Menopause is an inevitable phase in every woman’ life.
A myriad of undesirable symptoms characterises the hallmarks of this duration. They include hot flushes and vagina dryness, night sweats, insomnia, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, irritability, and low libido, among others. According to studies, most women undergo menopause during their 40s and 50s with 51 being the modern age when menopause kicks in. The period also occurs in three phases that include pre-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
Menopause comes as a result of lowering levels of estrogen. As such, there are various pharmaceutical drugs and hormone therapy treatments that can reduce the symptoms. However, research indicates exogenous hormone exposure and pharmacy drugs have multiple side effects. It makes such options undesirable for many women. Herbal remedies like maca and wild yam can provide short-term relief for various symptoms. However, one of the most promising herbal treatments available for women going through menopause is cannabis.
Can cannabis reduce menopause symptoms?
Cannabis is one of the oldest crops people have been cultivating over the last several centuries. It was part of the herbal treatments in the US until 1942 when it lost its spot in the US pharmacopoeia. Since 2013, many states have been reclassifying cannabis, and it is legal for medical use in many regions. A lot of the support cannabis gets stems from breakthrough research and discoveries about the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This system is responsible for numerous physiological and psychological functions. It regulates mood, appetite, sleep, immune responses, and various other body functions. Because of this, most pharmaceutical drugs available for treating menopause symptoms target the ECS. According to studies, cannabis contains cannabinoids that interact and influence the activity of CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are part of the extensive ECS network. It gives cannabis the potential to alter how your body responds to certain stimuli and ultimately, how it handles menopause symptoms. However, not all strains will influence the ECS in the same way. Some popular options like the nuken strain may offer analgesic and mood-elevating benefits. Nevertheless, you should choose your cannabis carefully and make sure you are getting the best
- Raising the level of endocannabinoid and estrogen
Preliminary research suggests that early onset of menopause may be a result of endocannabinoid deficiencies. Estrogen regulates FAAH (fatty-acid hydrolase enzyme) that is responsible for breaking down certain endocannabinoids. High estrogen levels result in more endocannabinoids and vice versa. Since cannabis increases the number of cannabinoids in the body, it can temporarily raise the estrogen level. However, this conclusion needs further examination to be unequivocal.
- Reducing pain and fatigue
Cannabis offers pain relief and boasts extensive research in this aspect. The cannabinoids present in cannabis interact with your endocannabinoid system to regulate pain and mood. It can provide pain relief for both disease and non-disease pain, including lower back pain, arthritic pain, post-surgery, and physiological soreness. Studies also indicate that cannabis can help relieve neuropathic pain. Concerning menopause, cannabis can reduce the pain and suffering you experience from hot flashes, headaches and migraines, joint pain, breast tenderness, menstrual cramping, and intercourse discomfort, among other pain symptoms.
- Reducing anxiety and depression
Women going through menopause can develop anxiety, mood swing, and depression symptoms. This is a considerably stressful period in life when women go through various changes and midlife challenges. Besides, you will experience multiple symptoms that may leave you prone to stress. Cannabis can help you cope up with the life challenges that accompany menopause. It also relieves muscle soreness, acts as a nerve tonic, and reduces anxiety. Thanks to the psychoactive properties of THC and mental health benefits of CBD; cannabis can offer a realistic solution with few to none side effects. It is highly recommended as a complementary treatment for those suffering from chronic depression.
- Treating insomnia and mood swings
Menopause symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, sweating at night, and loss of appetite can leave you restless and exhausted at the same time. Many women going through menopause might find it difficult to fall or stay asleep, yet too tired to stay focused. Cannabis can help to elevate your moods and prevent the mood swings that accompany the onset of menopause. According to studies, marijuana increases the level of anandamide in the body. This is an exogenous cannabinoid that your body releases during stressful and challenging times. It regulates homeostasis and can help you relax and cheer up. Cannabis also slows down metabolism and aids deep sleep and relaxation. Different strains of Sativa can also trigger deep sleep and lower body temperature.
- Increases appetite
Loss of appetite is another common symptom of menopause. Women in this phase in life may lose appetite for food or even fail to recognize the taste of their favorite meals. Cannabis can boost your appetite, and there are various cannabis-based drugs that doctors specifically prescribed for patients who have lost their appetite. This is popular among HIV and cancer patients, but it can still work for menopausal women. Besides, cannabis comes in many forms, including edible gummies and cookies. You can add more nutrients to your edible cannabis to increase your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients during this challenging phase in life.
Cannabis has a wide range of health benefits that include mental health, immune responses, physiological processes, and disease prevention. Because most of these activities rely on the endocannabinoid system, which cannabis impacts, this herb can soothe a litany of menopause symptoms. It includes weight gain, osteoporosis, irritability, and emotional responses, among other side effects of plummeting estrogen. It also prevents the onset of various diseases that auto-immune responses trigger as a result of long-term menopausal symptoms. Other symptoms that cannabis can work towards relieving include low libido, vaginal dryness, bone loss, and weight gain.
Although cannabis can help you deal with menopause symptoms and smoothly transition into post-menopause, there are various aspects to consider. It is highly recommendable to choose CBD-rich strains that offer medicinal benefits like Sativa, there are other THC rich strains like the famous black diamond strain. THC also has its set of benefits, especially if you seek the euphoric properties. The dose and method of use also affect how effective cannabis can soothe your symptoms refer to CBD Nerds for more information. It is essential to follow your doctor’s prescriptions.
Credit: Crystal M. Wilson