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Does Cannabis Affect Men & Women Differently?

02/10/2018 Health & Wellness

Consuming cannabis is a personal and unique experience for everyone. Some people are more susceptible to psychoactive effects, paranoia, the munchies, while others have a much higher tolerance to cannabis and its side effects. How cannabis affects you is pretty individualistic, based on a mix of genetics, personality, and factors scientists have yet to identify. More research needs to be done on the topic, but one thing is starting to become clear: men and women can experience cannabis differently.

For some of the differences, researchers have discovered biological explanations. For others, the answers are still very murky. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most important and interesting ways men and women experience cannabis differently.


Do men and women consume cannabis differently?

When it comes to women and weed, women prefer to ingest their cannabis via topicals and edibles. Whereas men prefer to smoke or vape, according to a survey conducted on their large network on medical marijuana patients. Different consumption methods can bring very different results; using a topical renders a very different outcome than smoking a joint or doing a dab. Despite the main ingredient being the same, each method provides unique results.

Do women have a higher tolerance to marijuana than men?

A study done at Washington State University was conducted on male and female rats to gauge whether one gender built up tolerance to cannabis faster than the other. The results of the study showed that female rats built up a tolerance to cannabis much faster than their male counterpart.

Other studies also show that estrogen levels have a big affect on how women feel cannabis. During low levels of estrogen (like during a woman’s period) can result in more muted results from cannabis.

So, what does this mean for humans? For the ladies out there, it may be worthwhile to implement regular cannabis tolerance cleanses into your life. These short breaks from cannabis will help lower your tolerance to normal levels so you can feel the effects of cannabis with less product. Men should consider going slow when it comes to increasing their dose of marijuana.

Do men or women get the munchies more often?

The same study from Washington State University mentioned above found some interesting results regarding munchies (cue stereotypical images of snacking stoners) and gender. Researchers found that men are more susceptible to the munchies after consuming marijuana. In this study, munchies were the only THC-related reaction that men were more sensitive to than women.

For men that are regular cannabis consumers, keep an eye on your snacking. One easy trick for beating the munchies is to do jumping jacks, run in place, or some other form of exercise until the craving goes away. Sounds crazy, but it works!  

Which gender feels more pain relief from marijuana?

There are conflicting conclusions for this one, highlighting the need for further research to be done. One Columbia University study done in 2016 looked at the analgesic (pain relieving) effects of cannabis on men and women. Researchers in this study concluded that when smoked, cannabis has more pain relieving success with men than women. This could mean that women need a higher dose of cannabis to achieve the same effects and this phenomenon could be caused by women’s higher tolerance to cannabis in general.

But, another study found different results. Washington State University researchers concluded that women experience more pain relief from cannabis than men do. The caveat with this conclusion is that women only felt more pain relief from cannabis when their estrogen levels were at their peak.

Can cannabis affect fertility?

Most studies about cannabis and fertility have been done with male subjects, both human and animal. Researchers have discovered that THC can cause lower levels of testosterone in men, which can lead to a decreased sex drive, fertility, and other complications.

Two additional ways that THC could affect fertility have to do with the sperm itself. High levels of THC in the body can cause sperm to prematurely begin swimming rather than riding the current of ejaculate, leaving the sperm cell without enough energy to make it all the way to the egg. And even if the sperm does reach the egg, THC can make sperm cells forget how to release the enzyme required to penetrate the egg’s wall for fertilization.

That all sounds pretty clinical and maybe even alarming, but don’t worry too much. Testosterone levels and sperm behavior typically go back to normal once a males abstain from cannabis for long enough.

Does one gender have worse cannabis withdrawals?

In 2010, researchers looked into cannabis withdrawal symptoms in men and women. A small participant group of active cannabis smokers abstained from cannabis for a specified period of time and self-reported their withdrawal symptoms back to researchers. Women in the study said they experienced more intense anxiety, sleep problems, and lack of appetite than men. Women also commonly reported that they experienced stomach pains, something men did not commonly report.

What does all of this mean?

These studies are all preliminary and should be taken with a grain of salt, but even the current, sparse research we have on the subject is interesting. Despite all the gaps in scientific knowledge we have about marijuana, one thing is beginning to make itself clear: biological differences between men and women create different experiences for each gender when it comes to pot.

What’s most important to remember is that cannabis affects each and every person differently and understanding how your body reacts to specific products and strains is important. If you ever have questions about what products might be best for you, talk with one of Buddy Boy Brand’s knowledgeable budtenders at one of our convenient Denver marijuana dispensaries.



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