Another study has looked into the use of cannabis by midlife women to manage various health issues.
The study, based on data provided by more than 5,000 midlife women, concluded cannabis use is relatively common among this group, with more than 40% reporting having ever used it for recreational or therapeutic purposes.
Cannabis was found to be used most often to treat or manage:
- Chronic pain (28%)
- Anxiety (24%)
- Sleep problems (22%)
- Stress (22%).
Where women reported using cannabis specifically for menopause symptoms (6%), this was primarily targeting menopause-related mood and sleep difficulties. In terms of methods of consumption and based on use in the past 30 days:
- Smoking (56%)
- Edible products (52%)
- Using cannabis in more than one form (39%)
Among those consuming cannabis, 31% reported smoking it on a daily or near-daily basis, while 19% reported daily or near-daily use of edible cannabis products.
“These findings highlight the need for recognizing and discussing cannabis use in the healthcare setting,” stated Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director for The Menopause Society.
Previous studies have suggested use of cannabis among menopausal women is quite common. And while proportions reported vary depending on the study focus, use is increasing given rapidly expanding legalization and normalization.
Dr. Carolyn Gibson, lead author of the latest study and health services researcher at the University of California, San Francisco noted cannabis products are being marketed to women to manage menopause symptoms.
“But we still do not know if use is actually helping for those symptoms, or if it may be contributing to other challenge,” said Dr. Gibson.
Dr. Faubion agrees that additional research is needed to “evaluate the potential harms and/or benefits of use.”
Problems experienced during menopause can include hot flashes, memory and sleep problems, joint pain, mood disturbances, bladder issues and weight gain. For some women, the impact of symptoms may be relatively minor, but for others they can severely impact quality of life.
An abstract of the study results was presented during the 2023 Annual Meeting of The Menopause Society (formerly The North American Menopause Society) held in Philadelphia held last week.