Is marijuana an aphrodisiac? Can it be used as a sex aid?

Cannabis is for an aphrodesiac — for some people, ... it depends. | Photo courtesy of Canndescent
Cannabis can be an aphrodesiac — for some people, but it depends. | Photo courtesy of Canndescent

With Valentine’s Day fast-approaching and more states with legal cannabis than ever before, many are wondering if the trending botanical can spice up their plans for the most romantic night of the year. Could marijuana be the aphrodisiac you’ve been searching for? Read on to learn more.

Is marijuana an aphrodisiac? Can it be used as a sex aid?

Yes. According modern patient reports, historical texts and the scientific data, cannabis can be a potent aphrodisiac, and can even increase sexual pleasure. It’s not a magic bullet, however, and like any chemical substance — there can be side effects and people it’s not right for.

How are people using marijuana as an aphrodisiac?

Cannabis can be used as an aphrodisiac in many ways. Historically, it was taken in the form of a beverage, but today people use all kinds of methods. Smoking, vaping, and eating cannabis are all popular ways to get its aphrodisiac effects. Some even use cannabis lubricants.

Why are people using marijuana as an aphrodisiac?

Some say marijuana actually increases their arousal levels, leading to more sex. Some say cannabis helps by relaxing them, which takes them out of their head and into the moment. For others, the reason is the increased pleasurable sensations that can arise with cannabis. This effect can make sex feel even more enjoyable.

In addition, some patients report cannabis can help manage underlying issues like chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety or depression. These issues may make sex painful or unappealing, so relief from them can make a big difference.

Are there any potential side effect to using marijuana as an aphrodisiac?

Sure. People can react in different ways. If you take too much cannabis, or use certain types of cannabis high in THC — the main active ingredient in marijuana  — you may experience negative side effects like anxiety, dry mouth, increased heart-rate or difficulty concentrating. Cannabis can make people dizzy, or can be habit-forming. Cannabis can actually decrease arousal in some cases, and people are using a process of trial and error to figure out what works best for them, in terms of the dose, strain and form. In addition, overuse of cannabis can lead to decreased arousal and low sperm count in men.  

Cannabis for intimacy — your mileage may vary. | Photo courtesy Drug Policy Alliance
Cannabis for intimacy — your mileage may vary. | Photo courtesy Drug Policy Alliance

Is there any science behind the use of marijuana as an aphrodisiac?

Yes. Your body’s natural endocannabinoid system is key in regulating things like pleasure, pain, relaxation, and homeostasis. When it is activated by the cannabinoids in cannabis, it can leave users feeling relaxed with increased pleasure and decreased pain. This can lead to increased arousal and even make sex even more enjoyable.    

While not everyone experiences cannabis as arousing, a 2016 study showed that cannabis users have more sex on average. Another study showed that in some cases (about 50%) cannabis leads to increased arousal. In the same study, 70% those who used cannabis before sex reported increased pleasure.

A separate 2016 survey of 289 women at a single ObGyn practice found “the majority of marijuana users before sex reported a better overall sexual experience, an increase in sex drive, a more pleasurable orgasm and a decrease in pain. There was no correlation between sexual difficulties and marijuana use before sex.”

Small amounts of cannabis could increase arousal while larger amounts could decrease it other researchers have found.

What types of marijuana products to people use for arousal?

People use all kind of marijuana products for arousal, from flower, like the aphrodisiac marketed bud Sexxpot, to edibles and vape pens. Some even use cannabis infused Lubes like Foria. The California cultivation brand THC Design recommends the strain XJ-13 for intimacy, based on a poll of 90 master growers.

A spokesperson stated: “Strains such as XJ-13 and Sour Diesel produce effects that uplift with a speedy, relaxed energy and euphoria, which can help let people let their guards down and relax, so intimacy can be open and real.”

Individual reactions to particular strains can vary, however. There can also be variance in the chemical composition of a particular strain depending on production methods, and cannabis strains can be mislabeled.

For cannabis-naive people, patients report that high-CBD flowers like CBD OG from CRAFT Oakland can reduce anxiety without the sometimes disorienting effects of THC. In a related 2011 study, cannabidiol reduced performance anxiety in a small controlled trial.

Who should not use marijuana as an aphrodisiac?

People with certain mental illnesses should avoid using cannabis, as it can worsen some symptoms. Couples trying to get pregnant (or women who already are pregnant), as well as minors, should also avoid using cannabis as an aphrodisiac. Do not take cannabis with alcohol or other drugs, as it can increase the likelihood of dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Cannabis users generally don’t have workplace employment rights, so you can be fired for off-duty cannabis use. Employers routinely urine screen for markers of cannabis use that stay in the body up to six weeks.

What is the history of cannabis’ uses as an aphrodisiac?

Cannabis has been used as an aphrodisiac in many cultures. In India it was used as far back as the 7th century AD. It’s use for sexual health was documented in Chinese texts, amongst Germanic tribes, and by many african cultures such as those in Uganda, Egypt, Morocco and Lebanon. In these historical cases, the cannabis was usually mixed into a beverage people could drink as an aphrodisiac.