Cannabis is great for PMS, but what about menopause?
The endocannabinoid system — the body’s inherent network of cannabinoid receptor cells and naturally occurring cannabinoids — plays a large role in menopause. The endocannabinoid system regulates a number of bodily functions, including sleep, pain, mood, metabolism, and body temperature.
For starters, a woman’s menstrual cycle affects her cannabis use. When her estrogen levels are highest, just before she ovulates, she’ll be most sensitive to THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. In fact, estrogen interacts directly with different endocannabinoids in the body. Moreover, estrogen is responsible for regulating the enzyme FAAH, which breaks down endocannabinoids such as anandamide, the body’s inherent “bliss molecule,” similar to compounds found in the cannabis plant. These processes have implications regarding a woman’s shift in mood and energy throughout her monthly cycle.
According to some theories, a deficiency or imbalance in the endocannabinoid system may lead to early menopause. Meanwhile, other research suggests that gene mutations within the endocannabinoid system may also increase a woman’s risk of obesity and metabolic issues after she hits menopause.
Since the endocannabinoid system plays such a large role in menopause, it would make sense that cannabis can be used as a tool to help treat the symptoms.
With mood swings for instance, an uplifting strain that’s high in CBD or that has euphoric qualities could help combat when a woman is feeling down. Cannabis can also serve as an aphrodisiac, helping with low sex drive. Indica-dominant hybrids can help a woman feel more comfortable and sensual in her body, without getting too tired. Meanwhile, if she is suffering from insomnia during menopause or aches and pains, a heavier indica can help her fall asleep or combat physical discomfort.
Cannabis can also help with more specific indications too, during menopause. Bone loss and osteoporosis, for instance, have been shown to improve with the use of cannabinoid therapy. Products high in CBD are also known to help with bone loss, which women are more susceptible to after they stop producing as much estrogen as when they were younger.
And while many women cope with menopause and osteoporosis via estrogen replacement therapy (ERT), cannabis can help protect against or treat many of ERT’s most dangerous side effects like cancer and stroke.
Lastly, since cannabis users have been shown to be thinner and fitter than their non-cannabis smoking counterparts, cannabis could also help with weight gain during menopause. Some cannabis strains, high in CBD or THCV, suppress appetite, rather than cause munchies. People who use cannabis have also been shown to exercise more often than those who don’t. All put together, this could contribute to a healthier lifestyle, postmenopause.