Many experienced cannabis users can get stimulated by the simple sight of marijuana, whether it be a frosty nug or a potent edible. In contrast, many inexperienced users can get aroused at the idea of introducing a mind-altering substance like weed into their sex life. But does using cannabis actually lead to better sex?
Well, most people understand that marijuana is regarded for its euphoric effects with users commonly reporting improved mood, increased sexual desire, and boosted arousal. Cannabis is known to magnify senses like touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing. Scientifically speaking, there’s still a lot to learn about the relationship between cannabis and sex due to the lack of substantial and concrete research, but there is plenty of evidence to make a solid educated guess.
The Long History of Cannabis and Sex
Although the trend of cannabis use seems to be picking up steam lately thanks to expanding legalization, the medicinal plant has a substantial and ancient history that stretches far back before any war on drugs. Long before there was “Netflix and Chill” there was “Cannabis and Chill.” Humans have been using cannabis for pleasure enhancement throughout the world for many centuries.
One of the earliest mentions of the sexual use of cannabis comes from ancient Egypt, where records identify hemp seeds as having positive effects on male fertility. Closeby, the ancient Romans were sure to include cannabis in a formula known as “Satyricon.” This formula was intended to purify men who worshipped the Greek god of the erect penis, Priapus. In a sacred ritual, a priest would bind a man’s hands and feet and then rectally insert a dildo covered with Satyricon. The alleged effects included an intoxicating high along with a strong erection. Now doesn't that sound lovely?
Fast forward a few years and hemp was used by anxious brides in Soviet Russia to ease the pain of losing their virginity on their wedding nights. It remained in use for this reason in Uzbekistan until World War II, where some women created a recipe of marijuana, sugar, and spices. A 2005 study done in Africa found that men in Uganda had also been using cannabis for centuries to combat erectile dysfunction. And to this day, many people in Serbia believe that wearing hemp improves their overall sexuality. Whether it was for pain relief or rock hard erections, there's no doubt that hemp has a long history of being closely associated with better sex.
Indica Vs. Sativa: Which should I use for sex?
Sativa: let’s go outside
Indica: let’s take a seat
So, classically speaking, Sativa leaning strains like Pineapple Fields and Sour Diesel are thought to provide a burst of sexual energy and are among the most touted strains for sexual satisfaction. While there are many reports that Sativas can bring out an excited friskiness, an Indica’s effects are reported to be better suited for a low-key snuggle or make-out session.
But when it really comes down to choosing between Indica vs. Sativa to improve your sex life, experts and users are relying on these designations less and less as time goes on. Regardless of being Indica or Sativa, a plant’s effects can be deeply affected by many factors, like how it is grown, processed, and consumed.
For example, an Indica cannabis plant (commonly associated with a relaxing body high) that is harvested too early can have more energizing effects than a Sativa plant (associated with a stimulating head high) that was harvested late. The actual chemistry of each individual plant develops and changes as the plant grows. So when it comes to sex and cannabis, most experts agree that the focus shouldn’t be on Indica/Sativa classification but instead on the real prom king and queen of cannabis chemistry: cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids and their effects on sex
Whether you munch, apply, or toke on cannabis, your brain is undoubtedly getting flooded with cannabinoids. More specifically, your endocannabinoid system is getting flooded, the same system known to help regulate sexual function. Different cannabinoid recipes lead to various outcomes that could affect your sex life, such as an increase in dopamine, which plays a central role in how we experience pleasure.
Finishing too fast? Research on animals has shown that stimulating the CB1 receptor, one of the main players in your endocannabinoid system, delays ejaculation. With more extended sessions, you want to be sure and stay awake by avoiding sleepy cannabinoids like CBN. And of course, there is the darling duo of THC and CBD, which both have shown great promise in enhancing sexual experiences. From studies based on self-reporting, marijuana strains with high THC levels tend to cause the user a relaxing and warm body high. When you add CBD into the mix, users report that same body high with a delightful mood elevation, a sensual combination. CBD is also known to guard against too much THC flooding your brain, so you won’t be too high to perform.
Terpenes and their effects on sex
Smell and taste have long been associated with sexual attraction. Humans emit a scent profile made up of pheromones, each of us having a combination of these natural chemicals that are as unique and diverse as our fingerprints. Pheromones are natural indicators that tell us who we should mate with. These chemicals are one of the main reasons we are more attracted to some individuals over others. Like us humans, cannabis plants have their own “scent fingerprints” that are just as unique, called terpene profiles. As more research is done on terpenes, we understand how profoundly these natural plant oils affect the high we feel when consuming cannabis. When it comes to sex, many experts believe that terpenes are the main decider of cannabis’s effects.
One leading contender for matchmaker terpene is limonene. It’s shown to cause energetic and stimulating effects, leading so many experts to recommend limonene to increase sex drive. Users commonly report their sensitivity to touch magnified after smoking high limonene strains, such as Banana OG and MAC. Strains high in the caryophyllene terpene, on the other hand, can dull the sense of touch, preventing full sexual pleasure. You might also want to avoid a sleepy terpene like myrcene, which would be better for post-baby-making as its effects can endanger reaching orgasm. Staying in by yourself tonight? Try some cannabis with the linalool terpene, known for its relaxing inward effects and ideal for solo sessions.
Cannabis and Sex in Women vs. Men
Thus far, the information gathered points to mostly positive effects when it comes to women, sex, and weed. In a 2019 study published by the International Society for Sexual Medicine, women had overwhelmingly benefited in the bedroom from marijuana use. When using cannabis before intimate encounters, women had increased sex drive, improved orgasm, wetter lubrication, minimized pain, and overall better lovemaking experiences. In fact, women who reported marijuana use before sex were more than twice as likely to report satisfying orgasms than women who didn’t use cannabis.
When it comes to men, sex, and weed, the findings are a bit more complicated. In a study done in the late ’70s, the subjects overwhelmingly male, found that regular cannabis users believed in increased sexual intensity and led to more powerful orgasms. However, information collected since then, from publications like The Journal on Sexual Medicine, is less assuring as marijuana has been linked to side effects like erectile dysfunction (ED). Additionally, studies have found that the proper metabolism of ED solutions such as Viagra can be prevented by marijuana.
It may be a wise choice for males to moderate their cannabis intake before sex for this reason and because many men report reaching orgasm too slowly when consuming weed before intimate experiences. While most modern studies point to these detriments, a study published in Human Reproduction actually found benefits more males. In the study, 662 men provided semen samples for a period over 17 years, and those who reported ever using cannabis had a significantly higher sperm count than those who never used marijuana. This finding led researchers to believe that there are indeed reproductive benefits to men who use cannabis in moderation. However, when higher doses are involved, there could be adverse effects.
One thing that is certain from what we know about the relationship between sex and smoking weed is that both men and women who use marijuana believe that cannabis leads to increased desire for a partner, increased sexual satisfaction & pleasure, and an enhanced sense of touch. In addition, both men and women who reported frequent cannabis use also reported more frequent sex than those who have never partaken in marijuana. It’s no wonder they say, “Couples that smoke together, stay together.”
Weed & Sex: the Bottom Line
When it comes to sex and weed, the most crucial factor is you and how your individual brain react with the terpenes and cannabinoids of cannabis. There are so many factors in marijuana that can change how you and your private parts function, that more studies are required for a better understanding.
You have to consider what you want from your sexual experience: will you be snuggling intimately or breaking out the whips and chains? Which cannabinoids and terpenes bring out the best in your specific sexual performance? Does smoking a joint or eating an edible work better to get you in the mood? With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we encourage everyone to do your own research and design your very own personalized cannabis solution to sex.