Men have traditionally been the largest group of pot consumers. But as women gradually begin to catch up, the gender-based effects of cannabis are sparking an interest from medical researchers. As it turns out, there are a few stark differences biologically as well as behaviorally when it comes to how THC is processed by the body and the key motivations that drive these differences.

1. Women develop tolerances faster than men

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This has a lot to do with the way THC metabolizes within the body’s fatty tissue. Since women have more body fat than men, their bodies tend to store more THC and eventually require more and more cannabis to feel the effects.

A woman’s reproductive cycle seems to also be correlated with this tolerance issue. In Medical News Today, Washington State University funded a study to assess sex differences in regards to sensitivities to THC. Professor Rebecca Craft who led the study said,

What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating. Right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down.

3. Men may derive greater pain-relieving effects

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Researchers from the National Institute of Health had male and female subjects consume THC before immersing their hands in freezing cold water for as long as possible before pulling them out. They found that the men could generally tolerate the freezing water for a longer duration.

3. Women are more prone to pot abuse and dependence

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Women have a tendency to use as a treatment for several hormonal or feminine-based symptoms. Mood-regulation, sleep support and the positive effects that marijuana has on PMS and menopause are all common reasons why women may wind up with heavier dependencies.

The other drawback from this is that women seem to be more likely to develop harsher withdrawal symptoms once they stop ingesting marijuana. This plays a key role since there’s a higher chance of relapsing in order to quell the chills, sweats, insomnia, irritability, etc.

4. Men are more likely to get the “munchies”

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In the same Washington State Study, it was found that the “only THC reaction where males exhibited more sensitivity than females,” was when it came to increased appetites. This may be due to the lowered tolerance factor that men experience.

As the body adjusts, regular pot consumers are less likely to get the munchies that tend to come with a fresher high. Since women develop tolerances a lot faster, it makes sense that men (who absorb less THC in general) would be more susceptible to the munchie factor.

5. Men and women use cannabis for different reasons

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Men are more prone to use in groups or when under pressure by peers. Whereas women tend to utilize the plant as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress, which may be another reason why women develop more intense dependencies. But men are increasingly using marijuana to consciously treat disorders such as depression, PTSD, and ADHD.