Between men and women, it seems it is the ladies that are historically more hesitant to use cannabis. As it stands, they are the ones who may benefit from its many health impacts. Women’s body is always changing. This presents a unique health challenge that requires a unique solution. Women experience menstruation, hormonal changes, menopause, and many more. Ladies who embrace cannabis and use it to address the symptoms that come with these changes is not at all novel. Still, there are more of them who have not realized the potential health benefits of cannabis. This can be attributed largely to the stigma around the plant.
History of Cannabis and Women Who Use Them
The earliest known recording of cannabis use for women’s health date backs to ancient Mesopotamia. Women back then would mix cannabis with saffron and mint to create a concoction called Azallu that is used to relieve menstrual pain.
Texts dating back to ancient China and in the Middle East have also purported the many benefits that cannabis has in addressing different female health issues such as menstrual cramps, bleeding, bloating, menopausal symptoms, and urinary tract infections. In Europe, cannabis has been known to ease the pain during labor through grinding the leaves, mixing it with honey, and applying it in the birth canal.
Benefits to Women’s Health
How cannabis affects the body can be associated with the endocannabinoid system or ECS. This is a self-regulatory system in the body in charge of regulating a number of processes and functions like metabolism, appetite, immune response, pain response, and even our mood. It also plays an important role in female reproductive processes.
- Menstrual symptoms
Many women know the literal pains of menstruation. Its symptoms include cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. Women who are tired of these problems and hesitant to use pharmacologic treatment have turned to cannabis to alleviate some or all of their symptoms.
There is still no solid evidence that cannabis has any effect on menstrual pain, but its effect in pain management is well documented. Because of cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties, it has been known to lower pain. In fact, many states in the United States have begun to push for the inclusion of menstrual pain as a condition that can be resolved with medical marijuana.
Just like menstruation, menopause is another bane in many women’s existence. It brings with is another set of symptoms that they will have to contend with, many of which are not pleasant at all. Some symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, pain, fatigue, mood swings, osteoporosis, and even insomnia. And having to deal with all these can induce anxiety in many women.
There is very little research that tackles with the effectivity of cannabis in dealing with all these issues. But our modern understanding of how cannabis work and its overall effect in the body has led many scientists to prove its effectiveness in addressing some, if not all, of the symptoms of menopause. ECS and estrogen have a strong link. Some recent findings have suggested that early onset menopause may be related to a deficiency in endocannabinoid.
Menopausal women who are experiencing insomnia can use cannabis to improve the duration and quality of sleep. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a very common compound found in cannabis and is largely attributed to reducing the amount of time it takes for someone to fall asleep. Higher levels of THC may also have a cooling effect on the body, helping to relieve hot flashes for menopausal women.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that many women suffer from. It impacts women who are in their reproductive years and is related to an increase in androgen production which causes problems in the ovaries resulting in irregular monthly periods. Its causes are still unknown but many experts believe it has something to do with an over production of insulin.
There is still no known cure for PCOS but limited research has pointed to the use of cannabis in helping prevent and treat signs of the disease. There is evidence that suggests that a dysfunctional ECS may be associated with the onset of PCOS in many women. This has led many to believe that using cannabis may prove to be helpful in its treatment, although further research to support that claim still needs to be completed.