Oftentimes, cannabis is used as a wellness supplement for many ailments related to women’s health, such as menstrual pain and menopausal symptoms. At the end of 2017, BDS Analytics, a Colorado-based company that tracks data from cannabis businesses, released a study titled “Women Regularly Choose Cannabis to Take Control of Their Health.”

BDS surveyed the cannabis habits of 1,281 women in the four American states where marijuana is legal: California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. They discovered a lot of very interesting things during this study, but to quickly summarise, “Women with children who still live at home are the most likely demographic to use cannabis for sex, self-care.”

Middle-aged Mother Smoking Cannabis

MENSTRUATION

The primary reason women use cannabis to self-medicate is to cope menstrual pain and cramping. According to the aforementioned Women’s Health Consumer Insight Survey, 39% of women who use weed do so to relieve symptoms of their monthly cycle. After numerous complaints stating that over-the-counter medications like Midol and Pamprin are ineffective and cause unwanted side effects, cannabis businesses started to focus more on catering to the needs of women.

A quick online search will reveal a slew of products such as bath soaks, capsules, and even tampons all infused with THC, CBD, or a combination of the two. Comedian Whoopi Goldberg refers to weed as “the new penicillin for pain” and has even released her own line of cannabis products for women.

MENOPAUSE

Young women aren’t the only ones using pot to medicate, however. Older women also look to weed rather frequently to manage symptoms of menopause. As BDS Analytics mentions, “Older women transitioning through menopause may choose cannabis products to supplement or replace estrogen therapy, with 35% of menopausal consumers choosing cannabis to improve their sleep and 32% choosing cannabis to relieve their symptoms.”

One of the most common symptoms of menopause is severe insomnia, although sleeping troubles are an issue most women actually experience well before then. Fortunately, indica-dominant cannabis products are known to help induce a long, satisfying slumber. Recent studies suggest that CBD products can also help treat insomnia in some patients.

Medical Product With Cannabis Base

PREGNANCY

New research published in the Journal of American Medical Association last year notes that nearly one in fourteen women use cannabis to treat pregnancy-related symptoms, most commonly nausea. Over the course of the seven-year study, clinical psychologist Kelley Young-Wolff followed 279,457 pregnant women who were part of the Kaiser Permanente health system between 2009 and 2016.

It was concluded that when the study began in 2009, only 4.2% of expectant mothers used cannabis, but that number jumped to 7.1% by 2016. This isn’t very surprising considering the alarming amount of research indicating that prescription medications used to treat morning sickness are believed to cause dangerous side effects for mothers, and possible birth defects for babies.

SEX

For many women, whether in a relationship or not, having a healthy sex life is very important. “Twenty-seven percent of women consumers say they consume cannabis to enhance their sexual experiences,” the BDS survey states. Furthermore, it was observed that mothers are the most likely demographic to use cannabis to increase sexual stimulation.

It’s not an abstract concept; cannabis is a well-documented aphrodisiac. A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine concluded that out of 28,000 women, those who used pot daily had sex an average of 7.1 times a month, while non-cannabis-friendly females barely clocked in a 5 times per month. “Frequent marijuana use doesn’t seem to impair sexual motivation or performance,” commented Michael Eisenberg, MD, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of urology at Stanford University. “If anything, it’s associated with increased coital frequency.”

Anorexia And Cannabis

ANOREXIA

Since cannabis is known to cause an increase in appetite - AKA, the munchies - it’s not a farfetched assumption that weed can be a true lifesaver when it come to treating various eating disorders, particularly anorexia. A few states allow cannabis to be prescribed for patients battling eating disorders, but it’s not as common as it should be.

Research is limited in this area thus far, but anecdotal evidence suggests cannabis is very effective. In 2014, a group of neuroscientists conducted a small study on animals suffering from anorexia. They established that marijuana helps by activating the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 receptor, which enhances our sensitivities to taste and smell, and in turn, boosts a patient’s inclination to eat.

ANXIETY/DEPRESSION

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety. They are also more likely to develop anxiety disorders at younger ages than men. Canadian psychologists published a comprehensive study outlining the benefits of using cannabis to treat anxiety.

“In general, people who use cannabis say it helps them relax and reduces anxiety,” says Zach Walsh, lead study author and psychology professor at University of British Columbia. “And we know that many Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) sufferers are using cannabis to treat their symptoms.” It’s now becoming prescribed more frequently in the United States to treat anxiety and depression.

WOMEN AND WEED

That covers all the major issues that lead to women self-medicating with cannabis. But there is one more very common reason that doesn’t get discussed often; because they like it! And why wouldn’t they? Women’s lives are hectic and stressful; why shouldn’t they be able to ditch the wine in exchange for smoking a nice joint to unwind in the evening? As well all know, weed is much safer than alcohol anyway.

Regardless of why it’s used, it’s important to note that just like any drug, it won’t work for everyone and can have side effects. Before making any major moves, it’s important to consult with a medical professional that you trust to give you honest advice.

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