Cannabis and menopause are becoming a common combination. Until recently, very little attention has been paid to menopause and the impact it has on women’s lives. In fact, it wasn’t until 2015 that the World Health Organization (WHO) classified menopause as a natural biological process. This is in stark contrast to the way menopause was viewed in the past, when it was considered a disease that needed to be treated.
Fortunately, attitudes are changing and there is now a greater understanding of the physical and emotional changes that women go through during menopause. October is World Menopause Month, and today, October 18th, is World Menopause Day. These initiatives are designed to raise awareness of menopause and the issues faced by women during this time.
One of the most common issues during menopause is hot flashes.
“Hot flushes refer to a sudden feeling of heat in the face, neck and chest, often accompanied by flushing of the skin, perspiration (sweating), palpitations, and acute feelings of physical discomfort which can last several minutes.”
Hot flashes can occur day or night and can be so severe that they interfere with sleep or everyday activities.
There is evidence that cannabis can help with menopause symptoms. One survey of over 200 women veterans recorded responses about the use of cannabis for menopause symptom management.
“Current or ever use of cannabis for menopause symptom management was reported by 27% of all participants, while an additional 10% expressed interest in future use. Cannabis use was more commonly reported among women reporting hot flashes and night sweats.”
Cannabis isn’t just effective for hot flashes, it can also help with other menopausal symptoms like anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. Another research survey of over 250 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women found that
“86% currently use cannabis as an adjunct treatment for menopause-related symptoms via a variety of different modes of use, with the most common being smoking (84.3%) and edibles (78.3%). The most frequently reported indications for medical cannabis use were menopause-related disturbances of sleep and mood/anxiety.”
In a press release about this survey, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) had this to say about the survey findings,
“This study suggests that medical cannabis use may be common in midlife women experiencing menopause-related symptoms. Given the lack of clinical trial data on the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis for management of menopause symptoms, more research is needed before this treatment can be recommended in clinical practice. Healthcare professionals should query their patients about the use of medical cannabis for menopause symptoms and provide evidence-based recommendations for symptom management,”
– Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
There is no doubt that menopause is a difficult time for many women around the world. The good news is that initiatives like World Menopause Month are helping to break the silence and raise awareness of the issues faced by women during this time.
Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for many menopausal symptoms, from hot flashes to sleep problems and everything in between. With more research, we will continue to uncover new ways that cannabis can improve the quality of life for women during menopause.