Some women are turning to marijuana to help with perimenopausal symptoms
The average age of menopause is 51. But perimenopause is that chapter when a person’s body starts transitioning to menopause. And with it can come physical and emotional symptoms that can last for years. Now, some women are looking to cannabis to treat those symptoms.
"It started with the hot flashes. And then my anxiety really just started to spike," said Sandra Guadarrama-Baumunk, who was in her late 40s when she began experiencing those very common perimenopausal symptoms.
"And then from all of that, of course, came to sleep problems. So I’m walking around like this testy human volcano."
Guadarrama-Baumunk talked to her longtime gynecologist who recommended over the counter products.
"It did help with a little bit of the side effects, but nothing really significant ... I just kept taking it hoping things would change," Guadarrama-Baumunk said.
When it didn't, she started researching cannabis. And she’s not alone.
Stef Swiergol is the director of marketing at Mazor Collective and the co-founder of Revelry Cannabis.
"So we're definitely seeing more people come to us. And oftentimes, unfortunately, it's because they're just so desperate," Swiergol said.
And like Guadarrama-Baumunk, they've exhausted all options.
There are some studies about perimenopausal women using cannabis, said Swiergol.
"There was a study issued out of Northern California, it was called the midlife women's veterans health survey that found that of the sample group that they surveyed. A significant percentage of the women had tried cannabis as a way of addressing symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats."
And more recently, a 2022 survey in the journal Menopause concluded that many individuals are using medical cannabis to help treat symptoms like sleep disturbances and anxiety.
What to keep in mind
"The number of options for how cannabis is delivered into the body are just innumerable." And women don't necessarily want to be taking sugary edibles or anything with artificial dye every single day as they battle the symptoms. Revelry Cannabis uses a capsule that "looks a lot like a fish oil capsule," Swiergol said.
The reason they did that is as she said, "cannabis in general can be overwhelming. If you step into a dispensary, a great budtender can show you around, but the experience is definitely a little bit overwhelming to begin with."