Marijuana Treats Pain in Men More Effectively Than in Women

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Marijuana Is More Effective for Men Than Women

A study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center found that marijuana may be more effective at treating pain in men than in women. The study, which was published online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, involved analysis from two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies.

Researchers focused on the analgesic effects of cannabis in 42 recreational cannabis smokers. Participants in the study were given a specific amount of marijuana or placebo to smoke. The participants were then immersed in an ice bath until they couldn't stand the pain anymore, they then followed up the experience by answering a short questionnaire.

Males Experience Far Less Pain After Smoking Cannabis

The male participants who smoked cannabis reported significant decreases in pain sensitivity and a higher pain tolerance. Females who’d smoked cannabis during the study, however, didn’t experience a significant decrease in pain sensitivity, though they did experience a small increase in pain tolerance. Both men and women who smoked cannabis during the study, compared to those who smoked the placebo, reported equal levels of how “intoxicated” they felt despite the varying results in pain-reducing effects.

Are the Marijuana Study Results Accurate?

A HelloMD survey found that only 36% of medical marijuana users are women, compared to 64% who are men. The survey also found that pain was the second most common reason, after anxiety, for patients to use medical cannabis. A Journal of Pain study from 2012 also found that women tend to feel pain more intensely than men do. All of these statistics lead to the question: Could the smaller number of women using medical cannabis possibly have something to do with the less positive results experienced by women as compared to the more positive results experienced by men, who make up the majority of cannabis users?

More Research Is Needed on Cannabis’s Effects on Men vs. Women

There’s plenty of room for further investigation into how cannabis affects genders differently. Other factors such as different cannabis delivery methods or types of pain could also change the outcome of the study. Since it seems women need to ingest higher levels of cannabis to control pain, this could lead to the emergence of more female-specific products—targeted to work with the body chemistry of women.

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