Home > Sex and gender differences in the effects of novel psychoactive substances.

Fattore, Liana and Marti, Matteo and Mostallino, Rafaela and Castelli, Maria Paola (2020) Sex and gender differences in the effects of novel psychoactive substances. Brain Sciences, 10, (9), 606. doi: 10.3390/brainsci10090606.

External website: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3425/10/9/606

Sex and gender deeply affect the subjective effects and pharmaco-toxicological responses to drugs. Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs and to present to emergency departments for serious or fatal intoxications. However, women are just as likely as men to develop substance use disorders, and may be more susceptible to craving and relapse.

Clinical and preclinical studies have shown important differences between males and females after administration of "classic" drugs of abuse (e.g., Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), morphine, cocaine). This scenario has become enormously complicated in the last decade with the overbearing appearance of the new psychoactive substances (NPS) that have emerged as alternatives to regulated drugs. To date, more than 900 NPS have been identified, and can be catalogued in different pharmacological categories including synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic stimulants (cathinones and amphetamine-like), hallucinogenic phenethylamines, synthetic opioids (fentanyls and non-fentanyls), new benzodiazepines and dissociative anesthetics (i.e., methoxetamine and phencyclidine-derivatives). This work collects the little knowledge reached so far on the effects of NPS in male and female animal and human subjects, highlighting how much sex and gender differences in the effects of NPS has yet to be studied and understood.

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