Doctor Rebecca Craft has good news for female medical marijuana patients: the plants effectiveness in treating pain is notably higher in women.
Doctor Craft, a Psychology professor and researcher at Washington State University, says that the existence of estrogen explains this difference. Of course, it is not all good news. Higher estrogen levels also leave women more sensitive to to some of the negative side effects, and Doctor Craft highlights much more potent marijuana as a catalyst for the study.
"Marijuana is very different today than it was 40 years ago," she said. "it is much higher in THC and much lower in cannabidiol (CBD), so a little goes a very long way."
Craft's study reveals that tests on female rats show they are at least 30% more likely to benefit from the pain-relieving qualities of THC. Unfortunately, the study also showed that the unpleasant effects of marijuana are more common for women, as well.
"We are more likely to see negative side effects today such as anxiety, confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations, or extreme paranoia," She said, "and women are at a higher risk."
The report from the university goes on to state that the clinical drug trials are commonly performed on men because of their fairly steady hormone levels. Craft, however, has been conducting tests on drug sensitivities in females for many years. She manipulates hormone levels to track changes in sensitivity and has determined that estrogen is the cause.
"What we are finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the female is ovulating-right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are just starting to come down."
The study also notes that females develop tolerance to THC more quickly that males. Craft's team studied the added pain-relief and its lessening over a 10 day period on a steady dose. Even while reducing the female dosage by factoring in sensitivity, females continued to develop tolerance faster than males.
In June of this year, Sabrina Febdrick wrote an editorial about women smoking less cannabis than men, and perhaps this article can shed further light on the subject.
So, what effect did the researchers find that was more pronounced in men than in women? The answer is not very impressive! According to the study, what sets the men apart seems to be the increased appetite for junk food-also known as the dreaded "munchie effect"!
P. Aiden Hunt
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