CBD Oil is trending in the UK. According to this report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis in June 2019, approximately 4 – 6 million people having tried it. It also suggests that this trend is part of a larger shift in society that it is set to endure.
Among those people who are trying CBD in the UK, many of them are women. In fact, the signs indicate that just as many (if not more) women use CBD oil as men.
For those of you that don’t know, CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid derived from the hemp plant, which does not get you high and is 100% legal in the UK.
Two of the main reasons why it is having such a surge in popularity around the world is due to the increased amount of research that is being carried out, identifying and backing up theories reasons why it can be beneficial to us, as well as giving further evidence about it being safe for us to use.
Couple that with the slowly changing legal situation regarding everything cannabis-derived and a change in general attitudes, and we are now beginning to see more and more people enjoying the therapeutic benefits that CBD can bring.
How does CBD work?
Scientists have relatively recently discovered a system in our bodies called the Endocannabinoid system. This is a system that consists of a set of cannabinoid receptors located all around the body, but with concentrations in certain areas.
These receptors interact with endocannabinoids – cannabinoids made by the body – and help the Endocannabinoid system to carry out its functions – helping the body to maintain a state of homeostasis – or in the ‘Goldilocks zone’ – a state where the body is at optimal levels to work properly.
It is believed that cannabinoids such as CBD can be taken to give the endocannabinoid system a boost, helping to keep us fit and healthy and enhance our general well-being.
The endocannabinoid system can affect several aspects of the body, including temperature, mood, the immune system, inflammation, the central nervous system and pain management. So, when people suggest that CBD might be a ‘wonder-drug’, although it’s certainly not a miracle cure, it does have the potential to help many people with a wide range of health issues.
Five benefits of CBD oil for women
It seems to be that women are feeling the full force of the therapeutic benefits that CBD can have, and there are a number of ways scientists believe CBD might be beneficial to women.
1. Premenstrual tension (PMT) and menstruation
Premenstrual tension affects many women a few days before their period. Although not much is known about what causes it, doctors believe it is related to changes in hormones before a woman’s period starts. There is thought to be up to about 150 different symptoms, but the most common ones can be stomach cramps, bloating, sleep problems and mood changes. Whilst CBD cannot stop these hormone changes, it can be helpful in trying to deal with the symptoms.
Some of these symptoms also carry on whilst women are menstruating, meaning that women are suffering from these symptoms for half of every month.
There is research to suggest that CBD can help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety – two very common symptoms of PMT. However, most of the research that has been done has been carried out on animals and not humans.
One study in 2015, however, found that when people took CBD, they had noticeably lower general anxiety, and it helped to keep them calmer.
Another very common symptom of PMT is pain or discomfort. This can be caused due to inflammation and there is plenty of research that shows CBD can be a powerful anti-inflammatory substance.
There is also mounting evidence that CBD can help to relieve pain – either through ingestion or by using it on the skin. It is important to remember, however, that when it comes to pain relief, CBD is often more effective when it is taken in conjunction with THC – the compound which makes you high, and that is illegal in the UK, some US states and many countries around the world.
Acne is another common symptom of PMT and one many women find infuriating. There is research that suggests when CBD is taken, especially if it is rubbed into the problem areas of the skin, it can help to regulate the production of sebum, the natural oil in the skin that can affect whether the skin is dry or greasy, and help to discourage the break-out of acne.
2. Depression and anxiety
Research shows that twice as many women are likely to be diagnosed with anxiety than men in the UK. Although there are obvious issues around the reporting of mental health problems, especially amongst men, this does show that depression and anxiety are significant issues for women.
The fact that CBD has been described as anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) suggests it can be very helpful to people who are suffering from it.
According to research, CBD can help to regulate the balance of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are chemicals that help us to feel happy, fulfilled and content. The hope is that with more research, it might be able to act as a natural anti-depressant in the future.
3. The menopause
The menopause is still a bit of a mystery to medicine. We don’t know exactly what is happening in a woman’s body when it goes through the change, and for this reason, it is difficult for doctors to help.
Some of the symptoms that can occur due to the menopause include low mood and depression, loss of memory and sleep problems. We already know there is evidence to suggest that CBD might be able to help with low mood, anxiety and sleep problems, but there is also evidence to suggest therapeutic properties for those who are suffering from memory loss.
One piece of research by Tim Karl and Carl Group, published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, suggests CBD might be able to help with neurogenesis - the growth and development of brain cells. This can reduce the deterioration of these cells, helping to reduce memory loss as well as offering hope for people with degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Although fibromyalgia is not specifically a women’s illness, it is much more common in women than in men, and, again very poorly understood. The NHS suggests that fibromyalgia is seven times more likely to occur to females than males, and occurs due to chemical imbalances in the central nervous system. These imbalances manifest themselves as physical problems, such as pain all over the body, extreme fatigue and trouble sleeping.
These chemicals seem to be regulated by the endocannabinoid system and this is why scientists are excited about the potential that CBD has for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.
In the meantime, some people who suffer from fibromyalgia are able to help to ease symptoms such as pain and difficulty sleeping, with CBD. It is also common for people who are suffering from a disease that is difficult to understand and treat, to also get depression – another condition which many people believe that CBD can help them with.
5. Autoimmune diseases
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, about 75% of those who suffer from illnesses related to autoimmune problems are women. We are seeing increasing conditions being classified as an autoimmune disease – a condition that occurs when the immune system turns in on itself.
Most of the time, doctors still don’t know what causes this to happen, but they have discovered that conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, endometriosis, psoriasis occur as a result of an autoimmune attack. In fact, there are over 100 conditions that experts link to this reason.
Research shows that CBD can have an effect on the immune system in the human body, and this is offering great hope to scientists who are trying to understand, treat and prevent autoimmune diseases.
It is important to remember that the real medicinal properties of CBD are still being researched. At the moment, although there is potential for CBD and other cannabis-derived products to be able to help with many of these symptoms, at this time, only anecdotal evidence and theory supports therapeutic effects.
It is important that if you suffer from any of these conditions, you speak to your doctor before you try CBD, especially if you are taking medication. Don’t stop taking your medication but speak to your doctor as CBD can affect how it is metabolised.
However, what we can say for certain is that CBD can be a great boost to your endocannabinoid system, and therefore for general health and well-being.
Tips to consider when buying CBD oil in the UK
There are now many CBD brands available to buy in the UK. However, it can be difficult to know which one to get. As with any new industry trying to get itself regulated, there are some unscrupulous ‘CBD producers’ who are selling falsely labelled or poor quality products. A recent blind study revealed that 38% of the products had less than 50% of the advertised CBD dosage.
There are, however a few things you can do to ensure you are getting a good quality product. Try paying attention to the following factors which CBD Shopy advises are a dealbreaker in their best CBD oil review:
- Lab Report -The consistency and availability of independent lab reports by batch are important. This will give you a break down of exactly what is in the product.
- The quality of hemp – Look for whether it is organically grown, and cultivated in a regulated jurisdiction – the EU, USA or the UK.
- Customer Reviews on 3rd Party Platforms like TrustPilot – Here you can find out what other people think of the product and whether they would recommend it.
- Manufacturing Standards - check that the lab testing was done by a government-approved lab. Check that they also comply with GMP – Good Manufacturing Practises guidelines – a set of guidelines set by the government regulatory bodies to ensure that the product is safe for the consumer to use.
Although we still need a lot more research to be done into the exact impact that CBD can have on our bodies, the evidence looks very promising that it could be extremely helpful to many people, and especially for women.
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