Women May Build Up Marijuana Tolerance Quicker Than Men

By Rebecca McCurry 10/13/2014

Due to estrogen levels, females tend to build up a tolerance to marijuana at a quicker rate than men do, studies show. Drug and Alcohol Dependence recently published a study led by psychology professor Rebecca Craft to backup these findings. The study was supported by a grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


When lab rats were studied, it was concluded that female rats were “30 percent more sensitive to the pain-relieving qualities of THC” and they were also found to develop a tolerance to the THC more quickly than males. The study explained that these sensitivities can increase an individual's vulnerability to the adverse effects that may come with marijuana, including paranoia, anxiety, and addiction.


Researchers chose to use lab rats because of the similarities in menstrual cycles to humans, both having shorter and similarly functioning cycles. During the beginning of the study, the female rats were showing that they had a higher sensitivity to the THC. After around ten days, they began to need high doses than their male counterparts, and this was after Craft adjusted the dose to 30% lower than the male's dose due to the sensitivities.


The study with the rats determined that the females were able to adapt quickly to their doses, which caused their body to need more for pain management. This results of the study cause Rebecca Craft concern. She believes this might mean females are at higher risk of abusing marijuana and suffering cannabis withdrawal syndrome, which can lead to irritability, lack of appetite, and decreased sleep.


Craft and her team of researchers hope to gain more insight into the many possibilities of medical marijuana, and they plan on studying cannabidiol, which can lessen the adverse effects that THC may bring. Her studies hope to help those with chronic pain, those that suffer debilitating back and joint pain, and conditions that make it hard to function normally.


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