What’s Going On?
A study from October 2020, found that 1 in 4 women have tried weed, or cannabis, to manage their menopause symptoms. In fact, 19% of women in the study were trying weed than traditional methods! The study from the Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey found that nearly 27% of women in California had or were using marijuana to manage symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Additionally, 10% of those surveyed were interested in using cannabis to manage their menopause in the future.
Why are women doing this over standard therapy and treatment? There are a few reasons. One of them is that marijuana has some effects that can alleviate menopause symptoms. THC in cannabis can help lower body temperature, like hot flashes, and can “mellow your mood” as well as improve sleep. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the ingredient in cannabis that causes the “high.” For those who are suffering from severe menopause symptoms, weed can sound like a great option to try! Secondly, there’s been misinformation about hormone therapy and cancer risk. Because of this confusion, women are avoiding standard hormone therapy and treatments by using weed as a way to alternatively treat their symptoms.
While weed is still considered an illegal substance, there are currently 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making cannabis legal for medical and/or recreational use. Researchers and professionals in the field are noting that this recent study showcasing this trend is an indicator that there is a need for more research related to the benefits and risks of using weed to soothe or alleviate medical symptoms — like menopause.
Is Weed Safe to use for Menopause?
Like we mentioned previously, it is not fully known how safe and effective cannabis is for managing menopause symptoms. Currently, the CDC has research that shows:
- Out of those who use marijuana, 1 in 10 people will get addicted to it.
- Weed does affect the brain, including reaction time, coordination, decision-making, attention, memory, and learning. It can also affect mood and emotions.
- Frequent and long-term use can increase the risk of schizophrenia and psychosis. For example, women who get addicted to weed are more prone to panic attacks and anxiety. In fact, women are more likely to develop marijuana use disorder faster the first time they use compared to men.
It’s important to remember that weed comes in different strengths, with certain doses and strains having varying effects on different individuals. Women who have been trying cannabis for menopause have been using things like CBD oil from “edibles” to medical-grade marijuana. The problem with this is that there’s a lot of different information provided that can be inaccurate as well as inappropriate for patients. For example, in California, edibles are sold at 10 milligrams for an individual serving. Experts in naturopathic medicine say this is too much for older people to use, especially if they are beginners. The THC can be too high for such individuals and can lead to undesirable effects.
While doctors do not recommend this a first-line treatment, if you’re experiencing severe symptoms and are unable to try standard therapies then medical marijuana from a licensed, credentialed prescriber is a reasonable therapy to try. You should do your research and remain cognizant that marijuana does not always have the same effect for each person. Some people will have great experiences, while others have negatives experiences. You should speak to your doctor about your options before trying cannabis as a way of therapy.
For questions or concerns, or even setting up an appointment, feel free to contact us at any of our three locations.