Cannabis and Sexuality: How Consumption May Enhance Your Sex Life

Jointly is a cannabis wellness app that launched in April 2020. Jointly’s mission is to help people discover purposeful cannabis consumption. Purposeful cannabis consumption starts with the question: why do you use cannabis?

Although cannabis has a long tradition as an aphrodisiac, many people are just now discovering that cannabis and CBD can be used to enrich their intimate experiences.

What does it mean to enhance intimate moments with cannabis? It could be a married couple looking to add a bit of creativity to their bedroom experience by splitting a cannabis-infused chocolate; a first date made more intimate and playful with a few hits from a vape pen; or a young woman who finds that consuming a small dose of THC makes it easier for her to reach orgasm in her solo sessions.

Can cannabis or CBD help you enhance your intimate moments? Jointly can help you find out, but first let’s review what is known about cannabis, CBD and intimacy.

Is Cannabis an Aphrodisiac?

Various traditional medicine systems have prized cannabis as an aphrodisiac. In 1965, Shri Dwarakanath, the Adviser in Indigenous Systems of Medicine for the Government of India, described numerous Ayurvedic formulations that contained cannabis and were prescribed as aphrodisiacs in rural areas. Dwarakanath noted that cannabis-based aphrodisiacs were found in both the Ayurvedic and Arab medical traditions and seem to have been used for hundreds of years. Evidently, humans have long used cannabis as an aphrodisiac.

But according to Nick Karras, a sexologist who has informally studied the effect of cannabis on people’s sex lives, “Dosing is essential when it comes to cannabis. Consume too much THC, and you may develop a closer relationship with your couch than your partner.”

A counselor of Ayurvedic medicine, Biljana Dušić, MD, seconded this notion: in the Ayurvedic tradition a small to moderate amount of cannabis is considered a powerful aphrodisiac, but habitual, heavy use of cannabis leads to a loss of sexual desire.

For enhancing intimacy, it’s probably best to start with a small dose.

What Does the Science Say About Cannabis and Intimacy?

Due to federal prohibition on cannabis, there is not enough research on how cannabis impacts sex or intimacy to state any firm conclusions. However, there have been several surveys and self-report studies that looked at how cannabis affected sexual frequency or subjective experience.

In 2017, researchers at Stanford University conducted a survey of more than 50,000 adults and found that cannabis use is associated with increased sexual frequency and that it does not appear to impair sexual function.

In 2018, researchers conducted an analysis of self-reported sexual effects of marijuana in a small group of men and women aged 18-25. They found that “the majority of marijuana users reported an increase in sexual enjoyment and orgasm intensity, as well as either an increase or no change in desire.”

Another small survey of men and women explored how cannabis alters people’s sexual experience. The researchers found that 38.7% said sex was better under the influence of cannabis, 58.9% said cannabis increased their desire for sex, 73.8% reported increased sexual satisfaction, 74.3% reported an increased sensitivity to touch, 65.7% reported an increased intensity of orgasms, and 69.8% said they could relax more during sex. While these results are fairly compelling, the survey was only conducted on a few hundred participants who responded to an advertisement, so it is unknown if these results can be generalized.

Biological Sex, Cannabis, and Intimacy

The scientific literature indicates that both men and women can experience a subjective improvement in sexual experiences when they use cannabis. But there is quite a bit of research that biological sex impacts how cannabis affects sexual function.

For females, the research has “almost consistently suggested a faciliatory effect of cannabis on subjective indices of sexual function.”

A study published in July of 2020 looked at whether the frequency of cannabis use, the chemovar (whether it has THC, CBD or both), or the method of consumption had an effect on female sexual function among cannabis users. They found that increased marijuana use was associated with improved sexual function in females. Chemovar type, method of consumption and reason for use did not impact the outcome.

A 2019 study explored how cannabis use prior to sex affected female sexual function and found that “with any use, the majority of women perceived improvement in overall experience, sex drive, orgasm and pain.”

The science on how cannabis affects sexual function in males is less conclusive. A literature review published in 2011 found contradictory results between studies and called for “renewed use of research resources” to learn how cannabis affects male sexual function.

Perception is Reality?

Some studies looking at male and female sexual function found a negative physiological effect of cannabis, but a positive subjective effect. For example, in males “it appears cannabis may actually have peripheral antagonizing effects on erectile function by stimulating specific receptors.” And in females, “cannabinoid receptor agonists, such as cannabis, may impair sexual arousal.”

Studies often focus on sexual arousal because there is a method for objectively measuring physiological arousal, whereas there is not an objective way to measure sexual desire.

Researchers discussing the difference between subjective and objective measures of sexual function stated, “While individuals may report enhanced sexual functioning while under the influence of certain substances, these substances are…often associated with decreased physiological sexual functioning.”

Of course, if people feel their intimate experiences are better when facilitated by cannabis or CBD, the objective physiological markers may not be as relevant.

Enhancing Intimacy with Cannabis

An informal survey was conducted between Eaze, a cannabis delivery service, and Lioness, a climax-tracking vibrator, on several hundred people. The Eaze-Lioness survey tracked the physiological markers of orgasm length and frequency. The survey found that “cannabis can increase the length, frequency, and quality of your orgasms and pleasure sessions whether you’re single or married, solo or with a partner, young adult or silver fox.”

Of course, this survey was not a scientifically rigorous study and more formal research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. However, many couples have found that consuming cannabis enhances their intimate moments, and the science supports it.

A 2019 study looked at 183 heterosexual, frequent marijuana using couples, and found that using marijuana together, or individually but in the presence of the partner, increased the likelihood of the couple sharing an intimate experience within 2 hours of consumption. When couples used cannabis separately and alone (not in the presence of their partner), there was no increase in likelihood of intimacy.

The researchers concluded, “marijuana use is associated with increased experiences of intimacy, love, caring or support with one’s intimate partner in the next 2 hours.” They suggested it was plausible that subjective feelings of relaxation, happiness and wellbeing after cannabis use led the couples to “experience—or perceive—intimacy” with their partner.

Why Might Cannabis Enhance Intimacy?

The endocannabinoid system plays a central role in “controlling reproductive function in mammals and humans,” and the cannabinoid receptor has been mapped to areas of the brain that play a role in sexual function.

While it is clear that the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in sexual function, there are various other ways that cannabis or CBD can help people enhance their intimate experiences.

For example, scientists have postulated that cannabis may enhance intimate moments by lowering stress and anxiety or decreasing pain associated with sex. Others note that cannabis can slow down the perception of time, thus prolonging sensations of pleasure. Cannabis can also heighten the senses, changing how touch feels.

Whatever the mechanism of action, many people have found that cannabis and intimacy are natural bedfellows.

Use Jointly to Enhance Your Intimate Moments with Cannabis and CBD

With Jointly, you measure how well a cannabis product helps you achieve your wellness goals, including intimacy enhancement.

As you record how each product helps you achieve your goals, Jointly helps you track the 15 factors that can impact your individual experience so that you enjoy your ideal experience every time.

Jointly users who have optimized their cannabis consumption by reporting at least 10 cannabis sessions are enjoying their experiences 38% more than without Jointly.

Download the Jointly app today and start accomplishing your wellness goals with cannabis and CBD!

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