From the Editor: Women’s Health
The role of cannabis in women’s health figures prominently in this issue, which contains one article that’s exclusively related to women’s health and two about conditions that, while not limited to women, affect women disproportionately.
In our cover story, contributor Mark Coggins explores the research about the effect cannabis may have on bone health—looking at both the negative and positive consequences and finding a complex picture. While some studies indicate that cannabis delays bone healing, lowers bone mineral density, and increases fracture risk, others suggest cannabis may actually enhance bone healing, be used to treat fracture risk, and help with conditions such as osteoporosis.
Holistic cannabis practitioner Emily Kyle addresses a deviling problem that affects more women than men—restless legs syndrome, more formally known as Willis-Ekbom disease. Its exasperating symptoms range from an unpleasant feeling in the legs or other parts of the body to throbbing, itching, or a crawling sensation that can’t be ignored. The urge to move is overwhelming, and the effect on sleep can be deeply detrimental. There’s no cure, and lifestyle strategies and medications often fail to bring relief. But research suggests that cannabis may make a significant difference for many patients.
Women’s use of cannabis during pregnancy and breastfeeding has been controversial. Dietitian and cannabis professional Faye Berger Mitchell examines the research and professional guidelines, discussing the conflicting data and the role health care providers can play in helping women decide what’s best for them during their pregnancies and while breastfeeding.
Also in this issue, contributor Jennifer Van Pelt looks at the ongoing controversy surrounding cannabis use and athletic performance, noting that research doesn’t support an association between use and performance enhancement. And while competitive athletes may be prohibited from using cannabis, the substance is increasingly popular among athletes who may rely on it for pain management and muscle relaxation, and to aid in healing from sports injuries.
— Kate Jackson