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More women try cannabis to manage menopause symptoms



Increasing numbers of women are turning to cannabis to manage symptoms

Increasing numbers of women are turning to cannabis for managing menopause symptoms, according to a US study.

As legislation relaxes, cannabis is being used to manage numerous chronic health conditions and mood symptoms.

A study published earlier this year by the North American Menopause Society indicates that a growing number of women are either using cannabis or want to use it to help manage symptoms of the menopause.

In a sample of 232 women – with an average age of 56 – in Northern California who participated in the Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey, more than half reported symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats (54 percent), insomnia (27 percent), and genitourinary [relating to the genital and urinary organs] symptoms (69 percent).

Around 27 percent of those sampled reported having used or were currently using cannabis to manage their symptoms. An additional 10 percent of participants expressed an interest in trying cannabis to manage menopause symptoms in the future.

In contrast, only 19 percent reported using a more traditional type of menopause symptom management, such as hormone therapy.

Cannabis for menopause symptom management was most often used in women reporting hot flashes and night sweats. Such use did not differ by age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or mental health conditions.

“These findings suggest that cannabis use to manage menopause symptoms may be relatively common,” said Carolyn Gibson, PhD, MPH, a psychologist and health services researcher at San Francisco VA Health Care System and the lead author of the study.

“However, we do not know whether cannabis use is safe or effective for menopause symptom management or whether women are discussing these decisions with their healthcare providers–particularly in the VA, where cannabis is considered an illegal substance under federal guidelines. This information is important for healthcare providers, and more research in this area is needed,”

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director commented: “This study highlights a somewhat alarming trend and the need for more research relative to the potential risks and benefits of cannabis use for the management of bothersome menopause symptoms.”


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