Cannabis has a long history when it comes to healing the human body, mind, and spirit. The earliest references in medical texts date back an incredible 4,700 years. Given how much of our consciousness is dedicated to the subject of sexuality—including how to stimulate, improve and generally enjoy it more—it should come as no surprise that cannabis’ link to eroticism is nearly as old and well-documented, spanning multiple continents and ages.
Interestingly, throughout the ages cannabis has been prescribed as a depressant of sexual desire, a finding borne out by some studies.
There is a consensus that consuming marijuana affects your sex life. The question is: In what way, positively or negatively? Let’s see if we can bring some modern-day research to bear.
Cannabis, Sex, and the Body
You’re likely already familiar with the Endocannabinoid System, the body’s overarching regulatory system that controls and modulates many of our experiences in this world.
According to Dr. Mitch Earlywine, a professor at SUNY Albany:
“That CB1 receptor seems to be involved in improved tactile sensations and general euphoria,” referring to cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system activated by THC (one of the principal “active ingredients” in cannabis.
While research specifically on marijuana and sex is hard to come by—no pun intended—what’s unusual is that some of these studies support the notion that cannabis can elicit and inhibit sexual response, as in the 1984 study cited in Psychology Today.
In the case of those non-sex-focused studies, we’re left to draw our own connections; for instance, this particular research demonstrates that subjects experience an increase in sensitivity and relaxation after consuming cannabis.
A Question of Strains: Indica vs. Sativa?
On the surface level, one has to wonder if the opposing outcomes of cannabis on sex and desire—aphrodisiac, on the one hand, libido-killer on the other—is due to the broadly differing effects of Sativa-dominant and Indica-dominant strains. Sativa-dominant strains are associated with heady, energizing (and, for some, anxiety-making) effects, while Indica-dominant strains are associated with a relaxing, heavy “body high.”
But according to sex columnist Lisa Kirkman (as quoted on herb.co), those potentially distracting Sativas are also implicated in overall better orgasms—at least for women—because they increase both heart rate and blood flow to the erogenous zones.
That said, Kirkman recommends a 70/30 Sativa/Indica blend for optimal results. If you’re not averse to trying a range of strains, you could find the discovery process quite an enjoyable endeavor as you strive to find your perfect blend.
Takeaways: Trial and Error, or Trial and Eroticism?
If there’s a takeaway in this seemingly conflicting data, it’s that your response to marijuana and sex will likely be highly personal and unique to your biology. While specific strains, your physiology, and other variables—like the current phase of your menstrual cycle, for instance—make issuing predictions a challenging target, one thing is near-certain: Cannabis will affect your sex life.
Anecdotally, most people report positive effects. As long as you don’t overdo it, you’ll likely experience positive effects, too. You may have to do some experimenting to find your ideal strain, intake method and product, but as far as we’re concerned, that’s cause for celebration.