Does Marijuana Affect Men and Women Differently?

With more and more states legalizing the use of cannabis, it becomes easy to perform clinical studies and record anecdotal results to understand how the plant affects users. Moreover, scientists are conducting extensive research to verify the benefits of this highly-popular drug. While the effects of this supplement are quite predictable, a number of factors influence its final outcomes. Every individual responds differently to this compound depending on his unique chemistry and other factors like weight, age and sex. The gender of a person can play a significant role in determining the effects of these products. Today, we learn more about this concern and see how the drug affects men and women in different ways.

How Sex Influences the Effects of Marijuana

The use of this compound differs to some extent between men and women. While young men are reported to use more amount than women, the difference increases with age. Men also get more powerful effects than women and are likely to develop dependence. Research suggests that sex hormones are highly responsible for the different effects experienced by the two genders. Estrogen is pretty effective at deciding the effects of this drug. This hormone regulates the chemical responsible for the effect of marijuana on the body. As women have fluctuating levels of this hormone at different times, they can experience varying effects during the month. On the other hand, the effects on men’s ECS are not known to fluctuate so much, resulting in almost similar results at any time.

How Cannabis Affects Men and Women Differently

Apart from the hormonal influence, the receptors of the endocannabinoid system are less available in males than in females. Such differences can contribute to varying usage patterns and effects between the two genders. In addition to this, the metabolism also differs and influences the effects. 

Sexual Health 

Taking cannabis in higher doses can drop the levels of testosterone in men affecting fertility, libido and sexual abilities. However, these drops are temporary and the hormone levels are restored once the effects are gone. Studies carried out to understand the effects on women’s sexual health showed that topical application can boost sexual health and promote arousal. It was seen that cannabis has more positive sex-related results in women than in men.


As depicted by an animal study, females are able to develop faster tolerance to this drug than men. However, it is important to note that tolerances to weed increase at a fast rate in both men and women. This means that women should try to get their tolerance levels down to the state where it does not take much to feel desired effects. 

Pain Relief

Studies analyzing the effects of cannabis on pain in men and women found that smoked compound provided much better pain relief in men as compared to women. This implies that females need higher doses to feel the effects men experience with lower doses. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

A study looked at the withdrawal symptoms in men and women and suggested that women experienced more symptoms like anxiety, insomnia and loss of appetite than men. Females reported upset stomach as a result of withdrawal while men did not. 

Appetite Boost

According to research, men experience higher food cravings after cannabis consumption as compared to women. Actually, this is the only reaction where male users showed more response than females. Many other studies have proven that THC boosts appetite more in men than in women. 

Need for Further Research

While the primary scientific evidence helps us understand how gender affects the usage and results of marijuana, it is still not clear how a user can benefit from these differences. The reason is that there is very little research performed on humans. Moreover, the impacts we discussed can be influenced and altered by other external factors. As the gap between the use of this drug by men and women gets shorter, we can expect the research to throw light on this topic. As of now, we can learn that the differences come from the metabolism, availability of cannabinoid receptors and hormones.