Women Are More Sensitive To Marijuana But Also Build Tolerance Faster, Says New Study

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 20: Ryme Windham smokes marijuana at 4:20 pm outside at Hempfest on April 20, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle Hempfest is an annual event for the purpose of educating the public about the benefits of marijuana and advocating for its decriminalization. (Photo by Meg Roussos/Getty Images)
Source: Meg Roussos/Getty Images News/Getty Images

For all the women out there who enjoy lighting up, science has some new findings you might want to hear about. Apparently, women are more sensitive to THC, the mind-altering chemical compound in marijuana. But women also develop a tolerance to THC more quickly than men do, which makes it sound like things even out in the end, but actually could indicate we're more likely to get addicted to weed. 

This new information comes from researchers at Washington State University, and it isn't really definitive — for one thing, the researchers were looking at rats, not people. But since rats also have a menstrual cycle and associated hormone shifts, they feel that their conclusions may very well hold true for humans as well. In the study, THC acted as a pain killer for the rats, with the female rats initially needing less THC to relieve pain, meaning they were more sensitive to the substance. However, after just 10 days, the female rats needed more THC than their male counterparts to get the same pain relieving effects. In other words, they built up a tolerance incredibly fast. 

Assuming this pattern is similar in humans, scientists say it could mean that women are at a higher risk for marijuana addiction since people who develop a tolerance to a drug more quickly are generally more likely to also get addicted. Of course, it is very difficult to get addicted to marijuana in the first place, though it does still happen. Still, the study has important implications, especially since most studies on marijuana dependence have focused mainly on men

If there are major differences in how marijuana affects the different sexes, that's important to know. After all, as marijuana becomes a more and more accepted treatment for medical disorders, doctors should know how it might affect their male and female patients differently. And it's always good for recreational users to know more about how they might be affected as well, especially as weed keeps getting decriminalized all over the place. 

So if you're a woman who's into weed, it never hurts to be a little more cautious about the way it's affecting you — and to realize that the way your experiences with weed change over time might not match up with what your guy friends tell you to expect. The more you know, right?

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