Cannabis has been used for centuries around the world as an aphrodisiac, so it should come as no surprise that a 2017 Stanford study found that cannabis users have on average 20% more sex than non users. While the relationship between marijuana use and sexual function is unclear, several therapists, biological studies and historical accounts agree that sex is more common, feels better and connects us more after ingesting a small amount of marijuana.
What therapists say about cannabis and sex
Numerous sex therapists suggest that using cannabis enhances closeness and assists in making sex more likely amongst users. Its most fundamental offering is that it enables us to let go of practical thoughts, overthinking, depression and anxiety, and connect with ourselves and our partners in a more intimate way.
Life coach and sex therapist Amanda Pasciucco posits that people are less likely to put pressure on themselves when under the influence of cannabis. This suggests that toking a little ganja before getting intimate reduces the likelihood of encountering sexual performance anxiety. Perhaps what makes marijuana such a powerful sexual stimulus on a psychological level is its ability to truly make us live in the present, without overthinking it.
Diana Urman, sex therapist, suggests this is especially true for females, who have a more variable libido. Her research, as well as scientific studies suggest that one of the most important elements for women to reach their best orgasms is a complete sense of relaxation. While cannabis is known to reduce anxiety and promote calmness, its ability to put women in the right state of mind for sex is significant. Therefore, not only could a bit of bud increase a woman’s desire for sex, but it could also increase the magnitude of her orgasm.
Simply put, using marijuana appears to magnify the connection between mind and body. Therefore, after using it, people are more present in their own skin and able to let go of thoughts that may distract them or keep them in their own heads. Overall, this effect appears to be the culprit in making sex more likely among cannabis users.
Cannabis and what it does to human biology
Biologically, cannabis affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS); a non localized system of the body involved in regulating various physiological and cognitive processes such as appetite, pain, pleasure, mood and memory, as well as fertility, pregnancy, and pre and post natal development in women. Endogenous cannabinoid receptors can be found in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the immune system, the gastrointestinal system, the skin and other vital organs.
One sensation triggered by activating the endocannabinoid system is an increased sense of pleasure and decreased sense of pain. This mood alteration alone may increase one’s arousal, as it can make already enjoyable sensations feel even better.
While increasing our appetite and toying with memory, activating the ECS may make us fat and forgetful, but it also makes women especially horny, as their biological imperative to reproduce is triggered. D9-THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, has been shown to target a part of the brain associated with sexual arousal in females. Further research on this phenomenon showed that women taking a low dose of marijuana had increased sexual urges, while higher dosed women showed decreased sexual motivation.
ECS activation also contributes to the euphoric effects of voluntary physical exercise, often referred to as ‘runner’s high’. While we naturally produce endocannabinoids during voluntary physical activity, using cannabis brings this sensation about without having to run a mile! Depending on one’s association with or experience of the runner’s high, this sensation could trigger more physical activity to prolong the high, much like how a burst of adrenaline can lead to one becoming an ‘adrenaline junkie’. More research is necessary to suggest a correlation there.
Cannabis, sex and thousands of years of history
Cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries in many cultures around the world including China, and India, as well as in Germanic and African Tribes. From wearing hemp as a sign of sexual prowess in Serbia, to Norwegian goddess Freya’s hemp-derived, love making harvest festivals, to marijuana’s role in treating erectile dysfunction disorder in Uganda; cannabis seems to have had a ubiquitous role in sexuality around the world.
In China, cannabis, referred to as ‘Ma’ was acknowledged for being a well-balanced homeopathic remedy that could assist in balancing hormones and gender-based maladies. In Ernest L. Abel’s book, Marijuana The First Twelve Thousand Years, the author talks about the Chinese philosophy surrounding cannabis use. Marijuana’s properties as both a feminine and masculine plant was acknowledged to balance bodies which were in a state of disequilibrium and illness.
According to Michael Aldrich, writer on tantric cannabis use in India, spiritual awakening was said to occur by combining yoga, sex and cannabis. In seeking connection with goddess Kali and increasing one’s spirituality, ritualistic lovemaking occurred after consuming a blend of cannabis, nuts, seeds and spices called bhang or vijaya. Participants would consume the concoction and would wait an hour and a half before lovemaking to wait for the cannabis to reach its full effect. In this type of ritual, intercourse was more about the connection between two souls than the physical imperative to reproduce.
This ancient application of marijuana to connect the mind and body, to be present in oneself and with our partner(s) reaffirms marijuana’s ability to increase our ability to feel united while high on pot.
Cannabis: viagra of the future?
Several companies have started to take notice of the link between cannabis use and sex, and have started making blends and lubes for the occasion. Sexxpot produces low-dose, blended pre-rolleds, Herbabuena sells a THC based pleasure lube, while Foria produces CBD and THC vape pens, suppositories and lubes to bring healing and excitement to the bedroom.
While the effects of cannabis on sexual function warrant further research, and there has yet to be a causal relationship established between sex and weed, it appears that cannabis users do have more frequent intimate moments based on biological, cultural and psychological factors.