How sex, hormones and adolescence play a role in THC’s effects

How sex, hormones and adolescence play a role in THC’s effects
Cannabis Health News

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes Researchers at the University of Chicago have been exploring how cannabis – particularly THC – may affect certain demographics differently. In response to the increasing use of cannabis globally, a team of researchers at the University of Chicago have set out to better understand how it may affect certain demographics. As cannabis legalisation and access expands, they argue, it becomes increasingly crucial for people to understand it more fully. Harriet de Wit, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, is studying the effects of THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — in specific groups of people. Her research team recently released two papers on the effects of cannabis in women and adolescents.  The studies measured real-time effects of THC in human participants in tightly controlled settings.  They found that increasing doses of THC can increase bodily anxiety in women, and that compared to adults, adolescents are more negatively impacted by THC on cognitive tasks. Gender and hormones may play a role in THC’s effects  Historically, subjects in animal and human studies have been male, with researchers claiming that it is too difficult to control the fluctuating hormones in the female body.  Yet this is why it is crucial to include women, to understand the differences and potential risks when hormones enter the picture. Many individuals also take hormones as birth control or to affirm gender identity. These external hormones could interact with medical treatments and drugs as well. PhD candidate in the de Wit lab, Elisa Pabon, PhD, has published one of the first papers to examine the effects of THC specifically in women, as part of a larger study on the interaction of THC and the menstrual cycle.  In animal studies, responses to THC differ between males and…

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