Almost 30 million women in the world are currently going through menopause, and are suffering symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and night sweats. The usual treatment for these symptoms tends to be hormone therapy, which comes with a slew of side effects itself. Maybe that’s why a study has found that a number of women are turning to cannabis to help ease their menopausal discomfort, and many more are open to the idea. So, can cannabis help women with menopause?
The wellness appeal of cannabis here is clear, some common menopause symptoms such as insomnia and mood swings can be eased through low doses of cannabis.
However, the author of the study, Carolyn Gibson, warned that the long-term effects of this kind of use were still not entirely clear. She stated that:
“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”.
The question of consulting healthcare providers is a tricky one, given that many places in the world have still not fully legalised the consumption of cannabis for medicinal or recreational use. Consultation might also be complicated in places like South Africa, where consumption has been recently legalised but the act still carries some social stigma. These factors make it hard, if not impossible, for individuals to get qualified advice about using cannabis to alleviate certain conditions. This means that individuals looking to treat their menopausal symptoms might not have everything they need to make an informed decision on what to use and how to use it.
Even in places where cannabis has been legalised, however, there is still not enough knowledge about all its effects, and the medical director of the North American Menopause Society outlined the need for more research in this area:
“This study highlights a somewhat alarming trend and the need for more research relative to the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use for the management of bothersome menopause symptoms.”
Now that cannabis is becoming increasingly tolerated and legalised across the world, researchers will be better able to study it as a possible solution to common medical problems such as menopause. It has already been shown that the plant has potential when it comes to relieving pain, sleep disorders, and stress, and with further study, it is possible that more innovations in its uses will be revealed. It is also critical to be holistically informed about the negative side effects of usage, however, to make sure that cannabis is consumed in a safe and sustainable way. Hopefully, the future will yield more studies like this, and help to bring about the paradigm shift that will free medical and recreational use from its long-standing social stigma.