Despite all its possible benefits, you might not immediately associate cannabis with better sex. However, new research suggests that marijuana could improve libido and sexual satisfaction, especially for women.
And the benefits that cannabis could have for your sex life don’t end there! Read on to learn how weed could improve your libido and how to use it for the best sex of your life.
Does Marijuana Improve Your Libido?
Cannabis affects many of your biological functions, including your sex drive. It does this by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is a network of cell receptors and chemicals called endocannabinoids. These receptors and chemicals bind together to trigger a variety of different responses and maintain balance within your body.
Two of the endocannabinoids that we know most about are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These chemicals influence many of your body’s other compounds, including neurotransmitters and hormones.
Neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine improve sexual satisfaction as they influence feelings of pleasure. They are released by cells in the nervous system, which have a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors.
Hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are involved in reproduction and sexual desire. Researchers have also discovered a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors in the organs that produce these sex hormones.
These organs include the adrenal glands, which produce androgens like testosterone, and the ovaries, which produce estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, endocannabinoids such as AEA and 2-AG have a dual effect on your sex drive.
Cannabinoids from cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), work comparably. Their molecules have a similar shape to our natural endocannabinoids, and therefore, stimulate the same receptors. This ability to bind with cannabinoid receptors is what gives weed many of its medicinal and recreational benefits.
Scientists have found that THC, specifically, has a powerful influence over hormonal function. It also affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Cannabis and Libido: The Research
Since marijuana has been illegal for the last century, there is a real lack of research into its effects. However, this is steadily beginning to change. Nowadays, more and more studies are emerging which helps to shed light on how this miraculous plant affects the body and mind.
One hot topic of research is how cannabis affects libido. There are now several animal and human studies available on the subject. These were summarized in a 2019 review by Lynn et al. for Sexual Medicine Reviews.
Here is what we know so far:
Researchers were carrying out preclinical studies into cannabis and libido as early as 1978. Since then, many have followed suit, and a total of eight studies were included in the review. Reassuringly, most of them had similar findings.
Various studies found that THC stimulated lordosis in female rats and hamsters. Lordosis is a position in which the back is arched downwards, indicating sexual receptivity.
One study also found that the endocannabinoid AEA increased sexual motivation. The authors measured this by the number of times female rats visited males. In contrast, a substance known as SR14171, which blocks endocannabinoids, had the opposite effect.
These results show that both THC and AEA have positive effects on libido.
However, some of the studies had differing results. One found that a cannabinoid receptor agonist actually decreased lordosis in rats. The effects appeared to depend on dosage and timing. Another study found that an endocannabinoid antagonist enhanced sexual behavior.
Clearly, more research is necessary before we can understand precisely how the ECS influences libido. However, what seems obvious is that it does have some effect.
The review also included 12 human studies on marijuana and sexual behavior. Due to the illegal status of the plant, the majority of these were self-reported surveys rather than clinical trials. However, the results showed some interesting trends.
In one study, 44% of the respondents stated that cannabis use “definitely increases sexual desire.” Of these respondents, 50% were female. The female respondents were also more likely to report increased desire if they were frequent users rather than daily or occasional users.
Another study found that 39% of males and 57% of female respondents reported increased libido after cannabis use. Furthermore, 43% of female respondents reported heightened pleasure.
However, like the animal study we mentioned earlier, these effects appear to be dose-dependent. After one joint, 71% of women reported increased sexual motivation. This figure fell to 49% after four joints or more. Researchers hypothesized that this dose-dependent response is due to marijuana’s sedative effects when you consume it in large doses.
Later studies went a step further and assessed the effect of marijuana use on sexual satisfaction and orgasm. Overall, the research suggests that cannabis increases pleasure, sensations, satisfaction, and orgasm intensity. One study found that female cannabis users had 2.13 higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms after consuming the herb.
Just one study found that cannabis use had a negative influence on libido. The survey focused on people suffering from sexual dysfunction rather than healthy individuals. The participants reported inhibited orgasm, excitement, and desire.
Again, more research is necessary to ascertain exactly how marijuana affects libido in humans. However, with numerous places now legalizing cannabis, we may well see more of this in the near future.
Could Cannabis Improve Your Sex Life?
The current research indicates that cannabis could improve your sex life, at least in low doses. However, take too much, and sleep may be the only bedroom activity that interests you.
Using marijuana to enhance sexual enjoyment may also depend on the specific strain that you choose. Generally speaking, sativa strains tend to have more energizing effects compared to indicas, which are more sedating.
This difference in effects means that sativas might be better suited to activities that require stamina and focus. Some strains which people commonly use to enhance sexual function include Sour Diesel and Green Crack. Users say that both of these strains can keep them going all night long.
And while most of the research we have mentioned focused on THC, CBD is worth a mention too. One of the primary reasons why people take CBD is pain relief. So, if you experience pain during sex, it may offer some relief. CBD also has anti-anxiety properties, meaning that it can calm your nerves and help you relax enough for maximum enjoyment.
CBD could be a good compromise for anyone wanting to use cannabis to enhance sex without getting high. This might be useful if you’re an early riser and want to get a quickie in before heading to work. It also reduces the risk of getting drowsy before the deed is done.
You can enjoy these potential benefits by taking your CBD oil traditionally, placing a drop or two under your tongue. However, you might also want to try CBD-infused lube. These products are safe to use during sex and could make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable. And if you don’t feel like splashing out on a commercial brand, you could always try making your own!
Does Cannabis Improve Libido? Final Thoughts
It seems that cannabis can indeed improve your libido, especially if you’re a woman. However, most of the existing evidence is anecdotal, and full-scale clinical trials are yet to take place. So, if you really want to know whether weed increases your sexual desire and enjoyment, you’ll have to try it for yourself.
However, if you do decide to consume marijuana before sex, you’ll need to be mindful of your dose. Take too much, and you might find all you want to do is zone out in front of the television. As with many good things in life, less is more when it comes to sex and cannabis.