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Study: Does cannabis affect men and women differently?

Do males and females respond to cannabis differently? Not according to a new study from researchers in Australia.



Cannabis: men and women illustration
Some evidence has indicated that males and females respond to cannabis differently.

Do men and women respond to cannabis differently? Not according to a new study from researchers in Australia.

Investigators at the University of Sydney have found no real differences in the effects of vapourised cannabis in men and women. 

Some evidence has indicated that males and females respond to cannabis differently, while  conflicting studies suggest otherwise. 

It is an area worthy of more investigation, in order to assess for, and identify, sex differences so that treatments and policies can be designed in a way to be protective of both men and women.

The study, carried out at the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, found that there was no real systematic sex differences in acute cannabis effects, when taking a moderate dose of vaporised cannabis.

It combines data from two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to investigate possible differences among males and females in the acute effects of vaporised cannabis containing 13.75 mg of THC, with and without CBD (13.75 mg). 

This study compared a range of measures, including subjective drug effects, cognitive performance, cardiovascular effects, and plasma concentrations of THC, CBD, and relevant metabolites.

The findings suggest that men and women exhibit “relatively few differences” in their response to cannabis effects after controlling for differences including body mass index (BMI) and plasma THC concentrations.

Professor Iain McGregor, who co-authored the study, said: “Sometimes in science, a nothing result is a very interesting result. This analysis shows that for the male and female response to cannabis, the similarities far outweigh the differences in terms of subjective effects, cognitive effects, and blood THC and CBD concentrations.

“Any sex differences in this dataset are so subtle that they are probably not worth bothering about.”

However, he stressed that the higher doses or other forms of administration may produce different  results.  

Prof McGregor added: “Having said that we should acknowledge that we only examined one moderate dose of vaporised cannabis and so it is possible that with higher doses, or with oral administration of cannabis products, or mixing cannabis with something like alcohol, you might start to see something.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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