Growing clinical research has begun investigating why more and more women are beginning to use cannabis to treat different symptoms and conditions. One study from the Journal of Women’s Health found that women mainly use medical cannabis to treat chronic conditions and pain; also finding that women are more likely to substitute prescribed medications and painkillers for medical cannabis than men. As women are more likely than men to use preventative or alternative health options to treat pain or mental health conditions, the legalization of cannabis has placed the plant in a newfound limelight.2
“What we’re seeing with women is that they’re integrating cannabis as part of their health and wellness regimen,” says Sheena Shiravi, from Eaze. “Women as cannabis consumers are twice as likely to favor tincture products than men are. They use lower-dose edibles and CBD dominant products 42 percent more than males do.”4
We know many women are looking at cannabis as an alternative treatment option, but the most important question is: What conditions and symptoms are women finding most relief in treating?
**A note on cannabis use around pregnancy. We cannot advise on any cannabis use in relation to pregnancy or breast feeding, as there is not enough clinical evidence to make a safe recommendation. Always speak with a medical cannabis physician before beginning to use cannabis to treat any condition.
Endometriosis comes with a range of unwanted effects on both the body and mind including severe cramping & physical pain, insomnia, anxiety, nausea, and more. As one of the most undiagnosed conditions in Canada, it is clear why many women have turned to cannabis to manage their often unbearable symptoms. With cannabinoid receptors throughout our major organs, including our reproductive systems, cannabinoids have the ability to lower inflammation & decrease pain response. This allows for patients to find both sleep and relief. Medical cannabis can also be prescribed to help treat nausea & anxiety, two more common symptoms resulting from dealing with endometriosis.
While pharmaceuticals are commonly prescribed to women diagnosed with endometriosis, cannabis provides an alternative approach to battling all of the unwanted effects from the condition, without the (sometimes) severe side effects from pharmaceuticals. As endometriosis has such a wide range of symptoms, medical cannabis has potential in treating co-occurring symptoms which often reinforce one another and act cyclically.
Anxiety / Stress
One mother of five-year-old twins says “I mostly take the CBD because being a parent with anxiety is hard. Kids trigger it in a lot of ways. And if I take a [benzodiazepine like Xanax], I can’t really function as a parent. But if I take CBD oil, I feel way less anxious but not impaired or like it affects my ability to parent.”4
While some nervousness or anxiety is normal for everyone, it can become a huge burden for those who are dealing with it daily. Luckily cannabidiol, or CBD, can help with the homeostasis of serotonin levels. A 2015 review of 49 studies found evidence that suggests CBD could help with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A more recent 2019 study had over 70 people that struggle with anxiety and sleep use CBD as a treatment. Almost 80% of people’s anxiety improved within 1 month.5
“Cannabis helps me in certain transitional moments. I can more easily set aside my workday to-do list, along with whatever challenges and frustrations I’ve experienced that day, and get into the kind of headspace where I can patiently help with homework or make dinner with my daughter,” says Danielle Brand, the author of Weed Mom: The Canna-Curious Woman’s Guide to Healthier Relaxation, Happier Parenting, and Chilling TF Out.6
Symptoms of PMS and menstruation can include cramping, mood changes, migraines, and nausea. Fortunately, cannabis has pain-relieving, mood-stabilizing and anti-nausea properties, which can help alleviate some of the symptoms.3 There is, unsurprisingly, little clinical research focused on medical cannabis and relief from menstrual pain; yet cannabis has been used as a tool for relief by women for hundreds of years!
One British Columbia based study from 2015 interviewed 192 women on cannabis use for the purpose of menstrual pain relief. Of all the women surveyed, 85 percent said they had used cannabis for menstrual pain and almost 90 percent of these women said it was effective at relieving the pain.7
Please be sure to always speak with a physician or healthcare practitioner before beginning to use cannabis as a treatment option. This will ensure your safety if using multiple medications, and a higher chance of success in treating your symptoms through a personalized treatment plan.
As A Replacement For Alcohol
While the term “Wine mom” is more or less well known, there are many women who are turning in their glasses for cannabis. A survey, which polled over 700 women who are mothers, aimed to find out how they used cannabis. 21% of the participants say that marijuana has completely replaced alcohol for them, while 38% admit to preferring cannabis to alcohol, at least some of the time.8
“I used to really abuse alcohol on a nightly basis. I wasn’t present with my children, and I wasn’t present with myself. I needed a lifestyle change. So I traded in my nightly wine routine for daily cannabis dosing.” says Jessica Gonzalez: Owner of The Mommy Jane, which was created to educate, inform, and provide women with a safe place. “Cannabis brought me closer to myself, my children, and my spouse, and even helped mend my relationship with my father, who is a walking cannabis success story of his very own. I can’t recall anything else in my life that has had so many positive influences from one lifestyle change. Cannabis truly is the gateway to health and wellness. I say it all the time, but I will say it again for the people in the back: just give plants a chance!”9
Apollo healthcare practitioners have experience assisting individuals who are looking into harm reduction options. Our patients get the guidance they deserve from our entire team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and support staff, 7 days a week. If you would like to book your free appointment, you can click here.
Menopause / Perimenopause
In one Canadian study, the most common menopause-related issues women were trying to address with marijuana included:
- Trouble sleeping (74%)
- Anxiety (59%)
- Difficulty concentrating (58%)
- Irritability (55%)
- Muscle and joint aches (53%)1
Out of nearly 1,500 women, almost 74% found symptom relief. That said, more research needs to be done in order to provide the medical community with clinical evidence of positive results.
Watch a short clip here by our own Kim Lam, IMG, who explains how medical cannabis can help with hormone and mood regulation, alongside pain management.
Insomnia can develop on its own, or as a result of dealing with something else keeping you from getting proper rest. Unfortunately, sleep troubles often accompany other conditions, including ones we’ve already listed above. When your body doesn’t have a chance to recover through sleep, it can create a vicious cycle of worsening symptoms. Besides the potential for THC to induce sleep through sedative properties, regular CBD use may help regulate circadian rhythms, promoting a more regular sleep schedule.3
In one 2021 randomized crossover clinical trial, the efficacy of a cannabinoid medicine compared with placebo was tested on participants diagnosed with insomnia. The conclusion states “Two weeks of nightly sublingual administration of a cannabinoid extract is well tolerated and improves insomnia symptoms and sleep quality in individuals with chronic insomnia symptoms.”10
Between eighty to ninety percent of fibromyalgia patients are women. Treating fibromyalgia is a difficult process since the cause is unknown and therefore patients will need specially-tailored treatments for their specific situation. The source and intensity of the pain are often different for each person and can also be accompanied by fatigue, sleep issues, concentration problems, and gastrointestinal problems. One study in Illinois analyzed data from 361 individuals (201 women and 160 men) who were medical cannabis users. Severe fibromyalgia was the number one reason (27.75%) in this study that these participants were using medicinal cannabis.11
Many of our own patients with fibromyalgia report benefits from medical cannabis use, and it’s one of our top diagnoses at our clinic. Growing research shows that cannabis can manage certain symptoms of fibromyalgia. These studies have revealed cannabis has the potential to alleviate common symptoms such as chronic pain, nausea, nerve pain, mood, and sleep.
A recent study from 2020 done in Italy followed just over 100 patients with Fibromyalgia that were not responding to traditional medications. These medications included central sedatives, such as opioids, anticonvulsants, nerve blockers, and antidepressants. The study found that nearly half of these patients were able to reduce or cease their use of painkillers and over a third of patients found relief with respect to sleep and anxiety.
With so many overlapping symptoms within these conditions, it’s clear why medical cannabis can help in so many varying situations. With the endocannabinoid system’s receptors spread throughout the body, cannabinoids have the ability to help manage a wide range of our internal systems such as pain response, mood, and sleep. If you are dealing with any of these conditions or symptoms, we offer appointments with a healthcare practitioner, free of charge across Canada. Whether you have used cannabis before or not, our team of educators will help you find a personalized treatment plan that fits your needs. If you would like to book a free appointment, you can fill out the form here or call us at 1 (877)-560-9195.