Is there any difference in the effects of marijuana based on the sex of a person?

Published Jul 21, 2019 01:11 p.m. ET
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Now that cannabis is legal in Canada for both recreational and medical use, there is a lot more research being conducted on its effects. One aspect that has been investigated is the difference between the sexes and how they react to smoking the same cannabis strains. Most people would assume that since we are all human and are of the same species, we would feel pretty much the same if we were ingesting the same amount as our counterparts. However, this isn’t always the case, and now researchers are trying to figure out how and why smoking marijuana seems to affect men and women in such dramatically different ways. So far, there are 3 main influential factors that are believed to be responsible.

1. Muscle mass

Men are often larger and have a much higher muscle density than women. Since THC is quickly absorbed by fat lipid cells, and women tend to have a higher fat to muscle mass ratio, it is believed that this is part of the reason smoking marijuana affects both men and women so differently.

2. Hormones

The production of the hormone progesterone in women has shown that it can increase the chances of an individual’s brain on THC, which is the primary psychoactive element found in most cannabis strains. Meanwhile, males are designed to produce more testosterone, which protects men from becoming dependent on the substance.

3. CB1 receptors

When cannabis strains are used for pleasure or medicinal purposes, the cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoids systems which are located throughout the body. This system is made up of many receptors and one of them is called CB1 receptors. It is believed that women having less of these cannabinoid engaging portions of the endocannabinoid system and that this is likely primarily responsible for at least some of the difference in how men vs. women react to cannabis strains.

4. Men VS. women and the difference in adverse effects

Head over to your local cannabis dispensary and you will likely notice that the majority of their customers are male. Men seem to consume more marijuana than women and are much more likely to receive an official diagnosis for cannabis use disorder. Yet it is generally women who voice the most concern over their dependence on pot, and this isn’t the only discrepancy between the sexes when it comes to the possible adverse effects of marijuana. Below you will find a handful well documented and scientifically confirmed marijuana facts that are gender-specific:

• Men are more likely to be diagnosed with Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD).
• Women have the most concerns over their dependence on marijuana.
• Smoking, both tobacco and cannabis strains increase the risk of a collapsed lung in men, but not in women.
• Women are more likely to go from occasional consumption to regular use faster than men.
• Men typically experience fewer withdrawal symptoms, while women are more likely to report intense and uncomfortable sensations.

Don’t let this information scare you, as the possibility of experiencing any kind of adverse reaction from moderate consumption is slim to none. However, we do live in a day and age where a search can be done for things like the perfect cannabis strain or the closest cannabis dispensary and have marijuana products delivered to your door in under an hour. So, it is crucial to recognize what exactly one can expect, and sometimes, there is a difference between how the different genders experience the effects of a cannabis strain. So, if the opposite gender is struggling, and you aren’t, you now know why, so exercise understanding as not every person is the same just like no two plants are alike. It’s just different.

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