Let’s get the men out of the way. One way or another, the already limited research on cannabis has showed a bias in men’s interest.
For example, early tests indicated that regular cannabis use affected the development of pre-adolescent testicles and on sperm count. Studies indicated influence on the development of teen boys’ brains.
And, regular male cannabis users are likely to develop moobs (gynecomastia) as early as their twenties. According to Dr. Anthony Youn, a CNN contributor, 55% to 60% of men over 50 grow develop breast tissue behind male boobs resulting when estrogen overpowers testosterone.
Male gynecomastia is only one proof that cannabis influences estrogen, and for women in the know that’s a clue to how cannabis can influence women’s hormones and menopause.
Research on female matters
Not surprisingly, most research on cannabis has been on male-related issues. All research has experimented on cats, rats, mice, and monkeys. But, interest in research on women’s interests has been multiplying:
- A 1981 JCEM (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism) reported a study on monkeys.It concluded that THC reduces female fertility during ovulation “by suppressing the production of a hormone critical to the ovulation process, known as luteinizing hormone.”
- Various studies have confirmed the positive effect of cannabis on pain, inflammation, and spasticity. In women, that means reduction in the pain and discomfort of cramps related to menstruation. Cannabis positively affects soft muscle tissue, relaxes muscle contraction, and modulates the release of the prostaglandins that cause the problems with menstruation in the first place.
- A 2002 study reported in the Journal of Clinical Pathology examined the influence of ∆9 -THC on the anterior pituitary. It found that marijuana reduced the hormonal secretions necessary to a normal ovulatory cycle and the associated menstrual period.
Running consistently through the research are conclusions that cannabis both contributes to and resolves problems with ovulation and menstrual pains.
But, what of perimenopause?
For many women, perimenopause starts after 35 and may last for 10 to 15 years. It’s a transition, they say, but the first sign is going a full year without a period. United Patients Group blames it on “Pollutants, commercial meats, processed foods and even the water we drink, if not filtered properly, all contain Xenoestrogens, foreign contaminants that mimic aggressive forms of estrogen which have the ability to bind to natural estrogen receptor sites in the body.”
Otherwise, the symptoms of perimenopause precede the same in menopause. CBD options to smoking include edibles, topicals, and oils that provide an easily digested relief for pain, cramps, intestinal distress, and fatigue.
Menopause is marked by chills, headaches, hot flashes, insomnia, irregular periods, mood changes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness. The symptoms may vary with ageing.
- Chills and Hot Flashes: Cannabis intake can affect body temperature. The high THC content induces hypothermia for the “weed chills.” But, mall doses of CBD warms things up. Headaches: Menstruation and menopause often lead to sever or migraine headaches. But, Forbes reported on research that showed cannabis reduced the frequency and severity of headaches.
- Insomnia: CBD-dominant cannabis strains or CBD infused products will calm and improve sleep disorders. Depending on the percent of CBD, that calm can stretch from relaxation to full sedation.
- Periods: As covered earlier, research has shown cannabis corrects irregular periods by reducing the flow of some hormones, increasing the distribution of others, and binding with receptors in some. And, with its power to kill inflammation, pain, and anxiety, cannabis levels the suffering attached to periods.
- Mood: Research on the influence of cannabis on mood is generally positive. But, it also depends on the unreliable science of self-disclosure surveys. Nonetheless, the research suggests that moderate doses of THC or CBD will relieve anxiety and depression to improve mood. It’s also true that large dosing of high THC content may increase anxiety and depression.
- Night Sweats: Cannabis may increase sweating especially where the pre-disposition already exists.
- Vaginal Dryness: The internet forums are full of debate on whether marijuana causes vaginal dryness and the subsequent discomfort during sex. Vaginal dryness would be consistent with other side-effects of cannabis use. But, the dryness associated with menopause is independent.
The age-related decline in estrogen degeneration explains the loss in moisture and elasticity of vaginal tissue. But, cannabis-infused lubricants and topical oils are marketed to activate the endocannabinoid receptors in the vaginal tissues, relaxing the soft tissue muscles, and increasing pleasurable sexual sensations.
Cannabis can help with women’s hormones and menopause, but —
In the absence of focused research on female health issues, you are left to infer from research on male lab subjects. For example, if cannabis lowers testosterone in men, some assume it increases estrogen in women. So much of the research misses the point that cannabinoids mean to restore balance where subtle imbalances exist across genders.
In addition, neither the cannabinoid and endocannabinoids are full understood. Add to that the fact that endocrinology and endocrine pharmacology are relatively undeveloped, and you still find a challenge in explaining just how cannabis affects “women’s problems.” While too many men, scientists included, dismiss this as a “plumping problem” and too few admit the entourage effect in cannabis, women continue to suffer.