Moms, Menopause, and Marijuana?

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I have an amazing mom. She’s kind, unique, and without trying to sell some iconoclastic image she’s completely unafraid to be her self. She let her hair go white in her 40s and stopped wearing make-up in the 80s. She also gave me the movie Reefer Madness as a gift when I started college, giggling as I opened it, which kind of makes her awesome.

My mom is my biggest cheerleader, fiercely proud of her daughter who studies pot. She doesn’t smoke herself but giddily sent me a text message the day she voted yes on Washington’s Initiative 502. She also told me a pretty cute story the other day.

My mom went to visit some friends who are also in their late 50s. They were getting together to relax and tap in to their inner creative genius, painting, decorating garden stones, and making jewelry. One of the women brought a joint. When passed to my mother, she declined. The women were shocked.

“You know marijuana’s legal now, right?”

She laughed. “Did we honestly not smoke before because it wasn’t?” She was fine with her glass of red. A personal preference; she doesn’t like the feel of smoke in her lungs.

Afterwards, my mom told me the story. What I found most interesting was the reason that many of the woman said they’d picked marijuana back up in their 40s and 50s after their early stint in the 1960s and 70s (and no, it wasn’t because it was now legal). Menopause.

For a lot of woman, using hormonal therapies and other medications prescribed for menopausal symptom relief just isn’t worth the associated risks. More and more woman are turning to cannabis to naturally help make “the change” a little more tolerable.

Something I chatted with my mom about was what symptoms her friends were using cannabis to relieve. She said they’d cited a range, from irritability to hot flashes, some symptoms with known empirical support, others without. Were these women using cannabis as medicine to reduce suffering associated with actual physical ailments? Or were they using it to assist them emotionally during a time that also coincides with adult children leaving the home, relationship changes, and for some, even transitions into retirement? My mom seemed to think it was both.

A quick literature search suggested that, although there’s been plenty of research on cannabis and PMS, very little has been done looking at how cannabis might benefit older woman. It’s this gap that’s prompted my mentor and other members of my research lab to start investigating the use of cannabis for menopausal symptoms. We need your help though. If you have been through menopause or are going through menopause and use cannabis please follow the link below.

I love my mom and her friends, but let’s not just take their word for it that cannabis can relieve symptoms of menopause.

Let’s prove it.


Photo Credit: Sue Richards under (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr