It was believed that the differences between how men and women respond to cannabis were cultural, but a review of animal studies suggest it’s biological. Researchers at the National Research Council of Italy published their review in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, which examined the influence of sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone on the endocannabinoid system.

Men, for example, are up to four times more likely to try cannabis than women and use higher doses more frequently. “Male sex steroids increase risk-taking behavior and suppress the brain’s reward system, which could explain why males are more likely to try drugs, including cannabis,” stated Liana Fattore, Senior Researcher at the National Research Council of Italy and president of the Mediterranean Society of Neuroscience, the study’s co-author. “This is true for both natural male sex steroids like testosterone and synthetic steroids like nandrolone.”

On the other hand, women seem to find cannabis more addictive. It appears that sex hormones and their effects on the endocannabinoid system are the reason. “Gender-tailored detoxification treatments and relapse prevention strategies for patients with cannabis addiction are increasingly requested,” Fattore stated. “Optimizing personalized evidence-based prevention and treatment protocols demands further research on the source of sex disparities in cannabis response.”