My menopause ABC: another « C«
We’ve just published Chapter “C” of our Menopause ABC, devoted to cocoa and chocolate, and their (not so) surprising benefits for postmenopausal women.
And it now looks like we could have dedicated this chapter to an even more unexpected plant: cannabis.
Indeed, at the last annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) held 22-25 September 2021, the results of a study carried out in Canada surveying nearly 1,500 women were presented, showing that an increasing number of women were using cannabis to help them relieve symptoms associated with menopause.
Cannabis Sativa: laws and customs
Cannabis remains illegal in a majority of countries around the world (including France), although its use is sometimes tolerated (as in some federal states in Germany).
Cannabis has, however, been fully legal in Canada since 2018, both for consumption and for sale.
Known to the general public as a psychotropic drug, cannabis, Cannabis Sativa, is one of the earliest plants cultivated by humans. It’s been used for centuries in medicine, but also, thanks to its fibers, in the manufacture of textiles or paper in ancient times in China1.
It is the presence of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is at the origin of the psychotropic properties of cannabis2. This probably explains why some countries tolerate the sale and consumption of cannabis with a THC content of less than 0.2%; thus in Belgium, smoking cannabis with less than 0.2% THC is subject to the same legislation as tobacco.
In the West, the medical use of cannabis peaked at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. In his Analytic Cyclopedia Of Practical Medicine published in 19241, Sajous classifies the medical use of cannabis into three categories:
- Sedative or Hypnotic (to treat for instance insomnia but also pulmonary tuberculosis)
- Analgesic (from the treatment of migraines to chronic inflammation)
- Other uses (such as improving appetite, treating digestive problems, but also some sexual troubles both in men and women).
75% of women relieved of their menopause symptoms
Which brings us back to the study presented by the Canadian research team.
The survey was conducted among nearly 1,500 women with a median age of 49 years. 68% of these women were peri-menopausal or menopausal. One-third of women had used cannabis in some form or another within the last 30 days (and almost two-thirds had used cannabis in the past).
Three-quarters of recent users put forward medical reasons for their use of cannabis (daily use for 43% of them):
- sleep issues (65%)
- anxiety (45%)
- muscle/joint achiness (33%)
- irritability (29%)
- depression (25%)
75% of these recent users said that using cannabis helped them relieve their symptoms.
According to the Canadian team, the use of cannabis to relieve symptoms associated with menopause is a solution many women turn to, especially those women reporting more symptoms.
Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director, stresses nevertheless that future scientific research is needed for a real assessment of the effectiveness (and safety) of cannabis in treating the symptoms of the menopause.
So after all that, there are no regrets left on the table: at this stage, the (delicious) chocolate, with its proven benefits for our health, is the legitimate master of chapter “C” of our Menopause ABC !
Are you interested in the experiences of women at different stages of their menopause? Would you like a reminder of the physiology of menopause and the main symptoms? Download our free ebook, Menopause Story(ies).
1: History of cannabis as a medicine: a review – Antonio Waldo Zuardi
2: Cannabis – from cultivar to chemovar – A. Hazekampa & J. T. Fischedick