The Love Drug: Cannabis & Sex

Cannabis & Sex

“It makes sex better!” Seth Rogen’s character says early the film Pineapple Express, as an argument for cannabis’ general awesomeness. His sentiment is echoed in the earlier Annie Hall, where the titular character regularly tokes up in order to get in the mood for sex. Stoners have long reported this: that weed improves sex. But is it true?

Like most stoner rhetoric, these claims often went unsupported by objective facts. In fairness, this was due in no insignificant degree to the fact that for the majority of the 20th century, studies on the effects cannabis have on the human body were strictly prohibited due its classification as an illegal drug. However, in the past few years, the laws and attitudes surrounding cannabis have changed, and have allowed researchers and the public alike to lift the veil on exactly what happens when you bring the bong to bed.


The largest and most widely cited survey on the subject was conducted by the American Center for Disease Control (CDC). They surveyed over 60,000 adults—28,176 women and 22,943 men—and the results were then examined by researchers from Stanford University. They released their exciting findings under the blandly-titled “Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study.” Much to the chagrin of cannabis opponents, the overall finding of this study was that “marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not impair sexual function.” Boy, were a lot of joints lit the night that was released!

Men who smoked or otherwise used cannabis on a weekly basis reported 22% more sex than those who did not—for women, that number was 34%. For individuals who used cannabis more than once a week, that frequency was even higher. Two thirds reported that they found cannabis to be “sex-enhancing”—specifically, 68% of women reported that cannabis made sex “more pleasurable.” One third of those surveyed said they specifically used cannabis prior to sex, presumably in order to liven up the big event.


What accounts for these incredible numbers? Unfortunately, the study was merely a collection of statistics, and did not offer analysis or ruminate on the potential implications of its findings. With regards to the reports of cannabis enhancing sex, the science is fairly clear in that cannabis reduces stress, anxiety, pain, and can increase focus—any one of which is a great effect in its own right when it comes to sex. The connection to the frequency of sex is a little hazier, however, several theories have been put out there:

  • 1. The Correlation Theory: This theory states that cannabis use does not cause an increase in sexual frequency, but rather that both items are simply the results of some other, third factor—such as, for example, that people who use cannabis may be somewhat hedonistic, and are seeking sexual pleasure in much the same way that they are seeking pleasure through cannabis.
  • 2. The Medicinal Theory: Perhaps the medicinal qualities of cannabis are responsible. THC’s stress and anxiety-reducing effects have also been shown to lower inhibitions. Cannabis may simply cause individuals to put less pressure on themselves, and simply live in the moment . . . and that moment may happen to put them next to a person they find attractive . . . Or the medicinal effects may be even more precise. Reduced libido in women is generally linked to stress or anxiety, and cannabis could reduce these symptoms to the point where they might be overcome. Finally, in that study discussed above, 16% of people surveyed had consumed cannabis in order to relieve pain that would otherwise interfere with sex.
  • 3. The “Let’s Get F&%$ed Up” Theory: Let’s face it, people like to get loose every now and then, and when people party, they like to have sex. Alcohol and cannabis are the two most commonly used recreational or “party” drugs, and one is definitely more conducive to the sexual act than the other. Alcohol is known to reduce clitoral stimulation, increase the chance of erectile impairment, reduce sexual pleasure and overall sexual satisfaction. Cannabis, on the other hand, is great! This theory hinges on the fact that people enjoy impaired intercourse, and cannabis is by far the better of the two most popular intoxicants.

In all likelihood, the correlation of sex and cannabis use is probably the result of a mix of all of these theories.


So, at this point you’re probably getting some ideas about what to do tonight. Working cannabis into your sex life is very simple and exciting.

For beginner users, it is recommended to start slow. It’s a good idea to start by smoking or vaping flower because these methods are probably the easiest ways to control dosage. Have a few hits with your partner and see how you feel—if the mood’s right, go for it! Inexperienced users tend to have negative experiences with edibles because they eat too much and later regret it (and sex with regrets is no good).

Another thing to note is that some experts believe that the aphrodisiac qualities of cannabis only occur with low to moderate doses, so don’t overdo it! Start small and see if it’s something you and your partner are into. Most women agree that the size of your dose doesn’t matter! 😉

For more experienced users, there’s an exciting array of cannabis products specifically designed for use in the sexual arena. Companies have developed everything from CBD massage oil to set the mood, edibles containing cannabinoids and other medicinal ingredients with more aphrodisiac qualities, and THC-infused lubricant which increases blood flow to the genitals and increases stimulation. We can only expect more saucy products as research and development in the field increases!


Whatever the reason, sex definitely seems to benefit from the myriad effects of cannabis. Talk to your partner, and see if it’s something you’re both interested in. Or, if you’re already a dedicated bedroom blazer, check out some of the products designed to make lovemaking even more loveable. No one is arguing that sober sex is not a worthwhile pursuit but, really, why not bang with a buzz?

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