North American Menopause Society
North American Menopause Society
Source:

Gibson CJ, et al. Cannabis use for menopause symptom management among midlife women veterans. Presented at: North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting; Sept. 28, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Gibson reports that the research was supported by a VA Health Services Research and Development Career Development Award. The research does not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
September 30, 2020
2 min read
Save

Cannabis use ‘common’ approach to treating menopause symptoms

Source:

Gibson CJ, et al. Cannabis use for menopause symptom management among midlife women veterans. Presented at: North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting; Sept. 28, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Gibson reports that the research was supported by a VA Health Services Research and Development Career Development Award. The research does not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

More than one-quarter of a group of midlife women who receive care through the Department of Veterans Affairs in Northern California are using cannabis to treat menopause symptoms, according to survey results.

Carolyn J. Gibson

“Over the past several years, popular press articles about the use of various cannabis products for menopause symptom management started appearing regularly in my news feed,” Carolyn J. Gibson, PhD, MPH, a clinical research psychologist in the San Francisco VA Health Care System and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, told Healio. “It seemed apparent that, as cannabis use became increasingly mainstream, a growing number of midlife and older women were interested in or using cannabis to help manage menopause symptoms. However, we had no data on actual numbers, or if use is helping or harming women.”

Jars of cannabis
Source: Adobe Stock

Gibson presented the data at the North American Menopause Society virtual meeting.

The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of 231 female veterans aged 46 to 64 years who were enrolled in VA health care in Northern California between March 2019 and May 2020 (mean age, 55.95 years; 74.1% white). Participants answered questions about their current approach to managing menopause symptoms, as well as current physical and mental health status and menopause symptoms.

The percentage of participants who reported using cannabis (28%) was similar to those who said they used medications (31%) and over-the-counter drugs or supplements (29%), and higher than the number of women who reported using hormone therapy (19%).

“I was expecting some number of women to report cannabis use for menopause symptom management but was a little surprised to see a rate as high as 30%,” Gibson said. “For context, that is compared to 19% of women in the sample reporting menopausal hormone therapy use. I also expected to see some differences, such as cannabis use for menopause symptoms being more common among women who were younger or less engaged in VA care. Instead, these findings suggest few differences in the demographic or clinical characteristics of women who choose this approach.”

Women who used cannabis were more likely than nonusers to report hot flashes (67% vs. 50%; P = .05) or night sweats (68% vs. 47%; P = .05) in the 2 weeks before the survey. There were no differences between the use and nonuse groups for other menopause symptoms.

Gibson said the findings reveal that a substantial number of women are using cannabis to relieve menopause symptoms, and the practice should be on the radar for providers.

“In addition to talking to their peri- and postmenopausal patients about menopause symptoms and traditional treatment options, health care providers should consider asking about cannabis use and other approaches that patients may be trying outside of what has been prescribed or recommended,” Gibson said. “There is a lot that we do not know about the potential benefits and harms of cannabis use, particularly related to menopause and aging, but existing evidence raises concerns about its impact on cognition, cardiovascular health and mental health. Not asking may mean a missed opportunity to discuss risks and understand potential benefits.”

Gibson said there are several questions that must be answered with future research, including the type of products women are using, what symptoms are being targeted, and whether cannabis is beneficial or harmful. Research in other geographic areas is also needed.

click me