The female body is always changing as it deals with unique health challenges such as hormonal imbalances, menstruation, and menopause. Though throughout history many women have used medical cannabis in order to treat and alleviate their symptoms, many are still hesitant to try it due to its legal status and associated negative stigma. This hesitation is slowly going away as more and more medical research is showing that medical cannabis, also known as medical marijuana, can offer a wide range of benefits for women and their gynecological health. Here we will discuss 5 issues women are faced with that can be greatly improved by the incorporation of medical cannabis into their health routine.
Before modern medicine made pharmaceutical medications widely available, medical cannabis was commonly used to treat PMS symptoms. Modern research has found that medical cannabis treats PMS symptoms by interacting positively with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a natural system of receptors that are found throughout the body and are important in regulating the body’s immune system and pain responses. It also goes through changes the oestrus and dioestrus phases of menstruation. A 2016 study published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology found that medical cannabis activates the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 which showed selective inhibition of uterine contractions. In layman’s terms, this study found that medical cannabis lessened or completely stopped menstrual cramps.
2. Menstruation Symptoms
In addition to helping with menstrual cramps, medical cannabis can also alleviate symptoms such as muscle aches, nausea, fatigue, and muscle spasms. This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. During menstruation, a woman’s endocannabinoid system may not be functioning sufficiently- leading to a cannabinoid deficiency. Supplementing with cannabinoids such as CBD or THC is the perfect response to this deficiency and will lead to the alleviation of any inflammatory-related issues such as aches, pain, and spasms. Additionally, cannabis medicine made from a strain high in sativa is naturally stimulating and will aid in the temporary fatigue felt during menstruation.
The female body experiences a dramatic change during menopause and cannabis can help women to successfully manage this transition. Women going through menopause can experience a wide variety of symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, pain, tiredness, difficulty sleeping, and even osteoporosis. Juggling the symptoms during menopause can also lead many women to experience feelings of depression or anxiety. Studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system is highly linked to estrogen production and that an endocannabinoid deficiency may be related to early onset menopause. Estrogen uses the endocannabinoid system to regulate emotional responses and eases depression and anxiety levels through direct stimulation. The endocannabinoid system also plays an important part in regulating bone loss during menopause. However, because women going through menopause have lower levels of estrogen, they will be less receptive to the pain relieving effects of the THC found in medical cannabis and may need a higher dosage than premenopausal women to achieve the same levels of pain relief.
4. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age. PCOS creates an imbalance of hormonal levels which leads to excessive androgen levels. This causes problems such as build-ups of fluid in the ovaries and irregular menstrual cycles and painful menstruation. An article published in the Journal of Molecular Endocrinology suggests that an endocannabinoid deficiency may also be a contributing factor of PCOS. The endocannabinoid deficiency may further be responsible for other underlying PCOS-related issues such as insulin resistance, androgen hypersecretion, and obesity. In addition to providing pain relief, evidence is suggesting that the cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as CBD and THC, bind to receptor sites in the endocannabinoid system, helping the body to maintain homeostasis and reverse the negative symptoms associated with PCOS.
5. Women’s Sexual Health
There are a variety of sexual issues that can develop for women over time. Medical cannabis is showing that it can help many of these issues including low libido, pain during sexual intercourse, and difficulty achieving orgasm. Medical cannabis and its compounds THC and CBD have been shown to have powerful aphrodisiac properties for men as well as women. Also, due its the anti-inflammatory abilities, cannabis can ease pain and discomfort associated with penetrative sexual intercourse. A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that nearly 7 out of 10 women who used cannabis prior to sexual activity reported a more pleasurable experience. Using cannabis before sexual activity also boosted the sex drive of over 60 percent of women and more than 50 percent experienced an increase in satisfying orgasms! Some researchers believe this is due to cannabis having the effect of lowering anxiety which may also help to boost sexual confidence. Medical cannabis researchers have also found that a positive association exists between the usage of cannabis and the frequency of sexual activity in women. In fact, the data suggests that the more cannabis is consumed by women, the greater they will experience sexual arousability.