Cannabis Use Relatively Common Among Midlife Women

Roughly 6 percent report using cannabis to manage menopause symptoms
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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Current and lifetime medical and recreational cannabis use is relatively common among midlife women, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, held from Sept. 27 to 30 in Philadelphia.

Carolyn J. Gibson, Ph.D., from the San Francisco VA Health Care System, and colleagues examined frequency, forms, and motives of cannabis use in a large, nationally representative sample of midlife U.S. women. The analysis included 5,174 women (aged 45 to 64 years) participating in the Ipsos KnowledgePanel survey.

The researchers found that more than 42 percent of participants reported lifetime cannabis use in any form, most commonly via smoking or edible products. More than three in 10 participants who reported ever smoking cannabis reported daily or near-daily smoking for a year or more. The majority reported recreational use (62 percent), while 25 percent reported both recreational and medical use and 13 percent reported only medical use to manage symptoms and chronic health conditions. Among those reporting medical use, the most common therapeutic targets were chronic pain (28 percent), anxiety (24 percent), sleep (22 percent), and stress (22 percent). Overall, 6 percent of women with a history of use used cannabis to manage menopause symptoms, mostly menopause-related mood and sleep difficulties. More than 10 percent of participants had used cannabis in the past 30 days, with 31 percent of these participants reporting smoking cannabis on a daily or near-daily basis and 19 percent reporting daily or near-daily use of edible cannabis products.

"We know that cannabis products are being marketed to women to manage menopause symptoms, and these findings suggest that midlife women are turning to cannabis for menopause symptoms and other common issues in the menopause transition," Gibson said in a statement. "But we still do not know if use is actually helping for those symptoms, or if it may be contributing to other challenges."

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