Many people look to cannabis to help with a variety of ailments and conditions, including menopause. The night sweats, the insomnia, the mood swings — it’s no wonder that some women are turning to cannabis to help them get through this tough time.
Some women swear by it, but what does the evidence say?
Let’s explore whether or not cannabis should be part of your wellness toolkit for addressing menopause symptoms.
Menopause is a natural biological process that usually starts in women between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause is officially diagnosed after 12 months without a period, with the average age starting at 51.(1)
During menopause, the ovaries stop producing eggs and the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone decline.
This shift can cause a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
Before we explore whether cannabis can help with menopause symptoms, it's important to understand the range of symptoms you can experience in menopause.
The most common symptoms of menopause include:(2)
Yes, that’s a long and varied list of menopause-related complaints. And they can vary from person to person. It's a normal part of aging, but it's clear — menopause is no walk in the park for some women.
Unfortunately, after menopause, you're at increased risk for some conditions like:(2)
Lower sexual drive
You also may be at higher risk for depression and anxiety during menopause, due to the hormonal changes or uncomfortable symptoms (or a mix of both).(3)
Since menopause is a natural process, treatment focuses on relieving the undesirable symptoms that come along with it.
There are a variety of different treatments that a doctor might recommend, like:(2)
For treating hot flashes: Hormone therapy, antidepressants, other prescription medications
To prevent or treat osteoporosis: Medications, or vitamin D supplementation
To treat vaginal dryness: Administering estrogen to the vagina
Some women try to manage symptoms through lifestyle changes and natural remedies. Some of these include:(4)
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol
Exercise and yoga
A heart-healthy diet
Though as always, it's recommended to talk to your medical team before adding any new supplement, remedy, or product to your wellness routine.
So what about cannabis? Where does it stand in terms of helping ease menopause symptoms?
In a 2020 study, 232 women in menopause were surveyed on their menopause symptoms and cannabis use. Most people reported symptoms:(5)
69% reported genitourinary symptoms
54% reported hot flashes and night sweats
27% reported insomnia
Of those who reported having symptoms due to menopause, 27% of women claimed they've tried cannabis to help — particularly for the hot flashes and night sweats. In comparison, only 19% claimed they were using traditional treatment methods to manage symptoms.
An additional 10% of women said they were interested in trying cannabis for their menopause symptoms. The numbers are in, women in menopause are definitely canna-curious.
However, the study didn’t specify the type of cannabis-derived products. So it's unclear if menopausal women are using CBD oil, THC-rich strains, or a combination of both.
While it’s evident women are using cannabis to ease their menopause symptoms, it’s still not evident (in the science community) whether or not it’s effective.
Marijuana and delta-8 have unique properties that might help with menopause symptoms. THC and delta-8-THC have euphoria and mood boosting effects, which may be welcome during the menopause years. They also might help reduce stress, improve sleep, and even boost metabolism.(6)
Anecdotally, some women claim that marijuana has helped with their hot flashes and night sweats. But we just don’t know enough to say for certain.
CBD is a cannabinoid that can be derived from both the hemp and marijuana strains of cannabis. Hemp-derived CBD is legal in the US, making it a popular choice for people looking to experience the benefits of cannabis without the high associated with marijuana.
People use CBD to address a range of wellness concerns, like stress, sleep problems, pain, and more.
There’s very little research that looks into the effects of CBD specifically on menopause symptoms. However, there is some evidence to suggest that CBD may affect the sleep-wake cycle. Research has shown that CBD may decrease sleep disturbances, decrease sleep onset time, and increase sleep quality.(7)
Other research also shows that CBD has potential when it comes to addressing anxiety disorders.(8) Menopause increases the chances of developing mental health concerns like anxiety. So it's possible that some women can find stress and anxiety relief through CBD.
Weight gain is another common side effect of menopause. And scientists are finding that cannabinoids like CBD can interact with the body's endocannabinoid system to help produce anti-obesity effects.(9)
CBD has even been found to help reduce blood pressure.(10) So CBD may aid you in keeping up a heart-healthy lifestyle, which is important during menopause.
Let’s survey the options you have.
Cannabis-derived products high in THC — like marijuana — can be purchased at a dispensary if you live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal. You can also find THC-infused gummies, oils, concentrates, and more.
But marijuana remains illegal federally, and each state has its own laws surrounding its use and possession.
Delta-8-THC is a cannabinoid that's very similar to Delta-9-THC (aka THC) but it has a slightly lower psychoactive potency. It can still cause a high, but some people find it to be more mellow than traditional THC.
Plus, unlike THC, hemp-derived delta-8 is federally legal — making its popularity skyrocket.
Like D8, hemp-derived CBD is also federally legal. You can find CBD products like tinctures, topicals, edibles, and more both online and in stores.
Broad-spectrum CBD will give you the benefits of CBD along with a wide range of other cannabinoids and terpenes but zero THC.
And full-spectrum CBD contains everything found in the hemp plant, including any THC.
We get it. There's no shortage of choice.
Feel free to check out The Cannabliss Quiz: Which Form Of Cannabis Is Right For You? for a little help in finding the right product for you.
Cannabis might be a helpful tool for managing some menopause symptoms. However, it's always best to speak with a doctor before trying anything new. Your healthcare team will tell you if cannabis could be right for you. Plus, your doctor can advise you on dosage, product type, and any possible drug interactions.
Check out our article How To Talk To Your Doctor About CBD for some tips on how to bring it up and questions you should ask.
It's obvious that cannabis use is something being considered by women experiencing menopause. But is it effective?
In truth, there's a lack of scientific research that specifically focuses on the effects of cannabis on menopause symptoms. A few studies have looked at use prevalence and perception, but not a whole lot else.
So, we don't have a ton of data to go off of. However, previous research has shown that cannabis might be beneficial when it comes to managing stress, anxiety, sleep, and weight issues — things that can be exacerbated during menopause.
(2021). Postmenopause. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21837-postmenopause
(2020). Menopause. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397
(2018). Menopause symptoms and relief. Office on Women's Health. https://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-symptoms-and-relief
(2021). Natural Treatments for Menopause Symptoms. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/menopause-natural-treatments
Curley, B. (2020). Why Some Experts Say Cannabis Can Be Effective in Treating Menopause Symptoms. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-some-experts-say-cannabis-can-be-effective-in-treating-menopause-symptoms
Santos-Longhurst, A. (2021). Does Smoking Weed Really Make You Lose Weight? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/does-smoking-weed-make-you-skinny
Kuhathasan, N, et al. (2019). The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology. https://doi.org/10.1037/pha0000285
Blessing, EM, et al. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
Rossi, F, et al. (2018). Role of Cannabinoids in Obesity. International journal of molecular sciences. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092690
Jadoon, KA, et al. (2017). A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study. JCI insight. https://doi.org/10.1172/jci.insight.93760
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