When I began going into menopause, I wasn’t sure what to do. All I knew is that I didn’t want to take pharmaceuticals to treat what was a natural process in the female human body—the end of menstruation.
The worst symptoms for me were depression, insomnia, night sweats and hair loss. Soaking wet pajamas woke me up in the middle of the night and usually resulted in full body rashes. My insomnia was not helping my depression. To say I was miserable would be an understatement. I tried modifying how I ate and began yoga to ease some of the symptoms I was experiencing, but I wasn’t finding relief.
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I read about cannabis and how it could be used for relaxation and as a sleep aid. Coming from the “Just Say No” generation, the idea of buying and smoking “pot” seemed wrong to me, but so did suffering for months on end.
Finally, I pushed through my fear, got a medical marijuana card and learned to vape from a woman I know. I was terrified, paranoid and felt completely out of my element using cannabis as medicine in my 50s—but I wanted to feel better.
The first night I vaped a little cannabis before bedtime, I slept through the night. When I woke up the next morning after uninterrupted sleep, I cried from relief. With more sleep, many of my other menopause and stress-related symptoms began to diminish.
RELATED: THE INS AND OUTS OF VAPING MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Cannabis Tinctures Can Help for Menopause-Related Insomnia
I’m not the only woman whose found relief from menopause-related insomnia through the use of cannabis.
Kim in Alaska began having problems sleeping through the night when she started menopause.
“I would wake after five hours and not be able to return to sleep,” she recalls. “I tried many over-the-counter herbs and essential oils with mixed results.”
Her sleep issues were compounded by her day job where she was constantly on the computer. This would cause her hands to tingle and fall asleep at night, which would wake her up and interrupt her sleep cycles.
“I tried cannabis in tincture form to see if I could find some relief, and it helped,” Kim says. “My hands no longer wake me up, and I sleep through most nights.” Kim says she uses any indica strain tinctures to aid in a more restful night.
Powdered Cannabis & THC Pills for Sleep
Ashley in Colorado says her sleepless nights were caused by a combination of stress and perimenopause. Being a more regular consumer of cannabis, she didn’t feel that smoking was doing the trick in terms of promoting sleep.
After some research and recommendations, she found two products, Ripple by Stillwater Brands and Altus, were well-suited for her.
“They help me mellow out, lower my stress level and ease me into a more restful sleep,” says Ashley.
Ripple is a powdered, water-soluble tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) product while Altus makes pills in addition to gummies and topicals. The product Ashley found more sleep-inducing were the indica-dominant 5 mg pills, although it took some time for her to find her optimal dose.
Best Marijuana Strains for Sleep
Depending on whom you ask, you’ll hear a variety of opinions and experiences around consuming cannabis for sleep. Some strains that seem to come up regularly from women I’ve spoken with and cannabis consultants alike as ideal for deep relaxation and slumber include Skywalker, Afghan Kush, and Northern Lights.
Tips for Solving Menopause-Related Sleep Issues With Cannabis
Every person’s body is different, so what works for one woman may not work for you. If menopause is disrupting your sleep, here are some things you can do:
- Monitor your sleep using an app. Apps like SleepCycle, FitBit and Sleep Better, or a wearable device like FitBit or Misfit can be great tools for understanding how you sleep—or don’t sleep. By tracking your personal sleep data, you’ll gain a better understanding of what else besides hormones might be affecting your sleep including food, beverages—especially alcohol, electronics, sugar and pain.
- Keep a journal. Record your marijuana consumption as you try different strains and forms of cannabis to address your sleep issues. Keep track of each product and watch your sleep data to see which ones are working for you.
- Have patience. The right strain, intake form and amount are unique to each individual and can be affected by many factors including weight, frequency of cannabis use, metabolism and more. So don’t give up if you don’t find the right product right away.
The more you understand your sleep cycles and can spend the time finding the ideal cannabis strain, form and dose, the more likely you are to get a good night’s sleep. For me, my surefire sleep solution is a few puffs from a vape pen with an indica or indica-dominate strain. Let me know in the comments below what you use to help alleviate insomnia from menopause.
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.