With the legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington, research on the effects of cannabis is much more accessible. It's widely known that drugs and alcohol affect men and women differently — now, scientists can say the same about marijuana use and marijuana addiction.
Washington State University researchers found, through the study of female and male rats, that females are initially more sensitive to the effects of THC (the mind-altering compound in marijuana) but build up a tolerance faster to THC as compared to males. A quick build up of tolerance to any substance means the individual has to use more and more of that substance to feel its effect. This puts women at a higher risk for marijuana addiction.
For the study, researchers used female and male rats to investigate the pain relieving properties of THC. The female rats, at the start of the trial, displayed a higher sensitivity to THC, but after ten days of study the females needed a bigger quantity of THC as compared to the male rats to get the same extent of pain alleviation. While the female rats where initially more sensitive to THC, after the ten day trial, they required a higher dosage of THC, thus making them less susceptible to its effects.
Researchers also raised an interesting point: for women who use medication habitually to reduce and/or manage pain, in reality, how effective is the medication? The trial revealed how quickly females can build up tolerance to the pain-relieving compound THC — is it the same for other substances?
Socially and nation-wide, marijuana has garnered a lot of acceptance and there is a pervasive myth that cannabis is not addictive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Institute on Drug Abuse would strongly disagree — and the younger the person starts using marijuana, the greater the potential for addiction. According to the NIDA, 9 percent of people will become addicted to marijuana and that percentage almost doubles to 16 percent if they started using cannabis as teenagers.
Marijuana addiction is a real and prevalent issue. Everyday, men and women aim to stop using cannabis but can't seem to do on it their own and they face psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms as well. Now, science has shown that females are particularity susceptible to cannabis addiction.