Meet The Two Cannabis Scientists Focused On Boosting Women’s Health

A PAIR of female scientists are leading the way when it comes to exploring the benefits CBD can have on the health of women. Sue Kirby reports.

DR Amanda McKinney and Dr Andrea Holmes have dedicated the past two years of their careers to studying how medical cannabis can aid the female-specific needs of women, such as hormonal health, skin, hair, emotional and even pregnancy.

Dr Andrea Holmes.

Dr Holmes, Professor of Chemistry and the Director of Cannabis Studies at Doane University in Nebraska, first became involved in the CBD sector when she decided she needed a change of direction.

She said: “I decided to pursue something that is an emerging field, that hasn’t been fully explored yet.

“There’s not enough scientific experience in the field yet.”

Helping Women To The Top

Since then, Dr Holmes, who is also a co-founder and chief growth officer at a hemp extraction company, Precision Plant Molecules, has set up a women’s executive CBD group to help plug the gap of the lack of women in executive roles within the industry.

Dr McKinney, Associate Dean of the School of Integrative Learning and the Division of Health Sciences at Doane University, became involved with the cannabis research through Dr Holmes.

Dr McKinney, who is certified in herbal and cannabinoid medicine, said: “I have a real interest in using the body’s own systems to heal themselves.”

She said a lot of plant-based substances, such as lavender, can have huge benefits in that way and cannabis fits into that repertoire.

She added: “I really think this is going to be a huge part of medicine going forward. It can be utilised as medicine for so many different conditions.”

Dr Amanda McKinney.

Duo Join UK’s Love Hemp

In the summer it was announced that Dr McKinney and Dr Holmes had both joined the Scientific Advisory Board of the London-based CBD brand, Love Hemp, where they will focus on the development of trusted, effective, and innovative industry leading products.

Tony Calamita, CEO at Love Hemp, said: “With their extensive knowledge of the CBD industry, Amanda and Andrea will be invaluable additions to the business.

“With their distinct approach to health and wellness, backed by both medical experience and scientific research, we look forward to bringing the benefits of CBD and all of its constituents to consumers who are looking for solutions and plant-based remedies that are bespoke and personal.”

In a recent report, written by the two doctors, they said: “Women have very specific health and wellness needs that differ dramatically from men. The modern scientific and medical literature is beginning to reveal how CBD can be used for personalised female applications. 

“CBD affects female specific topics including menstruation, peri-and post-menopause, vaginal health, skin, hair, and emotional health, female-specific cancers, anti-aging, and more.”

The pair believe CBD can help with period pain because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory, muscular and vascular relaxant and studies show it can decrease the contraction of the uterine muscles, the source of menstrual pain. 

Menstrual Pain And Infections

They added: “It has been shown that CBD has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. 

“Products like panty liners or sanitary napkins with CBD containing adhesives or CBD infused tampons may soon flood the market to help prevent and treat menstrual pain and vaginal infections.”

Dr Holmes added: “The cosmetic industry is also jumping on the CBD bandwagon.

“Women are paying attention to creams, lotions, serums, masks, eye-creams, exfoliants and other novel products that have anti-aging effects. Anti-aging cosmetic formulations consisting of herbal extracts like hemp can help with psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, allergic reactions, psoriasis, wound healing and even skin cancer. 

“Long, thick, healthy, luscious hair is another important beauty aspect that women are very interested in. In department stores, the shelves are full of shampoos, conditioners, gels, sprays, and deep-conditioning masques. CBD is starting to play an important role in this arena as more and more CBD-infused hair products are entering the marketplace.”

Anxiety And Depression

As well as reducing pain and anxiety there is now growing research which points to CBD having an impact on depression.

Love Hemp products.

The doctors said: “Depression and anxiety can manifest uniquely in women with varying signs, symptoms, and causes.

“Reproductive hormones and the menstrual cycle, social pressures, poor physical health and diet, lack of exercise, and family circumstances can lead to depressive symptoms and lowered self-confidence and body image. Low levels of serotonin have been implicated in depression, suicide, aggression, anxiety and bulimia and it has been found that female brains produce over 50% less serotonin than men.

“This leads to depression being more common in women than in men. However, it now appears that CBD is a viable treatment for depression as it binds to and activates the serotonin receptor.”

Although there are indications that CBD could help with vomiting, which often occurs in pregnancy, Drs McKinney and Holmes say a lot more research is needed before the substance can be recommended for mums-to-be or those breastfeeding.

‘Be Well-Informed’

They said: “Despite the fact that CBD is readily available, exposure to CBD during pregnancy may not be safe and can affect foetal brain development negatively.”

Dr Holmes said she would advise anyone considering using CBD products to help with any health problems to do their research.

She said: “It is very important for a consumer to self-study, to educate themselves on what kind of benefits they can find. There are a lot of grey areas and it is not a one size fits all situation.”

She said people should start with a low dose and work their way up. The Food Standards Agency in the UK recommends that a healthy adult should take no more than 70mg a day.

Dr McKinney said she would recommend people using a product that contains whole plant extracts, so they can reap the benefits in every part of the plant.

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