hero image

Perimenopausal and menopausal women tend to face troublesome symptoms, including mood changes and hot flashes. However, a new study has shown that almost 80% of women in this phase are turning to cannabis to manage certain symptoms like trouble sleeping and mood issues.

Cannabis use in the US on the rise 

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of states in the US that have legalized recreational use and medical marijuana. The acceptance wave is running alongside doubt from some quarters regarding certified menopause treatment alternatives like hormone therapy. However, because of the lack of long-term data on marijuana use, there have been questions regarding its safety despite acknowledging its possible efficacy in addressing menopausal problems. 

Menopause and Midlife Clinic Head at Harvard-affiliate Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Heather Hirsch, said that more patients use CBD or cannabis each year for anxiety or sleep. He explained that adding to the appeal is the fact that cannabis is legal in most places and works for several hours. In addition, a doctor’s prescription is unnecessary, and it may be easier to justify than the use o medication. 

According to a new study published in the Menopause journal, most of the premenopausal and menopausal women (86%) surveyed were marijuana users. The study indicates that participants used cannabis for recreational or medical reasons. Close to 79% endorsed cannabis to address menopause-associated symptoms, and nearly 67% indicated that it assists in sleep disturbance. Around 46% of the participants said that cannabis helps them improve anxiety and mood. 

Cannabis improves anxiety symptoms in perimenopausal women 

Dr. Hirsch says cannabis works by dimming the prefrontal cortex, which is the decision-making region of the brain. She notes that in most perimenopausal women, anxiety spikes and some stressors like emptying next and aging parents add to the effect of dropping hormones. The dimming of the prefrontal cortex helps people calm down. 

However, cannabis did not improve the hot flashes common during menopause. Dr. Hirsch explains that this is expected because the brain region responsible for regulating body temperature, the hypothalamus, is not affected by cannabis.