we learn more, it’s wise to keep in mind that few high-quality studies have been done.
- In 2018 the FDA approved a drug derived from CBD to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This medication was shown in randomized clinical trials to reduce the frequency of seizures (see here and here).
- A few studies have found CBD may improve anxiety, but the studies were small and of poor quality (see here and here).
- Some laboratory research on human cells suggests CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects on oil-secreting glands in the skin. This might have implications for acne and other inflammatory skin disorders, but further research is needed to confirm this. And while CBD in skin products is unlikely to harm you, most dermatologists agree that there are more effective and better-studied medications and treatments for acne and inflammatory skin disorders.
Other potential benefits of CBD aren’t clear. No high-quality research shows that CBD improves sex drive, decreases pain, treats depression or mood disorders, decreases PMS symptoms like bloating and cramps, or relieves symptoms of menopause like hot flashes. This may change as more studies are done, but for now, the jury is out.
Are CBD products safe?
The short answer is this: pure CBD seems to be safe for most people. However, we don’t have rigorous studies and long-term data to prove whether or not a wide range of CBD products are safe for everyone. For example, there is no evidence to suggest that CBD is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or for people who are immunocompromised.
Because CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA in the way that drugs are, there is huge variation in quality and, quite possibly, safety. In 2017–2018, counterfeit CBD oil was found that contained synthetic cannabinoids and led to a poisoning outbreak in Utah.
Testing shows purity and dosage can be unreliable in many products. One study found less than a third of the products tested had the amount of CBD shown on the label. Another study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than stated. In addition, THC (the component that can make you feel high) was found in 18 products.
Does CBD cause side effects?
CBD can cause side effects like dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and drowsiness. Additionally, it can interact with certain medicines, such as blood thinners and antiseizure drugs. If you would like to start using CBD products, it’s best to first talk to your doctor.
There are a lot of extravagant product claims out there about the benefits of CBD for women, but little high-quality research supports them. CBD oil and other CBD products aren’t well regulated. It’s possible what you are buying is counterfeit or contaminated. Before using CBD — especially if you plan to vape or ingest it — first talk with your doctor or healthcare provider to learn whether it could be safe and helpful for you.
About the Authors
Rose McKeon Olson, MD , Contributor
Rose McKeon Olson, MD, is a resident physician in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has special research interests in gender-based violence, social medicine, and global health equity. See Full Bio
Eve Rittenberg, MD , Contributor
Eve Rittenberg, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care internist at the Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her interests include women’s health, trauma-informed care, … See Full Bio
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I am a 55 year old woman who has suffered with neuropathy since 2004 (amplified by a trauma in 2011); as well as a sciatic nerve issue and other complication since my trauma. One thing I found out (very quickly!), many of the drugs (natural or not) are either recomended for short term relief and used very long term, or the probable cause of added, often more sever, side effects. I don’t believe, for me personally, any medication that has the potential to do more harm than good, especially when it can only treat symptoms and not the cause, would be ideal, unless there is ‘no other option’ or perspective hope. Limited and controlled ecersizes along with diet, seem to have worked best for me personally; but, yes it is very difficult many days. However, I plan to watch my grandchild grow-up, and I plan to do that watching with as clear a mind as possible for today and tomorrow. Side-effects of CBD have been relatively unstudyed or unpublished for lack of verification. That is not promising. All of that being said, I am sure for some people CBD oil could be a God send of relief, most especially for some seizure and cancer patients.
Cannabis Sativa and Hemp are two different plants. Marijuana is not a plant, it’s a slang term used by rhetoric spewing racists seeking to profit from a new prohibition. How can you publish this when you clearly don’t know the basics?
As a woman with a cervical level spinal cord injury, who has experienced many benefits through the use of CBD … this article had absolutely no relevance to its title.
CBD for Mood Disorders
Of the participants taking CBD for a mood disorder, most stated that they had anxiety, depression, or both. The most common types of anxiety were generalized anxiety disorder (50% of all participants taking CBD for anxiety), social anxiety (10%), and panic disorder (10%).
Most people with depression (58% of all participants taking CBD for depression) were not sure what type they had. Twelve percent of people taking CBD for depression said they had major depressive disorder, and seven percent said they had bipolar depression.
Most participants reported that their anxiety and/or depression were of moderate severity.
Types of Mood Disorders
Severity of Anxiety
Severity of Depression
Survey participants were asked to rate how CBD impacted 11 common symptoms of mood disorders (see chart below), indicating whether the symptom was a “much better,” “little better,” “no change,” a “little worse,” or “lot worse.” CBD appeared to be quite effective as an anti-anxiety agent and anti-depressant. Participants reported that it performed especially well at mitigating feelings of nervousness. Ninety-two percent of people experienced some relief, and 68% reported that feelings of nervousness were “much better” with CBD . CBD also performed well at relieving panic attacks, mitigating mood swings, and quelling feelings of agitation, irritability, and sadness.
CBD was less effective at mitigating difficulties concentrating, lack of interest in activities, and digestive upset. While still somewhat helpful for most, seventeen percent of people reported no improvement in these symptoms. And, 3% of people reported that the ability to concentrate worsened with CBD .
Three Benefits of CBD Oil for Mood Regulation
It is normal for one’s mood to change, depending on the circumstances. But if you experience long periods of extreme moods, it might not be normal, and you could be suffering from a mood disorder.
Mood disorder refers to either extreme happiness, sadness, or a fluctuation between the two. Some people suffer from mood disorders without even realizing it, especially when linked to extreme happiness.
It can range from clinical conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia to substance-induced disorders and those triggered by a general medical condition.
Whether positive or negative, mood disorders can influence your behavior and affect your ability to engage in everyday activities such as learning or work. For some, taking CBD oil for sleep works wonders and can uplift their moods within minutes. In this post, we’ll go over CBD benefits for mood disorders, how CBD and serotonin go hand in hand, and variations of CBD products including CBD gummies.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the phytochemicals called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant or weed gummies. Cannabinoids are similar in chemical composition to endocannabinoids, produced by the human body.
Since they have a “feel good” effect, cannabinoids are useful in regulating mood. When you feel relaxed, secure, and involved in an activity that makes you happy, your body produces endocannabinoids, and that is what causes you to feel good.
Cannabinoids bind to receptors that determine the nature of the response they trigger. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis.
Generally, most functions in the body rely on the endocannabinoid system to maintain balance. Whether your body needs to contain inflammation or control pain depends on the endocannabinoid system.
Anandamide is the primary endocannabinoid molecule and is mostly responsible for regulating mood. You will generally experience low moods when your body cannot produce enough anandamide or when it can’t adequately process the amount produced.
CBD can boost your anandamide levels whenever they drop. A study on the effects of CBD on the body found that CBD enhances anandamide signaling. That means CBD could help ease the symptoms when struggling with a mood disorder. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of CBD oil for mood regulation.
How CBD Helps with Mood
#1. CBD Affects Serotonin Availability
Scientists believe that CBD affects serotonin levels in a way that could help with depression and related disorders. Serotonin is a hormone that stabilizes mood. It also affects feelings of well-being and happiness.
Serotonin also functions as a neurotransmitter and links communication between brain cells and nervous system cells. When your serotonin levels fall, you will likely experience a shift in mood. So, serotonin is your natural mood stabilizer.
While CBD can help with your serotonin levels, it does not directly affect serotonin. Instead, it influences how the brain responds to the available serotonin. If your body produces enough serotonin, but your system doesn’t process it effectively, then taking CBD may improve your brain’s response to serotonin. By attaching to the same receptors as serotonin, CBD acts as a serotonin antagonist, allowing serotonin levels to accumulate in the brain. This is why CBD for mood swings is commonly used.
Learn More Ways to Increase Serotonin Levels
We dug deep into serotonin to provide the ultimate list of tips and tricks for boosting serotonin levels for more energy, better sleep, and improved moods.
#2. CBD and Anxiety
Anxiety is often an underlying condition for mood disorders. Most people who are always anxious have a lot of ups and downs. When people are faced with situations that make them anxious, it is natural for their moods to change.
Does CBD Help Anxiety?
If anxiety is the underlying cause of your mood swings, then treating your anxiety could help manage mood disorder symptoms. CBD has anti-anxiety properties that could help calm your nerves and alleviate your anxiety symptoms.
#3. CBD Improves Sleep
You probably know from experience that sleep affects mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, you tend to be more short-tempered, irritable, and more vulnerable to stress
Studies show that having an inadequate sleep or experiencing sleep disturbances could have significant effects on mood. Sometimes, just taking a nap can help return your mood to normal. But what if you experience sleeplessness and or wake up a lot at night?
CBD improves sleep in both how it affects melatonin and its anti-anxiety properties. Taking CBD for sleep minutes before going to bed can help improve your sleep quality to fall asleep fast and not experience sleep disturbances. Some CBD users report using it as a sleep aid.
Research has shown that CBD improves sleep quality. CBD can help you fall asleep faster and keep you asleep longer. CBD also enhances the effects of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle.
So, if you struggle to fall asleep or to stay asleep, taking CBD oil before going to bed could improve your sleep quality. When you get quality sleep, you will be less prone to mood disorders.