Women More Sensitive To THC

Psychology professor and researcher at Washington State University, Dr. Rebecca Craft, says that the cannabis plant is more effective in treating pain for women than men.  Her study shows that female rats are at least 30% more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of THC.  Recently published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Craft's study also proves that women are more likely to build a THC tolerance more quickly than men.

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Not all effects are as beneficial to women, though.  Craft also proved that women are more susceptible to cannabis abuse and dependence than men.  Cannabis withdrawal can cause symptoms like irritability, sleep disruption and decreased food intake, which Craft said seems to be more common in women.  The only instance in which men are affected more than women is when it comes to the "munchies."  Studies in California found that THC stimulated the appetites of male animals more than those of females.

Most clinical drug trials have been conducted on men because they are known to have a more stable hormonal profile.  Craft, however, has been studying drug sensitivities in females for years.  “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,” she said.

Craft and her team are also studying the effects of cannabidiol, which can counter some of THC’s negative side effects to better understand marijuana’s medical potential.  Dr. Craft's standard research method for her studies is approved by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning she is able to research and work with Schedule I drugs such as cannabis.