A table for two. A nice bottle of wine. And a cannabis gummy?
The recipe for a romantic dinner with a happy ending is getting a make over, ditching red for green. A growing pool of research is confirming that cannabis is an aphrodisiac. And while science struggles to understand the mechanisms, the cannabis industry is responding with plenty of ways to give it a try.
“There are a variety of ideas as to why. One is that it lowers your anxiety and stress, it gives you a little bit more confidence in your sexual ability,” says Becky Kaufman Lynn, a gynaecologist who has studied the relationship between sex and cannabis. “It may slow down your perception of time and heighten sensation.”
Lynn led two similar studies into why cannabis improves sex for women, after several patients mentioned the correlation. The team from St. Louis University interviewed women during gynaecology check ups. About 30 percent reported using cannabis before sex. Of them two thirds said it made sex better, reporting increased libido and pleasure. Only three percent said marijuana ruined the mood, while the rest had no opinion or were neutral. Several women reported using cannabis specifically to dull pain that interfered with their enjoyment of sex.
With that in mind it makes sense that cannabis users have more sex. Stanford researchers picked apart the U.S. National Survey of Family Growth, a multi-year look at all kinds of data, including sex and cannabis use, from 50,000 American adults. Men who used cannabis daily had 22 percent more sex than abstainers, while female users reported 34 percent more romps in the sack than their THC-free colleagues. The researchers weren’t sure why, except that cannabis users are chill.
“Individuals who engage in marijuana use, or would be open about use, might be more psychologically disinhibited in general than those who are not,” the study authors wrote. “This also might be reflected in their sex life.”
A small study published in 2016 proposes a different theory – because it was illegal. It’s not so much the “bad boy” image made cannabis users appear sexier, as the nefarious nature put users in the right place to get sexy. Because cannabis was illegal it was usually consumed in a private place, setting up the chance for intimacy.
“If you get someone to come home with you to smoke weed,” lead author Joseph Palamar, “there’s a way to facilitate getting a sexual connection, for better or for worse.”
It’s too early to tell if legalization has lead to a corresponding reduction in the chances of getting lucky.
The more surprising finding was that cannabis use increases sperm counts. Most previous research suggested aspiring dad’s should avoid cannabis. But the new study out of Harvard University linked cannabis with increased sperm concentrations and higher testosterone. They used a combination of blood and sperm samples sent to a Massachusetts sperm clinic. Men who consumed had higher sperm counts and concentrations than those that hadn’t. And “more intense use” led to higher blood levels of testosterone.
Again the researchers weren’t sure why. It could be that stimulating the endocannabinoid system also stimulates the creation of sperm.
Don’t overdo it
What is fairly clear is that moderation is key. Heavy use cancels any sperm count benefits. And getting too high will probably kill the mood.
“At really high doses of cannabis, people can withdraw enough into their own head that they essentially forget what they are doing, and it’s no longer a mutual experience, and often just ceases to happen,” says Jordan Tishler, a doctor with cannabis expertise told Global News. “Sexuality occurs most between the ears. It’s a mental and emotional thing. People get very fixated on genitalia, but that’s only the end result. A lot of things have to go right for it to work.”
Another variable to consider is picking the right kind of cannabis to get busy with. If you’re nervous or anxious higher concentrations of CBD will calm, making it easier to get into the mood and reduce the chances of performance issues. To actually make sex feel better THC is more important, says Andrew Mieure, owner of Top Shelf Budtending and a certified cannabis sommelier.
“In my personal experience, I’ve noticed a very clear difference in sensitivity after consuming THC, which CBD alone does not provide,” he says. “However, it’s always a balance game to find the right combination of cannabinoids. Too much THC and I’m a heart pounding mess.”
His own preference is a 1:1, the CBD to reduce anxiety and the THC for euphoria and relaxation.
To make it easy to find the right strain brands are starting to make sex specific cannabis products, including vapes, edibles and massage oils and lubes. Typically users apply the topicals directly to the clitoris.
“It can support the arousal process by relaxing blood vessels,” says Kiana Reeves, director of community education for Foria, a company that makes weed-infused sex products. “This blood flow can enhance sensation, natural lubrication and access to orgasm.”
They don’t get the user high. And for most people that’s not the point anyway. Really all any sexual focused cannabis product is ever doing is breaking down barriers – fostering intimacy, focusing awareness, increasing sensation and adding a touch of novelty. It’s sparking what’s already there and making it better.
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