About a third of 1,500 women surveyed from Alberta, Canada, reported using cannabis to alleviate some of the commonly-reported symptoms associated with menopause, according to a study presented in a poster at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, being held this week in Washington, D.C.
Katherine Babyn, a master of science student from the University of Alberta, and colleagues conducted a quantitative phase 1 and qualitative phase 2 study, which included one-on-one interviews of 1,500 women between October and December of 2020, recruiting women aged 35 and over from popular social media platforms. Eighteen percent of the women were in premenopause, 33% reported they were in perimenopause, and about 35% were in postmenopause. One-third reported using cannabis within the last month, and slightly more than half of the women, about 52%, reported having used cannabis for more than 3 years.Many of the women reported getting information about cannabis use through Internet searches (about 46%), but said their most desired information about this use comes from their physician, with about half noting it as their preferred method to obtain health information.
Of 499 women who reported using cannabis, three-quarters noted it was for medical use, citing sleep issues, anxiety, muscle aches, irritability, and depression as some of the symptoms that were alleviated due to its use.
The researchers reported that edibles and oils were the most commonly used types of cannabis, at 52% and 47% respectively. Forty-one percent of the women reported smoking cannabis, 25% reported vaping, and 16% reported using capsules.
Researchers noted that the women who reported using cannabis were less likely to report problems sleeping, mood issues, achiness, or painful intercourse, all commonly associated with menopausal transition.
“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,” Babyn said in a press release about the study.
Researchers said that more study is needed in this area, noting that the study sampling was limited by social media, and that the results do not assess cannabis efficacy for these symptoms.
The study was funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Babyn K, Ross S, Yuksei N. Cannabis use in menopause: capturing the experiences and perspectives of women. Poster presented at: North American Menopause (NAMS) Annual Meeting. Washington, DC. Sept. 22-25, 2021.