You probably know that men and women are biologically different. You also probably know that the main difference on a molecular level is the balance of hormones in the male and female bodies. Both men and women contain the same hormones, namely testosterone and estrogen, but in very different proportions.
Because of these differences, and a few other physical differences (like weight, metabolic rate, or weight distribution) cannabis affects men and women differently. Don’t be confused, though, as the all-natural supplement is still full of medicinal benefits for both genders. However, knowing how cannabis may affect you based on your hormones and biological build may help you change the way you use cannabis to better affect you.
We took a look at the main differences in the way cannabis impacts men and women and wanted to share the results (based on some recent research) to help you understand why cannabis may affect you differently than friends and family of a different gender.
Cannabis Effects on Men
First, it is important to note that evidence shows that more men smoke marijuana than women. There are several potential reasons for this, but Liana Fattore, a Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy, narrows it down to one primary reason: sex hormones.
She says “Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behavior and suppress the brain's reward system, which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs, including cannabis.”
Another study shows that non-white, middle ages women are generally the demographic most likely to view cannabis as a risky substance, while men of the same demographic are more likely to be in support of the plant’s medicinal and recreational use.
Men may experience decreased libido and lower sperm count when using marijuana, whereas it may have the opposite effect on a woman’s sex drive.
Cannabis Effects on Women
Research suggests that cannabis may have greater effects on women. This is mostly because THC interacts with estrogen to produce stronger psychoactive effects. Because of this, women may experience even greater effects on the days that they ovulate, or the days just before or after. Weight distribution may also have a hand in the way THC affects women and the female sex hormones.
Another piece of research says that women are more likely to suffer visuospatial memory impairments than men after consuming cannabis. Additionally, women may be more susceptible to developing an addiction because their female hormones affect the way cannabinoids impact the brain’s pleasure center.
Women may also experience greater affects to libido when using cannabis in small amounts. Some studies show the opposite effects when too much cannabis is consumed.
Cannabis may have greater pain-relieving effects for women as well, which may be blamed on the increased effects of THC on the female body and brain. However, pain is experienced differently for both men and women, so this may be a hard one to pinpoint.
Some Effects Are The Same for Both Genders
While there are many ways that cannabis affects the genders differently, many effects seem to be the same across the board. According to most research, cannabis affects men and women the same in areas like stress, cognition, learning capabilities, reward memory, and impulsive activities.
Just alike, all of the medicinal uses for the plant are generally the same across the board. This means that doctors are just as likely to prescribe medicinal marijuana to men as they are to women. Although the condition itself may affect the genders differently, the way marijuana interacts with illnesses and heals the body is essentially the same.
If you are happy with your cannabis routine and experiencing no negative effects, then continue on with what you’ve been doing. However, if you experience some of the effects listed above and are concerned that cannabis may be the cause, talk to your doctor about the effects of your gender on cannabis use. Generally, there is a simple fix, like changing a dose or distribution method, which can get you back on track to healing with cannabis.