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Women and Weed

We all know that smoking marijuana has an effect on people who use. But what we don’t talk about are gender differences, which do exist. This article will look at how marijuana affects women (cis-women) in particular. Unfortunately, little attention is being focused on this subject and to date the only data/tests that have been conduced has been on rats.

1. Women’s Sensitivity and Tolerance to THC.

THC is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for the high felt during use, and is the component that causes addiction. Interestingly, studies show that women respond differently to THC because of their naturally higher levels of estrogen, a female hormone. Estrogen receptors bind to the THC chemical strongly which in turn makes women feel the high stronger and quicker than men, meaning they have a higher sensitivity to this drug.

The stronger reaction to THC also plays into females’ tolerance to the drug. Tolerance is when a person needs a higher dose over time in order to feel the same level of high. Needing a stronger dose of THC every time they use is when marijuana addiction can start.

2. The Effects on Women’s Mental Health

Many people use cannabis to help “treat” or ‘self-medicate’ anxiety and depression. But what many people don’t know is that using cannabis can actually cause depression and anxiety. Regular cannabis use can cause your brain to stop creating dopamine which is the pleasure/happiness chemical and anandamide, the calming chemical. Cannabis floods the brains dopamine and anandamide receptors causing the brain to think it has plenty, so it stops producing it. So this results in a big impact on their mental health which can cause depression, anxiety, paranoia and potentially drug addiction.

3. Using before, during, and after pregnancy

Women who use cannabis during pregnancy usually say it’s for morning sickness. The concern is there could be fetal development damage such as an increased risk of lower birth rate and developmental problems such as autism, vision problems, or seizure like symptoms (WDG Public Health).

If a mother decides to breast feed while using cannabis, the chemicals and THC are transferred to the baby through the milk that can make a baby drowsy, making it hard for them to latch, and affects the baby’s movements and responses (WDG Public Health).

Even after pregnancy, there can be second hand smoke, including vapor from vape devices that can be very harmful for a new born.

Using cannabis has a slightly different effect on cis-women and it is not being talked about enough especially using cannabis during pregnancy. So far, the studies about women and weed have the same outcome, that cannabis has a negative effect on women, physically and mentally. I encourage women to share this information with others!

Look for future articles where we will go over how males are affected by marijuana. Check out Omni Youth Programs YouTube videos "Let’s Talk Pot Part 1: How Much Does Marijuana Help or Hurt?" and Lets Talk Pot Part 2: How does my young brain react to marijuana? to learn more about how marijuana can affect you. Check out our Facebook Live - Women and Weed for a more information about this blog!

Also follow us on social media where we share youth marijuana and alcohol prevention tips and data!


88 views12 comments


Adriana Espinoza
Adriana Espinoza

This blog post was very informative and shared many new facts concerning cis-women and THC. It is very interesting to read about how gender differences can impact the effects on our receptors. Estrogen can be very problematic with women in general; for example. hormonal birth controls with high estrogen levels have been linked to causing migraines, and other health-related issues. This has been very unheard of from the various research studies done on THC and its effects on the human brain. After reading this article, it is very apparent how important it is to get a diverse population and study its effects on all individuals. This has been noted in other research studies as well and can affect research study…


Eliana Padilla
Eliana Padilla

This blog provided some great information that is really important for women to know. I never knew there are gender differences with cannabis affects. So, I found the article very useful to better understand how cannabis affects women and babies. Not only can cannabis have negative effects on women but also babies during and after pregnancy. There are many developmental risks that come with using cannabis while pregnant and after if breastfeeding or if smoking or vaping near the baby. I now understand how important it is for women to be informed on the effects of cannabis. Especially when it comes to pregnancy since some may believe it is safe to use to help with morning sickness, but safer alternatives…



This was a very informative blog! I learned quite a lot of new facts that I was not aware of such as us women feeling a more faster and intense high than men. I am glad that I learned how marijuana use can affect women before, during, and after pregnancy and I hope more women look into this and realize how they can be affecting their baby.


Isabela Maldonado
Isabela Maldonado

This was such an informative blog, I really enjoyed learning new facts about cannabis and how it affects a woman’s body. However , what truly surprised me was the effects cannabis has on a baby while in the mother’s womb. I find it truly saddening that cannabis cuts the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients, the two most essential things a baby need to have a healthy development. With this being said, I hope there is more women being informed about the consequences of cannabis use during pregnancy because it can truly alter the life of another human being.


Lia Karapetyan
Lia Karapetyan

This article was very informative for women in general, does not matter what age or if you are pregnant or not. I myself did not realize that cannabis is more effective for women than it is for men. Of course, we all know that drugs are not okay to take as a pregnant woman, but to actually learn about the various effects and go into detail is very crucial and this article does just that. It was actually interesting to read that even though pregnant women say they use cannabis to help with morning sickness it is also mentioned that there is no evidence that marijuana helps with morning sickness. It was also interesting to learn that women respond differently…

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