Men and women are very similar, yet there are key differences in their systems. Like many other substances, marijuana affects them in different ways. While some differences can be explained due to different body types and sizes, cannabis has an interesting relationship with a variety of hormones, including estrogen, thus producing different responses in people.
Due to a lack of research, there’s a lot we don’t know about marijuana’s effect on the body. When it comes to the differences in its effect on men and women, there’s even more we don’t know, with researchers historically putting an emphasis on men. Here are six ways in which cannabis affects men and women in different ways.
Research from Washington State University found that, due to their estrogen levels, female rats that were ovulating had a significant spike in THC sensitivity.
Psychology professor Rebecca Craft said she and her team “routinely manipulate hormones and follow females across their cycles to see if their drug sensitivities change along with their hormones. And they do…very frequently.”
Said Craf, “What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating – right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down.”
According to the same WSU study, “female rats were at least 30% more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of THC—the key active ingredient in cannabis.”
Women also develop tolerance faster than men. This trait was demonstrated in the same study by researchers from Washington State University, which proved that female mice developed resistance to cannabis within a period of 10 days. Following this period, mice needed a much higher dose of cannabis to experience the same response.
In low doses, cannabis improves the libido of women. In high doses, it produces a counter effect, impairing women and their interest in sex. When it comes to men, the issue is more complicated. Cannabis appears to elevate their libido shortly after smoking, especially when consumed in low doses. When consumed in high doses, the spike in libido is much shorter and can result in performance anxiety.
Anxiety and mental health
According to a study from 2015, men are more likely to suffer from cannabis psychosis. The data showed that men experienced it four times more than women, even if we should take these numbers with a grain of salt. Cannabis studies tend to be dominated by male patients, particularly in years past.
Another fact that researchers discovered is that men appear to get more significant cases of the munchies when compared to women. This appears to be the one area where men experience more of a response to THC than women.