Marijuana For Menopause
The other day, in our all-girls mobile chatroom, one of my friends was venting about a dinner she was throwing that evening. Her dilemma was that she preferred not to turn on the air conditioning in the dining area, but because her guests included menopausal women in their 50’s who have been frequently complaining of hot flashes, she had to reconsider her choice toaccommodate her guests.
She then added that she thought that some bud would be better for everyone that night, especially menopausal women, as opposed to the alcohol they had on the menu.
That got me thinking: given that I myself got my period abnormally younger than other girls - at the ripe age of 9 - I am prone to becoming menopausal much earlier in life too. Even if I’m just 31 right now, thinking about the side effects of menopause (hot flashes, weight gain, night sweats, decreased libido, and mood swings among others) when I do have to experience it later, is already stressing me out. In fact, I have been on the receiving end of women who have gone through it.
So I began to research if I could use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of menopause when the dreaded day comes.
The Link Between Cannabis and Menopause
When menopause begins, it means the end of a woman’s ability to conceive children. In most women, menopause usually begins in our 40’s, but it can also occur as late as the early 50’s.
However, a minority of women experience premature menopause which occurs before our 40’s.
This can happen due to a variety of factors such as illness, genetics, or medical operations.
Our own endocannabinoid system, which is a group of cannabinoid receptors located around the peripheral and central nervous system as well as the brain, plays an important role in female fertility, from the development of the embryo as well as the end of fertility.
During menopause, the endocannabinoid system in a woman’s body goes through major changes. Menopause also leads to an increased risk for osteoporosis, which studies suggest are related to changes in how the endocannabinoids work in the skeletal system. A 2011 study showed that in the osteoclasts, or the cells that are responsible in bone resorption in premenopausal women with osteoporosis, the CB-2 receptors caused too much activity in the osteoclasts which caused bones to be resorbed too fast.
In addition, the signaling of the endocannabinoid system is also disrupted during menopause. A theory states that some of the side effects experienced by women during this time is caused by this. Estrogen levels are also associated with endocannabinoid levels both of which are at its peak during ovulation, although this does not happen with menopausal and postmenopausal females.
In the ovary you can find all parts of our endocannabinoid system. This also includes the endocannabinoid anandamide together with its receptors CB1 and CB2. The anadamide plays a role in the maturity of eggs as well as its release during menstruation. This is why a deficiency in endocannabinoids, or when there are too little anandamides, can cause early menopause.
Studies also show that anorexic or severely underweight women who experience premature menopause, are also found to be low in endocannabinoid levels. Therefore, increasing endocannabinoid levels or activating cannabinoid receptors through the cannabis use can help delay menopause in some women.
How Menopausal Women Can Benefit From Cannabis
Women with high estrogen levels are more sensitive to the pain relieving properties of marijuana, but since the opposite is true when we are undergoing menopause or postmenopause, we would be less receptive to grass and it would require us to take higher doses to feel less side effects. It’s easy for premenopausal women to become tolerant to THC in general and this may actually lead to experiencing some negative side effects from getting high, such an increase in anxiety and paranoia. On the other hand, postmenopausal women can be prescribed a consistent dose of cannabis and be less vulnerable to paranoia or anxiety.
Since the female reproductive system has cannabinoid receptors that are affected by estrogen levels, endocannabinoids have a direct impact on women’s menopause and menstrual cycles.
Menopausal and postmenopausal women are usually prescribed estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) to mitigate the effects of menopause such as bone loss and hot flashes. However, not all women can take ERT because not all have access to insurance, and also especially if they have had a history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or cardiovascular problems. ERT can also lead to serious side effects, such as stroke, breast cancer, gallstones, Alzhimer’s, and blood clots which makes it unsafe.
Cannabis is a good alternative to ERT not just because it is so much safer. Cannabis use for menopausal and postmenopausal women can also reduce the risk of bone loss and mitigate side effects. Cannabis contains cannabinoids particularly CBD,CBG, CBC and THCV which are known to support bone growth and may reduce the incidence of osteoporosis.
Overall, cannabis in women seems like an excellent natural alternative that can support women’s health especially if it is taken early on. I know that I will definitely continue smoking pot well into my later years.
Do you know someone who is using cannabis to relieve them of the side effects of menopause?
Did it work? Share your stories with us below.