If you’re a cannabis newbie who is considering the use of medical marijuana or cannabidiol (CBD) as a health supplement, you might not know where to begin to research. In addition to the over 700 marijuana strains currently circulating the legal cannabis market, perhaps the second most befuddling aspect for prospective consumers is how cannabis and its compounds might affect different sexes, as well as body or personality types. Let’s talk about whether CBD or marijuana affects women differently than men, typically.
Differentiating CBD and marijuana
Marijuana is the most popular variety of the cannabis plant, grown primarily for its psychoactive and narcotic properties. As of this writing, marijuana is commonly prescribed to patients with disorders like insomnia and chronic pain.
It’s also used recreationally or as a health supplement in states where recreational consumption is legal. Marijuana’s medicinal viability comes from its high concentration of terpenes and the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
On the other hand, CBD is the primary cannabinoid in hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis grown for industrial purposes. It’s important to differentiate cannabidiol from marijuana before talking about any different effects on women versus men.
CBD’s medicinal and therapeutic potential is increasingly well-documented in studies and preclinical trials. As a non-psychoactive compound, it is legal in all 50 states and is commonly available in isolate, concentrate and powder forms in dispensaries as well as health boutiques. You will need to acquire a medical marijuana card in order to purchase various kinds of cannabis.
As of this writing, CBD is most commonly extracted from hemp. However, it’s worth noting that CBD can also be extracted from orange peels, as well as high-CBD strains of marijuana in states where recreational cannabis consumption is legal.
Both men and women now commonly use a range of high-potency CBD oils for a variety of health conditions and physiological disorders. However, there are trends that distinguish the use of CBD between sexes. Men, for example, suffer higher rates of PTSD than women, while the latter are more likely to experience pain or mood disorders associated with PMS or osteoporosis.
All things considered, CBD or marijuana affects women more or less the same as men. However, other cannabinoids like THC do have markedly different effects between sexes. There are multiple forms of THC. In this post, let’s briefly examine how cannabinoids work, as well as how important physiological distinctions in men and women can influence sex differences in cannabinoid action.
How do cannabinoids like CBD and THC work?
While CBD and THC are markedly different in terms of psychoactivity, all cannabinoid effects are a result of their interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid systems (ECS). These systems regulate the production and uptake of hormones, as well as neurotransmitters, into the brain.
This can influence anything from the onset to the severity of a wide variety of chronic and sporadic conditions. Some examples are joint inflammation, depression, and even epilepsy.
How does CBD or marijuana affect women vs. men?
Here are three different ways to make comparisons. Please keep in mind that there are always exceptions. Here is the research.
1. Differences in cannabinoid action due to bodyweight distribution
According to a 1991 study by Hokuriku University in Japan, women are more prone to dizziness rather than psychoactivity when consuming marijuana due to their body weight distribution. They are also more susceptible to “visuospatial memory impairment” (i.e. forgetfulness) when consuming cannabinoids like THC.
Other studies suggest that because of their generally lower weight and BMI values, women may need less marijuana than men to feel its effects. On the other hand, men tend to be more susceptible to stimulatory effects of cannabinoids, such as increased focus and appetite.
These distinctions may help to explain why women are more likely to use marijuana and CBD for anxiety or mood disorders. It can also explain the popularity of cannabis compounds among male athletes.
2. Higher delta-9 THC levels in men link to higher marijuana “tolerance”
Aside from general differences in BMI, studies show that because men have higher delta-9 THC levels than women, they are generally able to consume more of most cannabis strains before experiencing its effects. This is to say that a male test subject would need to consume a minimum of approximately 10% more of a sedative Indica like Purple Kush before feeling drowsy relative to a test subject who is a woman.
While there are exceptions in some cases, this translates to an overall economic advantage among women cannabis consumers. Again, these are generalizations and not going to cover every person.
3. How marijuana affects women’s sex drive and function vs. men
As estrogen directly influences the brain’s receptiveness to external cannabinoids, cannabis can positively or negatively impact sexual desire in women, depending on two factors:
- Cannabinoid content
- Time of the month
Generally speaking, a woman’s peak endocannabinoid production occurs during ovulation. That means cannabinoids like THC or CBD should only be taken in small amounts at that time.
Conversely, some studies show that excessive cannabis consumption consistently negatively affects men’s sex drive and sperm production, particularly via smoking or vaping. That is why physicians sometimes put male patients with medical marijuana prescriptions onto conventional drugs when they are trying for a baby.
In the case of both sexes, the key to healthy sexual appetite and function is moderate marijuana consumption, albeit for different reasons.
Does this info on how CBD or marijuana affects women and men differently, in general, surprise you? Why or why not?
5 thoughts on “Does CBD or marijuana affect women differently than men?”
This is interesting, Christy. I’ve never tried either and probably never will, but it’s interesting to know.
Thank you for another great article about CBD and THC. I think both would also work very well as replacement medication for CrystalMeth addicts. Unfortunately not here in Germany. Michael
One of my concerns about legalizing CBD or marijuana is that these are drugs which is not regulated by health agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration. Approved drugs undergo rigorous clinical trials to establish the dosing and the benefit/safety profile. Just because Marijuana is legalized does not constitute it is always safe to use. It is found in the milk of breastfeeding mothers who use it. Its impact on the newborn’s development needs to be studied before women consider using it under these circumstances.
Absolutely. There is never a blanket way to use anything, whether it is legalized or not. Taking too much of certain vitamins, for example, can have major health consequences. Thanks for adding this notation here, Linnea.
Desperate for pandemic reprieve I turned to CBD supplements (THC not yet legal in my state)
Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. Research is lacking, I’m sure due in part to federal restrictions, but I’m a believer in the benefits. Just waiting for science to catch up.🌺