More women are using to cannabis to manage their menopause symptoms, according to a recent study highlighted at The Menopause Society Annual Meeting 2023. As cannabis legalization and normalization continue to grow, adults aged 50 and older are the fastest-growing group of cannabis users. However, there is a lack of research on the prevalence and characteristics of cannabis use among women during or after menopause. To address this gap, a study with over 5000 midlife women was conducted. The results showed that over 40% of participants reported using cannabis for medical or recreational reasons, with 6% specifically using it to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as mood and sleep difficulties. These findings underscore the need for healthcare professionals to discuss and recognize cannabis use, while further research is necessary to evaluate its potential benefits and risks.
Study on increased use of cannabis for menopause symptoms
A recent study has found that more women are turning to cannabis to manage their menopause symptoms. This study was presented at The Menopause Society Annual Meeting 2023 and highlights the growing trend of cannabis use among midlife women. As cannabis legalization and normalization continue to increase, individuals of all ages are starting to explore its potential benefits. While there has been research on cannabis usage habits in men and younger adults, there is a lack of data on cannabis use among women during or after the menopause transition. This study aims to address this gap by investigating the prevalence and characteristics of cannabis use in over 5000 midlife women.
Growing cannabis use among older adults
Cannabis use among adults aged 50 and older is rapidly growing, making this demographic the fastest-growing group of cannabis users. This can be attributed to the increasing legalization and normalization of cannabis. While traditionally, young adults have been the primary users of cannabis, older adults are now embracing its potential benefits. The study mentioned above focuses on women during or after menopause, but it is worth noting that this trend extends to older adults in general.
Limited research on menopausal women
Despite the growing interest in cannabis use among menopausal women, there is limited research on this specific population. Most existing studies have primarily focused on cannabis habits in men and younger adults. This lack of data hinders our understanding of the prevalence and characteristics of cannabis use in women during or after menopause. More research is needed to address this gap and expand our knowledge of how cannabis can potentially benefit menopausal women.
Common reasons for cannabis use
The study mentioned earlier found that over 40% of postmenopausal women reported using cannabis for medical or recreational purposes. Among the participants who used cannabis, 6% specifically used it to alleviate menopause symptoms. The main symptoms targeted with cannabis use were mood and sleep difficulties related to menopause. Additionally, cannabis was used by participants to manage chronic pain, anxiety, sleep problems, and stress. These findings highlight the various reasons why women turn to cannabis during or after menopause.
Forms of Cannabis Use
Smoking as the primary form of cannabis use
According to the study, smoking was reported as the primary form of cannabis use by 56% of users. Smoking cannabis involves inhaling the smoke released from burning the dried flowers or leaves of the cannabis plant. Many women prefer this method due to its immediate effects and ease of use. However, it is important to note that smoking may have potential risks, such as respiratory issues.
Ingesting edible products
Ingesting edible products is another popular form of cannabis use, with 52% of users reporting this method. Edibles are food or beverage products infused with cannabis extract or oil. They offer a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis without the need for smoking. Edibles generally take longer to take effect but provide a longer-lasting and more potent experience. However, it is essential to be cautious with dosage, as the effects may take longer to feel.
Use of more than one form of cannabis
Approximately 39% of cannabis users reported using more than one form of cannabis. This indicates that women are open to exploring various consumption methods depending on their preferences and needs. Some women may choose to smoke cannabis on certain occasions while opting for edibles on others. The availability of different forms allows for flexibility in cannabis use to cater to individual preferences and circumstances.
Frequency of Cannabis Use
Daily or near-daily smoking
Of the participants who reported cannabis use within the previous 30 days, 31% reported daily or near-daily smoking. This suggests that a significant portion of women who use cannabis engage in regular smoking. Daily or near-daily smoking may indicate a consistent desire to experience the benefits of cannabis or manage ongoing symptoms. It is important to understand the potential implications and risks associated with frequent smoking to ensure the health and well-being of these individuals.
Daily or near-daily use of edible cannabis products
In addition to smoking, 19% of participants who used cannabis within the previous 30 days reported daily or near-daily use of edible cannabis products. This form of frequent cannabis consumption indicates that some women prefer the sustained effects offered by edibles. Daily or near-daily use suggests a consistent need for managing symptoms or achieving the desired therapeutic effects. It is crucial to monitor the dosage and effects of edible cannabis products to ensure optimal use.
Implications and Recommendations
Recognizing and discussing cannabis use in healthcare
The findings of this study emphasize the need for healthcare providers to recognize and discuss cannabis use with menopausal women. Many women are turning to cannabis to manage various symptoms related to menopause, and healthcare professionals should be aware of this trend. Open and non-judgmental conversations about cannabis use can help providers understand their patients’ needs and potentially integrate cannabis into comprehensive treatment plans. Educating healthcare professionals about cannabis and its potential benefits and risks is essential to facilitate informed discussions with patients.
Further research on potential harms and benefits
Given the limited research on cannabis use among menopausal women, further studies are needed to evaluate the potential harms and benefits of cannabis in managing menopause symptoms. While cannabis shows promise in alleviating mood and sleep difficulties, it is important to understand the long-term effects and potential risks associated with regular cannabis use. Research should focus on factors such as optimal dosing, potential drug interactions, and overall safety to provide evidence-based guidance for menopausal women considering cannabis as a treatment option.