Are Women More Likely to Become Marijuana-Addicted Than Men?


*Women, you may want to think twice before going toe-to-toe with your man while lighting one up to wind down, after your work-day hustle.

I’m not saying there has been tons of research done to back up the claim that drugs affect men and women differently, but with the legalization of both recreational and medicinal marijuana breaking down walls in states all across the country, now may be a good time for you to understand how THC affects a woman’s body chemistry specifically.

Researchers at Washington State University claim to have  found evidence that suggests females may build up a tolerance to marijuana more easily than males do.

“It’s not entirely predictive, but if you become rapidly tolerant to a drug, you may be at greater risk for developing an addiction,” Professor Rebecca Craft, chair of the psychology department at WSU and lead researcher of the study, told HuffPost. (She also noted that tolerance by itself does not define drug dependence and that tolerance is only one characteristic of addiction.)

The pain-relieving effects of the main component in marijuana, THC, was the focus of the study which was done on male and female rats; who were said to make good subjects, because, like humans, rats have an ovulation cycle (albeit one that occurs every four to five days instead of 28), and they experience similar ovarian hormone fluctuations, which affect pain

At the beginning of the trial, the female rats were more sensitive to the THC than their male counterparts, but after about 10 days, this changed; and the females were needing higher doses of the drug to reap the same effect of alleviating pain as the males. In other words, while female rats started out being more sensitive to THC, after 10 days, they ended up being less sensitive.

“We were looking at the pain-relieving effects,” Craft said. “One of th
e things that is of concern if you’re using any medication repeatedly is: Will it maintain its effectiveness over time?”

There have been a number of clinical trials in humans suggesting that marijuana and cannabinoid drugs alleviate pain. For women, this is an important issue, since medical researchers are now seriously considering these drugs’ potential to relieve chronic pain — something women in particular will benefit from if administered properly.

“Over their lifetime, women actually suffer quite a bit more pain than men do,” Craft said. “So women have a lot of need for analgesic drugs.”

Learn more about this study at HuffPost Women.

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