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It’s not exactly breaking news that we love CBD at ohne HQ. We’ve talked about how we use it for period pain, headaches, and even sleep. But we’ve never sat you down to tell you about the benefits of using CBD cycle-round as a daily supplement to manage and regulate your hormones.
One of the main benefits of cycle tracking is being able to identify trends, symptoms, and irregularities throughout your cycle. You learn what ‘normal’ looks like for you and it gives you the support you need to be able to spot if something isn’t quite right. Our hormones naturally fluctuate quite drastically throughout our menstrual cycles, but once your start to learn about what these hormones are and why they behave in the way they do, the sooner you’ll be able to spot irregularities and notice any imbalances waiting to trip you up.
Hormones, produced in the Endocrine System, are responsible for pretty much every important thing our bodies do – from our growth to our metabolism and from regulating our reproductive functions to regulating our moods. A hormone imbalance, put simply, means you have too much or too little of one or more hormone which, in turn, can have an effect on anything from your skin (hello, hormonal acne) to your appetite to your mood.
There are some 50-odd hormones coursing through our bodies, but the three main reproductive hormones that influence and regulate our menstrual cycles are oestrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. These fluctuate massively throughout our cycle and are largely responsible for why we, for example, may feel great on day 14 and crabby on day 23.
Quick recap: Oestrogen makes you feel sexy, confident, and literally makes your face more symmetrical. It’s at its highest point during ovulation (which occurs mid-way through your cycle). Testosterone strengthens our bones and muscles and heightens our libido. It peaks in the run-up to ovulation, when your whole body is preparing for you to get pregnant (read between the lines and all it really wants is to get you laid). Progesterone, AKA the sedating hormone, AKA my personal nemesis and the reason why my mood and productivity reach rock-bottom in the third week of my cycle, peaks at roughly day 20 of an average 28 day cycle. It’s actually got a bunch of great purposes such as helping to prevent breast and uterine cancer and supporting bone health, so maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on it.
You can read a much more detailed account of how your hormones behave throughout the menstrual cycle right here.
Is it mercury or my hormones in retrograde?
Hormones are pretty bloody important, so it’s no surprise that when they’re out of whack, it can feel like your whole life is, too.
Signs that you’re experiencing imbalances in your hormone levels vary hugely and many of us have probably written at least a handful of them off as PMS symptoms that we just have to accept as par for the course (spoiler: you don’t have to ‘just accept’ anything that’s disruptive to your life or wellbeing). Some of the noteworthy symptoms include: bloating, fatigue, irritability or mood swings, hair loss, irregular periods, weight gain, and acne.
Another key hormone that’s an important influence on whether or not you’re a balanced babe™ is cortisol, AKA the stress hormone, which is not only an important indicator of your daily wellness but interacts with the reproductive hormones in interesting ways. Stress, for example, causes raised levels of cortisol, which interferes with the testosterone pathway, contributing to oily skin and hormonal acne. High cortisol levels can also contribute to the aforementioned hair loss.
Similarly, if you’ve been feeling fatigued recently for prolonged periods of time, this could be related to the production of another hormone, the thyroid hormone thyroxin, or increased stress-levels (hello again, cortisol) causing sleeplessness.
Symptoms that won’t be visible on your body can be harder to pin down. You might not realise, for example, that your hormones could be responsible for why you’ve not been feeling it in the bedroom recently. An imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone levels can impact your libido; you may find that you have a lower sex drive if your oestrogen levels are low and your progesterone levels are higher.
So what’s CBD got to do with it?
While many things can cause hormonal imbalances, from diet and external stressors to medical conditions such as PCOS or hyperthyroidism, CBD can be used as a preventative, long-term means of helping the body regulate the release of hormones.
The human body contains a system called the Endocannabinoid System which receives and utilises the Endocannabinoids produced by the human body. It has receptors in the skin, the reproductive organs, the gut, and the brain. Endocannabinoid receptors are found in the reproductive tract – heavily concentrated inside the uterus, as well as in the glands, where they influence hormone secretion.
CBD, a cannabinoid, is also received by and interacts perfectly with the Endocannabinoid System. CBD helps to regulate, has a relaxant and analgesic effect, and works like an adaptogen – meaning it adapts to what your body needs, helping to provide balance. CBD doesn’t get you high, doesn’t try to supercharge your body like caffeine, for example, does.
CBD can be used as a preventative, long-term measure for helping you become a balanced babe. CBD infused with hemp can be especially helpful when it comes to addressing hormonal issues, as it contains omega fatty acids, particularly omega-6 fatty acids, which are known to help regulate hormones.
Enough biology, what does it feel like?
ohne co-founder Nikki is a bit of an expert on hormonal imbalances, having fought a battle of her own to get her hormones under control. While doctors dismissed her reports of symptoms – “irregular periods, hormonal acne, more intense PMS symptoms” – as nothing to worry about, she knew her body didn’t feel right. After doing some digging into the ways in which her under-active thyroid was throwing the rest of her hormones out of whack, she started taking an ingestible CBD oil to contribute to balancing her hormones in a “more natural way,” she says.
“After six weeks, the first thing I noticed was that my skin – my biggest data point for my internal hormone issues – was suddenly looking much clearer.” And after just three months, she reports, “my skin had completely cleared up and I no longer had hormonal acne flare ups at all just before my period.” The list of changes didn’t end there. “My period pains had decreased, my mood swings around my cycle were a lot less intense, and I now shout about it to everyone I know because it genuinely feels like magic to me.”
If you feel like you might be suffering from hormonal imbalances, my first tip would be to get cycle tracking. Start identifying the trends and patterns unique to your body and cycle, and don’t forget to be mindful of the ways in which situational factors can influence your hormone production. Are you getting enough sleep? Do you always get nauseous and moody after eating a particular food? Is your period regular? CBD might not be the answer to absolutely everything in life – it probably can’t get you back together with your ex or give your landlord a sense of compassion overnight, sorry – but it can lend our bodily functions a helping hand in doing their jobs properly.