How To Use Cannabis For Hot Flashes
Eat it? Smoke it? Rub it on? How you take cannabis is importantnot only in terms of what it will do for you, but also when it comes to onset of action and potential side effects. The onset of action, peak levels, and total duration of effect listed here are very approximate, but Ive included them to give you an idea.
Smoking or vaping
Inhaling cannabis has the advantage of an immediate effect, but the disadvantage is potentially harming your respiratory tract. Its also not an activity you can do discreetly.
Onset of action: Within minutesPeak levels: About 15 to 30 minutesTotal duration: About two or more hours
Edibles include foods infused with cannabis, such as gummies, chocolate, ice cream, smoothies, and cookiesthe possibilities are endless. The effect is delayed, which sometimes leads to overdosing . Edibles are not psychoactive unless they contain more than trace amounts of THC.
Onset of action: 30 to 90 minutesPeak levels: Two to six hoursTotal duration: At least four to eight hours
Sublinguals are tinctures, sprays, or strips placed under the tongue that are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through a plexus of blood vessels, rather than making the trip through the digestive system like edibles do. The advantage is a relatively quick onset of action, along with bypassing the gut and the lungs. Also, it appears that THC is absorbed better as a sublingual than as an edible.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What is the treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it effective?
- How much does it cost?
Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.
Here Are Some Treatments That Could Help With Hot Flashes
Theres not a single treatment plan that works for everyone with hot flashes. If lifestyle changes dont bring relief, there are other options you can try:
- Non-hormonal prescription medications such as Effexor, gabapentin or clonidine
- Natural supplements such as black cohosh, isoflavones or plant estrogens
- Vitamin E supplements
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Ways To Relieve Menopausal Hot Flashes
If you’re approaching or in the midst of the “change of life,” or menopause, hot flashes are probably an unwelcome visitor. Hot flashes can include a feeling of intense heat, sweating, flushed cheeks, increased heart rate, and even tingling. These symptoms are often the bane of menopausal people everywhere.
Due to plummeting estrogen levels, about 75% of all menopausal people experience hot flashesa symptom that lasts for about two years, but some can experience it for longer. Hot flashes usually start before the final menstrual cycle, but the transition of menopause and its symptoms can start up to seven years prior to the cessation of bleeding.
Traditional hormone replacement therapy that includes estrogen and progesterone replacement provides effective relief from hot flashes associated with menopause. However, some people may not be able to use HRT, such as those recently treated for breast cancer. And others may be curious about trying lifestyle changes to keep them from constantly burning up.
Here are some nonhormonal suggestions for reducing the severity of your hot flashes.
Ways To Combat Hot Flashes
An OB-GYN shares tips for finding relief
In an uncertain world, hot flashes are one of the few things you can count on: A large majority of women have them during menopause.
Menopause begins in your 40s or 50s at 51, on average. It is a natural process during which your ovaries slowly stop producing eggs and releasing them into your uterus every month. This change disrupts the hormonal shifts that normally come with your menstrual cycle. In particular, fluctuations in estrogen levels can become more extreme, which affects the way your body regulates heat.
Just before, during and just after menopause, your blood vessels will sometimes constrict and then expand rapidly. These vasomotor spasms, as they are called, start the chain of events that lead to the skin flushing and temperature changes known as hot flashes.
Hot flashes aren’t dangerous, and you don’t need to treat them if they dont bother you very much. Eventually, they’ll stop on their own: Though some women experience hot flashes into their 60s, the symptoms usually go away after an average of seven years.
But in the meantime, they can be very uncomfortable, and they can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. It’s fortunate, then, that relief is available. Murali Vinta, MD, an OB-GYN at Rush, recommends five ways to find it:
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What Can I Do To Help With Hot Flashes
There are many ways to manage hot flashes. First, there are lifestyle changes that may help, including
taking steps to cool yourself down, including dressing in removable layers, carrying a portable fan, and drinking cold drinks
avoiding food and drinks that can trigger hot flashes, such as alcohol and caffeine
quitting smoking if you smoke
losing weight if you are overweight
Some women also find that meditation can help with hot flashes.
Medication is an option too. Taking estrogen has been shown to be the most effective treatment for the relief of hot flashes and night sweats. Other medications may help with hot flashes as well. These include some antidepressants, an antiseizure and nerve pain medication called gabapentin, a blood pressure medication called clonidine, and medications that are sometimes used in breast cancer treatment, such as tamoxifen. Talk with your ob-gyn about options that are right for you.
Plants and herbs that have been used for relief of menopause symptoms include soy, black cohosh, and Chinese herbal remedies. Only a few of these substances have been studied for safety and effectiveness. Also, the way that these products are made is not regulated. There is no guarantee that the product contains safe ingredients or effective doses of the substance. If you take one of these products, be sure to tell your ob-gyn.
What’s The Right Dose For Cannabis
I’ll give you some general dosing guidelines, but they are not based on scientific studies. Im just telling you whats being said by the experts Ive talked to. The dosage is a free-for-all, and even the pharmacists who work in the industry and appear very knowledgeable are basing their recommendations on anecdotal reports and individual experience as opposed to scientific studies. Remember, most of the folks who work in dispensaries are not medical practitioners, and they may not be aware of a potential drug interaction or other medical variables. Also, its a known fact that young women metabolize cannabis more slowly than men, and women who are post-menopause metabolize it more slowly than those who are pre-menopause. This makes sense, given that cannabis metabolism is facilitated by estrogen, and women who are post-menopause dont have any.
There is no one-size-fits-all dosing, and because cannabis is a botanical, you cannot count on the same level of consistency as you would with a commercial pharmaceutical. Keeping a journal is a good idea until you figure out what works best for you. Small, spaced-out doses is smart.
Here are guidelines for hot flash relief supplied by Luba Andrus, a registered pharmacist and cannabis pharmacologist with whom I consulted she routinely works with menopausal women.
Guidelines for THC
- Start at 1.25 mg once or twice daily
- Titrate up every five to seven days
- 2 mg to 4 mg works for most women
Guidelines for CBD
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Menopause Symptom: Problems Sleeping
Many women in menopause find it hard to sleep through the night. Low levels of progesterone can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Low estrogen levels can also cause hot flashes that make you sweat while you sleep.6 This is sometimes called night sweats. Many menopausal women get urinary symptoms that make them get up several times during sleep to urinate. You may also feel more tired than usual during the day.
Natural Remedies For Menopause Relief
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. You can start to transition into menopause as early as your mid-30s, with most women entering menopause in their 40s or 50s . For some, menopause comes earlier due to health conditions, including a history of eating disorders, cancer treatment or surgical removal of the ovaries.
Menopause is a completely natural biological process, and therefore not a problem to solve. And although it concludes the time in a womans life for fertility, you can stay healthy, vital and sexual through your 50s and well beyond. That being said, there is generally a hormonal shift that occurs in women during menopause that may lead to mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia and other common symptoms.
What types of things can you do to help get find relief from menopause symptoms? First and foremost, its important to realize that in most women, symptoms such as night sweats will decrease over time and then often go away completely without any treatment, including hormone replacement drugs. As the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care puts it, Menopause is not an illness. It is normal for hormone levels to fall in middle age. These hormones do not need to be replaced.
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Calcium: Preventing Bone Loss
Bone loss can become a serious problem once hormone levels drop after menopause. It’s crucial to get enough calcium. Women under 51 need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day. Women 51 and older need 1,200 milligrams a day.
Tip: It’s best to get your calcium from food. If you need supplements to fill the gap, take smaller doses with food during the day . You’ll absorb it better.
Sharons Hot Flushes Start From Her Toes Travelling As A Tremendous Heat Through Her Body
What happened with me the very first signs I had was around about a year ago when I started to experience hot flushes. And they became so bad at one stage that I would be stripping off in front of people just literally ripping my clothes off to the extent that I had to go somewhere private just to cool right the way down. If I could bottle it, Id make a fortune. Right okay, basically what happens and I cant describe them, its all of a sudden you are totally overcome by a traumatic, tremendous heat inside. Not outside, because you can feel cold outside. But a tremendous heat and it literally starts from your toes and it works right the way throughout your body and you know its travelling. Have you ever tasted Southern Comfort? Have you tasted a little Southern Comfort and as it gets down to your throat and then all of a sudden it sort of just hits your chest. And as it hits your chest, it sort of, I dont know what it does, but it warms up your body. Well you can imagine that happening, not drinking but that is a flush to me and I always used to think Oh I wish I could have them when Im working outside, when Im cold. And switch them on but you cant, theyll come anytime.How often do you get them? Oh gosh, I dont know, I mean my husband could probably pin point it more if Im with him all day long, ten, fifteen, twenty times a day.
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Menopause Symptom: Mood Changes
You might feel irritable or have crying spells. If you had mood changes with your monthly periods or depression after giving birth, you may be more likely to have mood changes with menopause, too.13 Even if you never experienced mood changes during your monthly periods or after giving birth, you may still get mood changes during menopause. Mood changes at this time also could be from stress, family changes, or feeling tired. Mood changes are not the same as depression.
What Is A Hot Flash
It’s a sudden feeling of heat and sometimes a red, flushed face and sweating. We don’t know exactly what causes them, but they may be related to changes in circulation.
A hot flush is a hot flash plus redness in your face and neck.
Read Also: Dizzy Spells Menopause
Cynthia Managed Her Severe Night Sweats Using A Little Hot Flush Kit She Kept Beside Her Bed
In the early days, I had to get up physically on the hour every hour. It woke me without fail and I had to get out of bed, go into the other room, had a big fan, stand in front of it until I cooled down and then I went back to bed. You do get used to doing that and you do sleep in between. As I got better at managing them I think, I identified that I couldnt drink anything and I couldnt eat curry or Chinese food I got so that I had my little hot flush kit beside the bed. I had a towel and gel pack, sports injury gel pack that had been frozen inside of a pillow case. And Ive got dozens, dozens and dozens, and Ive still got them in a little basket of those little hand fans like youd have on holiday. And I had that beside the bed so when I woke with a hot flush starting, Id grab the towel and slip that underneath me, the gel pack behind my neck and the little fan resting on my chest and Id just lie there like a sack of potatoes until it passed. And then Id chuck it all off and go back to sleep until the next one. And I did sleep. I did get used to being tired but I did sleep in between each hot flush. But they were on the hour.
Fewer And Less Severe Hot Flashes
Generally women who exercise report fewer and less severe hot flashes. I also hear this quite often. The scientific community does not usually like to use results that are self reported, since it is not always accurate. In this case, isnt how women feel about hot flashes the most important thing?
One study actually did measure the effects of exercise on hot flashes. In this study, women started with 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week and increased this to 45 minutes 5 times a week. They did this for 16 weeks. The women who exercised reported fewer and less severe hot flashes but more importantly they were measured to sweat less and have less blood flow to arms and chest during induced hot flashes.
The women in the study who exercised were found to have better thermoregulation . They started to sweat sooner and more heavily when they were hot. This is actually a good thing. Sweating is one of the bodys ways of regulating temperature. We should not be afraid of sweating, especially when exercising. Remember that these same women actually sweated less when having hot flashes.
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Eat The Right Fat For Fewer Hot Flashes
Dietary fats, especially cholesterol, have gotten a bad rap over the years but we now know that you need certain fats to be healthy. Cholesterol in the right forms is absolutely essential for steroid hormone production. In fact, your body uses cholesterol as the mother molecule for making sex hormones and stress hormones. Your liver can make all the cholesterol your body needs for this and other functions.
Another type of fat we cant live without are essential fatty acids . Olive oil, nuts, salmon and avocado are all rich in healthy, hormone-balancing fats. New research suggests omega-3s in particular can help diminish the frequency of hot flashes in menopause.
Comfort And Control All Day Long
Stay cool and calm while working, running errands, and living life. Get immediate relief with the press of a button, or set your Embr Wave to cool for up to 9 hours at a time.
We did not expect a device so small to have this kind of measurable impact on the users thermal comfort.
Dr. Hui Zhang | UC Berkeley Center For The Built Environment
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What Causes The Menopause
The menopause is caused by a change in the balance of the body’s sex hormones, which occurs as you get older.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing as much of the hormone oestrogen and no longer release an egg each month.
Premature or early menopause can occur at any age, and in many cases there’s no clear cause.
Sometimes it’s caused by a treatment such as surgery to remove the ovaries , some breast cancer treatments, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or it can be brought on by an underlying condition, such as Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
Here Are Some Lifestyle Changes That Could Help With Hot Flashes
Dr. Pooja recommends starting with behavioral modifications to treat your hot flashes:
- Dress in layers so you can quickly adjust if you feel a hot flash coming on
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Use a fan
- Lower the temperature of your house
- Avoid triggers like spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and hot baths
- Lose weight