We discovered CBD through a brutal perimenopause. That full story is here and yes, it revolved primarily around hormones.
First came progesterone and after much struggle, a few doctors, and many false starts...estrogen (see my Estrogen journey).
Progesterone (oral, bioidentical) was a game-changer.
The rolling panic attacks, insomnia, constant anxiety, and more started to subside with progesterone and I'm now on 300 mg daily (no cycling) based on levels shown in my Dutch test.
I take progesterone at night since it basically acts like a powerful sleep aid (we'll cover why below) but I also like to take my CBD then as well (see CBD and sleep).
I noticed that when my CBD was taken along with my progesterone, the sleep effects of progesterone were not as present.
We'll explain why below!
Let's get started with these topics:
- A quick look at the power of progesterone
- CBD's supportive role for sleep, mental health, and HRT windows
- Does CBD interfere with oral progesterone?
- Best time to take CBD with oral progesterone
Let's get started!
A quick look at the power of progesterone
We have a deep dive on progesterone here but a few key points.
Progesterone drops constantly from our peak around our early 20's.
By age 40, it's at 50% and continues down from there.
The big slam of perimenopause is actually estrogen going haywire before dropping off the floor.
Progesterone is tied into every system of our body but a just a few critical functions:
- Progesterone calms the immune response - see CBD and autoimmune
- Progesterone supports both GABA (brain's brake pedal) and serotonin (mood balancer)
- Progesterone supports gut health and integrity - see Gut inflammation
You see a slew of risks creep up for women during their 40's such as auto-immune, histamine (allergic) responses, anxiety, depression, and more.
Again, check out the full review of progesterone but let's just zero in one piece...GABA!
GABA just happens to be the target for benzos like Valium, Xanax, and Ativan (see CBD versus benzos).
There's a reason that benzos have become a popular medication for women in their 40's and beyond!
GABA is the brake pedal of the nervous system tied to sleep, calm, and every other pathway in the brain!
Sleep issues, anxiety, and the resulting depression, autoimmune, generalized pain issues (myalgia), and more are all common complaints of women and directly tied to anxiety.
The connection between progesterone and GABA lies with a powerful metabolite of progesterone called allopregnanolone:
Furthermore, allopregnanolone acts like a potent positive allosteric modulator of GABA-A receptors
This basically means that all drives GABA function at the receptor level!
It also turns out to be the star behind the new blockbuster postpartum depression medication which is essentially a synthetic and much more expensive ($25K) version of it.
Most of the big insomnia medications are essentially different versions of benzos with direct boosting of GABA activity.
This is why they can also build tolerance over time.
Personally, I take oral progesterone at night and it works just like a benzo for sleep!
More importantly, progesterone is key to calming the immune system from over-reacting which is key to autoimmune (also rears its head in the 40's typically when progesterone leaves the scene).
Progesterone also works in lockstep with estrogen which is critical. The two are inseparable!
They even shape the heartbeat itself (see perimenopause heart issues).
Let's now look at the shared real estate for CBD.
CBD's supportive role for sleep, mental health, and HRT windows
We have a whole review on what exactly is CBD and how does CBD works.
Basically, it supports a key system called the endocannabinoid system in each of us that works to balance other key systems including:
- Nervous system - neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin
- Immune system - inflammation and cellular birth/death cycles
- Endocrine system - hormones including steroidal hormones like….progesterone!
Needless to say, there's a lot of overlap here.
Let's take one big example...GABA.
We looked at progesterone's effect on GABA above via its metabolite, allopregnanolone.
What about CBD?
CBD is an allosteric positive modulator of GABA.
This basically means that it functions as a feedback mechanism and supports it when low.
It doesn't just push in one direction like benzos (see CBD versus benzos) which is why we don't get tolerance from CBD.
This is critical!
We have a whole review on CBD and GABA here.
The other big player is serotonin. CBD also supports serotonin when low.
Interestingly, progesterone can suppress serotonin so CBD helps to offset this.
Estradiol (our main estrogen) is a powerful supporter of serotonin which is just one more example of how estrogen and progesterone work in a yin-yang fashion.
See estradiol and mental health to learn more.
You can learn all about CBD and serotonin here.
Unfortunately, many women find out about hormones or HRT later on...after perimenopause (late 40's).
It's hard on the body to restart hormones after they've been gone for a while...especially estrogen which drops off a cliff late 40's/early 50's.
A study looked at how CBD can actually re-open the HRT window and we covered it in detail here.
This is very important if you're starting HRT late since there was a different risk profile in earlier studies.
Let's turn to the practical question that many women have.
Does CBD interfere with oral progesterone?
It can. Oral progesterone and CBD both use the same liver pathway for breaking down.
This means that if you take CBD at the same time as oral progesterone (not topical), you may lose some of the beneficial effects of progesterone since the metabolism into its metabolites such as allopregnanolone is a key means of effect.
Our founder discovered this the hard way.
Progesterone is key to her nighttime sleep regiment and basically knocks her out. GABA's a powerful pathway as it slows everything in the nervous system down.
She takes it right before bed.
While playing with different times for taking CBD orally (oil), she noticed that the quick drop off of sleep from progesterone was not as strong.
When she moved her CBD away from the progesterone but still prior to sleep, everything went back to normal.
So...that begs the question...what is the best timing?
Best time to take CBD with oral progesterone
After trying different times, she primarily takes CBD in the morning or daytime.
Peak CBD is about 4-6 hours after taking it in terms of blood levels.
Progesterone is taken right before bed.
If she wakes up in the middle of the night, CBD is a handy tool as is magnesium glycinate.
Estradiol is also taken in the morning since it can be excitatory and that matches when our bodies naturally release estrogen.
CBD can be held under the tongue for up to 60 seconds to boost availability by bypassing the liver/gut.
This has been the best approach to combine two powerful players for sleep, mental health, and immune function.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.