CLEVELAND, Ohio — Legalizing cannabis has led to more people using the once-illegal substance as a treatment for various health issues. A new study finds that includes more middle-age women turning to cannabis to relieve symptoms of menopause.
A team from the University of Alberta say that, although using medical marijuana as a treatment for menopause symptoms is not new, there have been few studies into how many women are trying this remedy. In Canada, marijuana has been legal to use since 2018. Multiple states across America have legalized the drug in recent years however, the laws regulating medical and recreational use vary greatly.
The new survey looked at nearly 1,500 middle-age women living in the Canadian province of Alberta. Of this group, 18 percent were in pre-menopause, 33 percent were in perimenopause, 35 percent were postmenopausal, and a small number had undergone a hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy. Results show one in three women used cannabis products within 30 days of the poll. Two-thirds noted that they had used marijuana at some point in their lives.
More women using marijuana for medical needs
The poll also revealed that middle-age women are specifically turning to cannabis to deal with physical and emotional discomfort. Of the 499 women who are currently using cannabis, three in four say they’re using the drug for medical reasons.
Among the issues women in the menopause age range are using marijuana for, 65 percent cited sleep issues, 45 percent were dealing with anxiety, 33 percent were experiencing joint and muscle aches, and 25 percent were suffering from depression. Three in four respondents say using marijuana helped to relieve their symptoms.
Edibles (52%) and oils (47%) rank as the most common ways women are using cannabis to deal with the side-effects of menopause. Nearly half the poll (46%) add that they get most of their information about marijuana’s medical benefits from the internet. One in three say friends or family members recommended it. Interestingly, middle-age women using cannabis were more likely to report having sleep or mood issues than non-users.
“Our study confirmed that a large percentage of midlife women are using cannabis for symptoms that overlap with menopause, especially those women who reported more symptoms,” says first author Katherine Babyn, a Master of Science student from the University of Alberta in a media release. “In addition, many of these women are claiming to get relief for their symptoms through the use of cannabis.”
“While we continue to learn that more women are using cannabis to help manage their menopause symptoms, further research is required to assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis for menopause symptom management,” adds Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director for The North American Menopause Society.
Researchers presented their findings at The North American Menopause Society’s Annual Meeting.