Sex is a primal human need that brings us a wide variety of benefits — and not just reproduction. This is a fundamental aspect of life that contributes to an individual’s overall well-being. Its benefits encompass a person’s physical, psychological, social, emotional, and even spiritual health.
Now, we have read a number of studies focusing on cannabis and sex. One study found that cannabis users have more sex than those who do not use cannabis at all. Another study found that using cannabis before engaging in a sexual activity could result in better orgasms for women. Studies like these disprove what people used to believe about marijuana and its negative effects to sexual function.
Myths on marijuana and sex
There have been dozens of myths surrounding cannabis, and these have been debunked by scientific research conducted throughout the years. Some of these myths revolve around sexuality and sexual function, including:
That cannabis causes sterility among men.
There used to be a belief that cannabis can cause male sterility. True, there have been studies that suggest that frequent cannabis use can alter sperm.
A 2014 study, for instance, has found that regular cannabis use increases the risk of men producing abnormally shaped sperm. And the more the shape and size of the sperm changes the more challenging it will be to conceive.
The good thing about this finding, however, is that new sperm is generated within a 74-day cycle, and men only need to skip weed in order to allow their reproductive system to generate a new batch of troops. In other words, the reproductive system can still get back to its normal state. This alone is far from becoming sterile.
That cannabis triggers homosexual tendencies.
For a lot of weed users, this old wives’ tale is nothing short of ridiculous. It claims that the use of cannabis can drive straight people to experiment with homosexuality.
How this “rumor” started is unknown. And, needless to say, there is no scientific evidence pointing to the validity of this belief.
What is true, however, is that cannabis lowers the users’ inhibitions and allows them to act on their impulses. So if the only thing that keeps an individual from exploring their sexuality beyond what’s socially accepted is their inhibition, then you already have an answer.
Cannabis and erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a condition characterized by a man’s inability to obtain an erection of their organ or to sustain this erection for sexual penetration.
There are users who report getting what is now commonly called a “stoner boner” every time they smoke a blunt. They claim that they get a hard-on for no reason other than the fact that they are high.
However, this automatic and insistent erection is not always a shared experience among male users. In fact, for others, it is just the opposite. They report frustration over having a flaccid member even if they are aroused.
This means that whether cannabis helps or hinders erections is dependent on the person and that results vary. There are those who will experience enhanced arousal and hard erection, and there are those who will find erection and ejaculation completely elusive or delayed. For others, it won’t affect erection at all.
An animal study conducted in 2011 found that marijuana stimulates specific receptors located in the cavernous tissue and that this may have “peripheral antagonizing effects” on erectile function. However, this same study noted research of this nature are extremely limited and with many conflicting results. The authors wrote that while some studies outlined the beneficial effects of marijuana in enhancing erectile function, there are also those that didn’t.
What is certain, though, is that sexual function is influenced, in part, by our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a group of receptors found throughout the body, particularly in the brain and nervous system. The ECS helps maintain our body’s overall balance by regulating physiological functions like appetite, sleep, immune response, metabolism, memory, pain response, etc. And when we use cannabis, cannabinoids like the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) bind to and stimulate these receptors and shifts the body’s balance with a wide range of physiological results.
For one, THC binds to one of the two cannabinoid receptors of the ECS, known as the CB1 receptors. CB1 receptors have been found in a part of the brain’s hypothalamus, called the paraventricular nucleus, which controls penile erection.
Cannabinoid receptors have also been found in the smooth muscles of the penis.
These could explain how cannabis may directly affect the mechanisms involved in male arousal.
According to sex coach and educator Ashley Manta, who also advocates for the mindful combination of sex and cannabis, explained that factors such as the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of cannabis products used, how much of the produce is used, the users’ tolerance levels, and their life circumstances can all impact their ability to achieve and sustain an erection.
Cannabis, libido, and orgasms
While the effect of cannabis on sexual appetite and orgasm varies from person to person, scientific research points to a more positive connection between cannabis and sex.
A study published recently in the journal Sexual Medicine found that women who used cannabis before engaging in sexual acts are more likely to experience more satisfying orgasms than non-users.
Considering that this study is not conducted on rats or monkeys, but on women, and that it analyzed data from nearly 400 participants, its findings are significant and more note-worthy than earlier ones.
The study also found that a majority of women who used cannabis before sex experienced increased sex drive and a more pleasurable sexual experience, overall.
Moreover, the authors of the study acknowledged the importance of having a better understanding of the role of a woman’s endocannabinoid system. According to them, a wider understanding of the matter could help scientists develop treatments for female sexual dysfunction in the future.
Another study, conducted by researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine, suggests the people who use cannabis have 20% more sex than non-users. This study shows that cannabis can stimulate sexual arousal, disproving the belief that frequent use of the drug may impair sex drive and sexual performance.
According to Dr. Michael Eisenberg, assistant professor of urology at Stanford and the senior author of the study, frequent cannabis use does not seem to have a negative effect on sexual motivation or sexual performance. On the contrary, cannabis use is associated with an increased frequency of sexual encounters.
He admitted, however, that the large-scale use of cannabis and its connection to sexual frequency has not yet been studied scientifically.
Benefits of cannabis on sexual health
Using cannabis has several benefits in relation to sexual health.
For one, the drug has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which negatively affect sexual health. Since cannabis lowers inhibitions, it can also lower performance anxiety when it comes to having sex.
The drug’s anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties will also help ease your mind and allow you to think more clearly. This, in turn, will help you get rid of your everyday worries and negative thoughts that would have otherwise killed the mood. As a result, you get to better express yourself sexually.
Another benefit is pain relief. Many people who suffer from chronic pain no longer get to enjoy intercourse. Then there are also women who experience varying degrees of pain during penetration. By getting rid of pain, people get to have better experiences under the sheets.
In conclusion, cannabis is generally associated with improved sexual experiences. Needless to say, there is a need for further research to be carried out in this particular area. However, there is nothing wrong with trying to use cannabis before a sexual encounter and seeing how it affects you personally. You may also want to explore the different strains and varieties of cannabis to see which ones work for you and your partner. The important thing is to be always aware of how a particular cannabis variety makes you feel, and whether it contributes to a more pleasant and satisfying sexual experience or not.