Do Women Get the Munchies More Than Men?

Getting the munchies is one of the more enjoyable effects of weed. But a new study shows that women may have the upper hand with this favourable side-effect. 

We note that the subject contained in this article represents illegal activity in certain jurisdictions. Whilst we do not condone any acts which are contrary to any such laws, we understand that readers in those jurisdictions which have decriminalised cannabis may find this article of interest.

Weed affects everyone differently. Yet, amongst all the side-effects, experiencing the munchies is perhaps one of the most satisfying when getting high. Now, some researchers are suggesting that the munchies can affect men and women differently.

Weed stimulates our appetite while encouraging feelings of satisfaction after eating. Because of this, medical marijuana is a reliable treatment option. Disorders such as anorexia and cachexia (chemotherapy-induced weight loss) are qualifying conditions to utilise weeds munchie-inducing effects.

As research develops, understanding how cannabis affects our bodies is becoming more insightful. This is especially the case when it comes to differences between men and women. 

A new study published by the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence suggests that women experience more cravings than men. 

Let's take a closer look. 

The Study

The study aimed to investigate the differences self-reported cravings experienced between men and women who were heavy users of cannabis. There were 112 participants (54 females and 58 males), all of which were heavy, frequent cannabis users. 

Participants were asked to complete several questionnaires. These assessed the participant's cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and overall effects of cannabis use on their daily functioning. Participants were asked to complete the questionnaires before undergoing an MRI.

The questionnaire analysing participants cravings was taken before and after measuring brain activity. During the MRI, participants completed a series of cannabis-cue tasks to measure cravings.

Afterwards, an fMRI was used to measure the metabolic function in brain activity. This was completed by analysing changes in blood flow after responding to each task. The fMRI could identify the neural activity that was elicited by appetite stimulation when being shown a cannabis-cue.  

The study concluded that there was no difference in neural activity between men and women. However, females self-reported to experiencing higher levels craving. This means that regardless of neural activity for appetite stimulation, women still felt a stronger case of the munchies. 

The study went on to conclude that this may be correlated with the female estrogen levels. Females who experienced the strongest cravings were in the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle (when estrogen levels peak).

Researchers stipulated that these findings are still preliminary and further investigation is needed to confirm the conclusions. This is partly based on previous findings that suggest that there is no difference between male and female cravings. 

Men, Women, and Weed

While these findings are still preliminary, the differences between men and women regarding cannabis use are extensive. 

Men, for example, are more likely to smoke weed from an earlier age than females. Men are also more like to have more frequent smoking habits. Females, on the other hand, experience more intense withdrawal symptoms in cases of cannabis use disorder (CUD). This could mean that females are more susceptible to the effects of cannabis. In turn, encouraging them to become dependent on the plant. 

Interestingly, while females tend to start smoking at an older age, they develop and reach the "milestones" of CUD more quickly than men. As a result, the overall age of females seeking treatment for CUD is younger. 

Females also develop a dependence more quickly than men, yet are less likely to have reduced pain sensitivity as a result of cannabis use. 

Research is still evolving on the subject. However, this may indicate that difference in withdrawals, cravings, and rate of dependence is associated with the psychological discrepancies and neurological activity between men and women. 

Weed in Women's World

Weed is a long-standing aid in helping women for centuries. Females have utilised the drug to help with nausea, period pain, and endometriosis for centuries. It, therefore, comes as a surprise to realise that research into understanding why females respond differently is lacking.

The differences between weed's effect between men and women are still relatively in its infancy. Discrepancies between the genders are still, however, continuing to emerge.

There is conflicting evidence surrounding the likelihood of depressive symptoms amongst men and women. Yet, cannabis metabolises differently between genders. 

One thing that remains conclusive is the lack of females used in cannabis-based studies. This includes animal studies in pre-clinical trials. 

In a crucial time of development for the cannabis industry, legalisation and cannabis policy is evolving now more than ever. More research is needed to understand the sex-differences in cannabis use.

By harnessing the differential implications of the plant, research can guide us into more beneficial medical utilisation and intervention styles. 

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Taylor Ridewood
Taylor Ridewood

Taylor is a Sydney-based writer with a background in psychology and professional writing. She has a keen interest in the benefits of medicinal cannabis and enjoys researching the multi-faceted effects of cannabis on the body and mind.

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