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Estrogen Renders Females More Sensitive to Pot

Update Date: Sep 03, 2014 04:36 PM EDT
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High levels of estrogen may render females dependent on marijuana, a new study reveals.

The study found differences in tolerance levels of male and female rats to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic component in cannabis. The findings of Washington State University researchers show that drug sensitivity is the highest during ovulation.

"What we're finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating - right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down," Professor Rebecca Craft, one of the researchers in the study, reportedly said according to Medical Xpress.

The team found that female rats also developed a high degree of tolerance even at low doses. The team dosed female rates with 30% lower dose than male rates. Tolerance sets in when, over a period of time, existing dose may not be sufficient to produce pain relieving effects requiring larger doses.

Craft pointed out that recreational marijuana in present times has been selectively cultivated to contain higher amounts of THC and lower concentrations of cannabidiol, known to counter former's ill-effects.

"Marijuana is very different than it was 40 years ago," she said. "It's much higher in THC and lower in cannabidiol, so a little bit goes a very long way. We're more likely to see negative side effects today like anxiety, confusion, panic attacks, hallucinations or extreme paranoia. And women are at higher risk," she said, according to Science Daily.

Medical News Today said Craft and her team's studies is among the few studies which have extensively studied tolerance in females, as earlier studies have focused only on males, though it was known that females have higher tolerance to the effects of marijuana. The study assumes significance in the backdrop of legalization of recreational pot in Washington and Colorado states

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