top of page
  • Writer's pictureAshley Slimak

How Does Marijuana Affect Men and Women Differently?

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Men and women are different, biologically. Yet, when it comes to medicine and drugs, this difference is rarely discussed when we visit our doctors or determine how much of a medication we should take.

Biological factors may influence who uses medical marijuana, how they use it, and how it impacts them. However, we are only just beginning to understand these differences.

Why does marijuana impact men and women differently? It all comes down to biology.

One of the key differences between men and women is our circulating hormone composition, with males having much higher testosterone levels and females higher estrogen levels. This variation in hormones has an impact on our endocannabinoid system (ECS).

THC and other cannabinoids in cannabis largely influence our health and wellbeing through their interaction with the ECS. With men and women having differences in our endocannabinoid systems, it should not come as a surprise that we may respond differently to marijuana.

More Men Use Marijuana

The first difference when it comes to men and women and cannabis has to do with who uses it. Men are up to four times more likely than women to try marijuana, although this gap is becoming smaller as cannabis gains greater legality and understanding. Additionally, men tend to use larger doses more often than women.

Experts believe that more men than women have tried marijuana due to their risk-taking behavior, which is linked to higher testosterone levels.

Women Build Tolerance Faster and Are More Likely to Become Addicted

In a 2016 study conducted by Ziva Cooper, a clinical neurobiology associate professor at Columbia University, Cooper sought to examine the difference between men and women when it comes to the pain-relieving properties of marijuana.

Amongst regular smokers, it was found that cannabis resulted in a greater reduction in pain in men than women. When examining animal studies, it appears that this difference may come down to tolerance. Women build a tolerance to THC faster than men, resulting in a need to consume more marijuana for the same effects.

What these studies demonstrate is that cannabis’s therapeutic potential may decline more rapidly in women than men. However, we need more studies before we can fully understand the long-term effects of cannabis use for both women and men.

What’s more, women are more likely to develop a dependence to cannabis. Even though cannabis use disorder is quite rare, it is possible to become addicted to cannabis, and it is more likely to happen in women than men.

Closing Thoughts

These differences in how men and women respond to cannabis are a warning that the benefits and risks of medical marijuana are likely to differ between men and women. Most studies examining this association have been conducted in animals, calling for further human studies to help direct both patients and doctors in the best way to use medical cannabis for men and women.


Arkansas Marijuana Card Logo
Arkansas Marijuana Card Doctor

If you are an Arkansan suffering from one of these 18 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.

Click here to learn more about what Arkansas Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (844-249-8714) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.

87 views0 comments


bottom of page