Are Females More Sensitive Than Males to the Effects of Stimulant Drugs?

With the discussion between men and women always circling around roles in our societal makeup, some former addicts and healthcare researchers are discovering something interesting: Women seem to have a higher response to stimulants. For reasons we later discuss in this article, the female population seems to have a greater potentiation for Cocaine and other stimulant-based narcotics in both the long and short term. Clinical trials and extensive lab testing has shown, unequivocally, that females are at a higher risk of abuse with stimulants. Although these statistics and findings may seem daunting and intimidating, know that recovery is always within reach. Our lives, and the lives of those struggling with addiction within our community, are worth fighting for.

Weight and Its Role in Drug Abuse

To understand why females are at increased risk of drug overdose and euphoria, it’s important to understand the role body weight plays in potency. The general consensus has always been that a person with a smaller frame would require less medication to produce the same result as a larger individual. This approach has been used regularly within clinical situations for accurate assignment of drugs to visitors for certain ailments.

However, this has caused a large problem within the alternative-drug community. Many of the overdose-related incidents come from a misunderstanding, or miscalculation, within the ingestion phase of illegal substances. The female body, in a general sense, has less mass than their male counterpart. This creates a difficult speculation in how much of the drug to consume to produce a desired effect. The female may see a male friend consume a certain amount and, mistakenly, take the same dosage. This can lead to serious problems like overdose, loss of consciousness, unwanted euphoria and loss of basic bodily functions.

Hormonal Differences

Biological makeup also plays a significant role in the ability for a substance (in this case, stimulants) to influence a woman’s body. Although men and women share several genetic traits within their genetic makeup, women have a female hormone referred to as Estradiol. Estradiol radically increases the effectiveness of stimulant drugs (cocaine) and can greatly potentiate an otherwise small dosage. The process of potentiation occurs in the CB1R and mGluR5 pathways within the brain, also referred to as the Cannabinoid centers.

This finding comes surprisingly from a test performed at the University of Minnesota about the influence of drugs on male and female lab rats. The researchers found evidence that female lab rats were not only impacted by the effects of Cocaine to a higher degree than the males, but they showed greater signs of dependency and addiction. When left to their own devices, the females demanded Cocaine at higher intervals than the male test subjects. Located below are a list of interesting behaviors performed by the females after consuming Cocaine:

  • Erratic and aggressive behavior.
  • A tendency to seek out Cocaine at a higher rate than males.
  • When the male and female lab rats were given equal dosages, females showcased signs of increased euphoria over males.
  • Speed increase in basic motor functions and movement patterns.
  • Earlier signs of dependency and abuse.