Cannabis effects on Men vs Women

Does Cannabis Affect Men And Women Differently?

Until fairly recently, there was not a lot of research on cannabis due to its classification as a Schedule 1 drug. Now that medical marijuana is legal in many states, however, there is a growing body of research investigating how cannabis affects users and what other outside factors play a role. One of the most interesting questions being researched today is how the effects of cannabis differ according to gender. What researchers are finding is that biological sex differences have a significant impact on how cannabis affects the body.

Effects That Are Common To Both Men And Women

Although this article will focus mainly on sex-based differences in the effects of cannabis, it’s important to note that many effects are more or less the same for both men and women. The effects of cannabis are caused primarily by two cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Products that are high in THC create feelings of euphoria and relaxation in most users. Some negative effects are also common across genders. These can include an increase in feelings of stress, heightened impulsivity, a drop in body temperature, addiction, and cognitive problems, including difficulty with learning and memory.

Products that contain mostly or only CBD do not create a high. Featured i49 seeds like I49 CBD 20:1 and Harlequin 18:1 seeds satisfy this criteria as they are CBD dominant. We also offer seeds with a more even-keel split of the two cannabinoids such as CBD Jack Herer and CBD Diesel Fem.

The effects of CBD have not been well researched in humans, and we only have anecdotal evidence to go by. However, according to reports from users, men and women are equally likely to experience benefits from CBD, such as pain relief and a decrease in anxiety.

Differences In Cannabis Use Between Men And Women

Traditionally, men have been much more likely to use cannabis than women, but thanks to legalization in many states, the gender gap is closing. According to a 2019 survey conducted in Canada, a little over 18% of male respondents had used cannabis in the previous 3 months, compared to 15% of females.

However, this data doesn’t capture some differences in cannabis use between men and women. For one thing, men consume cannabis in higher quantities than women do. One explanation for this may lie in the simple fact that men, on average, have a higher body mass than women and need more of the substance to experience effects. In addition, smoking marijuana has traditionally been more socially acceptable among men than women

Men and women also have different preferences for the forms of cannabis they consume. While flower and vape pens are the two most popular products for both genders, women are more likely than men to use edibles, tinctures, sublinguals, and topicals. Women are also using CBD-only products at higher rates than men are.

Why Cannabis Affects Men And Women Differently

Not only do men and women have different patterns of use, but they also experience cannabis differently due to different hormones and brain receptors that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The active chemicals in cannabis are called cannabinoids, and the most well-known is THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. However, the human body also produces its own endocannabinoids that affect sleep, moods, appetite, memory, and fertility, among other things. These chemicals belong to the ECS, a cell-signaling system which includes endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. All of these parts are moderated by sex hormones.

The hormone testosterone is much higher in men than in women, and high levels of this hormone are associated with an increase in risk-taking behavior and a lower response to the brain’s reward system. This means that men are more likely than women to try marijuana and to use it in higher doses.

The female sex hormone estrogen controls the level of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), a chemical that degrades anandamide, a bliss-inducing endocannabinoid that is the body’s equivalent of THC. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s cycle, and when estrogen is low, anandamide is broken down more quickly, often causing a more depressed emotional state and a lower response to THC. When estrogen is high, on the hand, the effects of THC are magnified. However, female cannabis users should be aware that taking THC can also interfere with the body’s feedback system and prevent natural hormonal regulation.

These two sex hormones and others also control the number of receptors for cannabinoids in the brain, which has an impact on how the brain responds to cannabis and seems to account for some sex-based differences. Genetics, body size, and metabolism are some other factors that also play a role in how men and women experience cannabis differently.

Cannabis Effects That Are More Common in Men

As mentioned above, the higher level of testosterone in men modulates certain cannabis effects. The following are some of the effects that men are more likely to experience than women.

  • Slower Tolerance Build-up. When men use cannabis, they build up a tolerance more slowly than women do, which allows men to have a much more consistent and predictable response to the substance. Some researchers have suggested that cannabis tolerance is related to pain tolerance, which is lower in men than in women.
  • Pain Relief. Although both men and women report some analgesic effects from cannabis, studies have shown that men get more pain relief than women.
  • Appetite Increase. Men are also more susceptible than women to an increase in appetite when they smoke marijuana or use other forms of high-THC cannabis. In a 2016 study, 75% of male participants reported an appetite increase after consuming marijuana, compared with 70% of females in the study. Furthermore, only 8% of males reported a loss of appetite, compared with 11% of females.
  • Decline in Libido and Fertility. THC causes a temporary reduction in the level of testosterone in the body. For men, this means a decrease in libido, or desire for sex. Also, studies have shown that cannabis may decrease fertility in men because it reduces the motility of sperm cells and interferes with their proper formation.

Cannabis Effects That Are More Common in Women

Women also experience certain effects more prominently than men due to their different body chemistry and hormonal cycles. The following are some of the ways that cannabis affects women.

  • Faster Tolerance Buildup. Women are known to develop a much faster tolerance to cannabis than men. This means that they need increasing amounts of the drug in order to get the benefits they seek. Consequently, women are somewhat more susceptible than men to cannabis use disorder.
  • More Negative Symptoms. While women experience positive effects from cannabis, they are also more likely than men to report negative symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, stress, and irritability.
  • More Withdrawal Symptoms. Women also suffer more from withdrawal when they stop using cannabis or significantly decrease their dosage. Compared with men, women experience more sleep disruption, loss of appetite, anxiety, and nausea, a symptom that is rarely reported by men.
  • Increase In Libido. While cannabis can inhibit men’s sexual activity, it tends to enhance women’s desire for sex, particularly in smaller doses. There is no doubt that this fact played into the naming of the infamous love potion strain. Most sativa strains in face will cause a rush of blood to the brain which can enhance mood, energy, and arousal levels.

Taking too much cannabis, however, can not only decrease sexual response but it can dry out vaginal tissue. Indica strains can also have this kind of downer effect, although for some users the body-high they provide really gets them in the sensual mood.

Implications For Using Cannabis As A Medical Treatment

Nowadays, cannabis is used for medical as well as recreational purposes, and men and women may get different health benefits. For example, cannabis is often used to treat anxiety, but it can induce anxiety in some people. Women are more likely to experience increased anxiety from cannabis than men.

Similarly, medical marijuana is often prescribed as a treatment for nausea, and it can be effective for both sexes. However, women are more likely to experience nausea as a side effect of cannabis than men. Getting the right dosage, however, can reduce the risk of stomach upset.

Both men and women can use cannabis successfully for pain management, though men tend to get more pain relief than women. Women, however, may benefit more when their pain symptoms are related to their menstrual cycle.

Points To Remember

Your sex can have an impact on the way cannabis affects your body and mind. Here are a few points to remember:

  • Women tend to build up a tolerance to cannabis quickly, which can motivate them to increase their dosage to the point that they develop cannabis use disorder. Thus, it’s a good idea for women to take the occasional tolerance break.
  • Women should also pay attention to how their tolerance changes throughout their menstrual cycle. Some women find that their tolerance is higher around their period.
  • Although women build up a tolerance faster, men are significantly more likely to develop a dependency on cannabis (and other drugs) than women.
  • Men should also be aware of the potential negative effects of cannabis on their fertility. THC can interfere with both libido and sperm production.


In the younger generation, the gender gap in cannabis use is narrowing rapidly, and it’s more important than ever to understand how male and female bodies react to THC and CBD. Although many existing studies on cannabis effects have used only male subjects, newer research is focusing more on women to balance out our scientific knowledge base.

Remember that the i49,net team is always here to provide you with the knowledge you need to make growing your own autoflower seeds or feminized seeds a great success. In addition to our extensive library of grow guide articles we also have a detailed FAQ page and a contact form for other specific questions.

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