Like the ever-changing ocean, so is the female brain. The female brain is a force to be reckoned with. Because of our monthly hormonal fluctuations, brain plasticity in women is
heightened which lends us to being biodiverse creatures. Estrogen and other hormone affect brain chemistry, structure, and function, across the lifespan. This form of plasticity shapes our mental health, behaviors, and cognitive life. It is not surprising that as hormones wanes, women experience changes in how we see the world.In archetypal psychology, the crone, which meanscrown, is one who intentionally honors what is of the mind. As women transition during menopause, the head, heart, and soul unite. This allows for an aerial viewpoint of life where we can finally see and call things what they are. A heightened sense of intuition, or the ability to see into our own beings, interoception develops even further. This process can be interrupted This process can be interrupted by past or current trauma, the making of bad partnerships, and by the numbing effects of certain medications that are prescribed for anxiety and depression or pain. It is never too late though to recover the processes of becoming or embracing the wise woman archetype. Using thoughtful approaches of psychotherapy and integrative and somatic (body) medicines or therapies, may help to address the things that have been suppressed.
Perimenopause is a transitional time that likely sets the stage for brain health post-menopause. A shift in the thinking about menopause includes that of neurological causes, not driven by the reproductive organs or the ovary. Estrogen stimulates glucose uptake in the brain and can wreak havoc on cognitive function or brain fog during perimenopause. Perimenopause is a key time to start to intervene to reduce our risk of stroke and AD.
There may be roles for cannabis during this life transition. The effects of THC on healthy aging in general are likely dose-dependent, with low dose being the goal. In a study of mice, young vs. old, extremely low doses of THC improved cognition in the old mice, effects that lasted 7 weeks. These doses would be sub-intoxicating doses, suggestive of 1 mg of THC or less in a human (200–500micrograms in a 150-pound human). Another study in mice had similar results and added that they measured effects on proteins at the synapse of the hippocampus,
and epigenetics where the researches showed that in the THC-treated, older mice
hippocampal gene transcription was restored to that of untreated, younger mice
DNA. This again suggests that microdosing of THC would be the equivalent in humans,
and could be a strategy for treating age-related cognitive impairments.
One of the earliest symptoms of women’s transition out of thereproductive years is disturbed sleep. This can start to occur in females early in the perimenopause period, long before there is any change in monthly moon-time cycling (which is on average a 21–30-day cycle); the brain is already adapting. Cannabis can be a great herbal ally for maintaining adequate sleep, an imperative for our cognitive, mental, cardiovascual, emotional and immune health.
This moon time and reproductive transitioning is a neuroendocrine process that eventually results in senescence (from the Latin senex or old), all women undergo it, and it is characterized by stages of transitioning. The wise-woman, menopausal transition is not an illness, but a natural process, just like childbirth. There are many natural approaches for easing the transition to the new you.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. This is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Eat, Sleep, Relax, Protect, Forget: An Endocanabinoid (ECS) guide to Systems Wholeness for Women". Please sign up for my email list for updates on the publication.