Cannabis can help relieve a variety of symptoms, but for women entering and going through the “change of life”, is it an option? Many women tout cannabis and CBD-only products for aiding with the pains and discomfort of PMS. In this guide, we’ll look into the varying symptoms of menopause to determine can women find relief from menopause symptoms in cannabis?
What is Menopause?
When a woman enters menopause, it is the end of her reproductive abilities. This “change of life”, as it is often called, typically begins between the mid-40s to early 50s. Some women begin seeing signs of menopause a couple of years before it goes full-swing.
There are three stages of menopause – perimenopause, menopause and postmenopause. In the perimenopause stage, estrogen production decreases. This is what women notice most a couple of years before menopause starts. Menstruation cycles also typically change as estrogen production slows.
For one year after menstrual cycles stop, this is considered menopause. Once menopause has completed, symptoms begin to deteriorate – this is known as the postmenopausal phase.
Menopause can occur naturally, but may be triggered for early onset following a hysterectomy, chemotherapy/radiation, natural decrease in hormones and primary ovarian insufficiency. Primary ovarian sufficiency is only noticed in a very small percentage of women prior to age 40 when the ovaries stop producing appropriate reproductive hormone levels when an autoimmune disease or hereditary issues are present.
Common Symptoms of Menopause
For some women, going through menopause is a stressful time. Shifts in hormone levels create an imbalance in the body. This leads to mood swings, can lead to depression and may make a woman feel “crazy” at times. It is an unsettling feeling that can be difficult to cope with. Emotions can also run high, similarly to the way they do in pregnancy where periods of sadness and/or crying can occur for little or no reason. Euphoria can also be noticed.
Hot flashes are quite common. Hot flashes can disturb the whole family as the woman may require the house to be colder than normal, or may suddenly wish to disrobe.
Sleep difficulties are also common, and a contributing factor to poor sleep is the hot flashes. It is hard for women to find a comfortable sleeping temperature – which may lead to periods of being awake, tossing and turning or irritability upon waking.
Other symptoms include:
- A higher heartrate
- Symptoms of arthritis (muscle and joint aches)
- Difficulty controlling the bladder
- Changes in sex drive and vaginal dryness
- Unusual fatigue
- Frequent headaches
Symptoms do vary by female though. Every woman’s body enters and deals with menopause differently. Some symptoms may be more intense than others.
Endocannabinoid System and Menopause
The endocannabinoid system has an important function in female reproductive system health and menopause. It works with several systems in the body to maintain balance. The body produces its own form of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. When estrogen levels increase or peak in the female body, so does the level of endocannabinoids.
The increase in endocannabinoids when estrogen levels are higher may be why some women are more sensitive to THC, and why smaller doses may produce more intense effects during these peaks.
Once levels begin to fade, the level of endocannabinoids also decreases. So this causes the behavior of endocannabinoids and how the body reacts to them to change. This can result in mood swings.
Now, when the body doesn’t produce enough of its own endocannabinoids, this results in an endocannabinoid deficiency. In some women, this may trigger early menopause. Deficiencies can also be a contributing factor to other health problems as the body lacks proper regulations of some functions.
Science is a bit behind due to restrictions in research capabilities, but notations do exist from as far back as 1889 regarding cannabis being used as a remedy for women with menopause.
Women have used cannabis as a remedy for some menopause symptoms for well over a century. For hot flashes, using some THC may help regulate your body’s “internal thermometer” to help a woman feel cooler. For some, it may require a higher dose to bring the body temperature down to a comfortable level. There is some data showing that THC can help regulate body temperature.
To help regulate mood, several cannabis strains help balance shifts in mood to create an uplifted, happy feeling. It is important to view strain information to ensure that it is the proper option. When irritability and/or depression creep up, a little cannabis can be a good thing to help a woman struggling with the “change of life” to find her smile, feel happy and be able to laugh.
Relaxing cannabis strains may be beneficial in helping women maintain a healthy heart rate. It is not ideal to use a sativa strain when the heart rate is up as sativas typically promote energy and doing so increases the metabolism and may increase the heart rate.
Some women may experience pelvic pain, inflammation and other symptoms of discomfort. Selecting the right cannabis strain to aid in reducing inflammation and pain can be helpful.
When the sex drive decreases, cannabis can help bring it back. It is ideal to look for strains that induce euphoria, tingling and promote arousal. Not all cannabis strains will help a woman want to have sex, but seeking out with the aforementioned attributes is a good option.
Strains for libido include:
- Purple Princess
- Asian Fantasy
- Ultimate Trainwreck
- Sour Dream
- Green Crack
- Chocolate Chunk
- Granddaddy Purple
- Afghani Yumboldt
- Atomic Northern Lights
- Hindu Skunk
If these strains are not available in your local market, request them. If you have grow rights, consider growing your own. If all else fails, seek out strains in your local area that promote euphoria, arousal, tingling and an uplifted moods.
CBD-only products are also ideal as they help calm the mind and body to help reduce some of the fluctuations in mood. CBD can also help with promoting healthy bones and bone growth since bone loss is common in menopausal women. It is also a neuroprotective and has multiple other properties that promote proper system regulation and function throughout the body.
Menopause is a very difficult time in a woman’s life. Cannabis may help ease some of the symptoms so that you can still feel normal and happy. Incorporating the right strain and/or product for the specific symptoms you’re experiencing is ideal to achieve the relief that you seek.