Women Experience Same Effects as Men with Lower Dose of THC, Research Suggests
New research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology is exploring sex, gender and cannabis.
The study found that, with a lower dosage of THC, women were able to feel the same acute effects of cannabis consumed as men do.
Acute effects are the effects users experience immediately after consuming marijuana. These effects vary by user and are subject to several factors including tobacco, alcohol, experience, age and now gender.
Who was tested and how?
Researchers wanted to mirror real-world cannabis use practices in order to achieve the most accurate results. The participants were all between the ages of 19 and 25 years-old and consumed cannabis approximately one to four times per week.
Participants were asked to smoke a single cannabis cigarette with 12.5% or placebo. There were no restrictions, and participants were allowed to smoke as much of the cigarette as they wished. Researchers closely monitored the users’ vital signs and THC levels in their blood during the study, and also tested cognition abilities and measured subjective effects of the participants.
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 female participants had fewer levels of THC levels 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. Additionally, there were no apparent differences in mood or cognitive effects between men and women.
Research on how sex and cannabis relate are still in the early stages, so it’s difficult for researchers to say exactly why this occurs. However, they do believe this could be due to the differences in the way THC is metabolized in females. The way gender identity influences drug use behavior and the way users smoke may have also impacted the results.
What does this mean?
Throughout science’s long history, women have typically been left out of research studies, causing findings to be biased toward males. 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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