So you suffer from nasty menopause symptoms? Are you on the lookout for an alternative treatment to relieve your pain and discomfort? Well, you are not alone since we bring you six ways in which cannabis can help you manage your menopausal symptoms effectively.
What is Menopause
For the uninitiated, menopause is a year-long period in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle comes to an end. A woman can reach menopause at ages 45 to 50. Menopause symptoms start showing up sometimes even ten years before the actual menopause period. As a woman in your middle age, you might notice subtle changes like irregular periods, worsening PMS symptoms, fatigue, etc., during your menstrual cycle. This period is followed by the actual menopause, where no periods occur for 12 months. During this period, ovulation completely stops while estrogen levels also drop significantly. Along with the physical side-effects of menopause, you can also suffer from anxiety and depression.
How Can Cannabis Help Ease Menopause Symptoms?
Though the Federal government prohibits the consumption of cannabis, there are many states where cannabis is allowed for medical and recreational purposes. In fact, as per a study presented in the 2020 annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), about 27 % of women in Northern California who were a part of the Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey had used or were using cannabis to manage menopausal symptoms. The presence of online stores like Weed Smart has made it even easier to avail of varied kinds of cannabis.
Now, let us delve into some contemporary scientific know-how about how our bodily systems work and the many menopausal symptoms in which cannabis showed promise.
Hot flashes are caused due to hormonal fluctuations during menopause. Interestingly, estrogen plays a vital role in the breakdown of certain endocannabinoids in the body. Any fall in estrogen levels in perimenopausal women is believed to induce insomnia, hot flashes, depression etc. Cannabis can mimic these endocannabinoids by binding and interacting with the receptors in the brain and the immune system. So, it makes sense that cannabinoid dosing might help with symptoms of menopause.
Furthermore, hot flashes are most commonly triggered by anxiety. This can cause a woman to sweat and flash. But cannabinoids can quell hot flashes by relieving its trigger, i.e. anxiety.
Moreover, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, a component in marijuana that bestows the typical “runner’s high”, helps lower body temperatures and hence might treat hot flashes. Moreover, THC also helps mellow mood and aid in sleep. As per a study, consuming higher doses of THC can lower body temperatures and consuming smaller amounts can raise body temperatures. So, it is of utmost importance to find the right amount of dosing for each individual. Older people and menopausal women should be vigilant about the THC dosing and use very low THC dosing to avoid impairment and extreme euphoria.
Many menopausal women struggle with insomnia. Insomnia and hot flashes are correlated. It is difficult to get a night of restful sleep if you get night sweats due to hot flashes. As discussed above, cannabis can help lower body temperatures, which, in turn, helps in having a restful sleep at night. Its analgesic and anti-anxiety properties calm an agitated mind while relieving any pain in the body. A marijuana strain with less than 20% of THC can be a good sleep aid. An Indica strain is usually recommended to induce sleep.
Menopause can cause hormonal fluctuations leading to several painful symptoms such as migraines, pain in joints, painful intercourse besides cramping during menses. The analgesic properties of cannabis help to relieve pain. Furthermore, cannabis, unlike opioids, offers pain relief sans the addictive properties or side effects.
Mood swings and disorders such as anxiety and depression are common in menopausal women. Mood and emotional reaction are related to how estrogen supports the use of endocannabinoids. Any drop in the endocannabinoid levels is related to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. This has been established by a 2009 study published in the NIH National Library of Medicine. However, studies on cannabis suggest that both CBD and THC help in mood regulation by alleviating feelings of anxiety and depression.
5.Loss of Sexual Appetite
Do you suffer from low libido and vaginal dryness? We all know that sex offers mental as well as physical stimulation. However, experiencing a low sex drive when the body is already subject to radical changes can be frustrating for menopausal women. Cannabis can offer relief to such women. As per a poll conducted by Psychology Today, about 67 % of women respondents reported improvement in their sex lives after cannabis consumption. For menopausal women, it might be a good idea to choose CBD dominant strains as CBD is known to relieve pain and anxiety. Moreover, relaxes the mind and the body- two things that enhance any sexual experience.
Are you in your early fifties suffering from osteoporosis? Well, you are not alone, as there is a sizable chunk of menopausal women who face conditions like joint pain and bone loss. This happens due to a dramatic fall in estrogen levels. You might not know that estrogen supports the cell regeneration process in the bones. Any fall in this crucial hormone can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. But, help is at hand in the form of cannabinoid treatment. Studies suggest that women who have received an ovariectomy and cannabinoid dosing experienced reduced bone loss.
Though hormone therapy is the most prevalent treatment to address menopause symptoms, many women in the United States are increasingly using cannabis as a panacea for menopause. However, cannabis dosing and the type of strain suitable for treating a particular menopause symptom are of utmost importance. Hence, women looking to use cannabis should consult a certified health care professional as part of the menopause treatment plan.