A recent review of animal studies has found that the differences in the way men and women are affected by marijuana aren’t just a social or cultural construct. The review found that those differences are rooted in biology (the differences between the genders).
The findings of the review appeared in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. The review explored the relationship between sex hormones like estrogen (estradiol), progesterone and testosterone on the endocannabinoid system in the body. That endocannabinoid system has similar (cannabinoids) chemicals to those found in cannabis.
The researchers found that males are more likely to try marijuana and also use higher doses of the substance. This can be attributed to the male sex hormone (testosterone) which encourages risky behavior.
Those same male sex hormones also suppress the reward system of the brain. This explains why higher doses may need to be consumed to get the same effect as the person felt upon first consuming the substance.
The suppressed reward system explains why men often take longer to get hooked on a substance. In contrast, women try smaller doses but get hooked faster than their male counterparts do.
Women have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains than men do. The receptors are concentrated in the areas of the brain which control the filtering of sensory input sent to the brain, body movement and social behavior. Women are therefore more likely to exhibit signs of being under the influence of cannabis when compared to men.
It was also found that the consumption of cannabis and other psychotropic substances often triggers the production of more estradiol in women. This triggers the urge to consume more cannabis or whatever substance has triggered the production of estradiol. Addiction is the result of that cycle.
The researchers found that the number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain of females increases as the individuals age. Increasing age has been correlated to high estrogen levels in women, so this finding isn’t different from what has already been known about the hormonal system of women.
Dr. Liana Fattore, the co-author of the study, remarked that detoxification programs need to be customized for the different genders if success rates are to increase. The measures to prevent a relapse into substance abuse should also be tailored to the needs and risks of each gender.
The study authors also called for further research to be conducted to get a better understanding of the source of the differences in the way men and women respond to cannabis. Cannabis companies like Golden Developing Solutions, Inc. (OTC: DVLP) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTC: GRYN) appreciate the work done by scientists to help society understand how and why cannabis affects the body.
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