Though men tend to smoke greater amounts and more frequently than women, women tend be more sensitive to marijuana consumption.
We know women and men react differently to cannabis. The endocannabinoid system — the set of receptors that bond with consumed marijuana — interacts directly and indirectly with estrogen in a women’s body. A 2009 study, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, found the amount of CB1 receptors in a woman’s body fluctuates depending on estrogen levels, meaning women experience more intense highs when their estrogen levels peak.
Though men tend to smoke greater amounts and more frequently than women, a 2014 study from Washington State University found that women tend be more sensitive to marijuana consumption. Another difference: men are more likely to get the munchies.
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Now, a new study adds to this research.
Published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, scientists from the University of Texas-Dallas found that when it comes to regular marijuana consumers, women experience more intense craving than men. In addition, when women self-reported higher estrogen levels due to their menstrual cycles, they rated their marijuana cravings higher on average.
“This research has moved the needle forward in accounting for these individual differences in the development and administration of interventions to help improve clinical outcomes for everyone, particularly women,” study author Dr. Shikha Prashad said in a statement.
Dr. Prashad and her team used 112 participants for the study — 58 men and 54 women. Those subjects where then given “a piece of cannabis equipment to hold,” ranging from a standard pipe to an ice blue bong. When asked to rate their urge to smoke marijuana on a scale from 1 to 10, women averaged a 5.5 level of craving compared to men’s 4.6.
According to the study’s authors, “It is important to emphasize that this ﬁnding is preliminary and it is unclear whether this increase may have contributed to the sex-related diﬀerences.”