Are you going through menopause and experiencing troublesome symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances? You’re not alone. Menopause is a natural and inevitable part of life for women, but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. Fortunately, there are many ways to help manage symptoms, and cannabis has emerged as one of the more promising options. We at Dockside reached out to the experts at Fairwinds Cannabis to help us understand how cannabis can benefit and ease the symptoms of menopause.
Disclaimer: do not use cannabis while pregnant or nursing. While Dockside Cannabis has well-educated staff members and we are proud to employ several state-certified MCCs (medical cannabis consultants), we are not medical professionals. All suggestions are recommended based on anecdotal evidence only, and are not to be considered as prescriptive advice. Keep out of reach of children and store all cannabis products in a secure location.
How can cannabis help women who are going through menopause?
Cannabis can help reduce unpleasant symptoms while protecting the brain and nervous system from the oxidative stress associated with menopause. Oxidative stress is a state that occurs when there is an excess of free radicals in the body’s cells. Oftentimes, the hormone-related changes of menopause will result in a deficiency of oxidative control. One of the ways in which cannabinoids may help is by acting as antioxidants themselves. Research* has shown that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have antioxidant properties and can reduce the levels of ROS (reactive oxygen species).
Can cannabis help with common menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, and insomnia?
Yes, but the results are unique to the individual. It is very effective for some, and minimally effective for others. Cannabinoids are potent antioxidants that bind with receptors in our endocannabinoid (nervous) system and can help regulate menopause symptoms. So while we can’t say how it works yet, we can report that many women use cannabis for menopause symptoms and say it helps.
What should women look for when choosing a cannabis product for menopause symptoms?
It is best to avoid sugars or additives and instead, find pure medicinal products with CBD with other minor cannabinoids, like CBN, CBG, etc. Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) gained a lot a popularity for helping cancer patients. RSO is great, but Full-Spectrum Cannabis Oil (FECO) is even better, as the extraction process used to make it preserves more of the beneficial organic compounds— similar to juicing the entire plant.
Are there any specific cannabinoids or products that are particularly effective for menopause symptoms?
A blend of cannabinoids is ideal. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant. There are over 100 different cannabinoids identified so far, but the most well-known and studied are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the main psychoactive component in cannabis responsible for that ‘high’ feeling — and cannabidiol (CBD) which is less of a psychoactive and studied for its therapeutic properties. Your endocannabinoid system regulates the most critical bodily functions such as learning, memory, sleep, pain and immune response. Small doses of CBD have been shown to increase endocannabinoid production and activation of the endocannabinoid system resulting in the reduction of pain, anxiety and stress.
How do you recommend women consume cannabis to alleviate menopause symptoms (e.g. smoking, edibles, tinctures, etc.)?
CBD FECO (Full-spectrum Extract Cannabis Oil) is a great foundation. A CBD ratio product would also work. Additionally, a THC product of some type is recommended, but dosage will greatly depend on the individual’s tolerance and preferred experience.
What other complementary therapies or lifestyle changes do you recommend in conjunction with cannabis use during menopause?
Many are interested in cannabis for menopause because they are looking for natural ways to manage unpleasant symptoms. Natural therapies often work best with a holistic approach. We’d recommend a diet that is abundant in nutrient-dense greens (like kale, chard, or broccoli) and limits the consumption of processed foods that are often high in carbs or refined sugar. Working mindfulness practices that promote stress reduction (like mediation, yoga, massage, etc) into a daily routine can also help.
How does cannabis interact with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other medications commonly used during menopause? Are there any risks or side effects?
The exact interactions are unknown. Cannabis suppresses hormone production but how this interacts with HRT has not been studied. To our knowledge, unique side effects of cannabis during menopause have not been reported.
Are there any ongoing studies or research being conducted on the use of cannabis for menopause symptoms, and if so, what are some promising findings so far?
Ongoing research is usually not published, and findings are usually not revealed until publication. Ultimately, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of cannabis on menopause symptoms, but there is enough evidence and anecdotal reporting to suggest potential benefits. The information that is available indicates that cannabis can be helpful but the results may vary between individuals.
We at Dockside are optimistic that research will eventually catch up to cannabis and uncover even more ways in which cannabis can improve the quality of life for women experiencing menopause.