Cannabis and Sex: Understanding THC, CBD, and Intimacy

Cannabis is already in your living room (it pairs well with lounging on the couch) and in your kitchen (hello, yummy weed brownies). But has the plant found its way into your bedroom? Cue the wah-wah pedal, because we’re going to get a little freaky and find out how cannabis can help you get it on.

Does Cannabis Really Affect Your Sex Drive?

When it comes to intimacy and weed, anecdotal evidence abounds. But is there any hard science linking the effects of marijuana and sex?

A 2017 study discovered that a certain endocannabinoid was produced in the human brain when participants masturbated to orgasm. Endocannabinoids are the body’s all-natural rewards system: they make us feel good when we eat, work out, or have social interactions—including sex! The endocannabinoid measured in the study was 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG. That’s the same molecule produced when we ingest CBD. In short, on a molecular level, CBD has the same satisfying effect as an orgasm.

Of course, we’re not advocating for you to use CBD as an alternative to sex. Instead, combine your body’s natural inclinations with, well, its natural inclinations. Use of CBD while having sex can heighten the pleasure you feel by actively firing those endocannabinoid receptors.

CBD and Sex: The Effects on Your Libido

But can CBD actually increase your libido? Let’s keep in mind that a less-than-impressive “libido” is often more due to anxiety than anything else. CBD’s calming properties make it perfect for relaxing and getting in the mood. What’s more, it increases blood flow to the genitals and can provide an energy boost. If you’re not interested in the psychoactive component of a THC high when you have sex, CBD is the perfect solution: all the feel-good relaxation without the high.

Intimacy and THC: Sex While High

THC’s relationship with sexual satisfaction is a little more complicated. One study found that regular weed smokers have sex more often than non-smokers, leading to the conclusion that cannabis’s relaxing properties put us in a state more conducive to sex. On the other hand, long-term THC use has also been linked to erectile dysfunction. What gives?

We’ll get into the science of THC and sex drive in a minute; the main takeaway here is that sex while high can be an intensely pleasurable experience. Many people claim that sex feels better when they’re high: THC can heighten sensitivity, make time pass by more slowly, and increase the euphoria of orgasm.

What About Terpenes?

The terpenes limonene and linalool have relaxing, euphoric properties that can help get you in the mood. But especially in the case of linalool, you don’t want to overdo it: linalool is sedative in high doses.

On a similar vein, a terpene to watch out for is myrcene. It’s the terpene that contributes to “couch lock”—that feeling of being literally unable to do anything other than sit on the couch—and is found in higher levels in indica strains.

The Best Strains for Sexual Arousal

Cannabis can increase sexual arousal in men and women alike by releasing inhibitions and putting you in a better mood. But more specifically, the cannabinoids THC and CBD have different effects on male and female bodies. Here’s a breakdown of which strains work best for whom between the sheets.

Strains for Female Arousal

Women are more likely than men to suffer from low libido. Historically, women have been pressured to suppress their sexual urges, which often leads to anxiety about doing the deed. Factor in the demands of motherhood, and not to mention all the stressors of modern life, and a clearer picture emerges of why women often aren’t “in the mood.”

If you think stress is the culprit behind a low sex drive, relaxing indica strains with low amounts of THC may do the trick. Check out Purple Power, Chocolate Chunk, or the aptly named Green Love Potion. The cannabinoid levels in some of these strains can vary, so look for varietals that aren’t too heavy on the THC.

One of the many changes that menopause brings to women’s bodies is a decrease in libido. By the end of your twenties, your body has already started producing fewer libido-fueling androgens. But the drop-off of estrogen at menopause is steep and sudden, leaving many women feeling disconnected from their sexuality.

The best strains for menopausal and post-menopausal women depends largely on personal choice: some will love the buzzing, electrifying feeling of sex while high on THC, while others may prefer the clear-headed relaxation of CBD-heavy strains. The idea is to combat the mood swings, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms brought on by menopause and put you back in the mood.

Strains for Male Arousal

For men, THC can make sex last longer. This is usually a positive…up until the point when it isn’t. That’s why THC confusingly has the reputation of both improving men’s performance in bed and leading to erectile dysfunction. When it comes to THC and sex, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. The trick, as always, is moderation.

Men can especially benefit from relaxing, euphoric strains. Big Blue, Blue Magic, or Blue Cookies can help you get in the zone with their focusing and cerebral highs. Again, the biggest thing to keep in mind is not overdoing it, lest you get too relaxed.

Dosing

Your method of using cannabis for intimacy depends entirely on what you and your partner are comfortable with. Again, what matters the most is how much you use.

Flowers

Smoking flowers together helps set the mood and can even serve as foreplay: passing a joint between the two of you can be undeniably sexy. (Or alternating massive bong rips…whatever gets your motor running.) Smoking is a ritualistic and natural activity that can make you and your partner feel closer together.

Bubblegum Kush leads to passionate, slow lovemaking, whereas sex on Sour Diesel can be more high-energy and intense. If you want to get kinky, experiment with a hybrid strain like Jillybean or Trainwreck for increased creativity and euphoria. Whatever strain you choose, let it be one you’re already familiar with and know you will both enjoy.

Oils

Of course, you can get the sexy benefits of cannabis without smoking it. There is a wide range of cannabis oils available from THC-heavy (such as Miss Envy Canna Sutra Oil) to pure CBD. An oil taken sublingually can take effect within ten minutes, so have your candles and R&B playlist at the ready. If you don’t want to get high, CBD oil can be especially useful—say for morning sex or a quickie before an event.

Edibles

It is common advice to be careful with edibles, as it’s tricky to gauge how much of an effect they will have on you. This is especially true if you’re using them to get frisky with your partner. It’s hard to predict how long the effects of an edible will take to kick in, and since they’re difficult to dose, you may well end up higher than you expected and lose interest in why you took it to begin with. However, some newer products on the market are designed for micro-dosing, which can provide that small mental shift you need to have fun with yourself or someone else.

Lubricants: What Exactly is Weed Lube?

No discussion of cannabis and intimacy would be complete without talking about weed lube. It’s real, and it’s awesome. Women’s pelvises have large numbers of endocannabinoid receptors, so your genitals are an ideal location for topical cannabis products. While most weed lubes work like traditional lubes with an added boost of cannabinoids, there are also “pre-lube” sprays meant to be used before intercourse. Keep in mind that many weed lubes are coconut oil-based and therefore not recommended for use with latex condoms or toys.

THC Lube

THC is a vasodilator, meaning that it expands capillaries to increase blood flow—which is the same physical reaction that happens when a woman becomes aroused. THC lubes and sprays absorb directly into delicate tissue, heightening sensation and sensitivity. The feeling is totally localized: you won’t get high unless you eat the lube.

CBD Lube

CBD’s relaxing properties can work wonders for people with vaginas who suffer from painful intercourse. CBD lubes are often reported as having a subtler effect than THC lube, meaning they provide relief from dryness and friction without the extra-warming sensation.

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