Everything You Need to Know About Sex and Cannabis

Sex and cannabis o-diaries

Marijuana is an interesting “drug” that has seen a huge shift in cultural attitudes over the last several years. As it should. Because people use weed as both medicine and as a way to enhance life’s most intimate experiences (more on that later).

Weed used to be super demonized, but it’s gaining popular ground. In the United States, marijuana is legal in 11 states for adults over the age of 21, and legal for medical use in 33 states. In Canada, you can smoke weed wherever you want now, as full recreational use is legal. You can also smoke in countries like Spain, The Netherlands, and Portugal.

Who doesn’t love to talk about sex and weed?

Marijuana has been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. Jackie Cornell, Chief of Policy and Health Innovations, 1906, tells us that cannabis use is documented in India as far back as the 7th century AD. As far as for sexual health? Its use is found in Chinese texts, amongst Germanic tribes, and by many African cultures such as those in Uganda, Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon.

What I want to talk about today in this guide, is the way in which weed enhances sexual experiences, libido, and orgasms. Who doesn’t love to talk about sex and weed? Here is what you need to know about cannabis and sex.

What happens to the brain when you introduce cannabis

What exactly happens to the brain when you introduce cannabis, whether smoked or ingested?

The CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain (cannabinoid receptor type 1 and type 2) are affected when you smoke marijuana. This is a protein-coupled receptor found in the brain and in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

When you activate these receptors, your brain releases a whole host of feel-good chemicals. “When the CB1 receptors become activated it can have an inhibitory effect on the release of many neurotransmitters such as glutamate, serotonin, dopamine, [and] GABA,” says Kristine D’Angelo, a certified sex coach and clinical sexologist.

Weed and your body

The chemical compounds in cannabis have long shown a positive effect on the body. “THC and CBD have proven medical benefits that impact sexual response and enjoyment including increased blood flow, sensitivity to touch, relief from stress and anxiety, as well as pain relief,” explains Cornell.

In the bedroom, we often find that anxiety can hinder our ability to be fully sexually engaged.

Research has shown that CBD (the non-psychoactive component in cannabis) is anti-inflammatory, prevents seizures in individuals who have extreme epilepsy, and is also used to manage migraines and anxiety.

In the bedroom, we often find that anxiety can hinder our ability to be fully sexually engaged. Cornell explains that this is where cannabis really has a chance to shine: “Cannabis helps to keep anxiety in check and allows you to open up more fully to yourself and your partner(s).”

Weed and sexual function

In an interview with High Times, psychiatrist Dr. Lester Grinspoon said that weed “greatly enhances the sexual experience for many people. There’s no doubt that when people are high, they’re more sensitive to their sexual feelings and urges.”

Daniel Saynt, the founder of The New Society for Wellness (NSFW), a cannabis-friendly, sex-positive, members-only club, points out that weed can act as a “social lubricant,” making you feel more present in the moment. Basically, weed makes you feel more in your body. It electrifies all of your nerve endings, leaving you in a total state of euphoria. Who wouldn’t want to have sex like that, you know?

There may even be greater medical uses for marijuana that go beyond simply making you hornier. It can actually improve sexual function.

Cannabis lube has been shown to help with Female Sexual Dysfunction (a disorder that leads to low libido and an inability to naturally lubricate). If you’ve found that you have problems orgasming or getting wet, cannabis might be a good natural salve for you. 40% of women experience some level of FSD at some point between the ages of twenty and forty years old.

D’Angelo explains that weed lube is actually a great way to use cannabis if you’re not into getting high. “THC is a vasodilator which means it brings blood to the surface of where it’s used; for example, when you smoke or ingest THC you will get blood-shot eyes,” she says. “When you place a weed lube on your vulva/in your vagina it encourages more blood flow [to] that area which enhances arousal, lubrication and sensation.”

THC and CBD enhanced lubes have also shown to help with pain during sex. This is a critical component for vulva owners, as 3 out of 4 women will experience pain during intercourse at some point in their lives.

Marijuana and sexual performance

When it comes to penises, it’s all about balance. According to a male-oriented study, 75% of subjects reported that marijuana helped increase their sexual stamina. Another study found that a small amount of weed won’t decrease erections, but if you overdo it, it could lead to trouble getting hard.

This makes sense. If you get too high, it’s hard to stay in the moment. It’s like those times when you’ve hit the gravity bong too hard and can’t even form sentences. You just have to lie on the couch for a few hours and listen to Pink Floyd.

For women, Cornell says that weed “increases the female orgasm tenfold, reawakens the sex drive of menopausual women, and reignites the passion in long-term relationships.” So, who wants to pass a joint, amIright?

How to use cannabis

Saynt tells us that it’s all about the kinds of cannabis you choose to use. Before sex, it’s a great way to get loosened up and, “after sex, it’s a great come down from the dopamine and serotonin released during sex and at climax.”

When you’re going for a relaxed state, you’ll want to choose a strain that is higher in CBD. The extra CBD can counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC, which can sometimes lead to jitters or paranoia. “Blue Dream and Jack Herera are two types of cannabis to consider for a more controlled high. If you’re new to cannabis, take smaller doses and test to see how you feel, checking in with yourself every 15 minutes,” Saynt explains.

If you’re using cannabis lube, use a few drops on the clitoris or penis and allow it to soak in for a few minutes.

D’Angelo recommends using edibles for sex over smoking, since edibles give you more of a “body high” which can intensify sexual experiences. “I recommend a hybrid strain of edibles over smoking flower because of the bodily effects edibles have versus feeling really heady and avoiding possibly getting overwhelmed, anxious or paranoid by smoking it.”

If you’re using cannabis lube, use a few drops on the clitoris or penis and allow it to soak in for a few minutes. You should feel a slight warming or tingling when the compounds activate. Keep in mind that they are usual oil-based, meaning they aren’t compatible with latex or polyurethane condoms. Always read the labels to check if your weed lube is safe to use with latex.

What to buy

For smoking:

When it comes to buying bud for smoking, stick with nightshades. Ask a professional at your dispensary for strains that are “mellow” with a high CBD concentrate. When it comes to sex, you want to have an overall sense of relaxation and excitement so that you can fully engage in the pleasure.

For edibles:

We are hands-down obsessed with the LOVE edibles from 1906. These edibles are made with a ton of amazing naturally occurring aphrodisiacs to increase your sexual mood. Cornell breaks down why these edibles make you feel sexier:

Damiana: Used since Aztec times, Damiana often helps women increase their ability to achieve orgasms and can help people re-establish a connection with their more sensual side.

Muira Puama & Catuaba: Also known as the “Viagra of the Amazon”, these ingredients increase blood flow to the pelvic area, aiding erections in men as well as sensation and orgasm in women.

Ashwagandha: An herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to boost libido and fertility in men and women by reducing stress and lowering cortisol.

Theobromine: An effective heart stimulant and vasodilator, lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the brain and body.

For a less pronounced high, we love Root of It All, “Slow,” infused essential oil. It has a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio, but only doles oout 3mgs of cannabis per dropper. It gives you the most wonderful body high and sense of chillness.

For lube:

There are a bunch of awesome lubes on the market. We love Foria, High on Love’s Stimulating Orgasm Oil, and Quim (which is latex safe). Allow your cannabis lube to soak in for about 10-15 minutes for optimal effect.

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Author

Gigi Engle is a sexologist, certified sex coach, and feminist author. She teaches about pleasure-based sex education, masturbation, and the magical wonders that are sex toys. Engle's work has appeared in many publications her articles have been shared over 50 million times. She also writes a popular advice column called Ask Gigi, and her first book, All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life, debuts in January 2020. She has a degree in both English and Journalism from Fordham University College at Lincoln Center. Engle is an original member of The Women of Sex Tech and a certified member the World Association of Sex Coaches.