MJWellness
Apr 19, 2016 8:10 AM

Long-Term and Short-Term Effects of Marijuana on Men and Women

When scientists talk about cannabis effects, they usually do not pay much attention to the difference between how marijuana affects men and women. And there is a difference to be sure. Today, MJWellness will tell you about how exactly men's marijuana experience may differ from the one of a woman.

Marijuana Effects on Men and Women

General effects

According to a recent study, cannabis does indeed affect different genders in a different way. Moreover, the way men usually consume cannabis differs from the way ladies get high. Men also tend to consume weed more frequently and in larger amounts than women do.

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As for the effects of cannabis, the majority of male cannabis users experience increased food intake while being high. Female cannabis users, on the other hand, reported having some memory troubles after using marijuana.

In 2014, there was a study conducted by a group of researchers from the Washington State University. According to the study, females are more sensitive to the effects of THC, one of the most common chemical compounds found in cannabis. The difference is the most obvious when women are ovulating due to the fast changing levels of estrogen in their bodies.

Sex

There is an opinion that weed may help men improve their sexual performance, and this hypothesis is supported by recent surveys. The only problem is that these results are based on subjective opinion of the participants, not on scientifically verified data. This caveat is important, especially considering the fact that marijuana may alter your perception of time.

Other studies, however, show that not only cannabis does not improve men's sexual life, but it can also actually cause significant harm to erection. According to an animal study, marijuana can block some receptors responsible for erection, so the plant appears to be a sexual inhibitor instead of an enhancer. Still, there is a chance that cannabis is not as harmful to humans as it seems to be to animals. Besides, some scientists think that it all comes to the amount of consumed marijuana, suggesting that the higher is the dosage of weed, the more harmful are the effects caused by it. Another study confirms that theory, showing the risk of erectile dysfunction development is three times higher for permanent marijuana smokers than for those who do not smoke cannabis at all.

As for women, in contrast to men they may improve their sex life with the help of cannabis. According to a study conducted in 1996, the sensitivity the brain has to the external cannabinoids depends on the level of estrogen. In small doses, cannabis increases sexual appetite in women. In larger doses, however, the plant may cause the opposite effect.

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Fertility

Aside from the sexual life, marijuana may affect your ability to start a family. When it comes to male fertility, smoking weed more that once per week may decrease sperm count by a third, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Even more disturbing is the fact that according to a study conducted at the University at Buffalo in 2003, marijuana may make sperm less fertile even if the man was not the one who used to smoke cannabis. If a woman smokes cannabis or uses other recreational drugs, her reproductive fluids contain these drugs. So, once the sperm enters her body, it will interact with THC from cannabis or other active compounds of the drug the woman has consumed.

When it comes to female fertility, cannabis appears to be just as dangerous for women as it is for men. Animal studies show that THC may inhibit secretion of the pituitary hormones and cause disruption of ovulation. Heavy marijuana use may also be harmful to women who attempt to get pregnant or already are pregnant.

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Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: What Women Should Know
There are many patients that use cannabis only because they need to ease the pain. And it is not a secret that even some pregnant women and those who recently gave birth to a child may need marijuana pain relief.

On the other hand, marijuana may help women deal with menstrual cramps and give them some pain relief, acting as a natural painkiller. Not to mention that there are hundreds of various strains of cannabis that have different effects.

Marijuana and Hormones

Marijuana's capability to affect our hormones deserves special attention. For men, the level of testosterone is one of the most important health factors. Not only men's sexual performance but the general quality of their life depends on the level of testosterone.

There are several studies suggesting that THC can affect human endocrine system by blocking the secretion of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus. This leads to a decrease in production of LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and decreases the production of testosterone. Furthermore, THC is able to inhibit some testicular enzymes that a man's body needs to produce testosterone.

Another study conducted back in 1974, suggests, however, that marijuana is not as harmful to a man's health as other researchers think. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, chronic marijuana use is not associated with decreased plasma testosterone.

Moreover, according to a study conducted in 1984, these unpleasant effects of marijuana smoking on the endocrine system are reversible.

As for women, the main hormone females need to worry about when they smoke marijuana is prolactin—a hormone that is responsible for a woman's capability to produce milk. According to a study published in 1985 in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, smoking marijuana can lower the level of plasma prolactin. If a woman smokes weed during the luteal phase (the post-ovulatory part of a woman's cycle), it significantly lowers the level of prolactin in her body. However, marijuana has no significant effects on prolactin levels in women during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

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5 Ways Marijuana Can Improve Women's Health
New market niches for cannabis products appear daily, especially when it comes to products related to women's health. After all, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, four years ago women made up nearly 50 percent of all marijuana consumers.

Marijuana as a medicine

When it comes to using marijuana as an alternative medicine, the effects are pretty much similar for all genders. Each state where marijuana is legalized for medical use has its list of qualifying conditions. Stress, pain, and cancer are the most common problems you can legally solve with the help of weed. In some states, patients with ADHD, PTSD, or AIDS can also medicate with cannabis. And usually, it does not matter whether the patient is a man or a woman.

You still need to remember that your personal response to consuming marijuana in any form depends not only on your gender but on other physical and emotional factors as well. Some people are less sensitive to marijuana effects and therefore have to consume more than an average dose of cannabis to get the same effect, and vice versa.

Marijuana and psychology

Surprisingly, the main difference between male and female weed consumers is not the effects each gender experiences when consuming marijuana but the reasons why they use it in the first place. According to a study, men are usually influenced by external factors. They start smoking marijuana because their friends smoke or simply because the drug is available and they can get it easily. Male marijuana smokers also tend to have a strong marijuana-using social network that encourages them to continue consuming weed.

Women, however, have a bit different motivation. Usually, female marijuana users consume weed to cope with various internal factors: from personal relationship issues to anxiety. And according to a study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases in 2010, women are more likely to combine marijuana with other substances, including prescription drugs.

How Effective is Medical Marijuana for Anxiety?
How Effective is Medical Marijuana for Anxiety?
Using marijuana for anxiety has already helped millions of people around the world. Taking into account that there are more than 40 million of people suffering from anxiety only in the United States, we consider this issue to be of high importance.

So, probably the most important thing both genders have to keep in their minds is that they better watch their dose and consume cannabis responsibly, and they will keep the negative effects of weed at bay.

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