Cannabis is the second most frequently used substance in the world and regulated or legalized for recreational use in Canada and fourteen US states and territories. As with all substances, a wide range of sex and gender related factors have an influence on how substances are consumed, their physical, mental and social impacts, and how men and women respond to treatment, health promotion, and policies. Given the widespread use of cannabis, and in the context of its increasing regulation, it is important to better understand the sex and gender related factors associated with recreational cannabis use in order to make more precise clinical, programming, and policy decisions. However, sex and gender related factors include a wide variety of processes, features and influences that are rarely fully considered in research. This article explores myriad features of both sex and gender as concepts, illustrates their impact on cannabis use, and focuses on the interactions of sex and gender that affect three main areas of public interest: the development of cannabis use dependence, the impact on various routes of administration (ROA), and the impact on impaired driving. We draw on two separate scoping reviews to examine available evidence in regard to these issues. These three examples are described and illustrate the need for more comprehensive and precise integration of sex and gender in substance use research, as well as serious consideration of the results of doing so, when addressing a major public health issue such as recreational cannabis use.
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