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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 1999 Mar-Apr;6(6):297-303.

Sex differences in marijuana use in the United States.

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McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.


Marijuana and other cannabis preparations are the most widely used illicit drugs in the United States. A review of the literature reveals a number of sex differences in the epidemiology and adverse medical consequences of marijuana use. In 1995, 6.5% of females and 10.5% of males aged 12 and older reported marijuana use in the previous year. Although 4% more males than females used marijuana, the percentage of males using marijuana between 1994 and 1995 had decreased, whereas the percentage of females using marijuana during that same period had increased. Among females, the age of initiation of use is declining and the prevalence of problems with marijuana is on the rise. Both male and female marijuana users may experience adverse effects of cognitive dysfunction and airway inflammation. However, clinicians should be aware of sex-specific effects of marijuana use, including a possible increased risk of prostate cancer for male users and possible adverse effects on reproductive hormones in female users. Review of the available information on this topic indicates that we have much more to learn about the similarities and differences between males and females with respect to patterns of use, adverse consequences, and vulnerabilities to marijuana.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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