Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men?

Women Experience Weed Different Than Men

In recent years, scientists applied gender as a factor when studying the effects of marijuana on humans. As a result, studies show cannabis does indeed affect women different than men. Between men and women using marijuana, there are many factors to consider, such as its effects on pain treatment, mood disorders, addiction, and even brain receptors. Here are five ways women feel the effects of marijuana different than men.

1. Women Tolerate THC Quicker Than Men

Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men

A study conducted on rats showed that females tolerated the same dosage as males much quicker. Scientists have yet to confirm their finding on human subjects. However, if their findings are true, then women adapt to THC faster than men. While this sounds like women can handle their high better than men, it is not necessarily a good thing. Because of their quick tolerance to marijuana, women are more likely to experience negative side effects when withdrawing from the drug. When a tolerant woman stops smoking cannabis, she will experience more sleep disruption, lack of appetite, and irritability.

2. Women Use Weed for Mental Health

Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men

Studies found that women were more likely to use cannabis to help mood or anxiety disorders. This is different from men who are more likely to use the drug for psychiatric disorders. Women with what scientists call “cannabis use disorder,” or CUD, are at risk of externalizing disorders. What does this mean? Extensive use of marijuana may

What does this mean? Extensive use of marijuana may intensify symptoms of depression and anxiety when not using. As mentioned before, women withdrawing from marijuana lack sleep, appetite, and are prone to irritability. An Australian study found young women who smoked marijuana daily are five times as likely to develop depression seven years later as their non-smoking peers. It appears women use marijuana to reduce levels of anxiety and stress, but if overdone, will only heighten symptoms from before.

3.Women Become Addicted to Cannabis Faster Than Men

Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men

Telescoping, a medical term referring to the down spiral towards addiction, occurs faster for women than men. This means women pick up the habit of smoking quicker, different from men who take a longer time. Studies found, from the first puff with friends to a serious daily habit, women are more likely to telescope into a CUD. The finding

The findings are not limited to marijuana, but alcohol, opioids, and cocaine as well. There are many reasons women inhale their first joint, such as peer pressure, mood regulation, and social acceptance. This is different than men whose common motivation is more risk-taking and the excitement of trying new things. But when it comes to quitting, as mentioned before, women have a more difficult time. Therefore, women pick up the habit faster AND take longer to quit.

4. Cannabis Makes Women Forget and Want Sex

Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men

Studies found women experience acute effects of marijuana on the brain, different from men. Endocannabinoids, the receptors for cannabinoids in our brains, have effects on behavior and the hippocampus.

The hippocampus is the region of the brain for short-term and longer term memory and cognition. Turns out, women are more likely to temporarily impair this region when smoking marijuana. This also explains why women tend to experience dizziness when using cannabis. Visuospatial memory, what allows you to make maps in your head and recall directions and locations, becomes jumbled for women.

Likewise, estrogen interferes with the endocannabinoid system in women. Smoking cannabis increases the level of endocannabinoid receptors during ovulation. In the few days before and after a woman is ovulating, small doses of cannabis (14% THC) increases sexual appetite. On the opposite side, larger doses of cannabis during this time will decrease women’s sexual appetite.

5. Marijuana Does Not Relieve Pain For Women

Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men

Marijuana is more effective at treating pain in men than women because women tolerate the effects of weed faster. A Drug and Alcohol Dependence study found that active cannabis failed to decrease pain sensitivity in women. When considering potential therapeutic effects of marijuana for men and women, unfortunately, women are less likely to feel any significant change to their problem. However, that doesn’t mean women should stop using marijuana to help with menstrual pains. In fact, if the placebo effect is working, keep smoking.

Giron, ByChala. “Does Weed Affect Women Different Than Men?” Green Rush Daily, 13 May 2017,

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