Many women have tried cannabis to manage menopause

People with menopause use cannabis for sleep issues, anxiety, muscle and joint aches, and more.

The GrowthOp 2 minute read September 22, 2021

Sleep issues were the most widely cited reason for cannabis consumption, followed by anxiety, muscle and joint achiness, irritability and depression. Three-quarters of current consumers found cannabis helpful in treating their symptoms.  / Photo: Highwaystarz-Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The results of a new study out of the University of Alberta were presented during The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The findings show that one in three women near the menopause transition use cannabis for symptom management, according to a summary of the presentation.

The aim of the study was to examine the rates and patterns of cannabis use and its perceived effectiveness in managing symptoms that overlap with menopause.

Nearly 1,500 women across Alberta took part in the study. Roughly a third reported using cannabis within the last 30 days and 65 per cent indicated ever using cannabis.

Of the 499 current cannabis consumers, 75 per cent reported use for medical purposes. Sleep issues were the most widely cited reason for cannabis consumption, followed by anxiety, muscle and joint achiness, irritability and depression. Three-quarters of current consumers found cannabis helpful in treating their symptoms.

The most common methods of consuming cannabis were edibles (52 per cent) and oils (47 per cent). As for sourcing cannabis information for medical purposes, 46 per cent of consumers relied on Internet searches while 34 per cent consulted family and friends.

“Our study confirmed that a large percentage of midlife women are using cannabis for symptoms that overlap with menopause, especially those women who reported more symptoms,” says Katherine Babyn, a master of science student from the University of Alberta. “In addition, many of these women are claiming to get relief for their symptoms through the use of cannabis.”

Cannabis was also a discussion topic at last year’s NAMS meeting. The results from a Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey were presented and showed that women are increasingly using cannabis to treat night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and other symptoms related to menopause.

More than 230 women participated in that survey, with 27 per cent reporting using cannabis to cope with their symptoms and less than 20 per cent indicating that they used traditional treatments to address menopause symptoms, including hormone therapy.

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.”

Dr. Faubion echoed those sentiments this year, again calling for further research on the subject.