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Is Cannabis An Aphrodisiac?

For many people, part of the appeal of marijuana is its rumored aphrodisiac-like qualities.  THC has been proven to elevate mood and arousal, as well as physically stimulating sexual activity, however, not all users have such a positive reaction.  Despite the fact that this substance has the ability to enhance pleasure and reduce inhibitions, much in the way that alcohol does, it may also have some undesired effects on a person’s libido.  While some users feel that it greatly increases their sexual desire, others experience the opposite effect.  As you read the pros and cons of marijuana and sex below, keep in mind that drug effects are rarely simple, and there is no true “wonder drug” that will give you every benefit without any drawback (or vice versa). Also, because sex is more than just a physiological process, drugs may impact your psychological and social experience of sex in unpredictable ways.

The sociology department at the University of California Santa Barbara has stated that while people sometimes feel aroused after consuming cannabis, most of the time they fall somewhere in between.  Most of the time, one’s feeling will be determined by the particular strain or the mood of the person at the time of consumption, though only anecdotal evidence exists to support this argument.

In an informal survey from Psychology Today, 67% of respondents said that marijuana enhances sex, 12% said that it destroys sex (that’s a strong word, don’t you think?) and 20% said that it depends on the dosage, strain and their mood. According to a survey of 1,400 legal marijuana users from HelloMD, 14% of respondents reported using weed to significantly boost their sex drive.  However, in a survey from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 76% of men said cannabis increased their sexual pleasure, 68% reported it enhanced their orgasms and 39% of men said it helped them last longer.  Women are even more likely than men to report enhanced sexual desire with marijuana use.  From that same study, 90% of women reported that marijuana increased feelings of sexual pleasure and satisfaction to varying degrees, and 40% said that marijuana increased the quality of their orgasm.

Because cannabis targets the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors and triggers the release of dopamine, it is commonly used to treat anxiety and other psychological and physiological issues.  This euphoric and relaxing feeling will most likely place the user in a good mood, which most likely translates into other aspects of life.  In an essay, the late prolific scientist Carl Sagan wrote that weed “…enhances the enjoyment of sex. On one hand it gives an exquisite sensitivity, but on the other hand it postpones orgasm: in part by distracting me with the profusion of images passing before my eyes.” Validating Sagan’s truthful words are multiple studies on the effects of marijuana on sexual performance, because aside from the psychological effects pot has on your sex drive, there are physiological effects as well, such as increased heart rate, increased blood flow to certain areas of the body and changes in respiration, that all mimic sexual arousal. The THC in weed duplicates the neuro-chemical anandamide, giving you the feeling of being high and aroused at the same time.

As is common knowledge, the type of strain and the dosage will ultimately provide the “high” that one might feel from medicating.  It is only natural that this would play into the level of arousal in the user.  In both men and woman, there is what is called a “dose effect”, which means that the amount of marijuana taken can drastically change the impact.  In higher doses, marijuana can have a depressing effect, which can leave one without the energy to want sex, or the awareness of the way sex is feeling.  Let’s think about it, if you have a nice natural body high, it’s obviously going to affect the stimulation you feel from touch, not just in sexual areas of the body, but everywhere. Marijuana slows down our brain waves, and when it comes to sex, you want to get out of your head and into your body.  Your taste buds are enhanced, motor senses enhanced, skin more sensitive and sex organs more easily engorged.   However, the effect is going to most likely correlate with your usual marijuana experiences.  If you smoke Sativas and they make you energetic, fast-talking and nervous, is that what you want for a sexual experience? Or vice versa, if you smoke OG Kush and find it impossible to carry on a conversation or lift your head off the couch, how useful is that going to be for making love? Now if you’re in a lot of pain, or stressed from your day at work, maybe a nice Indica or Afghanica-dominant strain would be best for putting you or your partner in the mood.

To summarize, cannabis is said to increase libido and sexual desire. However this drug is not an aphrodisiac in the strict sense of the definition, as it does not consistently produce aphrodisiac effects as its main action.  At low to moderate doses, cannabis is known to heighten sexual climax. It has been reported that users have a heightened ability to communicate sexually with their partners and have increased sensuality, but at high doses, it can result in diminished sexual performance and decreased desire. There are so many strains of marijuana with different ratios of THC and other cannabinoids and terpenes that you can’t accurately say “all marijuana makes sex better.” Some marijuana might make you so high you can’t tie your shoes, much less have sex.  That said, here at The Higher Path we offer our house strain, Gucci, which is grown and engineered to be a pleasant and relaxing aphrodisiac, without an extremely high THC percentage. Try it today!