Hormone swings: They’re not just a problem for teenagers. According to a 2019 survey from the research firm OnePoll, 43 percent of American women between the ages of 30 and 60 say “hormones have negatively affected their overall well-being.” And regardless of their age, a growing number of them are turning to CBD to find relief.
The non-intoxicating cannabinoid has been ubiquitous in the wellness world for some time — see: CBD vitamins, CBD probiotics, etc. — but CBD hormonal balancing serums are a relative newcomer. They have their work cut out for them, too, since hormones play a crucial (and not entirely understood) role in controlling our emotions and other bodily functions. When hormones are out of balance, they can lead to symptoms like anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbances, hot flashes, and even a lack of sex drive — which sound like nobody’s idea of a good time.
Traditionally, hormonal imbalances have been treated with pharmaceutical concoctions like birth control pills, anti-androgen medications, or hormonal replacement therapy (which essentially involves dosing the body with hormones it no longer produces by itself). As you might expect — or know from experience — these can come with a long list of side effects, which is why CBD hormonal balancing serums are getting (a moderate amount of) buzz around the country.
CBD hormonal balancing serums tend to come in tincture form, though they can be applied in different ways. Some are sublingual — i.e. you put them under your tongue — while others are designed to be applied to the skin (hooray for pulse points).
Now that you know what CBD hormonal balancing serums look like (and how to use them) here are some answers to the most common questions people have about them:
They aren’t quite as omnipresent as CBD gummies or disposable vape pens, but there are still a fair amount of choices. There’s Libido Femme, the product of a collaboration between U.K.-based CBD brand Onda Wellness and Chinese herbalist Dr. Janine Mahon, which blends 50 mg of “whole hemp oil” (an oddly nebulous description) with a mix of Chinese herbs in a vial of unspecified volume.
A much more potent concoction comes from Winged, which bills itself as “the first CBD Product line formulated exclusively for women” [sic]. Their 1 oz. peppermint-flavored Balance Oil contains 300 mg of full spectrum CBD along with evening primrose oil. If you’re looking for even more of an infused kick, the brand sells 2 oz. vials with 720 or 1,500 mg of CBD, as well.
There’s also the Feminine Balance: Full Spectrum Hemp Formula from Trim Healthy Mama, which also packs 300 mg of full spectrum CBD into a 1 oz. vial, along with a blend of various herbs (which we’ll discuss shortly).
According to Onda, the Libido Femme CBD hormonal balancing serum “focuses on balancing the meridians to regulate hormones and boost Qi and Blood flow, encouraging optimal reproductive health, libido and mental calm,” which certainly sounds pleasant enough, if a bit vague.
Winged’s Balance Oil, on the other hand, claims that its special blend of ingredients “support skin radiance and ease the symptoms of hormonal swings.”
Then there’s Trim Healthy Mama’s Feminine Balance, which promises to do everything short of making your teeth whiter. The brand says its hormonal balancing serum will “safely support your sleep, your hormones and emotions all while helping to battle pain and inflammation.”
Whether or not they can do any of these things is a matter of debate, though, as you’ll see below.
Here’s where it gets dicey. There’s a decent amount of evidence that CBD could help you sleep better, that it could relieve cramps and other menstrual symptoms, and that it might help boost your mood (particularly, by reducing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression). There’s even some research that directly addresses the impact of CBD on hormone production — way back in 1993, Brazilian researchers discovered that “CBD interferes with cortisol secretion,” i.e. it prevents the release of stress hormones. However, that study also showed CBD had no effect on other types of hormones, like growth hormone or prolactin, which stimulates milk production when breastfeeding.
Some of the other ingredients found in CBD hormonal balancing serums have also been the subject of scientific studies, and again the results have been mixed. Take evening primrose oil, for example — in 2018, the Journal of Education and Health Promotion published a study that showed the oil was “effective in reduction of severity of hot flashes and improvement of the quality of life” among postmenapausal women, though another herb examined in the study (black cohosh) was even more useful, since it also reduced the frequency of hot flashes.
No studies have specifically examined whether CBD hormonal balancing serums are actually capable of doing what they say, so for the time being, it’s hard to say whether they’re a wonder remedy, a total scam, or something in between.
CBD products have a reputation for being expensive, but while hormonal balancing serums aren’t exactly budget-priced, for the most part they don’t break the bank quite as much as some other products — we’re looking at you, $150 face creams.
The exceptions are Winged’s high-CBD formulations, which clock in at $100 for the 1,500 mg vial and $60 for the 720 mg vial. Their 300 mg variety, on the other hand, is available for just $30.
Other CBD hormonal balancing serums tend to be on the lower end of the price spectrum. Onda’s Libido Femme, for example, costs $48, while Trim Healthy Mama’s Feminine Balance runs $43.
If you’re interested in trying any of these products, your best bet will be to check the brands’ websites.
Interestingly, few makers of CBD hormonal balancing serums provide the results of third-party lab testing on their websites, so there’s no way to be sure a given product is free of contaminants short of running the tests yourself (which, needless to say, is not realistic). Considering how common contaminated CBD products are on the market, this is less than ideal.
Assuming the product is clean, however, there’s little reason to worry about the CBD itself — it won’t get you high, and you can’t “overdose,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact, most experts agree that CBD has an excellent safety profile, which is one of the reasons it’s become a popular treatment for so many conditions.
What about the other ingredients, though? Herbs like sage, ylang ylang, and evening primrose are often regarded as safer than prescription pharmaceuticals — since they’re “all natural” — but this isn’t always the case. A 2017 paper in the Medical Journal of Australia found that some herbal medicines can cause serious side effects, like kidney failure, if they contain contaminants or interact with other drugs. If you’re concerned about the safety of a given ingredient, you might want to see if it is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by checking the agency’s GRAS Substances Database.
In any case, since many therapeutic herbs are poorly regulated, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before using a CBD hormonal balancing serum.