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Is a woman’s tolerance to marijuana higher than a man’s? One study thinks so.

The New Zealand Herald reports:

Women are more likely to suffer negative effects of smoking cannabis – including depression, anxiety and paranoia – because their oestrogen levels make them more sensitive to its active ingredient, according to new research.

U.S. researchers found that female rats were at least 30 per cent more sensitive than males to the pain-relieving qualities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis, because of their increased oestrogen levels.

Experts said that the increased concentration of THC in today’s cannabis meant smokers are more likely to experience negative effects including anxiety, confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations or extreme paranoia, with women more at risk than men.

Previous studies have shown that women are more prone to cannabis abuse and dependence than men.

Women were also more likely to relapse when trying to quit smoking the drug.

The only effect of THC which appears to be more pronounced in men is in terms of appetite.

Studies in California found that THC stimulated the appetites of male animals more than those of females, meaning the “munchie effect” might be stronger for men than women.

The new study, published in journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, looked at the pain-relieving effects of THC on male and female rats.

After ten days of treatment, female rats were shown to be significantly more tolerant to THC than males.

Tolerance occurs when the rat “adapts” to THC so that larger doses are required to produce the same pain-relieving effects seen with the first dose.

Researchers expected females to be more sensitive to THC, so adjusted their doses to be 30 per cent lower than the doses for males. The females still developed more tolerance.

Lead author Professor Rebecca Craft, of Washington State University said: “This is the lowest dose anyone has ever used to induce tolerance.

“What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating – right when their oestrogen levels have peaked and are coming down,” she said.

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(Photo Source: AP)

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