BY MARIE LODI
Cannabis can seriously help unwind after a long day or get a good night’s sleep, but it could also be beneficial during the most intimate moments. A 2017 study by researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine found that frequent cannabis users reported having 20% sex more than those who don’t partake in pot. So, what’s the relationship between cannabis and people getting down and dirty more often?
Diana Urman, a San Francisco-based sex therapist, clinical sexologist, and integrative psychotherapist, says that cannabis has the ability to slow us down, alleviate anxiety, and elevate mood. “It also makes us more spontaneous and adventurous, and promotes a sense of emotional closeness and increases sense of connection,” says Urman. “There is an increased sensitivity to touch and willingness to be more engaged and sensual, which in turn, enhances sexual pleasure and deepens orgasmic abilities.”
The co-founder of cannabis tea brand Kikoko, Amanda Jones, adds that cannabis, specifically low-ish doses of THC, stimulates the brain to release arousal hormones. “Not only does THC have this neurological effect, but it decreases inhibition and increases the intensity of orgasm in most women, which adds to the experience,” says Jones. In higher doses, it can have adverse effects for men, such as a decrease in libido. So, in this case, it’s all about a low dosage.
“Cannabis can help enhance pleasure and break down the barriers that stand in the way of connection and intimacy,” explains sex educator Ashley Manta. Marijuana might also help with painful sexual conditions, such as vaginismus. Dr. Amie Harwick, MFT, sex and relationship expert, and author of The New Sex Bible for Women, says while some of her clients experience sleepiness and a lowered libido from cannabis, others had more positive reactions. “They feel more relaxed, and issues that made the sexual experience more difficult, like muscle tension, actually improve when they ingest cannabis,” she says.
For those who want to bring cannabis into the bedroom, Manta suggests starting with topicals or high-CBD products, especially for those who have a lower tolerance or are just getting started. “If you're a seasoned consumer with a high tolerance, try a few different products and strains and see which ones put you in the best headspace for the kinds of sexual experiences you're wanting to create, whether solo or partnered,” Manta says. “Topicals are great for sore muscles and pain, sex sprays or oils are good for increasing pleasure by bringing greater blood flow and sensation to the area while decreasing pain, and in-halables are good for helping you get present, euphoric, and calm.” Urman recommends taking edibles consisting mainly of THC between 5 to 10mg.
There are also plenty of cannabis products specifically geared towards sexual intimacy, like Dosist’s Passion pen, as well as Kikoko’s Sensuali-Tea, which Jones says contains 7 mg of THC—the perfect amount for arousal. “We also incorporated other organic warming and stimulating herbs like cardamom, clove, hibiscus, orange peel, and rose petals,” explains Jones. “Even the gorgeous ruby color of the tea is sensual.”
If you’d rather not be completely stoned during sex, opt for CBD. “There are many valid reasons why someone might not want to feel the heady effects of cannabis, but still want to enjoy the health benefits associated with the plant,” says Manta. “CBD can provide a wide range of those benefits.”
These benefits of cannabis can be especially important to women, according to Urman, whose female clients complain about being in their heads, not feeling present in their bodies, and not feeling desirable and desired. “Females have a much more variable sex drive and are much more responsive to their environment, “ says Urman. “Scientific data suggests that that one of the key elements for women to reach their orgasmic potential is a deep sense of relaxation and a absence of anxiety. Cannabis plays an important role in deflating anxiety, mellowing down, and feeling more presence in one’s body.”