My weedy Valentine: how cannabis affects your sex life

Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned—and reported on—the heady topic of sex and cannabis over the past few years

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Photo by Sarah Pender/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

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With Valentine’s Day almost upon us and dating options limited thanks to a certain global pandemic, our thoughts turn to staying in and dimming the lights. Maybe putting some Barry White on the turntable. Oh, and breaking out the edibles, of course.

How does cannabis affect the experience of having sex? As with all things, your mileage may vary. It could depend on what type of cannabis products you choose, your overall level of health, and any number of other factors.

Naturally, this is a topic that we here at CannCentral (and at our sister publication, the Georgia Straight) have given a fair amount of coverage. Some of our contributors have outright endorsed using weed to enhance sexy times, sometimes even recommending specific products.

As always, though, we suggest conducting your own research and doing what works for you. Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned about—and reported on—the heady topic of sex and cannabis over the years.

“A powerful aphrodisiac”

In 2018, Charlie Smith caught up with Penny Green, CEO of Better Plant Sciences (then called the Yield Growth Corp.). Green was preparing to give a talk at TEDx Vancouver with the provocative title “How Cannabis Can Make You Smarter, Richer, & Sexier”. Smith, naturally, started by asking her about the “sexier” part.

“Cannabis can be a powerful aphrodisiac,” Green said. “Depending on the strains, it can heighten emotional and physical sensitivity, improve stamina and creativity, and can lead to sensory ecstasy. Smoking or vaping cannabis can intensify feelings of closeness with a partner. Using a sexual lubricant with THC has been known to yield more intense and more frequent orgasms for women.

“How cannabis can affect the sexual experience depends on the strain and the person,” Green continued. “Sativa-dominant strains often increase arousal, creativity, and passion, while indica-dominant strains can be relaxing and increase sensitivity to touch. Each person responds differently, depending on their unique cannabinoid system. Experts recommend taking only one or two hits before sex to deepen the experience.”

More weed = more sex?

Writing for this site in 2019, Kieran Delamont cited a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2017. Researchers found that cannabis users had “significantly higher” amounts of sex than non-users.

That study surveyed 28,176 women and 22,943 men in the United States whose average age was 30. But the results were consistent across all demographics. 

As former Georgia Straight cannabis editor Amanda Siebert noted in 2017, however, correlation doesn’t necessarily translate into causation.

“Some scientists insist that cannabis use doesn’t stimulate sex drive, but that those who consume cannabis are simply more “up for getting down”—a reflection of their personality, and not of THC consumption,” Siebert wrote.

Nicolle Hodges is a true believer, though. The founder of Girls Who Say Fuck told Delamont that topicals are the route to “deeper, longer, and easier-to-reach orgasms”.

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Some people find that using cannabis enhances the connection they feel with their partner.

“But it’s the mental benefits available from cannabis—the feeling of connection to your body, your partner, and the shared moment—that takes sex and intimacy to another level,” Delamont wrote.

Hodges noted that cannabis can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin if you feel anxious about sex.

“Pleasure in the body is only ever enhanced by a quiet mind,” she said.

Hodges offered readers a few simple tips to enrich the weed-enhanced sexual experience:

  • If you’re using lube, remember that the effects will be more pronounced on female sex organs.
  • Keep it on the downlow. Make sure to set up a calm environment where disturbances and interruptions are eliminated.
  • Communicate. Good or bad, talk to with your partner throughout the process.
  • Keep expectations in check and be open to the experience.
  • Most importantly, said Hodges, “Surrender to wherever the plant wants to take you.”

Weed, sex, and women

When it comes to intimacy, does cannabis have more powerful effects in women? While the body of research into the pot-and-sex combo remains small, a few studies have looked specifically at cannabis and sexual response in adult females.

Last February, for example, CannCentral reported on an American study on gender, sex, and cannabis use. Dr. Becky Lynn, the director of the Center for Sexual Health and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Louis University, led the research. Her goal was to gain a more accurate understanding of how women perceive cannabis’s effects on their sex lives.

“Lynn gave women a survey about cannabis usage and how it impacted sexual intercourse with respect to sex drive, lubrication, dyspareunia (vaginal pain during intercourse), orgasm, and overall sexual experience,” CannCentral reported at the time. “Patients were asked to complete the questionnaire anonymously and place it in a locked box located in the office.”

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Photo by Christiana Rivers/Unsplash.

The majority of participants reported an increase in overall sex drive, reduced pain, and an improvement in orgasms.

“The results showed that women had 2.13 higher odds of having a more satisfactory orgasm when using cannabis before sex than if they didn’t use it. Women who indicated regular use of cannabis—before sex or not—had a 2.10 times higher probability of having an adequate orgasm compared with women who didn’t use cannabis regularly.”

Improved sexual function

These results jibed with the findings of a separate U.S. study published last July and reported by CannCentral.

Between October 20, 2019, and March 12, 2020, researchers invited adults who visited a single-partner cannabis dispensary’s locations to participate in an anonymous online survey.

According to the research results, the survey “assessed baseline demographics, health status, cannabis use habits as well as used the validated Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) to assess sexual function”.

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A new study shows that increased cannabis use by women is associated with improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction. Photo by Love portrait and love the world/iStock/Getty Images Plus

A total of 452 women responded to the survey. “Our results demonstrate that increasing frequency of cannabis use is associated with improved sexual function and is associated with increased satisfaction, orgasm, and sexual desire,” the study’s authors wrote.

The researchers acknowledged, however, that they didn’t know how to account for this improved sexual function. They noted that other researchers have suggested the endocannabinoid system plays a role in female sexual function.

“Whether the endocannabinoid system represents a viable target of therapy through cannabis for female sexual dysfunction requires future prospective studies though any therapy has to be balanced with the potential negative consequences of cannabis use,” the authors concluded.

Note: CannCentral presents the information in this story for informational purposes only. Do not use it to treat or diagnose any medical conditions.

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