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Sex, drugs and estradiol: Why cannabis affects women differently

Cannabis use is riding high on a decade-long wave of decriminalization, legalization and unregulated synthetic substitutes. As society examines the impact, an interesting disparity has become apparent: the risks are different in females than in males.

A new review of animal studies says that sex differences in response to cannabis are not just socio-cultural, but biological too. Published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience , it examines the influence of sex hormones like testosterone, estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone on the endocannabinoid system: networks of brain cells which communicate using the same family of chemicals found in cannabis, called ‘cannabinoids’.

You should read the whole article!

Some interesting tidbits:

  • Men are natural risk-takers, so are more likely to start trying cannabis. But women are more likely to get addicted to cannabis.
  • The connection between endocannabinoid receptors and dopamine is stronger in women.
  • Estradiol seems to be connected to how women’s endocannabinoid system functions.
  • Cannabinoid receptors increase with age in women – older women may be more heavily affected by cannabis.