Menopause is defined as occurring one year after a woman’s final menstrual period. These days, women are living more years post-menopause than they used to because life expectancy is increasing on average every year. As of 2014, women’s life expectancy is around 81, up from 50 years ago, when it was 74 years old. Since the average age of menopause has been approximately 50 during the same time period, this means that on average, women experience a few more years of menopause than they used to. In turn, they are looking for ways of dealing with the hormonal effects of menopause for longer periods of their lives. And cannabis might help.
Cannabis is associated with the following treatments, all of which have to do with menopausal women.
- Lowers breast cancer risk. We reported back in 2007 that cannabinoids arrest cancer growths of many different forms of cancer, including brain, melanoma and breast cancer. Hormonal changes, namely in the amount of estrogen that is produced, can be associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. Cannabis can combat this risk because it has been shown to kill breast cancer cells.
- Increases HDL cholesterol. Heart disease becomes more of a risk once menopause kicks in because LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels creep up once a woman is in menopause. Cannabis, conversely, is associated with higher levels of HDL (or “good” ) cholesterol, which can combat the effects of the “bad” cholesterol.
- Prevents facial hair growth. A 2007 study, published by the journal of FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology), and cited in advisory site Hair Loss, reported that the cannabis property “THC significantly inhibited hair shaft elongation in a dose-dependent fashion.” That is to say, cannabis usage can stunt hair growth. This could prove ideal for menopausal women who often experience unwanted facial hair growth due to hormonal changes after they stop menstruating.
- Increases libido. Menopause is notorious for a decrease in sexual desire, vaginal dryness, and even pelvic pain. All of this does not bode well for the bedroom, and partners are keen to find solutions. Cannabis is long-known for its ability to increase touch sensitivity and sensuousness, as well as to relieve pain. In addition, ointments or oils can be used as lubricants. Therefore, cannabis might do the trick for sex life after the reproductive years.
- Lowers risk of hot flashes/night sweats. Hot flashes are probably the most well-known symptom of pre-menopause and the first few years of menopause. Since cannabis can regulate body temperature, it can adjust the body to avoid this common symptom. In addition, hot flashes often occur at night, awakening the woman with a night sweat – if the hot flashes do not occur, the woman will ultimately get better sleep.
- Halts bone loss. Menopause is a marker for osteoporosis because the decrease in estrogen is associated with bone loss. According to the Impact Network, an organization for advancing medical cannabis research, “Cannabis, specifically the cannabinoids cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiol (CBD), (CBC) and THCV, stimulate bone growth and may be able to prevent osteoporosis after menopause.”
If you, or someone you know, could use relief from undesirable effects of menopause, cannabis might be a good treatment option. Contact your local dispensary for more information about the type of ingestion and dosage suitable for you.