New studies reveal that marijuana does a better job of relieving men’s pain than it does women’s. Researchers had suspected that there may be a difference in how men’s and women’s bodies react to cannabis treatments for pain, but now they have the numbers to back it up.
According to the study by researchers with the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Department of Psychiatry and the Columbia University Medical Center in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, active cannabis in men significantly reduced pain, whereas active cannabis “failed to decrease pain sensitivity” in women, relative to inactive cannabis. However, smoking marijuana provided pain-relieving affects immediately after smoking for both men and women.
The study was small, with only 42 participants, all who use marijuana recreationally. To study the pain-reducing qualities of smoking weed, the participants were given either active cannabis or a placebo, then placed their hands in cold water until they could no longer tolerate the pain, according to a study press release.
While the men in the study reported more pain relief than women, the researchers did not find a significant difference in how high the participants felt across sexes.
The study’s co-author said in a press release that the study can help shed light on how cannabis can be applied for medical purposes:
This study underscores the importance of including both men and women in clinical trials aimed at understanding the potential therapeutic and negative effects of cannabis, particularly as more people use cannabinoid products for recreational or medical purposes.