Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
January 3, 2023

In this article, we will explore the intriguing question of whether THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, exerts varying effects on men and women. We will delve into scientific research to uncover potential gender-based differences in how THC interacts with the bodies and minds of individuals. By dissecting the available data, we aim to shed light on whether factors such as hormones, metabolism, and brain structure contribute to distinct responses to THC in men and women.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

Physiological Differences and THC Metabolism

Influence on THC Metabolism Estrogen and testosterone play a role in the metabolism of THC. Research suggests that estrogen might enhance the breakdown of THC, potentially leading to shorter-lasting effects in women. Estrogen’s interaction with cannabinoid receptors and enzymes involved in THC metabolism. Testosterone’s potential influence on THC metabolism and its implications for men. Cytochrome P450 enzymes, responsible for metabolizing THC, can show gender-specific variations, affecting how quickly THC is broken down. Women might experience a slightly longer duration of THC effects due to differences in enzyme activity. Fat Percentage and THC Storage: THC is fat-soluble and can accumulate in fatty tissues. Variations in body fat percentage may lead to differences in THC storage and release, impacting the duration of effects. How body composition affects the release of THC into the bloodstream and its subsequent elimination.

Psychoactive Effects and Cognitive Responses

Studies suggest that women may experience greater impairments in memory and attention from THC. Gender-related differences in the degree of cognitive impairment after THC consumption. THC’s impact on mood regulation and potential gender-specific variations. How THC affects anxiety levels differently in men and women. Gender-based differences in motor coordination impairment caused by THC. How THC affects tasks requiring motor skills differently between genders.

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Pain Relief and Analgesic Effects

  • Research on varying pain sensitivity between men and women.
  • THC’s potential to modulate pain thresholds differently in males and females.
  • Efficacy of THC as an analgesic in the treatment of chronic pain and its gender-specific effectiveness.
  • How hormonal fluctuations might affect the analgesic effects of THC.

Addiction Potential and Withdrawal

Gender-Based Susceptibility: Gender-related factors contributing to differences in vulnerability to THC addiction.
Reward Pathway Variations: How the brain’s reward system responds to THC differently in men and women.
Severity and Duration for Men and Women: Gender-related variations in the severity and duration of THC withdrawal symptoms.
Hormonal Contributions to Withdrawal: Hormonal fluctuations and their potential influence on withdrawal experiences.

Medical Applications and Therapeutic Effects

THC’s Impact on Neurological Conditions: Gender-specific responses to THC treatment in neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
Recent Research Findings: Emerging studies on gender-based differences in THC’s neurological effects.
Menstrual Pain and THC Treatment: Exploring THC’s potential role in alleviating menstrual pain and related symptoms.
Gender-Based Efficacy in Hormone-Related Therapies: How THC might interact with hormone-related conditions differently in men and women.

Emerging Research and Considerations

  • Overview of recent studies focusing on gender-specific responses to THC.
  • How understanding gender-based differences can inform personalized cannabis therapies.
  • Addressing historical biases and underrepresentation in cannabis research.
  • Steps toward conducting unbiased and inclusive research in the field.


As we conclude our exploration into whether THC affects men and women differently, it becomes evident that there are various factors contributing to gender-based variations in responses to this psychoactive compound. While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of these differences and their underlying mechanisms, existing evidence suggests that hormonal, physiological, and neurological factors all play a role. Acknowledging these disparities is crucial for tailoring cannabis-based therapies and interventions that cater to the unique needs of both men and women.

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