The majority of research on how cannabis affects health has been done with male subjects - and that's where Kayla Joyce comes in.
Joyce is a master's student at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She hopes to fill the gaps in cannabis research that often don't account for physiological difference between men and women—particularly in how cannabis affects women during different stages of their menstrual cycle.
"A lot of the research that has been done to date has been done mostly with male subjects," Joyce told StarMetro. "A lot of my participants come in and they tell me that they've tried to find studies that look at women's cannabis use or addictive behaviors in general, but they haven't been able to find anything. So that is one of the main reasons why I got involved."
For her study, Joyce will survey 80 women between the ages of 19 and 45. The women will be asked to record how much cannabis they consume across a 32 day period, as well as keep notes on their mood, stress levels and menstrual cycle.
Joyce's supervisor Sherry Stewart, a professor in Dalhousie's department of psychology, says she has been working on several projects with Joyce about how various activities and substances interact with women's menstrual cycles and hopes their work will come together to form bigger conclusions that women can learn from.
"We've looked at alcohol consumption, gambling and now cannabis use across the menstrual cycle. So now we're trying to get all our findings and combine them into some sort of educational tool for women to look at different sorts of addictions in women," she said.
Previous research has established that men and women tend to have different consumption habits, such as women's' tendencies towards microdosing. However, as Joyce has said, most cannabis research tends to skew male, and it will be worthwhile to diversify the field.