The health benefits of CBD oil for women, how to find a safe and ethically sourced brand of CBD oil, plus a DIY on how to make your own. Dr. Sarah Lichenstein is leading a study on how CBD may affect behavior and the brain to determine how it affects women and if it affects women and men
The Benefits of CBD Oil for Women & How to Use it Safely
CBD oil is everywhere you turn. There are so many options and so much information, it can be overwhelming. We’re taking a deep dive into the health benefits of CBD oil for women, how to find a safe and ethically sourced brand of CBD oil, plus we’ve even got a DIY on how to make your own.
IS CBD OIL LEGAL?
Before getting into CBD oil benefits, we want to put your questions at ease as to the legality of using CBD oil for medicinal purposes. We are not lawyers and unfortunately, there is no simple “yes” or “no” answer to this question. If you are unsure if CBD oil is legal in your State, you can check your state laws regarding Cannabis on NORML for more information.
With legalizations of medicinal marijuana in many states, it makes sense that people are interested in it and the benefits of its more attainable cousin, CBD oil. WHAT IS CANNABIS?
For millennia, the cannabis plant was valued for its use for fiber and rope, as food and medicine, and for its psychoactive properties for religious and recreational use (source).
The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This widespread neuro-modulatory system plays important roles in central nervous system development, synaptic plasticity, and the response to endogenous and environmental assaults. CBD oil is loaded with cannabinoids that bind to specialized receptors in the brain.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that occur naturally in the resin or sap of the Cannabis sativa plant, the most commonly known being marijuana. These chemicals have a drug-like effect on the human central nervous system and immune system. Cannabinoids are the substances that lead to altered mood, pain relief, and other temporary changes in the body when you use CBD oil.
The best-known cannabinoid is THC which produces the “high” people get when smoking marijuana. CBD oil derived from medical marijuana (the only type of marijuana you should use for medicinal purposes) will contain higher levels of THC.
This means you will get a high from using it.
It also means you won’t pass a drug test.
Cannabidiol or CBD is another cannabinoid but it doesn’t produce the “high” of THC. It binds to the same receptors as THC, but when derived from the hemp plant, it contains much lower levels of THC. That eliminates the “high”.
CBD oil is currently being researched to determine whether or not it’s a viable treatment for a number of conditions women struggle with and early results are positive. CBD oil is already being used to treat certain types of epilepsy and to curb the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients (source).
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CBD OIL FOR WOMEN
Now, in the interest of clarity, we are talking about hemp oil, not an oil made from marijuana purchased for recreational use.
Any time you are planning to use something for medicinal purposes, talk to your doctor or alternative healthcare professional first. This is especially true if you are taking pain meds or medications for anxiety or depression.
With the renewed interest, the list of conditions CBD oil use is being touted for is growing and research into its use is on the rise.
Some of the leading conditions CBD oil is used for are:
CBD OIL FOR PAIN RELIEF
Pain relief is one of the more popular benefits of CBD oil. It has been found to contain properties that are analgesic or pain-relieving in nature (source). Sore joints and arthritis pain can be soothed by taking CBD oil or using a CBD roll-on. It can also be helpful in exercise recovery.
Women suffering from chronic pain such as fibromyalgia or certain types of neuropathy such as post-chemotherapy neuropathy, and even multiple sclerosis have shown improvement in their pain levels with CBD oil.
Another one of the CBD oil benefits for pain is that it can help with period cramps (source).
1. CBD OIL FOR ANXIETY & DEPRESSION
Several studies have supported claims that CBD oil can reduce stress and anxiety. CBD oil for anxiety and depression, where legal, is now often used by alternative medicine practitioners for patients with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), PTSD, and social anxiety.
Because CBD activates receptors in the brain that produce higher levels of dopamine, it’s effective for relaxing the mind and body, so anxiety levels are reduced.
There’s also growing research in improved sleep with CBD oil, which can be of great benefit to overall mental health – especially in moms with young children.
2. CBD OIL FOR CANCER-RELATED ISSUES
The jury is still out as to any actual benefits of CBD oil and cancer. However, even the American Cancer Society has noted that CBD oil can help with some of the nastier side effects of chemotherapy and further research is needed to determine whether or not it can actually slow the growth of tumors (source).
It has been effective in slowing cancer growth in mice.
Researchers in Europe discovered that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in fighting melanoma. A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology revealed endocannabinoids facilitate apoptotic cell death in cancer cells (source).
In the case of cancer, it may be helpful to consider taking a combination of CBD softgels, and extra strength CBD Balm.
3. CBD OIL FOR CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and the numbers of women affected by heart disease are growing at an alarming rate.
While a healthy diet and exercise are the best places to start when combating heart disease, CBD oil has shown promise in addressing some of the causes of heart disease (source). It reduces blockage in arteries, lowers cholesterol, reduces the stress response in heart attacks, and reduces blood pressure.
4. CBD OIL FOR INFLAMMATION
Inflammation wreaks havoc on the body. When we think of inflammation, we naturally think of conditions such as arthritis and joint disorders, but inflammation is also one of the precursors to heart disease. One of the benefits of CBD oil is its anti-inflammatory properties.
Other causes of inflammation in the body are stress, the standard American diet (heavy on sugar and grains), and long term exposure to environmental toxins. Autoimmune diseases are nearly always linked to inflammation. Research into the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oil is widely published and promising for people who suffer from asthma, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, lupus, and even celiac disease.
HOW TO FIND SAFE, ETHICALLY SOURCED CBD OIL
As CBD oil has become the latest darling in health, the market has flooded with products. Below you’ll find a DIY for making your own CBD oil, but it’s easier and more cost effective to buy it pre-made.
So if you’re buying a product online or at a health store, it’s vital that you know the source and read labels carefully. Here are some considerations:
- Does the website or product packaging provide the information you need?
- Who are the owners of the company and do they have a mission statement?
- What certifications do they have?
- Is the product organically grown?
- Is the product sourced domestically or internationally?
- What is the carrier oil?
If you’re looking for relief for a specific ailment, browse the user reviews and look for people with similar symptoms to learn about their experiences.
Here are some brands and delivery methods we’ve found to be pure and certified organic.
You’ll find several of our recommendations are from the PlusCBD brand. Why? Because PlusCBD has extremely high standards on quality, purity, and potency. They use High Performance Liquid Chromatography to measure CBD levels, to the milligram, in every batch. Their findings are validated through a third-party lab to ensure that all PlusCBD Oil products are free of pesticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, residual solvents, heavy metals, and any microbiological contamination.
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Getting great sleep can solve or support a number of health issues. These gummies aid occasional sleeplessness with 10 mg of CBD and a powerful blend of relaxation-boosting ingredients.
A combination of hemp extract with melatonin for sleep support, plus soothing magnolia bark extract and relaxing lemon balm, so you can get the rest you need and wake up alert and focused.
These extra strength hemp extract capsules seem to be the sweet spot for most women. They also offer a maximum strength line, but extra is a great place to start.
As with all of PlusCBD products, these capsules are made from full spectrum hemp – complete with all the cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and other healthful components that naturally occur in the hemp plant.
Always from EU certified hemp seeds. Non-GMO. Vegetarian. Gluten-Free.
CBD Oil Drops
These extra strength formula CBD Oil Drops are the most efficient way to administer extra strength CBD.
Produced with an array of time tested ingredients, this extract is blended with extra virgin olive oil and sweetened with monk fruit.
New to CBD and not sure where to start? This Starter Bundle is perfect for trying different CBD oil products and seeing which works best for you.
This discounted set contains three of the most popular CBD products in 3 different delivery methods: CBD oil gummies, CBD oil softgels, and CBD oil drops.
A safe roll-on is one of the best ways to sink hemp into your skin. Formulated with Extra Strength Formula hemp extract, this soothing roll-on CBD oil also contains the terpenes, the minor cannabinoids, and most importantly, the rich fatty acids found in the hemp plant in a moisturizing mix of favorite botanicals, including jojoba, aucklandia lappa root, licorice, cinnamon, menthol and camphor.
It’s been found to be super helpful for sore muscles, arthritis pain, and more.
This Wellness Bundle contains everything from refined CBD goodness to Raw hemp health power. It contains health supporting formulas made from full spectrum hemp – complete with all the cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, and other healthful components that naturally occur in the hemp plant.
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The strawberry lemonade flavor makes these CBD Gummies better than any of the gummies our kids used to eat. (Be sure to keep them away from the kids.)
They help ease tension, soothe irritability, and contribute to a greater sense of contentment. They combine 10 mg of CBD of hemp extract with clinically researched ingredients like L-Theanine (found in green tea) and 5-HTP (a precursor of serotonin) to support a healthy stress response.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN CBD OIL
You can make CBD oil at home, but it is expensive. And sourcing good quality hemp to make the oil may be difficult. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where hemp is now legal for medicinal purposes, you won’t have the access problem. If not, then sourcing can be an issue.
As with anything you make at home to be ingested or used to treat a health issue, you want to extremely careful about the purity of the ingredients you use. You don’t want to outweigh the benefits of CBD oil by adding questionable ingredients.
There are three ways to make hemp oil. Two don’t require any specialized equipment so those are the methods we cover here.
OIL METHOD FOR MAKING CBD OIL
This method of extraction involves choosing buds of the hemp plant, grinding them, then baking them at 220 degrees for 90 to 100 minutes. Once you have baked them, place them in a mason jar and saturate them with the oil of choice (coconut oil and olive oil are the two most popular carrier oils).
- Place the lid on the mason jar and put it into a pan of water and heat it until it reaches 200 degrees.
- Leave the pot for 3 hours, continually checking it to make sure the water hasn’t evaporated.
- Turn off the heat for 3 hours and let it set for another 3 hours.
- Add more water if needed and heat it again to 200 degrees for 3 hours.
- Turn off the heat and let it set overnight.
- The next morning, your CBD oil is ready to be strained (use cheesecloth), squeeze out the cloth, and your oil is ready to be stored and/or used.
ALCOHOL METHOD FOR MAKING CBD OIL
Prepare the plant material by baking it as described in the oil method.
- Place it in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover it with alcohol (rum, vodka, or gin are good choices).
- Stir for about 6 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon to extract the resin and put it aside.
- Strain the alcohol mixture through cheesecloth and squeeze the cloth after straining to get as much out as possible.
- Using a double boiler, place the alcohol in the top part, fill the bottom part with water, and heat it until bubbles start to form.
- Let the alcohol evaporate but don’t raise the temperature.
- Let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Once the alcohol has evaporated, mix what is left in the upper part of the boiler with the resin you extracted earlier.
- Put the concentrated oil in a glass container with a tight lid for storage.
Once you have a finished product, you can use it orally, topically, or in edibles. Edibles are probably the best route for oral consumption because the oil by itself tastes awful.
If either of these methods sounds like a lot of work for not much oil, you’re right. That’s why most people don’t make their own CBD oil at home.
If you have any of the conditions we’ve talked about here or think you might enjoy the benefits of CBD oil, talk to your healthcare provider, do some research on your own, and make your decision. While the consensus of the medical community is still out on the benefits, CBD oil could be the answer to your anxiety, pain, or other ailments.
Susie Lyons’ lifelong interest in natural remedies and holistic health practices led to the publication of The Herbalist Journal and her own line of herbal products. Both enterprises were born of her curiosity about natural healing and the folk remedies she grew up with in her extended East Texas family. She is currently pursuing certification as a Master Herbalist.
How Does CBD Affect Women? WHRY Fills Gaps in the Science of an Exploding Market
WHRY is launching a study on how CBD may affect behavior and the brain to determine how it affects women and if it affects women and men differently.
Google the three-letter acronym “CBD,” and you will receive 177 million results. For comparison, a search for “FBI” produces 213 million hits, “IBM,” 305 million, and “FDR,” just 51.3 million. Do you know what CBD is? More important, do you know what it does?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a seemingly non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, as opposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component responsible for the drug’s euphoric effect.
CBD is the main active ingredient in a growing category of products sold in all 50 states with little regulation. The substance can be found in nasal sprays, food supplement powders, skin patches, suppositories, capsules, chocolates, coffee, beer, gummies, lollipops, macaroni and cheese, hummus, honey, jelly beans, cereal, gum, popcorn, peanut butter, massage oil, lotions, face masks, deodorant, pet treats, and bath bombs.
In 2019, more than 64 million Americans reported trying CBD, the majority of whom are female.
Manufacturers of these products have claimed they can help alleviate anxiety and pain, promote sleep, and treat depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. But there is little research to support these claims or the safety of regularly using such products over time. Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved the use of CBD to treat two rare, severe forms of epilepsy.
Now, with a grant from Women’s Health Research at Yale, Dr. Sarah Lichenstein is leading a study on how CBD may affect behavior and the brain to determine how it affects women and if it affects women and men differently.
“The majority of research on the neurological effects of CBD in healthy adults derives from a single small study conducted entirely on men,” said Lichenstein, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. “If we are to make sure these products are safe and effective — and, if so, determine correct dosing — it is important to complement what has been done in men to understand how CBD affects the brain in women.”
In collaboration with Drs. Sarah Yip and Ayana Jordan, Dr. Lichenstein is focusing on CBD’s potential to treat anxiety disorders, the most common reason cited by CBD users for their interest in these products and a condition that is twice as prevalent among women than men. One in three women will meet the criteria for an anxiety or related disorder in their lifetime. In addition to direct negative impact on well-being, these disorders increase the risk of other significant harmful effects, including interpersonal difficulties, major depression, and suicide, as well as higher health care costs and higher rates of unemployment.
“We know that other substances used by women to manage anxiety, such as tobacco smoking, were once portrayed as non-addictive,” said WHRY Director Carolyn M. Mazure, Ph.D. “Yet smoking is in fact addictive and harder to quit for women compared to men.”
Currently, the most common medical treatment for anxiety disorders are benzodiazepines, medications which are twice as likely to be prescribed to women as men. These medications have been associated with a significant risk of abuse and fatal overdose when combined with alcohol or opioids.
“CBD presents a potentially promising alternative to benzodiazepines for treating anxiety, but there is a huge mismatch between the way these products are being marketed and the state of the science,” Lichenstein said. “We need to know much more about what CBD is doing, how it might operate in women, and if this is different in women and men — particularly as millions of Americans are already using it.”
Needed Research on CBD, Behavior, the Brain, and Women
Dr. Lichenstein’s study seeks to determine brain mechanisms behind how CBD affects the behavior of women, building on currently limited evidence showing that a single dose of CBD affects functional brain responses in healthy men and evidence that sex may influence how cannabis and its constituent compounds affect these responses.
“Most of what we know about how CBD acts on the brain comes from research on animals,” Lichenstein said. “There is evidence it acts on many different neural systems through diverse mechanisms of action, which makes it interesting to study. But also hard to pin down.”
Study participants will take either the FDA-approved CBD oral solution known commercially as Epidiolex or a similarly appearing and tasting but inert placebo. They will then undergo tasks proven to reliably induce low levels of stress in most healthy individuals while inside of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Researchers will gather data on self-reported measures of anxiety and subjective and physiological effects following the administration of CBD or the placebo while observing and recording activation of the insula and amygdala, areas of the brain associated with stress and anxiety.
Crucially, all participants will be female, providing necessary data to compare with existing male data and to prepare applications for additional external funding for a larger study that can directly compare the effect of CBD on women and men.
Dr. Lichenstein anticipates that CBD’s effects on the insula and amygdala — and associated reduction in perceived anxiety — could be greater in women than in men.
“Women seem to have more exposure from the same dose of CBD,” Lichenstein said. “Preliminary data suggest that women reach peak concentrations more quickly and reach higher concentrations than men.”
However, it is also possible that greater exposure among women could interfere with CBD’s effects on anxiety based on preclinical studies suggesting that neurobiological channels may block the effects of CBD at higher doses and are modulated by the female sex hormone estradiol.
“If there is a point at which higher doses trigger a neurobiological mechanism that blocks the anti-anxiety effects of CBD, that could very likely lead to different effects for women and men,” Lichenstein said.
Such differences, if found in the brain and through an observed effect on anxiety reduction, would indicate the need to establish sex-specific dosing recommendations for CBD.
“We don’t know if or where a dosing cutoff exists for humans in terms of safety or reducing anxiety,” Lichenstein said. “We need research in people with anxiety disorders and research on dosing over long periods of time. But first, we need to take this initial, essential step toward understanding what exactly happens to the behavior and in the brains of women when using this popular but largely unexamined substance.”