How to Relieve Menopause Symptoms with Cannabis
The number of older people using cannabis is steadily increasing, particularly following the legalization of cannabis in Canada. One of the many uses of cannabis is for treating the symptoms associated with menopause. Menopause is a naturally occurring biological function but the symptoms associated with it can be distressing and uncomfortable. Here is a guide to relieving menopause symptoms with cannabis (rather than hormone therapy or medication).
Description of Menopause
Menopause is defined as the time the ends a persons’ menstrual cycle. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s officially diagnosed when a person goes a period of twelve months without experiencing menstruation. Menopause can happen at any age although it’s most likely to occur in the 40s or 50s with the average age for Canadians being 51 years old.
Menopause is a natural biological process that occurs for every person who has a uterus. Those who have had a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of the uterus) will also go through menopause. Those who have a total or radical hysterectomy (removal including the ovaries) will experience surgical menopause immediately after surgery. While those who keep their ovaries will likely experience menopause at the same time they would have (although their period will have stopped immediately after the surgery).
Although the process of going through menopause is normal the symptoms may cause people distress. Also, after menopause risk for particular medical conditions increase such as; cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, as well as impacts on sexual functioning.
Symptoms of Menopause
The months, or years, that lead up to menopause – where a person may begin to experience symptoms (typically as a result of changes in hormones)- is called perimenopause. The symptoms may include:
|Irregular periods||Vaginal Dryness||Weight gain and slowed metabolism|
|Chills and Hot flashes||Night Sweats||Thinning hair and dry skin|
|Mood Changes||Sleep Problems||Loss of breast fullness|
Although irregular periods are normal during this time it’s important to note that there is significant variance among individuals and you can still get pregnant during this time.
It’s important to note that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Postmenopause is the time where the body reestablishes homeostasis and menopause symptoms subside.
Some (approximately 1%) people experience menopause prematurely (before the age of 40). This is typically caused by an ovarian insufficiency where the ovaries do not produce enough hormones. This often a result of genetic factors or autoimmune disease but sometimes the causes are unknown.
Traditional Treatment for Menopause Symptoms
Since menopause is a natural phenomenon it requires no specific medical treatment although some may choose treatments to manage symptoms.
Those who experience premenopause are recommended to undergo hormone therapy treatment. Other medications are also recommended to help manage hot flashes, these aim to manage bone density, or to increase mood.
How to Relieve Menopause Symptoms with Cannabis
Cannabis has been used for years to treat the symptoms of menopause. Unfortunately, due to prohibition, there is little research that specifically focuses on the impacts of cannabis on the symptoms of menopause. So, lets instead look at the specific symptoms.
Preliminary evidence suggests that the naturally occurring endocannabinoid anandamide, which is similar to THC, is responsible for thermoregulation (i.e. regulating body temperature). That being said it appears that dose has an impact on how THC impacts body temperature. It is suggested that higher doses decrease body temperature while low doses many increase body temperature. So, finding the right dose for each person will be an important step to manage hot flashes with cannabis.
Remember that CBD helps to counteract the psychoactive impacts of THC so using them together can help individuals to tolerate THC at a higher dose.
Hot flashes are often a significant contributing factor involved in sleep disturbances, so THC before bed can contribute to better sleep by lowering the body temperature but cannabis can also impact drowsiness.
Learn more about how cannabis can be used to treat insomnia in our other article.
Estrogen is linked to the endocannabinoid system through regulation of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which is the enzyme that degrades the endocannabinoid anandamide. Preliminary research suggests that estrogen utilizes endocannabinoids to help regulate mood and the early onset of menopause can be the result of a deficiency in endocannabinoids.
There is evidence that cannabis, particularly CBD, helps to regulate mood and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. Read more about how cannabis can be used to treat anxiety and depression in our other articles.
Not only can a person going through menopause experience a lower libido but they can also experience vaginal dryness. Both of which can impact the enjoyment a person gets out of sex. It is up for debate whether or not cannabis improves a person’s sex life, but there are many ways of enjoying cannabis it’s not just about smoking. (Some people say the head high associated with cannabis can be distracting during sex).
THC lubricant is one way of enjoying cannabis that can have a significant impact on a person’s sex life, particularly for those with vaginas. One of the ways THC lubricants work is by increasing blow flow to the area which helps to increase arousal as well as lubrication. Learn more about how THC lube works.
Evidence points to a relationship between the endocannabinoid system and bone density and irregularities in cannabinoid receptors could indicate a susceptibility to osteoporosis. Researchers believe cannabinoids show promise in being able to prevent bone loss and potentially treat osteoporosis. More research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between cannabis and bone loss.
On top of all the other symptoms a person may experience as a result of menopause, pain is another factor. Some pain that can often accompany menopause are migraines, breast tenderness, joint pain, bruising and even increased menstrual cramping.
Cannabis is established as an effective treatment for pain as well as symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) including cramps.
Weight gain is common to experience during menopause. For some people, this can add to the feelings of discomfort in their body.
Cannabis has the reputation of giving a person the munchies, so it’s counterintuitive to believe cannabis can help prevent weight gain. That being said, a 2018 study found that cannabis users had a lower body mass index, regardless of their calorie intake.
So, can cannabis prevent weight gain? Or help with weight loss? Maybe.
According to a 2008 study, the endocannabinoid system stimulates areas of the body that are involved in metabolism, including skeletal muscles, the gastrointestinal tract, and the endocrine pancreas as well as influences appetite. A 2012 study demonstrated that CBD decreased appetite in rats. More research is necessary to understand this process involved, but it appears as though metabolism and fasting insulin levels are involved.
Here are some recommended strains from Leafly that won’t make you as hungry.
Dry skin is another common symptom experienced in menopause. Although it’s not particularly distressing, like weight gain it can make a person feel more uncomfortable in their body. Cannabis also has the ability to influence one’s skin.
Miss Envy’s cannabis topical Buddha Buddha is uniquely formulated to increase the skin’s ability to attract, hold and distribute moisture.
Learn more about CBD and Skin Care.
Methods of Consumption Other Than Smoking
Presently, the older generation may be less likely to choose smoking as their primary method of consuming cannabis. There are many alternatives to smoking cannabis; two of the most popular smokeless alternatives are edibles and oils/tinctures.
One of the biggest, and most appealing, consumption methods for enjoying cannabis is edibles. You can purchase pre-dosed cannabis edibles like gummies, or chocolates, or you can make your own!
Making your own edibles adds the flexibility of adding THC or CBD to your favourite treats or recipes and experiment with different kinds of edibles. And with Miss Envy creating your own cannabis recipes is easy with our THC and CBD infused coconut oils and our THC olive oil.
Check out the growing list of cannabis edible recipes on our website to get you started with some amazing ideas (they’re easier than you think). One of our favourites is these tasty strawberry-infused muffins made with Miss Envy’s cannabis-infused coconut oil. Click on the link below to view the recipe.
Cannabis beverages are another great way to enjoy the consumption of cannabis. Note that oil-based products will dissolve best into beverages with fats such as a latte or a smoothie. For other beverages consider using alcohol-based tinctures or CBD isolate.
Tinctures or oils are another popular alternative to smoking. Oils are typing taken under the tongue – a few drops and hold for approximately sixty seconds.
As we mentioned previously, cannabis topicals are another great option for symptom relief. They’re not only valuable for your skin but can be applied directly to the site of any pain. So, in the cause of menopause symptoms, apply it directly to your lower abdomen for relief from cramps.
An added benefit is that topicals can be used for other types of muscle and joint pain including arthritis.
Need more information about Dose? Check out this article.
There are many ways to use cannabis to relieve menopause symptoms. Have you found a way that works best for you? We want to hear from you! Let us know what your favourite method of consumption is and how it has worked to relieve your menopause symptoms.