• Suzanna Thallman

New Study Suggests Women Need Less THC Than Men for Same Effects

According to a cannabis study carried out by a group of researchers published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, women tend to experience the same effects as men with a lower dose of THC.

The study tested THC in the blood and found that women experience the same acute effects immediately after consuming marijuana as men at a lower dosage. Typically, acute effects vary by user and can be impacted by alcohol, experience and age. Now, researchers are adding gender to that list.

Who was tested?

The study gathered 91 participants between the ages of 19 and 25 who typically consumed cannabis one to four times per week and had them smoke a joint with either 12.5% THC or a placebo.

There were no restrictions, and participants were allowed to smoke as much of the cigarette as they wished. During the study, researchers took multiple tests of measurements including blood samples of the participants to get the number of cannabis concentrations for cannabinoids. They also checked vital signs, tested cognition abilities and measured subjective effects. 

What did the research find?

The researchers found that female participants tended to smoke for just as long a duration as males. However, women tended to smoke less of the cannabis cigarette. The women participants had less levels of THC in their blood, leading researchers to conclude that women may need a lower dose of THC to get to the same degree of intoxication as men. There were no apparent differences in mood or cognitive effects between men and women

Although this phenomenon isn’t clearly understood, researchers believe that estrogen, a primarily female hormone, could influence the metabolism of THC. Additionally, the way gender identity influences drug use behavior – such as stereotypes and ease of access - may have also impacted the results.

What does this mean?

Unfortunately, women have been left out of research studies for much of history, causing findings to be biased towards men. However, researchers are confident that this study is a step in the right direction for understanding the influence sex and gender play in the acute effects of cannabis.

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