why cannabis affects men and women differently
why cannabis affects men and women differently

Why Does Weed Affect Men and Women Differently? (Hint : Sex Hormones)

Why does marijuana affect men and women differently?

Posted by:
Nanci Chi-Town on Saturday Dec 14, 2019

Why Weed Affects Men and Women Differently

cannabis hormones

The cannabis plant is known for its discriminating “facts” against it over the last years. But as it is soaring out to become one of the most popular remedies, and breaking the bias opinions against it, something interesting has become more apparent. Men and women have a different reaction to cannabis. It does not refer just to socio-cultural opinions, but also to biological facts. Hormonal imbalances can be helped with cannabis medications

It is already clear that cannabis reacts differently to the individual biology of everyone. Each person also has different tolerance levels. New studies find now that there are subtle differences when it comes to the effect on the different genders. It seems that medicinal cannabis has very similar effects on both men and women, but when it comes to the psychoactive effect of THC, women react differently than men. A lot has to do with how much is consumed and how fast a person moves from casual to chronic consumption.


Sex Hormones Play A Big Role

The endocannabinoid system portrays sex differences. The sex hormones testosterone in men and estrogen and progesterone in women have a different influence on the endocannabinoid system, especially the network of brain cells that use the same system of communication than cannabinoids.


The estrogen hormone is the one that affects women the most in the consumption of cannabis. One of the functions of estrogen is to regulate a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which diminishes the effect of anandamide. Anandamide is the natural equivalent of THC and is specific in mood regulation and appetite. Estrogen gets influenced during the menstrual cycle and is at its lowest then. FAAH has a more severe effect on anandamide at this point which can lead to temporary depression and anxiety. Women reportedly state that during the menstrual period they experience a lesser effect of marijuana.

Men do not experience a difference in the effect of marijuana on their endocannabinoid system at any given time during the month. When it comes to increased heart rate, men have a higher heart rate, where women experience heavier sedation and more dizzy spells, especially with high THC levels. On the other hand, women feel more tired and a lack of moto control than men. All over, it seems that women get easier slowed-down while men keep on being alert and in physical control.


How Does it Affect Men and Women Differently?

Men are more likely to try cannabis and to consume it on high levels. The sex steroids of men inspire them to take higher risks in any situation. But even so, women tend to stick faster to habitual cannabis use than men. For men, it is more about relaxation and euphoria. Women also enjoy marijuana but are more prone to experiencing anxiety after consumption. Men seem to show fewer side-effects and even though they take more cannabis, women turn faster to heavy consumers over a shorter time. Some of the reasons why react differently are:

  • Tolerance – Studies reveal that women build up a tolerance quicker than men. It could be helpful for women to do cannabis-cleansing more often than men to counter the effect.
  • Sexual Health – High levels of THC can affect testosterone levels negatively but is easily restored in a short cannabis break. Women have a more positive effect on a sexual outcome like increased arousal and sexual health overall.
  • Pain relief – When men smoke marijuana, pain relief is higher than with women. Women need higher dosages to experience the same level of pain relief. When estrogen levels are at a peak, women experience faster results.
  • Appetite – An increased appetite is more present in men than women.
  • Withdrawal symptoms – Women showed more withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, lack of appetite and sleep issues than men.


The Biological Reasons Behind It All

It is not as clear cut as we would like it to be, but certain physical factors play a role. In the CB1 receptors, where THC interacts with the endocannabinoid system, men show higher mRNA transcripts. This is a mechanism in the body that helps the body to work with cannabinoids. These receptor proteins are denser in men, but women have them spread throughout the body.

Another difference is found in the right amygdala of adolescent women that smoke marijuana. In comparison, it is larger than women not consuming cannabis. The amygdala is responsible for emotions and no difference was found in men. Studies are not enough to be reliable though.


Final Thoughts

Even though there are differences when it comes to the consumption of cannabis for men and women, they are not too many. Women are slightly more affected, but we need to understand that everyone gets hit differently. It is also a known fact that men and women are physiologically very different. It is always better to know what´s up, rather than to fumble around in the dark.








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