Menopause is something all women will experience at some point in their life, but similarly to PMS, every woman experiences it with different symptoms and levels of severity. The most common symptoms of menopause range from emotional symptoms, like mood swings and anxiety, to physical symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia and complications when having sex. Marijuana can help with a variety of symptoms caused by menopause, as well as help women who have problems with early onset menopause.
Estrogen Levels & the Endocannabinoid System
Endocannabinoid levels are closely linked to estrogen levels. Endocannabinoid levels, like estrogen levels, are highest during ovulation. Estrogen helps regulate the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down the naturally occurring endocannabinoid anandamide—also known as the bliss molecule.
When there’s an insufficient amount of estrogen in the system, endocannabinoids will begin to be broken down by the larger presence of FAAH. The body’s naturally occurring endocannabinoids can be supplemented with cannabinoids from marijuana to reduce the effects of the breakdown of naturally occurring endocannabinoids and other symptoms related to endocannabinoid deficiency.
Various medical conditions can cause menopause to come on early, which can sometimes cause even stronger symptoms. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is believed to be a cause of early onset menopause, as well as medical conditions such as breast cancer. Estrogen replacement therapy, or ERT, is a common treatment for many menopausal and post-menopausal women who experience extreme symptoms, but it’s not available or recommended for everyone.
Using Cannabis Instead of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Menopause
Cannabis can be a great alternative for women who can’t undergo ERT due to having had conditions such as ovarian cancer or heart disease. ERT is often administered to help prevent adverse problems from menopause such as bone loss. The cannabinoids CBD, CBG, CBC, and TCHV have been found to help stimulate bone growth and help prevent the onset of osteoporosis after menopause. Supplementing endocannabinoids from cannabis can help stimulate the body and delay some of the effects of early menopause.
Cannabis can also work to regulate the body after menopause. Less estrogen is produced in the body post-menopause, and in turn the body produces fewer natural endocannabinoids. The decrease in endocannabinoid production can cause a variety of problems—for example, an impaired ability to respond to stress. Cannabis can help supplement the body’s natural endocannabinoids and decrease the symptoms associated with lower levels of estrogen and endocannabinoids.
Cannabis for the Relief of Symptoms Associated With Menopause
Cannabis can also help fight many of the most common symptoms associated with menopause. It can help reduce anxiety and stress, which can be a common part of mood swings associated with menopause. CBD-heavy strains can be particularly helpful for women who experience anxiety with menopause.
Cannabis can also help ease insomnia. THC-heavy indica strains are known to be the best at promoting sleep. In addition, women may find that taking marijuana can help ease sexual discomfort that often comes on during menopause. Sex can be uncomfortable due to a decrease in sexual desire or other related issues, such as increased vaginal dryness.
The bottom line: Marijuana can help with a variety of menopause symptoms that women face when going through menopause.