Cannabis as a Treatment for Menopause Night Sweats: Yes or No?

Cannabis as a Treatment for Menopause Night Sweats: Yes or No?

One of the benefits of state-legal Medical Cannabis is all the anecdotal evidence cited by people who come to the realization that cannabis helps them feel better in ways that were never intended. As a result of this evidence, we hear all sorts of questions about what the drug can and cannot be used to treat. Let’s consider menopause night sweats, for example.

A 2020 survey conducted by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) seems to suggest that women are using cannabis to self-treat the symptoms of menopause. The study surveyed 232 California women between the ages of 45 and 64 who had enrolled in VA plans in the Golden State.

More on that study in just a minute. First though, it is important to note that we don’t have any comprehensive clinical studies on this particular topic. In fact, we have very little study data on anything relating to menopause symptoms and the endocannabinoid system.

A Multi-Functional System

What we do know is that the endocannabinoid system is a multi-functional system. It directly regulates, or indirectly helps to regulate, a long list of biological functions. It is believed that the endocannabinoid system does play a role in regulating a person’s internal thermostat.

If that is truly the case, it would stand to reason that night sweats caused by menopause could be controlled through some sort of endocannabinoid manipulation. But right now, that’s just a theory. Like so many other potential treatment areas, using Medical Cannabis to treat menopause hot flashes needs a lot more study.

Women Report Using Cannabis

Getting back to the previously mentioned study, more than half of the women surveyed reported menopausal symptoms they found bothersome. They mentioned hot flashes and night sweats at a rate of 54%. In addition, 27% complained of insomnia and 69% complained of genitourinary problems.

When asked how they treated their menopause symptoms, 27% reported having used cannabis at one time or another. Survey participants were not asked how frequently they used cannabis or the amount they used.

More interesting was the fact that only 19% reported using traditional menopause therapies. Hormone therapy immediately comes to mind. Yet 10% reported an interest in giving cannabis a try at some point in the future. This tells us something particularly important.

Traditional Therapies Aren’t Foolproof

What it tells us is that traditional menopause therapies do not always work. But that’s no different from any other medical therapy. Medical science develops therapies to treat all sorts of diseases, maladies, and conditions. But every medical professional knows that people respond differently to those therapies. A single therapy doesn’t work for every patient. No therapy is foolproof.

It is entirely possible that the majority of the women in the California study who reported treating with cannabis actually found relief in doing so. It’s also possible that some found relief while others didn’t. We just don’t know.

Here in Utah, our list of qualifying conditions for Medical Cannabis is pretty straightforward. Most of the patients who apply for Medical Cannabis cards in our state list chronic pain as their chief complaint. But there are also patients who use Medical Cannabis to treat:

  • acute pain
  • cancer pain and disease symptoms
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • seizure disorders.

At this time, we do not have enough data to say one way or the other if Medical Cannabis would be an appropriate treatment for menopause night sweats. One day we may have that answer. For now, though, we encourage you to discuss your health with a medical provider if you believe you qualify for a Medical Cannabis card in Utah.

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Published March 28, 2023

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