For many people, the influence of cannabis on humans is limited to the way it impacts their brain; in other words, plenty of folks out there still envision the “high” as the only effect associated with the use of the herb.
In fact, they couldn’t be more wrong, as cannabis actually interacts with various systems in the body, including the reproductive system. Other bodily functions aside, the nature of cannabis enables the herb to engage with sex hormone estrogen, which is the main concern for women undergoing menopause.
Source: Diabetic Connect
Our question for today is: how can cannabis help with hot flashes and menopause in general?
Yes, we have allowed ourselves for an implication that cannabis actually helps with both conditions – because it does.
Okay guys, let’s move on to the subject of our article.
What You Need to Know About Menopause
In short, menopause is the period in a woman’s life when menstruation stops. It usually happens among women in their 50s or mid-40s at the earliest. Menopause is the indicator that a woman is no longer able to give birth.
We distinguish three phases of menopause: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
As you may have already noticed, perimenopause refers to the time before the end of menstruation; it is when the levels of estrogen in the body starts to decrease. This process starts a couple of years before your body enters the menopause stage. Menopause stops the ovulation entirely, which means that your body will no longer produce high levels of estrogen.
The 12-month period after the last menstrual cycle is what we refer to as menopause. Postmenopause is exactly what it sounds like – it’s the period after menopause. When women enter the postmenopause stage, all menopausal symptoms should ease.
What Are Hot Flashes?
Hot flashes are awful, and that’s a huge euphemism. As the name suggests, a hot flash is a sudden and temporary burst of heat that can drive you crazy within seconds. Ladies experiencing hot flashes can be compared to Dr. Bruce Banner who suddenly turns into Hulk and is ready to destroy everything and everyone within the reach of his hand.
From the medical point of view, a hot flash is the most common symptom of menopause, troubling more than two thirds of women whose bodies are dealing with the condition. It’s characterized by a sudden feeling of heat that is detectable in the upper body and, most of the time, in the face. It can cause your cheeks turn beet red and make you start sweating in the blink of an eye. Some women also report chills or a rapid heart rate because the blood vessels near the surface of the skin dilate to regulate the temperature of the woman’s bod.
What makes hot flashes particularly itchy for most women is the time when they occur. Usually, they happen at night, which makes it extremely difficult for them to fall asleep. This is why they are also called “the night sweats”.
The Role of Endocannabinoid System in Menopause
The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in regulating many bodily functions, and menopause goes by the same token. The role of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis means the optimum balance in the body between its chemicals.
According to what we know about the endocannabinoid system so far is that it helps regulate:
- Hormone levels
- Temperature control
- Reproductive cycles
- Immune responses,
- Blood sugar levels
The first three bullet points are associated with the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes.
Interestingly, it looks like estrogen can directly interact with endocannabinoids, which is why cannabis can help women overcome certain symptoms of the above condition; because, just to remind you, endocannabinoids are like the body’s own cannabis.
How Does THC Help With Hot Flashes?
Although there are no scientific studies on cannabis and hot flashes, it is a well known fact that THC is responsible for lowering your body temperature. THC does that by mimicking the structure of the endocannabinoid called anandamide.
However, the cooling effects of THC are largely dose-dependant. The more you consume, the lower body temperature you’ll have. Anecdotal evidence and animal-model studies suggest that this theory is true.
On the other hand, consuming just a little THC may increase your body temperature, so if you’re trying to get rid of hot flashes when they hit you, consider hitting a THC-rich cannabis strain, too.
Hot Flashes And CBD
When it comes to interactions between different cannabinoids, the relationship between THC and CBD is the most thoroughly-researched one. These two chemicals produce synergistic effects that can boost the therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant.
But how does CBD affect menopause and hot flashes?
Well, just like we said, menopause is caused by the decrease of women’s hormones, mainly estrogen. This, in turn, can cause a number of side effects among which hot flashes are rather mild. One of the most serious side effects of menopause is bone loss, the main reason behind osteoporosis.
Now, a typical physician will likely prescribe estrogen replacement therapy with certain drugs that are to compensate for your body’s lack of production of this hormone. However, many women don’t even qualify for the therapy because it increases their risk of severe diseases, such as gallstones, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks, blood clots, etc.
But don’t fret, dear ladies – don’t fret! There is a natural alternative for stopping bone loss, and its name is cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis.
CBD has been proven to help with bone regeneration, and some researchers believe that it might even help women prevent osteoporosis during the postmenopause stage. More importantly, CBD protects healthy cells in the body while killing breast cancer cells. That being said, if you’ve been using the estrogen replacement therapy and you’re afraid about the condition of your breasts, CBD may come in handy.
As for the synergistic effects of CBD and THC, cannabidiol can lower the body temperature just like its psychoactive friend. It does this by boosting the serotonin activity, so next time you get hot flashes because of menopause, a few drops of CBD oil may help you overcome the crisis.
Cannabis and Hot Flashes: The Final Hit
Alas, the research on the impact of cannabis on menopause is very scant. Yet, what we know so far – according to the available literature – shows great promise for running further studies on the relationship between the use of marijuana and easing the menopause symptoms.
Keep in mind that your cannabis supplementation may vary depending on the condition, and there are different strains that can help you with particular symptoms. Consult your doctor about using cannabis for menopause and hot flashes and pick the best strain for your conditions – budtenders at medical dispensaries should give you a hand if you need further help with selecting your variety.
Have you used cannabis for hot flashes? Share your stories with us!