Every year, more than 2 million women reach menopause, while 27 million go through the throes of menopause. Defined as the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, menopausal women experience a natural decline in reproductive function with common symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood disorders. Cannabis appears to be a natural solution available to relieve these symptoms.
How cannabis affects menopause
Researchers associated with the San Francisco VA Medical Center interviewed 232 women (average age 56) living in Northern California and participated in the Midlife Veterans Health Survey, focusing on their management of menopause. This study is available by clicking here.
More than half of them reported embarrassing symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats (54%), insomnia (27%), and genitourinary symptoms (69%).
- Approximately 27% of those sampled reported using or currently using cannabis to manage their symptoms.
- Another 10% of participants expressed interest in trying cannabis to manage menopausal symptoms in the future. More surprisingly, the survey found that women were more likely to use cannabis than traditional menopause therapy such as hormone treatment:
- Only 19% reported using a more traditional type of menopausal symptom management such as hormone therapy.
Results that prove the place of cannabis in natural alternatives
These results suggest that using cannabis to manage menopausal symptoms may be relatively common,” said Carolyn Gibson, lead author of the study.
However, we don’t know whether cannabis use is safe or effective for the management of menopausal symptoms or whether women discuss these decisions with their health care providers – particularly in IL, where cannabis is considered an illegal substance under federal guidelines”.
Cannabis use was most often reported by women with hot flashes and night sweats, who represented more than half of those surveyed. About one-quarter of women reported insomnia, while 69% had frequent genitourinary symptoms.
Given the relatively high rate of cannabis use among women in this cohort, scientists and others would be well advised to further explore its safety, efficacy, and prevalence in postmenopausal women.
The researchers agreed with this sentiment, concluding that, while promising, the results of the small sample size required further investigation.