Menopause is a normal biological process that all women go through as they age. The word ‘menopause simply describes all the changes a woman goes through before and after she stops menstruating, thereby marking the end of her reproductive period. Menopause is often diagnosed after twelve months without a menstrual period. This condition typically happens to women in their 40s or 50s, even though the average age is 51 in the United States. When menopause occurs in women over the age of 40, it is considered natural menopause, which usually includes three stages namely, premenopausal, menopause and post menopause. Premature menopause on the other hand occurs when a woman goes through menopause before the age of 40. Premature menopause is usually caused by factors including surgery such as hysterectomy, as well as by damages to the ovaries, such as from chemotherapy.
Most women going through menopause typically experience hot flashes, which may vary from mild in some women and severe in others. The other common symptoms of menopause include irregular (skipped) periods, vaginal dryness, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, headaches, racing heart, changes in libido, bladder control problems as well as joint/muscles pain or aches. After menopause, women are more at risk of certain medical conditions and diseases, including osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, poor skin elasticity (increased wrinkles), Alzheimer’s disease, and weakening vision. Menopause has no medical treatment even though doctors may focus on alleviating the signs and symptoms, as well as preventing or managing chronic conditions that may occur as a result of aging. That said, some of such treatment includes hormonal therapy, vaginal estrogen, low dose antidepressants, Clonidine, Gabapentin, as well as medications aimed at preventing or treating osteoporosis.
There is some evidence that medical marijuana is effective in alleviating the symptoms of menopause. The role of cannabis in treating menopause is linked to the functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors and naturally produced cannabinoids, called endogenous cannabinoids, known as the CB1 and CBD2 receptors. These receptors spread throughout the body and play the vital role of regulating various processes such as appetite, pain sensation and mood, when they are stimulated by various endogenous cannabinoids. Thus, when cannabinoids are short in supply, people may experience a number of changes in the natural body processes.
The endogenous cannabinoids as well as the CB1 and CB2 receptors are particularly located in the ovaries, where they play a vital role during ovulation. That said, women going through menopause no longer ovulate and that explains why they experience a lack of activity in the endocannabinoid system, which leads to many of the common symptoms of menopause. Moreover, a prior endocannabinoid deficiency can also lead to early menopause. The marijuana plant nevertheless contains a variety of cannabinoids, such as CBD, THC and CBN, which interact with the endocannabinoid system for a better functioning of all the body processes, including addressing a range of menopausal symptoms.
Medical marijuana is reported to be effective in reducing weight gain associated with menopause. The findings from a 2014 study revealed that the cannabinoids found in medical marijuana could increase one’s sensitivity to insulin. Of course, a lower insulin resistance simply implies that the body is better at using glucose for energy, and that it will store less fat as a result.
The use of medical marijuana equally reduces anxiety and mood changes, which many women going through menopause experience. The findings from one study that was conducted at the Washington University revealed that medical marijuana significantly reduced the ratings of depression by 50%. The same study also showed a 58% reduction in stress and anxiety after the consumption of medical marijuana. Many researchers have also opined that women experience more relief from anxiety after medicating on medical marijuana than men.
There are also indications that medical marijuana can alleviate headaches and migraines, which are equally symptoms of menopause. According to a study that was shared at the Third Congress of European Academy of Neurology, the authors revealed that the cannabis found in medical marijuana was as effective in preventing migraines better than any other pharmaceutical treatment.
In addition, medical marijuana also helps in improving the sex drive of women going through menopause. It is apparent that women going through menopause may experience decreased natural lubrication and pain during sexual intercourse. Well, marijuana can alleviate such symptoms. The findings from a 2016 study that was published via in the Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that over two-thirds of women who consumed cannabis before sex reported a more pleasurable sexual experience. Similarly, another study that was published in 2017 found out that the use of medical cannabis increased the frequency of sexual activity. According to this study, cannabis users reported having approximately 20% more sex than the non-users.
Despite these evidences from past studies, it is imperative for more in depth research to be done on the topic.
Marijuana strains reported to help with PMS:
- Ultimate Trainwreck
- Strawberry Banana
- Super Silver Haze
- Vanilla Kush
- Purple Urkle
How To Get Medical Marijuana
If you are a resident of a legal state interested in trying medical marijuana to treat Menopause or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get a medical marijuana card. To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.