Cannabis and sex … it’s certainly a catchy topic.
We have widespread knowledge on how alcohol and sex works (or doesn’t), thanks to 88 years of legal commerce. Cannabis, on the other hand, has only been legal without a medical card in California since 2017, and many people are new to it—so we are all still learning. However, there is some new information that can assist us with our lessons.
In addition to writing this column, I have a weekly live show and podcast on Radio111 centered on the cannabis industry and consumers. My guest on Oct. 12 discussed—you guessed it—sex and cannabis. Joan Irvine is a doctor of clinical hypnotherapy who uses hypnosis, behavior modification, neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive learning techniques, practical suggestions and now cannabis to help add spice back into one’s sex life. During the interview, I learned that the body’s own natural systems can work with cannabis to enhance pleasure—and therefore cause greater sexual satisfaction.
Though there is limited research on the subject, we do know that endocannabinoids play a role in sexual function. We all have a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS); endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body that act as a cell-signaling system that helps keep internal functions running smoothly. Experts are still trying to fully understand the ECS; what’s known is that it plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including sleep, appetite, mood and reproduction. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, including immune cells. These receptors are located throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to the CB-1 or CB-2 receptors in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action—and the result depends on where the receptor is located, and to which endocannabinoid it’s binding.
Cannabis also contains various cannabinoids. When ingested, they can impact the ECS, just like endocannabinoids can.
A study published in Sexual Medicine located the cannabinoid receptors mapped to several brain areas involved in sexual function. Both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with hormones and neurotransmitters that mediate sexual behavior. The study said that 68.5 percent of people said sex while using cannabis was more pleasurable, while both male and female marijuana users had more sex compared to those who never used. “Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function,” the study concluded.
Of course, before this study was published in 2019, people were already starting to link cannabis use with libido. Jeff Dillon founded Xblaze in 2018, which bills itself as the world’s first and only 420-friendly adult-film studio. He’s been quoted as saying: “Most people can use cannabis to enhance their sexual experience.”
The cannabis industry has responded in the last few years with some products and strain recommendations for anyone wanting to give sex and cannabis a try. Irvine said she has used Foria products, including oils and suppositories, with both THC and CBD. She also uses a medicated, caffeinated tea, Kikido Sensuali-tea, a half-hour before the fun begins, because edibles often take more time to impact your mood, based on the time needed to move through a body’s digestive system.
“If you want almost immediate results, perhaps for a ‘quickie,’ fast-acting Purejuana cannabis powder in a beverage can do the trick,” Irvine said. “It helps you relax and focus on the pleasure of sex. Plus, cannabis is better than alcohol, which can cause inflammation in various parts of our body, including our sex organs, while the cannabinoids and terpenes in THC/CBD reduce inflammation.”
An article published by HealthLine.com indicated that cannabis strains high in certain terpenes may be best for sexual experiences. Limonene creates a sense of lightness and euphoria, producing a relaxed state and naturally relieving stress. In other words, it improves your mood to get “in the mood.”
Linalool is a close sibling to limonene, and is known for relaxing and relieving stress; it may provide a similar effect for improving one’s sex drive. Based on its calming effect, this might be the terpene of choice if you plan on spending some sexual time alone.
Of course, it’s best to exercise care when experimenting with cannabis and sex; use the “start low and go slow” method.
“Talking about the use of cannabis with a partner so you are both on the same page, or use it by yourself first when you are alone, so you know how your body and mind respond, and what you expect then you are with your lover,” Irvine said.
Buy your cannabis products from licensed and reputable retailers—and have fun!