Cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) show much value in assisting with a variety of conditions that often affect women, such as osteoporosis, symptoms related to menopause, thyroid issues, fibromyalgia (see our articles on fibromyalgia, pain, and sleep disorders), endometriosis (see our article on endometriosis), and breast cancer (see our article on cancer). Research has gone into studying how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) possesses unique implications for women’s health, along with how CBD oil works both directly and indirectly through the ECS. Endo-cannabinoids have been discovered in the cells of the uterus and throughout the reproductive system, as well as in breast milk.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a major molecular system responsible for maintaining order and balance across all other twelve bodily systems. The ECS is a literal “ghost in the machine” which blinks into existence just as fast as it disappears; to assist, support, and protect normal healthy physiological and emotional functioning whenever another area of the body falls out of order. If for a moment, you were to imagine the human body as similar to an automotive vehicle, in that you want it to get you from point A to B as smoothly and comfortably as possible, then that is a helpful place to grasp a solid viewpoint. Automotive vehicles need regular servicing and sometimes repair by a mechanic so that they are less likely to break down while en-route. If for example, there is a leak in the radiator, then before long, the car will overheat, which if left “untreated,” can lead to other parts of the engine breaking down. If a vital mechanical component breaks, the vehicle can stop working entirely, halting any movement whatsoever.
The human body is no different, in that it requires regular servicing by our built-in mechanic (the ECS), to function optimally. But as is the case with modern day society, the different stresses placed upon people can lead to overwhelm for the ECS, which can cause many disruptions in normal healthy functioning. If these disruptions continue, and the ECS remains overwhelmed and overstressed by the demands placed upon it, other systems in the body will fall into disorder, which we will then label as “dis-ease.” Is it no wonder then, that so many chronic ailments plague people today, and in many conditions, women more-so. Such as in the case of multiple sclerosis which affects more than quadruple that of men, and the pain condition fibromyalgia, where seventy percent of sufferers are women. This is perhaps, another reason why plant based CBD products are showing such promise in regards to women's health and wellness care, stress relief, pain management, and work-home life balance.
CBD helps nourish the ECS; which has been found to be directly related and interlinked with the endocrine system, especially in regards to the relationship between the hypothalamus, the pituitary, and other hormonal regulators, such as the adrenals (this is a vitally important part of healthy human functioning called the “hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis,” or HPA axis, in short). See our article on the synergy of hemp and maca for more information on how an overworked HPA axis can be nourished back into balance with CBD and other cannabinoids.
The pituitary gland regulates and controls critical functions within the reproductive system, including the release of the ever important follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is responsible for prompting ovulation. In the years leading up to menopause, as the body is attempting to regulate its hormones in a new and novel way, the release of this hormone can be rather sporadic, while it slowly decreases (once a woman reaches menopause, the pituitary stops producing FSH altogether). 
Due to the fact that CBD works with the ECS through the cannabinoid receptors, it can help make adjustments to the secretion and synthesis of hormones when it is needed by the body, which is a good thing if you're experiencing undesirable PMS symptoms. As we mentioned earlier, the hypothalamus is where hormone regulation starts, and cannabinoids can influence this, as can macamides from activated maca.
This four-part article, of which this is the first, will start with a short anthropological review of the use of CBD-rich hemp (cannabis) to assist with female health ailments and challenges throughout history. In part two, we will cover menstrual disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and a brief on fertility with information on dosing and different forms of CBD, THC, and cannabis products, including how to neutralize or manage any psychoactive effects of THC (avoiding the "high"). In part three we’ll cover menopause, and in part four, there will also be a conversation around the controversial topic of their use in relation to fertility and pregnancy (see our article on reproductive health).
Although many of the traditional medicines used to assist with women’s health conditions were largely kept a secret throughout millenia, some of which have been lost over time,  although there are some records of hemp being used in labor, birth, and in the treatment of menstrual disorders that date as far back as seven centuries before Christ in ancient Mesopotamia.  During the Middle Ages in Europe, several references are made regarding the topical use of cannabis in fat or oil to ease breast soreness and for nursing mothers to help prevent mastitis.  Throughout history, it seems that many people believed that CBD-rich cannabis promoted uterine muscle tone, aiding in reducing excess blood flow during menstruation and after childbirth. Cannabis was regularly utilized as an infused oil or tincture, but there are also records of it being used as a vaginal or rectal suppository. It was mentioned to have worked synergistically with ergot, which is a compound often utilized as an abortifacient and to prevent excess blood loss after birth (a derivative, Methergine, is still used for this purpose in hospital settings).
References abound on the use of hemp CBD cannabis for uterine hemorrhage in more modern Western medicine, beginning from roughly the mid-nine-teenth century. There is also evidence during this time where cannabis was used as a compound to facilitate the birth process. Many of the aged-texts praise cannabis for shortening the length of time women were in labor, by strengthening uterine contractions, while also assisting with controlling pain and anxiety (see our article on anxiety). It was quite widely understood to have very few side effects for women or babies.  Another traditional use of medicinal cannabis with many references across a variety of cultures is found in the treatment of disorders involving the urinary tract and bladder. 
In a medical text from 1889 by Doctor J. W. Farlow, he described using cannabis suppositories to help with menopausal symptoms, stating that “the irritability, the pain in the neck of the bladder, flashes of heat and cold, according to my experience, can frequently be much mitigated.” 
Due to the large concentration of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the reproductive system and on the skin, cannabinoids like CBD act as natural vasodilators, which can help to improve blood flow dilation to the tissues, improving nerve sensation, and acting to increase sensitivity in both women and men. CBD works with the ECS; which is also responsible for maintaining optimal endocrine balance, assisting with libido. CBD can also help with pain experienced during sexual activity.
Doctor Dustin Sulak recommends micro-dosing cannabinoids like CBD as you would similar to a multivitamin, to help maintain optimal physiological and emotional functioning by supporting your body's own mechanic, called the ECS (as mentioned earlier). And because you cannot overdose on CBD, and it's fat soluble, meaning, it compounds in your body, the potential health benefits add up over time.
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This article is part of our Women's Wellness series:
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