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Marijuana effects on men vs. women

Originally posted on 6th April 2016, Updated on 28th January 2019

Men and women are different. That's basic biology. With the increase in interest in medical marijuana, there has also been an increase in interest in the question of whether marijuana affects men and women differently.

Everyone's an individual

There are two challenges when attempting to answer this question. One is, the age-old problem of being able to conduct research in what is often a legal grey area in many countries. The other is the fact that, as shown in this study, everyone is an individual and therefore will metabolize and react to marijuana in an individual way. The same individual may react to marijuana differently as they go through life, for example as they age, if they gain or lose weight or have children. That said, each marijuana strain has a range of typical effects which depend on its heritage, in particular whether it is Indica or Sativa.

Men versus women or just physical differences?

Marijuana

There is a reason why men and women compete separately in most sports. Men are generally taller and stronger than women and their bodies work differently. This is why, for example, recommended calorie counts and alcoholic unit counts are different for men and women. At the same time, there are subtler differences between men and women, particularly in terms of hormones. The old joke that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” reflects the fact that testosterone is typical of men while estrogen is typical of women. Given that marijuana works on several levels, including an emotional one, could this be an indication that there is indeed a difference between its effect on men and its effect on women?

Some studies suggest that hormonal differences do make a difference in marijuana use

Cannabis test ratsIn particular, this study of rats shows that females were quick to develop a tolerance for THC, albeit one which fluctuated in line with their ovulation cycles. Females were most sensitive to it when they were actually ovulating, i.e. at the time when their estrogen levels were at their highest.

On a side note, the research also suggested that low doses of THC had no impact on a female's ability to reproduce. Interestingly there was only one area where males showed more sensitivity to THC than females and that was that they were more likely to develop the marijuana munchies.

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