Menopause can be one of the most physically and emotionally challenging times in a woman’s life, and anything that can make it a little easier is cause for celebration. Apparently, that now includes cannabis.
Researchers are learning more about the medicinal qualities of cannabis every day. One of their latest discoveries is that the chemicals contained in the plant can regulate estrogen levels, and reduce many of the most common symptoms and effects of menopause as a result.
This will come as welcome news to women across America, millions of whom are going through menopause at any given time. The age at which women become menopausal ranges widely, but the average American woman experiences menopause around age 51. Usually, the first sign is the disappearance of a menstrual cycle and periods, but that’s not the only change menopause brings.
Women experience a vast range of symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and weight gain. On top of having to battle with the physical side effects, the persisting stigma attached to menopausal women and the pressure to remain energetic and youthful at all costs can wreak havoc on their mental health. So, finding a treatment that is safe and effective is a top priority for many women in this phase of their lives.
And according to researchers, cannabis could be it.
The science behind cannabis’ effect on the symptoms of menopause is actually quite simple. The plant contains over a hundred different kinds of cannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that mimic ones produced in the human body, called endocannabinoids. Both of these compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of receptors that regulates many different functions in the body, including hormone levels.
By using cannabis, you give your ECS an infusion of the “fuel” it needs to function effectively, just as you might give your immune system a boost with vitamin supplements when you’re feeling run down or unwell. When the ECS is operating at full power, it effectively regulates the production of hormones, keeping them in a healthy balance.
This is crucial because hormonal imbalance is the biggest cause of menopausal symptoms. During this time in a woman’s life, her estrogen levels drop dramatically, which impacts everything from mood to heart health to bone density. So, the potential of cannabis to minimize estrogen depletion is an exciting prospect for both scientists and women alike.
The best part? You can now get these benefits without looking or feeling like a stereotypical cannabis user.
When it comes to working cannabis and its benefits into your daily routine, there are many different options available. Depending on your lifestyle and your personal preferences, some options may stand out more than others. Here are some that researchers have found to be most effective.
“Sublingual” means “under the tongue,” and ingesting cannabis in this way is among the fastest ways to feel its benefits. However, it’s only effective if you’re using an oil. Placing cannabis flower under your tongue won’t do much except have you picking bits out of your teeth all day.
If using an oil sublingually appeals to you, the best one to try is a full spectrum CBD oil. In fact, the same holds true for any time of CBD-infused product you use, as full-spectrum extracts provide better results than partial spectrum or isolate varieties.
Cannabis topicals are a popular treatment for arthritis, inflammation, and many age-related conditions. They can be well-suited for menopause as well, as they’re easy to apply directly to an affected body part. There’s also little likelihood of using too much, since it would take an enormous amount (think multiple jars) to induce negative effects.
Topicals are a good option for people who are wary about smoking or vaping cannabis, and those who prefer to avoid the sometimes-unpredictable effects of cannabis edibles. It should be noted, however, that topicals — including lubes, oils, and creams — are not as fast-acting or consistently effective as other methods.
Cannabis capsules don’t always taste great, but they have some undeniable advantages: they’re discreet, they’re easy to use, and they allow for precise dosages. They’re not quite as fast as some other methods, but many people find them to be an ideal option.