A study has found that women are more likely to get addicted to marijuana. This is because of the female hormone estrogen, which allows them to enjoy the high more.
The marijuana habit: men vs. women
The review on studies into animal behavior noted that men are four times more likely to try weed, thanks to their levels of testosterone. Because of this male hormone, men are also more likely to use higher doses of the drug.
To put it simply, females generally use cannabis less than males do. However, despite this, the study found that once women start consuming the drug, it becomes a habit more quickly for them.
See what hormones can do
Women can go first-hit-to-habit faster than men due to estrogen. This female sex hormone allows women to be more sensitive to the effects of cannabis. Estrogen facilitates the release of brain chemicals associated with pleasure and reward.
The research found that the differences in response between males and females were down to the influence of sex hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone on our endocannabinoid system.
According to the National Research Council of Italy’s Dr. Liana Fattore, co-author of the study, male sex steroids increase a man’s risk-taking behavior, as well as suppress his brain’s reward system. This explains why men are more likely to try cannabis and other drugs.
Women, Dr. Fattore said, appears to be more vulnerable at a neurochemical level, particularly in terms of developing an addiction to cannabis.
The importance of the study
The researchers said that finding out the differences between how marijuana affects the two sexes is important as more states and countries are looking to legalize or decriminalize cannabis.
The study’s findings could lead to gender-based drug addiction treatments.
Dr. Fattore said that identifying factors is critical when it comes to optimizing evidence-based treatment and prevention protocols.