Many women who have never used or considered experimenting with cannabis find their tunes changing when they hit perimenopause. Online communities have no shortage of women who admit to using cannabis products, in the form of CBD alone, CBD and THC combos, and THC-dominant offerings, to help with various symptoms.
By some estimates, including surveys conducted by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), one in four women surveyed are using cannabis-derived products to self-medicate menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms. It is described as self-medicating because, even in legal states and for those with medical cannabis cards, few physicians are actually prescribing dosages, forms and frequencies of cannabis products for perimenopause symptoms. However, in some online communities there can be found a few physicians encouraging women to experiment with it at low doses, "off the record," of course.
With the legal landscape around cannabis in the U.S. constantly in flux, different states have different levels of legality, permissible uses of and modes of access to THC-based cannabis products. Because cannabis remains classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act at the federal level, many people remain hesitant to consider it, even in states where it is now legalized for medical and / or recreational use.
This federal restriction / prohibition also means that cannabis in general and THC in particular have not been adequately studied in the U.S. for its medical uses and therapeutic benefits. Even so, some researchers have sounded the alarm that cannabis is an endocrine disruptor - one that affects and changes levels of key hormones (yes, even estrogen), which can cause negative side effects during times of change, like perimenopause.
Cannabis derivatives and THC-CBD products have been associated with improvement in sleep, pain, mood and libido. While there are fewer official U.S. medical trials and studies to validate efficacy (given its federal status barring most research), the testimonies of hundreds of women online reveal that multitudes are trying cannabis as a way to avoid using other prescriptions, in combination with prescriptions and in place of prescription medications that have failed them, or carried too many side effects.
In the end, women have to decide for themselves if they want to experiment with cannabis-derived products or not. In legal states, it may be easier to do so without many stipulations on access and with guidance from experienced users, clinicians and staff at cannabis retailers. In states where use is illegal or restricted to medical only. using cannabis is still a minefield with little guidance and, certainly, no official prescriptions that specify formulations or dosing.
Note: This list of resources is continually updated.
Cannabis and Perimenopause: Help through the Transition – United Patients Group, March 10, 2016 – https://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/cannabis-and-peri-menopause-help-through-the-transition/
Cannabis and Perimenopause – It’s a Hormone Thing – Leafly, Colleen Fisher Tully, Nov. 8, 2021 – https://www.leafly.com/news/canada/cannabis-and-perimenopause-symptoms
Cannabis and Perimenopause: What You Need to Know – Sacha Cohen, Sweet Jane – https://sweetjanemag.com/cannabis-and-perimenopause-what-you-need-to-know/
Does CBD Oil Work for Menopause Symptoms? – Aaron Kandola, Eloise Theisen, RN, Medical News Today, Nov. 1, 2020 – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322078
Ellementa L.A. Presents: How to Feel Like Yourself Again – Ellementa Woman, April 24. 2020 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt5Arc_WEBo&list=WL&index=4&t=6s
Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Cannabis and Menopause – Adriana Velez, Melanie Bone MD, Endocrine Web, May 18, 2020 – https://www.endocrineweb.com/cannabis-menopause
From Fibromyalgia to Menopause: How Cannabis Can Help You with Dr. Michele Ross – Aug. 26, 2020 – (discussion on menopause begins at 46:26) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzL-zI9q0A4&list=WL&index=4
Medical Marijuana and Menopause – Tyler McMurray, CannaMD, March 3, 2019 – https://www.cannamd.com/medical-marijuana-menopause/
Midlife Women Using Cannabis to Manage Perimenopausal Symptoms – MGH Center for Women’s Health, Oct. 13, 2020 – https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/cannabis-perimenopause/
More Women Trying Pot to Manage Menopause – Jennifer Clopton, WebMD, Oct. 19, 2020 – https://www.webmd.com/menopause/news/20201019/more-women-trying-pot-to-manage-menopause
Why Some Experts Say Cannabis Can Be Effective in Treating Menopause Symptoms – Bob Curley, Healthline, Sept. 27, 2020 – https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-some-experts-say-cannabis-can-be-effective-in-treating-menopause-symptoms
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The Real Peri Meno is devoted to all things perimenopause - the science, treatments, care, understanding, personal experiences, relationships, culture and more. The brain child of Keisha D. Edwards, The Real Peri Meno developed out of her own shock-and-awe experience with perimenopause and navigating the disjointed U.S. medical system in search of answers, support and relief.
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