Insomnia During Menopause
Insomnia is one of the more well known and talked about symptoms of menopause and many women often experience it before menopause even starts. Though women often experience menopause in their forties or fifties, peri-menopause can happen as early as in a woman’s mid-thirties. Insomnia during menopause or peri-menopause can be caused by a variety of different factors, many of which are induced by hormonal changes.
The decreased production of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can both contribute to problems with sleeping. Both estrogen and progesterone are helpful in inducing sleep, as well as keeping people asleep. Other general shifts in levels of hormones can disrupt the normal bodily cycle, leading to increased problems with sleep. Hormonal changes also make the body more vulnerable to environmental stressors that can cause increased sleep disruption like noise, smells, and sounds.
Other side effects of menopause, like hot flashes and emotional changes, can also effect sleep. Hot flashes, which effect many women during menopause, results in a surge of adrenaline that can wake you up or keep you awake if you are trying to fall asleep. Hot flashes also cause general discomfort that can make it difficult for sufferers to relax into sleep.
Some women also experience heightened emotional issues, including depression and anxiety, which can effect sleep as well. Depression and anxiety can increase insomnia by making it particularly hard to fall asleep or disrupting normal sleep patterns. Depression and anxiety can also disrupt sleep patterns by heightening daily stresses and making it harder to handle different events that life brings.
Cannabis May Help
There is a close tie between estrogen and the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis can help replace anandamide, a naturally occurring endocannabinoid, which works on both the CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. Anandamide plays an important role in hormonal balance and the regulation of bodily feelings like appetite and pleasure. Cannabis can supplement anandamide, which is broken down more quickly during menopause and peri-menopause. Cannabis helps maintain equilibrium in the body, which can lead to a decrease in symptom severity.
CBD can help reduce anxiety and alleviate depression that can come with menopause. CBD is non-psychoactive and provides calming properties, especially in the form of an Indicia strain. CBD can also provide anti-inflammatory properties and muscle relaxation to aid people with easing themselves into sleep.
THC is also known to help induce sleep and is a great way to fight many symptoms associated with hormone imbalance. Cannabis has been found to elongate all of the stages of sleep leading up to the REM cycle, allowing people to feel refreshed and rested in the morning. Cannabis allows people to move away from using harsher pharmaceuticals such as Ambian, which can also help improve an overall sense of well being.
Indica strains are a great choice because they provide more sedative and relaxing qualities that make them a successful strain for fighting insomnia. However, many people find that edibles are the best choice for relieving insomnia because edibles allow for a slow release of cannabinoids as they are digested, providing people with a slow and constant release of medication to help keep them asleep throughout the night and the early morning. Often edibles work well when paired with a tincture or a quick hit from a vaporizer to supplement the slow release time and help with the immediate process of falling asleep.
5 Cannabis Products
The evidence may be anecdotal, but many women seem to think that marijuana is the best bet for beating the sleepless menopausal nights. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all. The best way to find out if a product works for you is to start low and slow and keep a sleep diary. Over a period of a week or two, you will know whether a product may work for you and adjust dosages slowly. Be cautious, as too much THC or CBD can often have the opposite effect and may keep you awake. Cannabis consumption is highly personal and what works for one person may not work for another.
The following products are available throughout California:
1. Edible: Kiva Blueberry Terra Bites
Kiva is popular and readily available throughout California. The blueberries are covered in milk chocolate and are 5mg a piece. At this low dose it is easy to self titrate.
2. Edible: Swerve Snooze Bar
Swerve has a unique vision as a company which is to incoporate the principles of Ayurveda into every product they make. The Snooze bar has four servings and a total of 200mg of THC derived from an indica hybrid. In addition to cannabis, the bar includes almonds, nutmeg and poppyseeds and Ayurvedic herbs to support a more peaceful slumber.
3. Vape Pen: Bloom Farms ACDC Cartridge
For those that want to relax but don’t necessarily want to feel high, the 3:1 (CBD to THC)ACDC vape cartridge from Bloom may just do the trick. This is a high CBD oil cartridge that may help you fell to sleep more easily.
4. Indica Flower: Tahoe OG
This indica hybrid is easily found and helps ease the symptoms of insomnia as well as pain and loss of appetite. People often describe it as causing a heavy feeling that lends itself to being sedating. It is strong and fast acting. The THC content is usually around 20%-25%.
5. Tincture: Lullaby Soothing Cannabis Elixir
This tincture is great for nights when you just can’t go to sleep. The HerbaBuena site states that this tincture is "a synergistic blend of critically extracted organic herbs including whole flower, strain-specific cannabis, passionflower, hops, flower essences, gemstone essences and vegetable glycerin." It is produced by the only biodynamic cannabis company in California.