Working in a dispensary, I get asked a lot of questions, which I love and encourage. The top questions are about pain management, better sleep, and getting back their quality of life. Would it surprise you to know the next question is usually about libido? If you are or have been on pain meds or antidepressants for any length of time, this may not be a surprise to you.
Many medications have side effects, and unfortunately, a decreased sex drive can be one of those. Sure, there are prescription meds like Viagra that may work for those who are not restricted, e.g., taking antidepressants, heart or blood pressure medications, having a prostate disorder, and more. These medications only work on the physical problem, not the underline cause.
The underline cause may be related to stress, anxiety, or depression, and these factors can get in the way of enjoying intimacy. These issues alone or in combination can decrease your libido, create performance anxiety, and have other results, including emotional distancing and other hurdles to overcome in a healthy relationship.
What about cannabis?
When used correctly, cannabinoids like THC and CBD influence the physiology of sex in many ways. The cannabinoids bind with different receptors in the nervous system, endocrine system, and sexual organs. These receptors are found more abundantly in some areas than others and shed light on how cannabis can affect sexuality.
For instance, THC affects your short-term memory – freeing your mind from busy thoughts and allowing you to be more in the present moment. Being present in the moment helps you to experience what is happening and enhances the five senses, which in turn intensifies the experience.
Cannabinoids also influence the autonomic nervous system, a major player in sexual attraction, arousal, and orgasm. Studies show cannabis smokers experience an initial increase in the sympathetic system (fight or flight), which is responsible for arousal and ejaculation. Then fifteen minutes later is followed by an increase in parasympathetic (rest and digestion) activity, which is responsible for erections.
Cannabis can enhance your sex life if used correctly. But what’s correctly? Let’s start with the dose. The start low, go slow approach works best here. Whether it’s an indica, sativa, or hybrid, the standard is to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as needed. The last thing you want is to set off anxiety or melt into a couch-lock situation. Studies show low dose, one or two puffs, is more arousing than high doses or overuse of cannabis.
Does the strain matter?
Due to limited scientific research on different cannabis strains and their effects on sex, there is no evidence indicating that a certain strain is better for sex. The results that were reported are mixed. Research suggested that the dosing and method of delivery is more important. Some believe it’s due to cannabinoids like THC and CBD, while others think the magic lies in the terpenes, specifically limonene and linalool.
Most of the information obtained about cannabis and sex that you see online has been gathered via surveys sent out to customers, which only show the correlation between cannabis and the enjoyment of sex.
Throughout the many years that I’ve worked in the cannabis industry, the anecdotal reports are very similar to the scientific research, with mixed results on dose and delivery methods. Many patients have reported that strains higher in limonene seem to work best for couples, while linalool seemed best for going solo.
Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of cannabis, and they also have medicinal values. Terpenes can provide support in overcoming obstacles because of their powerful impact on the mind and body.
Studies have shown limonene, the smell of lemon and citrus, possesses many health benefits, including being an anti-inflammatory, anti-stressor, and mood elevator, which all affect your libido. Limonene’s mood enhancement is known to produce a light, feel-good euphoria with genital relaxation and blissful body warming. You may be thinking about a sativa strain here, but hybrids are better due to the lower anxiety effects that can come along with high sativas. Hybrids that lean towards the indica side with a high amount of limonene seem to be the people’s choice when it comes to intimacy with a partner. Some limonene dominant hybrid strains are Giesel, Sunset Sherbet, and Wedding Cake.
Linalool, the smell of lavender, has almost the same effects as limonene, just more relaxing and self-focused. Don’t overdo it as linalool is sedating. A light indica that has a heady high with a slightly zoned-out effect and that delivers an overall blissful feeling has been reported as great for self-pleasure. Something in the hybrid Kush family may work best here.
CBD is a cannabinoid that helps with anxiety, mood, inflammation, and so much more. But did you know it can be used as a pleasure aid? CBD is a natural mood enhancer by aiding anandamide (your bliss molecule), which is also associated with oxytocin (your cuddle hormone), that may lead to better enjoyment and arousal.
There is a vast amount of cannabinoid receptors in reproductive organs and sexual tissue. As a lubricant that can be used on both females and males, CBD increases blood flow to tissues, which increases sensitivity. There are several CBD companies making lubricants that can be discreetly purchased online.
So, taking CBD both orally and topically may give you the satisfaction you’ve been looking for.
THC is best known for its euphoric or “high” feeling effect. For some, this is a good thing, but for others, it can be too much of a detachment from the present moment, allowing the brain to wander elsewhere. If you are one of the latter, CBD can be added to bring down some of the euphoria, bring you back to the present, and add more pleasure.
Studies have shown that consumers who regularly enjoy cannabis may be more likely to have sex. On the other hand, many people who over-use THC may experience sexual dysfunction in some way. Another study that looked at masturbation and cannabis consumption found THC might be a possible culprit for their sexual woes.
Smoking vs. edibles
The mixed reviews are here too. The results suggested that smoking may be better due to the immediate effects on specific systems within the body, whereas edibles can be unpredictable. You and your partner may feel effects at different times or just a different reaction altogether.
You can read a hundred blogs on the best cannabis for sex and find a hundred different answers. The bottom line is it really depends on you as an individual. It’s going to depend on your age, gender, underline cause, etc. The best advice is to take it slow, try different cannabinoids and terpenes, and allow time to see what works for you.
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