While menopause is a natural stage in a woman’s life, it brings with it a number of symptoms that can be quite frustrating. Caused by changing levels of estrogen and progesterone, people going through menopause frequently experience symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and weight gain.
Perhaps what is most surprising about menopause is that many women are not currently seeking treatment for it. In fact, the State of Menopause Survey found that 29% of women never sought any information about menopause before experiencing it. Meanwhile, 73% of women surveyed were not treating the symptoms of their menopause.
Based upon this information, it would appear that there is a distinct need for more effective and accessible options for the treatment of menopause symptoms. One potential thing being suggested to help relieve menopause symptoms is cannabis. Can cannabis really help provide relief to people going through menopause? Let’s take a deeper look.
Does Cannabis Help Menopause Symptoms?
The key to understanding whether or not something is effective with different symptoms and conditions lies in scientific studies. Research into the medicinal effects of cannabis is relatively new, largely due to laws traditionally banning its use in many places. While research has found that cannabis is effective for things like chronic pain and anxiety, research on cannabis and menopause symptoms is still in the formative stages.
In fact, a recent review of existing studies published in the International Menopause Society’s academic journal called for the need for more research in order to understand the effectiveness of cannabis in treating symptoms of menopause. The authors of this study noted that it is frequently used to treat symptoms; however, how it affects these symptoms is not yet understood.
Thus far, most of the knowledge into the use of cannabis for menopause symptoms is anecdotal in nature. However, there seems to be strong agreement from many women that cannabis is a valuable tool, providing relief from menopause. A recent survey of 232 women in California found that 27% were currently taking cannabis to manage conditions related to menopause, primarily hot flashes and night sweats.
Another recent study was shared at the North American Menopause Society’s annual meeting last year. This study of 1,500 Canadian women found that 33% were currently using cannabis. The primary symptoms that were being addressed included sleep difficulties, anxiety, irritability, and depression.
In short, it would appear that cannabis is often effective for treating symptoms of menopause even if there is not enough current research to fully understand the exact mechanisms and success rates. However, with common symptoms of menopause including things like difficulty sleeping and mood changes, it is understandable that cannabis can effectively help.
How Do People Use Cannabis for Menopause Symptoms?
Women use cannabis for menopause symptoms in a variety of ways. Surveys have shown that the most popular methods include taking edibles, infusing it into oil, and smoking it. In terms of the amount used, many women find themselves undergoing trial and error in order to find what works for them.
This is because a large number of people currently using cannabis to help with symptoms of menopause are obtaining it recreationally instead of through a medical route. In fact, it is quite possible that a primary care physician may be unfamiliar with the use of cannabis to address symptoms, something that can be a barrier to access for many people.
Dr. Nese Yuksel, a pharmacist with the University of Alberta, is an advocate for better educating physicians about methods of treating menopause symptoms. Citing a Yale University study of 500,000 menopausal women, it was found that although 60% of women with severe symptoms sought medical attention, the vast majority received no help.
Essentially, many women find themselves experimenting with dosages and delivery methods to find how cannabis can best relieve symptoms of menopause. While some women may have the benefit of a knowledgeable physician or helpful dispensary employee, there is not currently a widely regarded common procedure for dosage.
In fact, a participant from the aforementioned Canadian study discussed her usage in a recent article. She noted that smoking it at night helps her to sleep more soundly while infusing it into olive oil and drizzling it on salad or toast helps dull mood swings. The relief was noted as typically being noticeable within half an hour and lasting for several hours.
It certainly appears that there is a strong potential for cannabis to serve as an effective method of relieving symptoms of menopause. While the medical community is slow to research these prospects, many women are already using it for this purpose. If you are suffering from menopause, cannabis may be an effective option for providing much needed relief.