Cannabis & Sex Part Two
AUTHOR: SUNNY RODGERS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARI SAPERSTEIN
This week, we’re continuing our conversation about cannabis and sex. Here, we answer common questions from our community about marijuana and our health. We also cover some of the diversity issues currently facing the cannabis industry.
How does cannabis help you feel calm?
Josh Kaplan, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Western Washington University explains, “Cannabis' relaxation effect comes from its ability to inhibit the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the "fight-or-flight" response that's activated by a threat or stress in your life. This calms the body's arousal system (not sexual arousal here), and allows you to become more engaged with your current environment and the moment.”
Does cannabis use cause erectile dysfunction?
This is one of the most common questions we get this topic, and the answer is: The science is inconclusive. While one animal study noted that cannabis can potentially negatively impact penile sexual function, other surveys have reported that participants experienced an increase in sexual stamina with cannabis use. The bottom line is, physiologically, there are a host of factors that can influence whether you can attain an erection or not. It is not conclusive that cannabis is one of them.
Does smoking pot give men breasts?
CNN reported on this topic three years ago and they were proven wrong (at least for now). There is no scientific evidence that suggests cannabis use causes gynecomastia (the clinical term for man boobs). The condition is biologically occurring in men and usually related to a hormone imbalance.
What do I need to know about infertility and cannabis?
There’s some new research on this. In a study published in January 2018 by Boston University School of Medicine, it was found that “marijuana use--by either men or women--does not appear to lower a couple's chances of getting pregnant.” That said, the researchers acknowledged, and it’s generally understood, that there is still much more to learn about the specific effects cannabis has on fertility.
Do cannabis users have more sex?
A recent Stanford University Medical Center study of over 50,000 American cannabis users found that: "Frequent marijuana use doesn't seem to impair sexual motivation or performance. If anything, it's associated with increased coital frequency.” The study concluded that “pot users are having about 20 percent more sex than pot abstainers,” and even further, “the positive association between marijuana use and coital frequency was independent of demographic, health, marital or parental status.”
What can you tell us about the sex life (or lack thereof) of the marijuana plant?
“These days, the vast majority of cannabis produced for human consumption is female and reproduces non-sexually; meaning grafts of plants are harvested from a ‘clone’ that is genetically identical to the mother plant,” Luis Bobadilla, owner of MOTA, cannabis dispensary, cultivator and manufacturer. “If a male is introduced into the room, the resulting pollination / fertilization will cause the flowers to ‘seed’-out during the flowering cycle. The resulting seeds are a cross between the female & male parents and great for additional genetic diversity.”
Endless cannabis strains are now available on the market and across dispensaries where marijuana has been legalized. This is mostly because cannabis is able to reproduce easily. Over the last 20 years or so, growers have been experimenting with cross-breeding strains, resulting in the cornucopia of options and flavors that serve different needs and experiences, whether it’s for engaging in some hot foreplay, promoting creativity or managing anxiety. Leafly alone has more than 2500 strains in their database including Sour Diesel, Blue Dream, Maui Wowie, Girl Scout Cookies and beyond!
What kind of healing power can cannabis have for the LGBTQIA+ community?
Buck Angel, trans activist, cannabis advocate and owner of Pride Wellness explains that “healing can mean so many different things, but in the context of my community, I would say it is to heal from anxiety, depression, PTSD and many other ailments by using natural means. Pharmaceutical drugs are just that with zero healing powers. Cannabis is a healer and doesn’t just help with the pain, but can actually improve your health while using a gift from nature.”
Is there a way to find space for both sober living and cannabis use?
“Sobriety is yours and yours only,” Buck Angel continues to share, “some of us use programs to kick-start our sobriety and I think that is important. But there comes a time when you must learn to take control again. It is the whole point to sobriety. So I want to teach people how I have sobriety while using cannabis as my medication. How I found space was I created my own. Create your own space, life and identity. You do not need validation from others; you only need to be honest with yourself.”
After decades of ardent opposition and prohibition of cannabis use in America, more states are finally embracing positive reform to turnover the federal ban on the substance. Recreational marijuana is currently legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 30 states.
A recent market research study indicates that in 2017 the worldwide legal marijuana trade grew by 37% and was worth $9.5 billion, and concluded that by 2022, legal cannabis revenue in the U.S. market is projected to hit $23.4 billion, with the U.S. dominating 73% of the world market.
As the cannabis industry booms, there is a rush of venture capitalists and Silicon Valley bros jumping on this billion-dollar tree train. At the same time, there is a deep inequality and commercial inclusivity that exists across the use and sale of cannabis.
For example, while marijuana usage rates by Caucasians and African Americans have shown to be statistically similar, Black Americans are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. The evidence that our criminal justice system has, and continues to, target people of color who use cannabis continues to pile up as the industry becomes more saturated.
Some advocates see the potential for greater inclusion and opportunity for marginalized communities to participate in the cannabis economy. “Cannabis is revolutionary and I see the industry breaking old paradigms and setting new standards of community, diversity and empowerment,” says Lizzy Jeff, artist and medicine woman.
We at The Sex Ed couldn’t agree more.
So how can cannabis users support more women and people of color as entrepreneurs and business leaders in this industry? Jeff continues, “collaboration is key. Being mindful of the reality that exists for women, especially women of color in this industry, is the first step. Being intentional about including more women and people of color in cannabis ventures, projects, festivals and varying levels of management is important.” Jeff adds, “It’s about going beyond hiring models and brand ambassadors. It’s about expanding the talent pool and hiring women and people of color to high ranking positions of power and leadership. We need to use whatever platforms we have, at every level, to bring attention to more women and men that have been underrepresented in this, and so many, industries.”
There are already an assortment of trailblazing minority- and women-owned cannabis organizations and businesses that are embodying the values of community betterment, inclusivity and diversity. Here are just a few:
Women Grow is a for-profit entity which seeks to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs, community and events for aspiring and current business executives.
A community-centered nonprofit committed to building economic and political power for Black and Brown communities, The Hood Incubator is deeply rooted in its commitment to racial and economic justice, and has over 2,000 members nationally and growing.
Cannaclusive facilitates fair representation of minority cannabis consumers through curated experiences, groundbreaking insights, thoughtful content and dynamic visuals, making it easier for brands to communicate with diverse audiences and ensure that minority consumers are not an afterthought, but a valued ally in the fight for legalization and destigmatization.
American Cannabinoid Clinics’ mission is to deliver patient-centered, integrative cannabinoid care to every patient looking for a personalized approach to addressing their health and healing.
Broccoli is an international magazine created by and for women who love cannabis. Published three times a year, Broccoli is not only aesthetically beautiful, but pairs the stories of women of all races and walks of life with poetic insights on their relationship to, and with, cannabis.
Supernova was created by and for women of color with the goal of utilizing the diverse talents of this community to become self sufficient shareholders in the evolving cannabis economy. Supernova’s mission is to foster community empowerment through holistic education, advocacy training and skills acquisition.
Cannabis Products for Sexual Health
Finally, as there are a number of new and exciting cannabis products on the market, we wanted to share a few of Sunny Rodgers’ picks for sexual health and self-care.
When Whoopi Goldberg met Maya Elisabeth, the founder of Om Edibles, she knew they were a match made in medical cannabis heaven. Whoopi recognized the wellness benefits that cannabis offered. Today, their company, Whoopi and Maya, offers CBD and THC-infused Epsom bath soaks and body rubs that can provide nourishment and relief from pain and stress. As we covered in our Stress and Sex essay, being able to relieve stress is important for overall health and for a healthy sex life.
Self-care is vital to healthy self-esteem, confidence, and to counteract the effects of stress. Consider CBD Bath Bombs that come with a crystal to help heal energy and balance Chakras.
Menstrual pain and discomfort has been found to be greatly alleviated with the use of THC and CBD-infused products. Whoopi and Maya and Foria have created products to aid with menstrual aches and pains. I would also recommend trying Dr. Kerklaan’s Natural PMS Cream with full spectrum CBD Extract for topical relief from cramps.
Ohana Naturals uses CBD and THC in their “Love Your Lady Parts” Skin Balm. Despite the name, this topical balm can be used by everyone. While it provides pain relief and anti-inflammatory benefits, it’s the amazing vaginal moisture restoration results that makes it a go-to self-care product in my opinion.
If you’re tried any of these products or others that include cannabis, tell us about your experience!