Do Women Love Pot More Than Men? Study Yields Interesting Findings On Gender Differences And Cannabis Consumption
What role does gender play when it comes to cannabis consumption?
Apparently, a lot.
A new meta-study of cannabis studies revealed that female mammals, humans included, are more prone to getting hooked on cannabis than males. The research reviews analyzed several human and animal studies through the years as well as their cannabis consumption; the researchers compared the mammalian endocannabinoid systems with the hormone-driven systems and the behaviors tied to them.
They found that males tend to be more likely to experiment with cannabis and consume in higher doses, while females are more likely to consume cannabis regularly after trying it out. The researchers posit that this is attributed to the various effects of hormonal differences between the sexes, which cannabinoids have an impact on. The differences in behavior, although depending on the person, may result in feedback loops that alter hormone levels in the body; changes that are far greater than what cannabis alone could be responsible for.
Dr. Liana Fattore, an author of the study, explains that, “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.”
“This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”
“Females seem to be more vulnerable, at a neurochemical level, in developing an addiction to cannabis,” Fattore explains. “Gender-tailored detoxification treatments and relapse prevention strategies for patients with cannabis addiction are increasingly requested. Optimizing personalized evidence-based prevention and treatment protocols demands further research on the source of sex disparities in cannabis response,” she says.
On the other hand, older studies on the subject reveal contradicting results.
An earlier study says that even though an addiction to cannabis is rare, men are more likely to get hooked on it. But understanding how cannabis affects men and women differently is an area of cannabis research that is, to say the least, still half-baked. However, a better understanding is important especially in this day and age when cannabis is getting a rebranding with the approach and culture around it changing faster than blinking an eye. Globally, policies surrounding cannabis continue to change which is leading to more widespread acceptance of it both recreationally and medically.
Data shows that in the United States alone, as the number of people who use cannabis continue to grow, women seem to be making up a significant part of the new consumers. Scientists think that this is something that’s worth investigating. “It’s important that we investigate how the effects of cannabis differ for males and females because a growing number of people are using it for therapeutic purposes,” says Chandni Hindocha, a cannabinoid researcher from the University College London. “Preclinical data suggests that women may experience more adverse effects than men. We need to clarify this to allow women to balance out the pros and cons of taking medical cannabis – as they would do with any other medicine,” reports a Vice article.
Men And Women Have Different Motivations For Using Cannabis
Studies also show that generally speaking, men and women have different reasons for using cannabis. On average, men are strongly influenced by peer use, cannabis availability, and other external factors. Men also tend to have a strong social network comprised of cannabis consumers. But on the other hand, women tend to turn to cannabis because of internal factors, like using it as a means of coping with relationship issues and anxiety. Women are also more prone to mixing cannabis with prescription medications.
Interestingly, women tend to find it more difficult to quit cannabis than men. Women are also less likely to seek help or treatment due to fears of losing custody of their kids, and because it’s much more difficult to find assistance when it comes to childcare due to the lack of these services available for pregnant women.
Another area we still know little about is how cannabis affects the male and female brains differently. The animal studies available on the subject have been conducted in very controlled environments to enable scientists to study the effects on sex, although human studies are very limited. Federal restrictions in place still make these types of research severely lacking, but its importance lies in helping the community develop customized cannabis products tailored to the specific needs of men and women in terms of their cannabis consumption habits.