Could Cannabis Be An Effective Treatment For Menopause Symptoms?

Most of us are familiar with marijuana. It's made from the harvested and dried flowers of the cannabis plant, per Healthline, and often used for its calming properties. While cannabis has had a negative reputation for years as a recreational drug, science is beginning to take note of how it can help our health. According to Johnson & Wales University, CBD, a component in cannabis, has the potential to lower blood pressure, and anxiety, and reduce the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders. In studies, cannabis has also been shown to help prevent seizures, reduce inflammation, help prevent relapse after drug or alcohol addiction, and even help treat various forms of cancer. 

And while cannabis has been found to help many things, researchers are still finding more benefits to its use. Just a few years ago, studies showed that a drug containing CBD helped relieve certain forms of epilepsy, per Medical News Today. More recently, a Harvard study revealed that cannabis use might help natural bodily changes, mainly menopause. But is cannabis a good treatment for menopause symptoms?

Cannabis can help reduce some side effects of menopause

According to Mayo Clinic, menopause usually affects women in their 40s and 50s and is confirmed to occur after a full year without a period. Most women dread menopause, and not just because it often is a sign of aging. Your period ending comes with a variety of side effects, from hot flashes and night sweats to sleep issues and mood changes. In addition, women also report losing their hair, gaining weight, losing fullness in their breasts, and a variety of side effects that no one talks about. Healthline recommends eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium to offset weakening bones and lots of fruits and vegetables, which can help you maintain weight and avoid extra weight gain. They also recommend upping your water intake and taking natural supplements like cranberry extract and red clover.

But if those don't work for you, there may be another option to help relieve menopause symptoms. According to a survey done by Harvard Medical School, the use of cannabis during menopause has been proven to help reduce symptoms. Almost 79% of women in the study agreed that using cannabis products helped alleviate their symptoms, with 67%  saying it helped with sleeping and 46% saying it helped with their moods and anxiety. Unfortunately, one of the most common symptoms of menopause, hot flashes, was not impacted by cannabis use. 

How to start using cannabis safely

If you are currently suffering through menopause symptoms and desperately searching for help, you may find the idea of cannabis use intriguing. But starting a cannabis regimen can be intimidating and scary if you have never dabbled in weed or CBD. According to GoodRx, people have been using cannabis to alleviate pain and help with health concerns for thousands of years, and as it becomes legal in more places, obtaining it is quite easy. Depending on where you live, you can likely walk into a cannabis retail store to purchase some, but many states require a specific license, so check before walking in.

There are also different options when it comes to cannabis. You can ingest it by smoking it, eating it (think gummies, drinks, or capsules), or even rubbing it on your skin with cannabis-infused creams and lotions. Of course, as with any drug, there are side effects that you need to be aware of before starting. According to Mayo Clinic, marijuana use can lead to headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, and more severe things like nausea and increased heart rate.