BY KIMBERLY TRUONG
The benefits of cannabis are constantly being explored and becoming more mainstream as a result. Plenty of people are tinkering with weed in many forms for everything from better sleep to anxiety management. It’s widely known and appreciated as a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the day, just as much as it’s celebrated for creating energy and heightening experiences. So, it’s not too far-fetched to think that weed can change your sex life, too. There’s been some evidence to suggest that cannabis is something of an aphrodisiac, but there are still some unanswered questions about the true relationship between sex and weed. Here’s everything you need—and, let’s face it, will want—to know about getting down while high.
Some evidence links weed to higher libido.
A 2017 study released by the Stanford University School of Medicine, which polled more than 50,000 people, made headlines when it found that people who regularly use cannabis reported having 20% more sex than those who don’t. The study, one of the biggest to look at the relationship between marijuana use and frequency of sexual intercourse, isn’t necessarily saying that weed causes more sex, but it did find a strong correlation. And get this: a different 2017 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM) surveyed 133 sexually active adult women and found that 62% reported that cannabis enhanced their libidos.
However, because cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and only in the early stages of its newfound status as a consumer good, there isn’t a ton of research on the subject. Many of these studies have been self-reported, meaning it’s difficult to determine a legitimate link between cannabis and libido, or get the answers on why such a correlation might occur.
To be fair, the studies used relatively small sample sizes, but Diana Urman, a San Francisco-based sex therapist who has a Ph.D. in human sexuality, says that there could be some truth to the idea that sex is more enjoyable when you’re stoned. Dr. Urman, who often recommends cannabis to clients who feel anxious about sex, says cannabis’ relaxing qualities can help people be more focused on sex and sexual sensations, which could possibly increase their sensitivity and openness.
Not only that; according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, THC (the ingredient that gives you the psychoactive effect—aka, the high that’s traditionally associated with the plant) affects brain areas that influence pleasure and sensation, and it also activates the brain’s reward system, which includes regions that govern the response to pleasurable behaviors such as sex and eating. Because of the way cannabis interacts with the receptors on the neurons in those brain areas, Dr. Urman says it might contribute to heightened sensitivity during sex. “Cannabis can help people feel more relaxed, more receptive to touch, more sexually interested, more present in their bodies, and more in tune with themselves,” she says.
But there are certain risk factors.
As many benefits as there might be to having sex while high, there are also things you should watch out for. “With any kind of psychoactive ingredient, there are risks,” Dr. Urman says. “Impaired judgment can take place and decision-making may also be somewhat compromised.”
It’s also been suggested that using weed excessively might contribute to premature ejaculation and reduce sperm count, though Dr. Urman says many of those studies have yet to be widely accepted due to the lack of scientific evidence out there that points to a possible mechanism behind the findings. Beyond that, per Dr. Urman, too much weed could lead you to feel drowsier, and give you a slower reaction time—not exactly optimal conditions for a satisfying romp.
All in all, we still need to collect more research when it comes to weed and sex, and the good news is there’s nothing stopping you from doing a little experimentation of your own. That said, if you’re going to try it out for yourself, you have to take certain precautions. “I always tell my clients to make sure that they’re in safe environments with people they know and trust,” Dr. Urman says. While the suggested dosage differs from person to person, Dr. Urman says she usually recommends her clients start with 5 milligrams of cannabis (2.5 milligrams if the person is more prone to anxiety). Some people might prefer 10 milligrams or more, but weed before sex can be a trial-and-error process, so it’s best to start out small if you’re experimenting. You can always add more as you become more confident and comfortable.
And so, cannabis’ potential to enrich your sex life might be yet another reason to Shop MedMen to re-stock your arsenal. You can thank us later.