If you’re a woman going through menopause and dealing with issues like sleep problems and mood swings, you might be trying various remedies and treatments. A recent study presented at the 2023 Menopause Society meeting suggests that some women are turning to cannabis (also known as marijuana) to help with these symptoms, even though there isn’t much research on whether it works.
This study hasn’t been reviewed by other medical experts yet.
Cannabis is now legal for recreational use in 23 states, plus Washington, DC, and two U.S. territories. It’s also legal for medical use in 38 states, three territories, and Washington, DC. Cannabis contains a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can make you feel “high.” However, another component called cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t have this effect and is legal in the United States with some state-specific rules.
More and more people are using cannabis, with a recent poll showing that 50 percent of U.S. adults have tried it.
Despite the increasing use of cannabis by women, most research has focused on men and younger adults, leaving a gap in our knowledge, says Dr. Carolyn Gibson, a researcher from the University of California, San Francisco.
To better understand why middle-aged women are using cannabis, researchers looked at data from 5,174 women aged 45 to 64, with most of them being around 55 years old.
Here are some key findings:
- 42 percent of these women had used cannabis at some point, mostly by smoking or consuming edibles.
- About 30 percent of those who smoked cannabis did so daily or almost daily for over a year.
- Among cannabis users, 62 percent used it for fun, 25 percent for both fun and medical reasons, and 13 percent solely for managing symptoms and health conditions.
- More than 10 percent had used cannabis in the last month, primarily by smoking or eating it.
- Around 3 in 10 women who used cannabis in the last month smoked it daily or almost daily, and nearly 2 in 10 consumed edibles this often.
- Some women use cannabis to manage menopause-related issues like mood swings and sleep problems.
These findings suggest that middle-aged women are using for reasons like anxiety, sleep, stress, and menopause symptoms, but we don’t know for sure if it helps or causes other problems, says Dr. Gibson.
Some women have reported that using cannabis with CBD or THC has helped them sleep better during menopause. However, more research is needed to understand the risks, side effects, and long-term effects of using for sleep problems during menopause.
If you’re considering using weed to manage menopause symptoms, it’s crucial to talk to your healthcare provider. They can give you information about how it might interact with other medications you’re taking and suggest other treatments with more evidence behind them.