Smoking marijuana provides more pain relief for men than women

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that men had greater pain relief than women after smoking marijuana.

Results of the study were recently published online in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“These findings come at a time when more people, including women, are turning to the use of medical cannabis for pain relief,” said Ziva Cooper, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurobiology (in psychiatry) at CUMC. “Preclinical evidence has suggested that the experience of pain relief from cannabis-related products may vary between sexes, but no studies have been done to see if this is true in humans.”

In this study, the researchers analyzed data from two double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies looking at the analgesic effects of cannabis in 42 recreational marijuana smokers. After smoking the same amount of either an active or placebo form of cannabis, the participants immersed one hand in a a cold-water bath until the pain could no longer be tolerated. Following the immersion, the participants answered a short pain questionnaire.

After smoking active cannabis, men reported a significant decrease in pain sensitivity and an increase in pain tolerance. Women did not experience a significant decrease in pain sensitivity, although they reported a small increase in pain tolerance shortly after smoking.

Despite differences in pain relief, men and women did not report differences in how intoxicated they felt or how much they liked the effect of the active cannabis.

The authors noted that additional studies in both men and women are needed to understand the factors that impact the analgesic effects of cannabinoids, the active chemicals in cannabis products, including strength, mode of delivery (smoked versus oral), frequency of use and type of pain measured.

“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,” said Dr. Cooper.

12 Comments

  1. “Despite differences in pain relief, men and women did not report differences in how intoxicated they felt or how much they liked the effect of the active cannabis.”

    Loved this little note, haha!

    • The article included these as a measure of abuse liability and found that this did not differ between sexes. Interesting that it was left out in this post.

  2. Tony Pepperoni on

    My wife uses it for migraines. No pill no matter the price comes anywhere close to the relief from a few puffs. I use it for… let’s say stress. Sure, stress.

    • Magnesium Oil is fantastic for migraines and overall health. Transdermal Magnesium Therapy is amazing and inexpensive.

    • I use it for neck pain due to working 8 hours a day on a computer and it’s great too for headache. Not sure if it’s just me but I seem to process information and analyze patterns much faster than I would “sober”.

      • Tony Pepperoni on

        You are not alone. I don’t know if you code, but I have heard it can be quite helpful in that profession.

        • I do code and smoke weed at the same time. I feel like it boosts how fast I can analyse patterns in code and solve issues or find better ways to make something work. 🙂 Same goes for design idea’s (I’m frontend dev and ui-ux designer)

  3. This “study” or at least the way it’s discussed seems incredibly amateur. I’m confident a frat party bluntfest on a given night of the week could produce results with more validity. On that note I’m gonna go jack off.