hot flashes, menopause, cannabis
We know that Menopause is a natural process that women go through, but for some it can be a real struggle. For those women, it's important to know that there are options out there for us. So, today I'm going to talk about the different options available.  But first, what is menopause? 

As defined by J Midlife Health. 2019 Jan-Mar; 10(1): 6–13. Hot flashes (HFs), defined as transient sensations of heat, sweating, flushing, anxiety, and chills lasting for 1–5 min, constitute one of the most common symptoms of menopause.

At least 85% of women in menopause will experience hot flashes also called vasomotor symptoms.  55% of women will start having hot flashes when they start experiencing a change in menstrual cycles.  The intensity and frequency of hot flashes increase as the woman draws closer to the time when she is no longer having periods. Menopause is to go without a menstrual cycle for 1 calender year.  Studies have shown that the average length of time a woman has hot flashes can range from 4 years to 7.4 years.  But,  8% of women continue to experience HF for up to 20 years after menopause.  YIKES!!  I think that's me!

Options for Addressing Menopause Symptoms
If you're one of the many women struggling with hot flashes, you might be wondering what your choices are?  If you do a quick Google search, you'll find that there are a few possible solutions, including 
  1. hormone replacement therapy- There are risks with HRT though including risk for heart attack, stroke and cancer.
  2. Non-hormonal replacement therapy  used for depression and anxiety.  Not all women are candidates for these therapies because of other issues or because they don’t want to use synthetic solutions.  
  3. Another option that we should all be doing anyway are lifestyle changes such as weight loss, healthy diet, avoiding sugar, tobacco and excessive alcohol and caffeine and dress in layers, carry around a little fan or a bottle of peppermint spray to spritz on your face and neck.  
  4. There may be another option that you haven't considered:  Cannabis. Yes! Cannabis can actually help to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Cannabis works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate mood, pain, and inflammation. Cannabis is known to be helpful for managing stress and anxiety, both of which can trigger hot flashes. So if you're looking for an effective way to manage your hot flashes, cannabis may be worth considering.

What is the Cannabis Trend?

A study  from The University of Alberta, Canada that was reported in the North American Menopause Society  was designed to determine if women use cannabis to help with menopausal symptoms or if they have considered using it.   The study was designed to evaluate the rates and patterns of cannabis use and how effective it was perceived in managing symptoms during the menopause struggle.  

1500 women were involved.  499 of them used cannabis and 75% used it for medical reasons.  They more commonly used cannabis infused oils or edibles rather than smoking.  They reported improvement in symptoms overall.
Midlife Women Veterans Health Survey in Northern California questioned 232 women (mean age, 55.95 y)  where more than half reported such bothersome symptoms as hot flashes and night sweats,  insomnia, and genitourinary symptoms.  The results of the survey clearly show that more women are reaching for cannabis for relief rather than traditional therapies.

We do know that THC helps lower body temperature (it’s the ECS - endocannabinoid system that helps regulate thermal functions in the body)  which can help with hot flashes. The  mellowing effects of cannabis may help settle your mood and improve sleep, but everyone’s reaction may differ. “As with any medication, you will have responders and non-responders. But across the board, especially for sleep, we see great responses.” Michelle Sexton.

Some Fun History
The use of cannabis for women’s health dates as far back as the 7th century.  In 1889, cannabis suppositories were used during menopause to treat “the well-known symptoms, the various reflexes, the excitement, the irritability, and and pain in the neck or the bladder, flashes of heat and cold!”  The Merck Manual dated 1899 advises the use of cannabis Indica for climacteric disorders.  It also advised having a change of air and scene!  In other words, go on vacation!!  The major pharmaceutical companies, Eli Lily, Parke-Davis (now Pfizer) and Squibb all sold cannabis as a powder, tablets and tincture at the turn of the century.

So What's Next?
It's no secret that cannabis is a powerfully effective drug, with many beneficial uses for the body and mind. And as women experience the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, cannabis is becoming an incredibly appealing option for relief.  One challenge of using cannabis for menopause, however, is navigating the confusing world of cannabis products and figuring out exactly what type of cannabis will give you the best results. Many times dispensary personnel aren’t trained and will recommend a product that won’t meet your needs.  That's where a cannabis coach comes in. With expert knowledge about all things cannabis, a cannabis coach can help you find the perfect combination of CBD & THC to ease your symptoms and help you feel comfortable and confident using cannabis for menopause. 

So don't wait - it's time to start using cannabis as medicine to help with your menopause symptoms today! Book an appointment with me STAT!!!


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