Women With Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder Use More Cannabis Than Women Without PMDD

Cannabis and its synthetic cannabinoids have been studied for medicinal properties across multiple d
This study examined whether increases in depressed mood and coping motives would predict increased cannabis use pre-menstrually/menstrually, especially among females with pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.

Women with pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may be increasing their cannabis use to cope with their associated depressed mood. These findings, from an observational study, were published in Addiction.

Women (N=69) who used cannabis in Nova Scotia, Canada were recruited via an advertisement. Study participants were screened for eligibility by telephone. Included participants provided saliva samples on low and high progesterone days according to their menstrual cycles, asked to fill out an online survey about cannabis use, and were assessed with validated instruments about cannabis use and depression. The entire study comprised 5 sessions and participants were compensated with £$97.65 (CDN).

The participants with and without retrospectively identified PMDD were aged 29.37±5.70 and 29.20±5.70 years, 68.4% and 80.0% were White, 63.2% and 74.0% had graduated college, and 94.7% and 74.0% were deemed to use cannabis at hazardous levels, respectively. The women with retrospectively identified PMDD (n=19) had higher rates of persistent depressive disorder (P =.010), used cannabis on more days (P =.041), and consumed more standard joint equivalents per day (P =.008).

Saliva samples indicated progesterone was low during the first week of the menstrual cycle (mean, 214.27; SD, 187.60 pg/mL) and high during the pre-menstruation days (mean, 366.00; SD, 236.18 pg/mL; t[68], 4.879; P <.001).

Among women with PMDD, depressive symptoms and cannabis use increased during pre-mensural and menstruation days.

Among all participants, no correlation between positive mood and cannabis use was observed.

This study may have been limited by its definition of PMDD because it did not correspond with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 definitions, which require symptom validation over >1 symptomatic menstrual cycles.

These data indicated women who have retrospectively identified PMDD may be at risk for increased cannabis use during the pre-menstrual and menstrual days during which time symptoms of depression increase. Across the entire menstrual cycle, women with PMDD reported higher consumption of cannabis than women who did not have PMDD.


Joyce KM, Thompson K, Good KP, et al. The impact of depressed mood and coping motives on cannabis use quantity across the menstrual cycle in those with and without pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder. Addiction. Published online March 2, 2021. doi:10.1111/add.15465