Article originally appeared here: https://www.thegrowthop.com/life/study-women-are-turning-to-cannabis-to-manage-menopause-symptoms
There are now less than a dozen U.S. states with a complete prohibition on cannabis and that could change next week with five U.S. states having some form of cannabis legalization on the ballot.
As more jurisdictions loosen their approach to cannabis, more people are turning toward the plant for its medicinal properties, including for treating symptoms of menopause.
A study presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) found that more women are increasingly using cannabis to treat night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and other symptoms, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
More than 230 women participated in the Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey and over half had reported experiencing hot flashes, night sweats and genitourinary symptoms. About 30 per cent reported insomnia.
About 60 (27 per cent) of the women reported using cannabis to cope with their symptoms and another 10 per cent expressed interest in pursuing cannabis as a possible treatment option. Less than 20 per cent said they were using traditional treatments to address menopause symptoms, including hormone therapy.
Hot flashes and night sweats were the most common reasons for consuming cannabis and the results were consistent across age, race, socioeconomic status and mental health categories, the study found.
“These findings suggest that cannabis use to manage menopause symptoms may be relatively common,” said Carolyn Gibson, a psychologist and health services researcher at San Francisco VA (Veteran Affairs) Health Care System and 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,” Gibson added.
Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director, said the 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.”
A study published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that older adults are increasingly trying cannabis, with many lighting up for the first time after age 60.
Almost eight in 10 of the 60-plus set, 78 per cent, reported using cannabis for medical purposes only, including as a means to treat pain, sleep disturbances and psychiatric conditions, according to U.C. San Diego.