Marijuana for menopause: More women using cannabis to help reduce symptoms

CLEVELAND — Cannabis is advertised, sometimes haphazardly, as a cure-all for seemingly endless conditions and health problems these days. According to a recent survey, however, marijuana really is helping many women cope with their menopause symptoms.

The arrival of menopause is associated with a number of adverse symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Now, this new research shows more and more women are using marijuana, or at least want to use it, to help alleviate symptoms.

In all, 232 women (average age 56 years old) living in Northern California participated in this research. Over half report dealing with hot flashes and night sweats regularly (54%), while others deal with insomnia (27%) or genitourinary symptoms frequently (69%).

Results show over a quarter of women say they have used, or are currently using, marijuana to help battle menopause symptoms. Another 10% say they are interested in trying cannabis in the future for their menopause problems.

Perhaps just as interesting, only 19% report using a more traditional form of menopause symptom management like hormone treatment. So, it seems marijuana for menopause is more widespread than even some conventional approaches.

More research necessary to prove marijuana for menopause is safe

Participating women who complained most prominently of hot flashes and night sweats were the most likely to report cannabis use.

“These findings suggest that cannabis use to manage menopause symptoms may be relatively common. However, we do not know whether cannabis use is safe or effective for menopause symptom management or whether women are discussing these decisions with their healthcare providers—particularly in the VA, where cannabis is considered an illegal substance under federal guidelines. This information is important for healthcare providers, and more research in this area is needed,” comments lead study author Carolyn Gibson, a psychologist and health services researcher at San Francisco VA Health Care System.

It’s also worth noting that participating women’s age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and mental health didn’t seem to influence cannabis use at all.

This research is set to be presented at the 2020 NAMS Virtual Annual Meeting.

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