Ah, cannabis and sex. Cannabis has a long history as an aphrodisiac, beginning at least in ancient India, where some considered the plant to be a gift from the gods (and historical records around tantric sex rituals associated with the goddess Kali Ma, appear as early as 700 AD).
Many of us still enjoy cannabis for sex, but is it truly a match made in heaven (or a serious buzzkill)? It turns out the answer is complicated. While the pleasurable effects of marijuana definitely extend to arousal and sex, whether or not using cannabis to enhance sex is a good idea varies from person to person. As we’ll discover in today’s post, that’s due to a number of variables, including how cannabis affects anxiety and the way it can alter our perceptions of reality. Spoiler alert: For those cannabis lovers confident in their erotic magnetism, this could be a very rude awakening indeed!
But don’t worry: There’s plenty of hopeful news along with some gentle comedowns. If you’re interested in the intersection of marijuana and sex or looking for the best cannabis strain for sex, you’ll find plenty to get excited about in today’s post!
Can Marijuana Affect Your Sexual Performance?
Historically, opinion on cannabis for sex has been fairly consistent. Certain Eastern European cultures were fond of a mixture called “Happy Porridge” that combined almond butter, rose leaves, carnation petals, and honey—among other perfumed ingredients—to cannabis, which they called “nasha.” Elsewhere, tribesmen in present-day Uganda knew all about the use of cannabis to enhance sex, and the ancient Greek physician Dioscorides had opinions on marijuana and sex, too.
Dioscorides was an outlier, in that he felt that the consumption of cannabis—or at least its seeds—“reduces sexual activity.” But perhaps he was on to something. While the cannabis plant’s current legal status means it hasn’t been as well-studied as it should be, the few studies that have been published point to contradictory results.
One study from 1982 seemed to indicate that marijuana was an all-out “love drug.” In it, roughly 75% of male participants reported that the plant enhanced their sex lives. But that study (and similar ones) don’t account for the effect that marijuana intoxication has on our perception.
As any regular cannabis lover knows, marijuana affects our sense of time, among other perceptions. So is it that marijuana is really boosting mens’ sexual performance? Or does it just seem like it at the time?
One thing’s for certain: It does appear that those who partake of cannabis tend to have more sex—or at least a wider variety of sexual partners—than those who don’t. A study from 2009 found that the men who used cannabis were twice as likely to have two or more sex partners in the previous year. This could mean that cannabis was helping them hook up, or it could point back to studies involving personality tests that found that cannabis users were more likely to score high on being open to new experiences.
A study published in 2017 presented the most glowing results. Over 50,000 men and women of across races, ages, and economic backgrounds took a survey that asked how many times they’d had sex in the last month and how often they’d smoked cannabis in the last year. The data was startling, suggesting that cannabis users actually had more sex than non-users. The results for women were especially noteworthy—with 34% of them having more frequent sex—but the figure for men, at 22%, was also noteworthy.
That said, these results don’t prove a causal relationship. We don’t really know if the reason behind these people getting more nooky is indeed tied directly to cannabis. There could be other factors, as evidenced by the studies on personality traits we referenced a moment ago. In other words, we know that in addition to scoring high on openness traits, male cannabis users also tend to score high in terms of their testosterone levels. And because both of these are characteristics that are likely to lead to a higher number of sexual experiences, it’s possible that it’s not cannabis leading to these results, but individuals’ inherent qualities.
Don’t think for a moment we’re leaving women out of the equation! A growing body of evidence—such as this study from 2019—suggest that cannabis helps women achieve greater pleasure with orgasm and increased sexual satisfaction overall. But it’s also relevant to point out that—thus far at least—many (if not most) studies on cannabis for sex center on men. Why? That’s simple: Historically, they’re more likely to worry about their sexual performance than women are. That said, sexual performance anxiety is a real concern for many women, too. And as the study we referenced earlier suggests, cannabis might help there as well.
Does Weed Make You Last Longer in Bed?
Let’s dive deeper into the topic of performance anxiety. For men, it often centers around fear that they won’t be able to delay orgasm sufficiently. And it appears that cannabis can help: That same study from 2009 found that men who smoked cannabis daily had trouble reaching orgasm four times more often than men who didn’t. However, the opposite also appears to be true, with one study suggesting some cannabis smokers were three times more likely to experience premature ejaculation than non-smokers.
That said, lacking a causal relationship, some researchers posited that these men were self-medicating with cannabis in order to delay orgasm, believed by some to be a common side effect. Is it possible that some men were over-medicating with cannabis, resulting in an inability to reach orgasm? In terms of detangling cannabis’ effect on sex drive, this is a rather more complicated answer, demonstrating the difficulty of studying complex interactions between the cannabis plant, our physiologies, and human sexual response.
Here’s another twist: While there’s an old saw about cannabis lowering mens’ sperm count, the scientific evidence is contradictory. Though studies such as this one have come to damning conclusions on the matter, they’re contradicted by a 2019 Harvard study that found that men who smoked cannabis had significantly higher sperm counts than those who didn’t.
The study also tested blood, which revealed seemingly contradictory results. Though cannabis smokers showed less follicle stimulating hormones—which are critical for sperm growth—those who reported “more intense use” had significantly higher concentrations of testosterone, also crucial to sperm development.
What Is the Best Cannabis Strain for Sex?
As the many studies and findings we’ve shared demonstrate, it’s important to be aware of all effects cannabis use may have on your sex life (not just the positive ones). And when it comes to cannabis dosage, it’s always a good idea to start low and go slow. We hope it’s just the aphrodisiac you need!
Is indica or sativa better for sex? The truth is that—as with so many things in the cannabis realm—it comes down to personal preference. Some of us find that the relaxing, full-body high of a classic indica is just the ticket. For others, the cerebral uplift of a heady sativa puts us in the right mindset to get creative, sexually speaking. So when trying to find the best cannabis strain for sex, you’ll have to do some exploration to find out.
Cannabis for Sex: Final Thoughts
In the end, it seems like those who are drawn to cannabis use might also be people who are already motivated in the sexual arena. Are the pleasurable effects of marijuana what’s giving them their juju? If you aren’t sure how cannabis affects your sex drive, maybe it’s time to find out for yourself.