Cannabis and sex … it’s certainly a catchy topic.
We have widespread knowledge on how alcohol and sex works (or doesn’t), thanks to 88 years of legal commerce. Cannabis, on the other hand, has only been legal without a medical card in California since 2017, and many people are new to it—so we are all still learning. However, there is some new information that can assist us with our lessons.
In addition to writing this column, I have a weekly live show and podcast on Radio111 centered on the cannabis industry and consumers. My guest on Oct. 12 discussed—you guessed it—sex and cannabis. Joan Irvine is a doctor of clinical hypnotherapy who uses hypnosis, behavior modification, neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive learning techniques, practical suggestions and now cannabis to help add spice back into one’s sex life. During the interview, I learned that the body’s own natural systems can work with cannabis to enhance pleasure—and therefore cause greater sexual satisfaction.
Though there is limited research on the subject, we do know that endocannabinoids play a role in sexual function. We all have a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS); endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body that act as a cell-signaling system that helps keep internal functions running smoothly. Experts are still trying to fully understand the ECS; what’s known is that it plays a role in regulating a range of functions and processes, including sleep, appetite, mood and reproduction. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, including immune cells. These receptors are located throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to the CB-1 or CB-2 receptors in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action—and the result depends on where the receptor is located, and to which endocannabinoid it’s binding.
Cannabis also contains various cannabinoids. When ingested, they can impact the ECS, just like endocannabinoids can.
A study published in Sexual Medicine located the cannabinoid receptors mapped to several brain areas involved in sexual function. Both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids interact with hormones and neurotransmitters that mediate sexual behavior. The study said that 68.5 percent of people said sex while using cannabis was more pleasurable, while both male and female marijuana users had more sex compared to those who never used. “Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function,” the study concluded.
Published: October 20, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News