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Cannabis and Sex

There are few experiences in life that can’t be enhanced with a cannabis product. Got some chores to get done? A peppy, sativa heavy strain and some good music is a fantastic way to get motivated. Settling in for a movie and some snacks? Melt into the couch with an indica and relax. Many of us have found ways to incorporate cannabis products into our daily lives; medicinally, recreationally or a little bit of both, cannabis has incredible potential to make everyday a little better than it was, so why not apply that same principle to something a little more personal? Let’s talk about sex, baby.

First and foremost, I want to make the distinction between using cannabis and having an enjoyable sex life and deliberately incorporating cannabis into sex. Do I think they’re mutually exclusive? Absolutely not! Can you have a perfectly healthy and enjoyable sex life without the deliberate use of cannabis products? Of course! Do I think sex is awesome, cannabis is awesome and combining them mindfully can be AMAZING? Absolutely! What I’d like to do is make sure that I’m addressing this particular subject from all angles, whether you are just curious about the what, why and how of including cannabis and cannabis products in your sex life, you’re looking for a place to start incorporating it into your sex life or if you already are.

What Do We Know?

The United States history of cannabis prohibition has – say it with me now – made research and data gathering virtually impossible. It’s even more complicated when you start talking about sex and sexuality. What I consider a sexually satisfying experience may be totally different than what you would consider a sexually satisfying experience. With that said, most of the research regarding this topic is collected from self-reporting surveys, which are not always the most reliable scientific data. Self-reported studies are often unreliable because there is less of an ability to control the dosage, potency, frequency, etc. that can be used in extrapolating meaningful data. For example, a participant using a topical cannabis product high in CBD may have an entirely different experience from someone who used a high THC edible. However, we do know that in most of these surveys, a majority of the people mixing sex and cannabis reported increased sensation or more pleasurable orgasms.

Now, what does this mean for you and incorporating cannabis into your sex life? Honestly, not a whole lot, but there are scientific things that we do know about cannabis that can be applied to your sex life in the same way you might apply it anywhere else in your life. We know that THC is a vasodilator, meaning it increases blood flow, and increased blood flow in erogenous zones can increase pleasure. We know cannabis is used to treat pain, anxiety and inflammation, all things that can drastically decrease pleasure. It makes sense that if these are things that may be inhibiting your ability to enjoy a sexual experience, cannabis may be able to help relieve those symptoms and heighten your enjoyment. We know that cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac as far back as ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine.

Sex, Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System

With as much anecdotal and historical evidence touting cannabis as a powerful aphrodisiac, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) are quite physiologically involved in sexual function. In 2017, Czech scientists published a report in Psychopharmacology stating that cannabis stimulates a part of the brain dense with CB1 receptors. This part of the brain, the right nucleus accumbens, is also known as the brain’s “pleasure center” and is packed full of CB1 receptors that are directly activated by THC and indirectly by CBD. There are also cannabinoid receptors located in reproductive organs as well as in organs that produce reproductive hormones.

We’re going to get real scientific for a second here. Cannabinoid receptors are also present on the axon terminals of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons. More simply put, there are cannabinoid receptors at the ends of nerve clusters. These clusters are activated by dopamine or serotonin, both neurotransmitters that interact with testosterone, estrogen and oxytocin and play an important role in modulating sexual response and function. According to, “Extensive preclinical research has established that cannabinoid receptor signaling is involved in every stage of the reproductive process – from sexual arousal to climax to fertilization to embryo implantation and throughout fetal development.”

What we can glean from all of this sciencey stuff is that the ECS and cannabis can work in tandem with sexual function.

Where to Start

If you’re thinking about incorporating cannabis into your sex life, the first thing I recommend is asking yourself, “What am I looking to get from this experience?” How do you want to feel during the experience? Are you looking to increase sensation or decrease anxiety? If there’s one thing that sex and cannabis have in common, it’s that each can be extremely unique depending on the individual. The same strain could have different effects for you as they do for me, so trial and error is, as usual, an important part of this particular cannabis journey. You might want to start keeping a journal of how certain strains or methods affect the specific things that you’re looking for.

But Kelly, you might be saying, how am I supposed to know how it’s affecting my sensation or my drive or my pleasure? For me, this is the fun part. You have to try it! Partnered or solo, take the time to assess. If your goal is enhancing a sexual experience, you’re going to have to be conscious of your body in a way that, let’s be frank, might be new and totally uncomfortable, but this is a great opportunity to get to know your body a little better. Besides, you’ve already decided that enhanced sexual pleasure is worth having, so enjoy it! Spend some time alone or with a familiar partner and do your best to be conscious of what you’re feeling.

What To Use

Fortunately, we live in a time where not only have we made leaps and bounds in cannabis reform, but also in how we view and enjoy sex. There are tons of websites and products that offer toys, lube, costumes, accessories, you name it, specifically for the purpose of enhancing sexual pleasure. This same niche exists for cannabis based products that are designed to increase arousal, sexual pleasure, orgasm and intimacy. Many of these products are marketed towards women struggling with intimacy, arousal or climax. While not all women struggle with certain aspects of sex, there are aspects that can pertain specifically towards women that cannabis sex products may be able to work wonders for, ie. libido or comfort during intercourse.

If topicals are your thing, you might want to try an intimacy oil or “lube” that’s cannabis infused. Oils like argan and coconut are used to deliver cannabis extracts, usually THC or CBD, increasing blood flow to capillaries and heightening sensation. I’ve even seen an oil formulated with tea tree, sometimes referred to as nature’s antibacterial and antifungal, touting overall vaginal health. While these oils and lubes are fantastic, many are not condom safe. Make sure that if you are using condoms, your cannabis product is safe for use with them. If you prefer edibles or tinctures, try a chocolate or tincture blended with other herbal aphrodisiacs. A cannabis suppository formulated with broad-spectrum CBD oil may ease tension and heighten arousal and can also be used rectally. While there are all of these wonderful, enhancing cannabis products on the market, there’s still something to be said for the flower and your preferred method. If a particular strain makes you feel relaxed, connected and euphoric, those feelings could translate really well into a relaxing, connected, euphoric sexual experience.

There’s still a lot left to learn about cannabis and sex, however, what we do know is promising. If introducing cannabis into your sex life seems right, there are products out there for you! As with lots of cannabis products (and let’s face it, most sex) it’s going to take some trial and error to find what works best for you, but I think a little bit of work in the name of a lot of pleasure is totally worth it.

Kelly Mahoney worked at a medical cannabis Co-op with her mother, Laura Mastropietro, dealing mainly with helping new patients acquire their medical cards and helping them find the best strains and methods. Diagnosed at a young age with spinal muscular atrophy, she was also a medical cannabis patient and still advocates for the incredible benefits, and downright fun, of cannabis. She now lives in a prohibition state as a cat mom and gamer wife.


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