Cannabis & Sex: Part One
author: Sunny rodgers
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARI SAPERSTEIN
Believe it or not, sex and cannabis go together like cupcakes and frosting (munchies, anyone?). Yes, it’s true–our bodies were made to work synergistically with cannabis. This is how it works.
Humans have an endocannabinoid system with receptors in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands and immune cells. This system is quite literally a bridge between body and mind, as endocannabinoids are involved in regulating many physiological and cognitive processes, including fertility, appetite, mood and memory.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting! Endocannabinoid receptors match specifically with those of the cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Human bodies are made to receive what marijuana plants contain, almost like a lock and key. (And curiously, this synergistic connection has only been found with marijuana.)
When you consider the multitude of physical and mental health issues that cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) have been found to ease or cure, including cancer and HIV, it seems like humans and marijuana were destined to find each other.
While it’s been reported that cannabinoids provide over 49 benefits to the human body, this essay focuses on the direct sexual advantages that can be enjoyed with cannabis use!
Before we go any further, a note of caution: As everyone’s biology is unique, what may work for someone else may not work for you, so I highly recommend trying a cannabis product by yourself first, prior to using it with a partner, so that you’re aware of how it will affect you. I also suggest starting slow and using products with low doses first.
Light Up Your Sex Drive
There are a number of formal and informal studies that indicate cannabis can improve -- even greatly enhance -- your sex drive!
A UC Santa Barbara study found that people felt arousal after using marijuana, depending on the strain consumed (we’ll dig into strains later!); an informal poll from Psychology Today stated that 67% of respondents felt enhanced sex; and a Canadian study found approximately 50% of participants reported increased sex drives, enhanced sensitivity as well as a better overall sexual experience.
Clients with whom I have discussed cannabis and sex have all reported an elevation of sexual pleasure, a decrease in sexual inhibition, and an increase in craving more sex.
So how does marijuana rev you up exactly? It’s all about the blood flow. Whether it’s through the typical delivery system via pipe, vape, bowl, bong or joint, or another marijuana-derived product, cannabis promotes relaxation and increases blood flow to the genitalia, which naturally causes an increase in sex drive and overall sexual satisfaction. I’ve personally used Foria Pleasure, an all-natural sensual enhancement oil, with great results! (And for some of my female clients suffering from dyspareunia, vulvodynia and painful sex, these products have been life-changing.)
CBD, THC & TLC
For those who want to experience the healing benefits of cannabis without “getting high” we recommend trying Cannabidiol (CBD) only products. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound with numerous medical treatment applications, such as inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, pain, and seizures among others. It doesn’t make you feel “stoned” or have the mental effect that THC does, while still providing a host of sexual (and general physical!) benefits. CBD has been gaining in popularity now that it’s been formulated into products like lotions, massage oils -- even tinctures for your morning latte.
Artist, medicine woman, and cannabis advocate, Lizzy Jeff, notes the effect both CBD and cannabis have on her sensuality and creativity. “By practicing intention and ritual with cannabis, I’m able to explore deeper, more sexy parts of myself. When I’m feeling turned on, I’m truly inspired and can really get into a creative flow. It’s literally magic.”
Lizzy adds, “Certain strains provide different benefits — when I smoke CBD, it grounds me, makes me feel deep in my body and takes me out of my mind. I especially love using tinctures and sipping infused teas! Indica has similar effects but gives me a body high, which can be especially sexy for foreplay and massages. When I smoke a sweet sativa, I feel uplifted and sexier than ever. I like to turn the lights down low, put on some sexy lingerie and dance in the mirror.”
Pot, Pleasure & Products
As we now know, studies have shown that the use of marijuana during sex play can have great benefits.
Physically, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, stimulates brain cells to release dopamine, a hormone produced by the hypothalamus, which is also released in large quantities during sex and specifically during orgasm, which amplifies sensations of pleasure. This explains why THC alone can intensify orgasms and sex play! Recreational users have reported increased sexual stamina and sex (and ORGASMS!) that last longer than usual, and according to research published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, regular marijuana use was perceived as a sexual stimulant that enhanced sexual desire.
Because of legislation allowing for legal cannabis use in certain states and countries, there are a variety of new sexual-specific cannabis products on the market. For beginners, trying something like aCBD-infused lubricant is a good place to start. There is usually a minimal amount of CBD oil used and the fact that it needs time to be absorbed by the body makes its effect gentle.
Ashley Manta, sex coach and creator of CannaSexual, likes to “encourage first time users to start slow with non-psychoactive methods of consumption. Topical products like an infused bath or a massage oil that are applied to the genitals offer many of the benefits of cannabis without the high.” Manta continues, “if you’re new to consuming THC, stick with products with less than 12-15% THC and opt for microdosing. I also suggest using high-CBD products with a ratio of 1:1 CBD to THC or above. The goal is not to get stoned, it's to use cannabis with the intention to address issues that often hinder pleasure and intimacy like stress, pain and anxiety.”
Foria’s topical coconut oil spray called Pleasure can be used for lubrication, but I’ve found it also can multiply pleasurable feelings when sprayed directly onto the clitoris. The THC-infused spray helps make penetration via sex and intimate pleasure products more enjoyable.
Buck Angel, trans activist and cannabis advocate, speaks highly of cannabis-infused lubricants, “when transgender men use testosterone and have a vagina, what happens is that our bodies mimic menopause and we become very dry. Atrophy can also happen at a fast rate. I’ve started a campaignFTM Health to educate my community and the doctors on the use of lubricants with cannabis for this exact reason. It has been shown to help with many of these vaginal problems, not only with women but trans men too. Vaginal health for transgender men is important and not openly discussed enough!”
Once you’ve tried a topical cannabis product, which tends to have more subtle effects, the next product to try would be a consumable product (otherwise known as edibles) for an affect in your entire body. Edibles can be very strong so use caution and start with small amounts. A good natural aphrodisiac to try is the Love Potion #420 tincture by Yummi Karma. It’s formulated with both THC and CBD to lessen tension and get you in the mood. An ingestible product like this can be a good partner-sharing enhancement for sex play.
A vaporizer (pipe, bowl or joint) is going to deliver THC and/or CBD into your bloodstream faster, thereby giving you speedier and often more pronounced result. I would recommend trying the Arouseor Passion vape pens by Dosist. While Arouse is formulated with a 10-to-1 THC/CBD ratio to excite your sex drive, Passion has an 11-to-1 THC/CBD ratio to increase sensuality and overall sexual experience. I suggest using a vape pen delivery system by yourself first before exploring with a partner, so you know exactly how your body and its own unique chemistry reacts.
If you’re like me and remember those black, smoke-damaged lungs encased in plexiglass that were brought to your elementary school health class, you may have an aversion to smoking or vape. In this case, I suggest checking out GoldMist THC Oral Spray, which is applied orally like a breath freshener. This oral spray creates similar effects to smoking a cannabis product, but without the smoke! Please be aware that just like a vaporizer, an oral spray can also take effect rather quickly.
Best Strains for Sex
We asked our resident cannabis (s)expert Ashley Manta to break down the mythology around whether there really is a best strain for sex. According to her, there is no “one size fits all” answer. She says, “I've seen people suggest sativa for energetic sex and indica for slow passionate sex. I used to suggest specific strains for specific activities, like Dream Queen for dirty talk or Grandaddy Purple for sensual exploration. The problem with all of these suggestions is that they're too generalized. If you asked me "where's the best place to get high?" I would have a lot of follow up questions like:
What's important to you when choosing where to smoke?
Do you like to be around people or solo?
Do you like to be inside or outside?
Do you want soft fabrics, cool soft grass, or hot sand?
Do you like to have technology and modern comforts, or a more rustic setting?
All of these things shape what an ideal place to get high looks like for you. Similar considerations go into choosing the best strain or product for sex.
How do you feel right now? How do you want to feel?
Do you want to be high? (There are things you can choose that won't get you high).
What are your time constraints? (This impacts what method of consumption you choose).
What kind of sex? Energetic and frenzied? Slow and sensual?
But ultimately, even if I told you what works for me for those variables, it might not work for you based on body chemistry, tolerance, and context. This is why the most helpful advice for choosing the best strain for sex is to try a small amount of a new strain or product, wait until you feel the effects, masturbate, and notice how the sensations are different than your non-medicated masturbatory sessions. Then write it down! That way you can see if there are any trends or common themes. Like maybe fruity strains like Lemon Larry or Strawberry Banana are great for sensation, but earthy strains like OG Kush are better for getting out of your head and into your body.
Everything in Moderation
The same research referenced above found that testosterone levels were reduced with regular marijuana use. One participant reported a significant decline in testosterone leading to impotency during research; however, after halting regular marijuana use, testosterone levels returned to normal.
Similar research with animals resulted in cannabis having an inhibitor effect on particular receptors inside the erectile tissue of the penis. Yes, this means that cannabis use may affect a male’s ability to attain an erection.
So, while a small dosage of cannabis may enhance connection, intimacy, and greater sexual pleasure, too much of a good thing sometimes isn’t a good thing. Remember to listen to your body’s needs and take things slowly. Moderation should be kept in mind!
Tips for Introducing Cannabis into Your Relationship:
#1 As with everything new in sex play – Go Slow! Remember to openly communicate how you’re feeling during cannabis-enhanced sex play. Stay connected and experience the encounter at the same pace.
#2 Be mindful of how you’re feeling and how your lover is feeling. Make sure that you’re sharing the same sexual objective, whether it’s pure intimacy or a climax-oriented goal.
#3 Pace yourselves. Start with one drop of CBD oil, one bit of a vape, or a modest amount of CBD-infused lubricant. Wait before adding more. Often it can take 10 minutes or more for cannabis to take effect.
Stay tuned for more about sex & cannabis next week...💨
Has cannabis enhanced your sex life? The Sex Ed wants to hear from you!
Disclaimer: The Sex Ed features content about cannabis that are only legal under federal law as well as under state law in certain states. All content on our site is for educational and entertainment purposes only. As always, when imbibing in any mind altering substance and engaging in sexual activity, communication and consent are key. Please enjoy responsibly.