WEDNESDAY, 22 SEPTEMBER 2021 (HealthDay News) – Insomnia. Nag sweet. Anxiety. Irritability. Pain and cramps.
Should a small pot smoke it helps women deal with this common symptoms of menopause?
A large number of middle-aged women apparently think so because they have turned to marijuana to deal with the life change, reports a new study.
‘Women in middle age use during the menopause transition period weed, and they use it for symptoms that tend to overlap with menopause, “said lead researcher Katherine Babyn, a graduate of the University of Alberta in Canada.
There is only one disadvantage — little to no research has proven that pot can effectively treat menopause-related symptoms, says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
“It has not been formally studied in women going through menopause, and therefore we do not know what the potential benefits or risks are,” Faubion said. “This is the danger here, if we use a drug that has not been studied.”
For this study, Babyn and her colleagues interviewed nearly 1,500 middle-aged women in the Canadian province of Alberta.
Two-thirds of the women said they had used pot at one time or another, and one-third said they had done so in the past month.
Of the current users, 75% reported using their pot for medical purposes, although only 23% prescribed it medically.
They used pots in a number of forms, including food (52%), oils (47%), smoking (41%) and evaporating (26%).
The products they used combine cannabidiol (CBD) and THC, which is the chemical in the pot that causes intoxication. About 58% reported using CBD / THC blends, while 36% used high THC products and 35% high CBD products.
The most common menopause-related problems they try to address with a pot include:
- Sleep problems (74%)
- Anxiety (59%)
- Problems with concentration (58%)
- Irritability (55%)
- Muscle and joint pain (53%).
In general, women who use cannabis reported more menopausal symptoms than those who did not use it, “but we can not determine how the relationship is going,” Babyn said.
According to Faubion, the findings say that women who use cannabis have worse symptoms.
“Is it that they have worse symptoms that drive them to cannabis, or does the cannabis make their symptoms worse?” she said. “We can not really draw conclusions from this article.”
Up to 74% of women reported improvement in their symptoms after using cannabis, says senior researcher Nese Yuksel, professor of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Alberta.
But because it was a common question about all symptoms, “we can not make a real connection with it,” Yuksel said. “We feel that women feel they are benefiting, but we can not say that conclusively.
Faubion, Yuksel, and Babyn agreed that women could better rely on proven menopausal treatments until more medical evidence was obtained about the benefits of the pot.
“Future research is needed to really investigate whether cannabis is effective and safe for treating menopausal symptoms,” Babyn said.
“We have safe and effective therapies for menopausal symptoms,” she said. “I would not refer them to something that has not been studied.”
Doctors need to reach out to patients to evaluate their symptoms and send them to effective treatments, Yuksel said.
“It’s a wake-up call to say we need to have these conversations with our patients,” she said. “Many women fall through the cracks, even judging their symptoms and knowing what different approaches there are to treatment.”
The study was presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, in Washington, DC. Findings presented at medical meetings are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Harvard Medical School has more on dealing with the symptoms of menopause.
SOURCES: Katherine Babyn, MSc student, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Stephanie Faubion, MD, Medical Director, North American Menopause Society, Pepper Pike, Ohio; Nese Yuksel, PharmD, Professor, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta; North American Menopause Society, Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, September 22-25, 2021