Study Suggests Women More Sensitive To Marijuana

Women Possibly More Sensitive to Marijuana’s Effects

sensitive to marijuanaA recent study conducted by researchers at Washington State University has become the first to document differences in people who are sensitive to marijuana related to gender, and sex hormones. The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Although the National Institutes of Health issued a recommendation as far back as 1993 to include more women in drug studies, particularly in studies on who is sensitive to marijuana, many scientists have avoided using many female participants due to fluctuations in the hormone estrogen.

This recent study, headed by Professor Rebecca Craft, examined why estrogen can “skew” results in drug tests, including marijuana. Studying estrogen fluctuations in rats as related to THC use, Prof. Craft and her team “routinely manipulate hormones and follow females across their cycles to see if their drug sensitivities change along with their hormones. And they do… very frequently,” she said.

Craft found that her female rats developed more tolerance to the pain-relieving effects of THC after just 10 days of treatment with marijuana compounds.

“What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating,” says Prof. Craft, “right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down.”

Because females can develop a greater tolerance to marijuana’s euphoric compound more quickly, that can lead to more vulnerability to negative side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, and addiction.

Previous studies have shown that women are more prone to cannabis addiction and abuse than men, and Craft’s study shines some light on why. Women are more likely, from previous studies, to show withdrawal symptoms like irritability, sleep disruption, and decreased appetite. They also have a higher likelihood of relapsing than men.

“Thanks to their estrogen levels, female rats are at least 30 percent more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of THC — the key active ingredient in cannabis. Females also develop tolerance to THC more quickly. These sensitivities could increase vulnerability to negative side effects like anxiety, paranoia and addiction,” Craft wrote.

One finding from Craft’s study showed that men were more likely to suffer the “munchie effect” than women, as well.

Craft conducted her gender differences study because of the prevalence and popularity of medical marijuana laws. Although some states like South Carolina have legalized one specific marijuana compound – cannabidiol – for medical use, other states have broader medical marijuana laws, meaning both women and men can receive prescriptions for medical marijuana to treat anything from anxiety disorders to chronic pain.

“These people have pain that lasts for months or years,” Prof. Craft says. “Tolerance develops differently and sometimes you get a lot less tolerance to a drug when people are in chronic pain.”

If You Face Marijuana Charges, Including Drug Charges for Medical Marijuana Use, The Strom Law Firm Can Help

Possession of marijuana charges are all too common in South Carolina. If you or a loved one have been found with medical marijuana, you could face criminal charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony, depending on how much marijuana was in your possession, and what your intent was with the drug. The drug crimes attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. Do not let drug charges for medical marijuana hurt your reputation or your personal or professional future. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Contact us today for help. 803.252.4800

Leave a Reply