It’s no secret that many people reach for their favorite cannabis product before an anticipated sexual experience. But what are the top reasons people enjoy cannabis before sex? And is cannabis something that you might want to consider as a way to spice up your own romantic adventures?

Let’s dive into what people and science are saying about cannabis use before sex so you can better understand what the auspicious flower may offer a curious lover.

Sex, cannabinoids, and the endocannabinoid system

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a labyrinth of neurons and receptors that has evolved over millions of years. Its main role is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Researchers only discovered this system in the late twentieth century as they were exploring the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They were surprised to discover that the system had remarkably similar structures to compounds of the cannabis plant. These similarities make the relationship between cannabis and the endocannabinoid system so synergistic [1].

Endocannabinoids (the body’s own class of endogenous chemicals) interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the ECS. These interactions affect bodily sensations and functions. Learning, temperature, memory, processing, perception, and other responses, are all part of what the endocannabinoid system seems to help regulate.

Because of the similarities between endocannabinoids and cannabinoids, which are the active chemicals in hemp and marijuana, cannabis engages with the endocannabinoid system receptors and affects outcomes. For example, when someone consumes THC, the cannabinoid receptor expression can be psychoactive and might give the user a euphoric feeling, or feelings of being “high.” In contrast, the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) will engage with the cannabinoid receptors and initiate a different functional expression, such as pain-sensation or comfort. However, more research is underway, and necessary to determine the exact effects of CBD.

Learn more in the Guide to CBD.

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CB1 and CB2 receptors: what do they do?

There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors. Receptors in areas of the brain and central nervous system are called CB1 receptors, and they modulate the activity of many of our neurotransmitters. They provide feedback to other systems, turning up or down things that might need adjustments, like pleasure or alertness [2]. On the other hand, CB2 receptors exist throughout our immune tissues. These are crucial to maintaining the system [3]. 

Why Do People Use Cannabis Before Sex?

Are you interested in using cannabis for your own romantic adventures? Here are reasons others enjoy cannabis before sex. See if any resonate with you and your partner. 

Also make sure to read Best Cannabis products for Sex for more ideas!

Cannabis rituals can be a fun part of foreplay or pre-sex rituals, adding to the bonding experience you can foster with your partner. For instance, CBD or THC massage oils can stimulate pleasure and desire. Smoking, if that’s your thing, can be sexy, like in old movies, and give your hands something to do while you whisper sweet nothings in your lover’s ear. Cannabinoid-infused chocolate or gummies are delicious and can add to the sensuality of the moment.

Since the explosion of cannabis products in recent years, your options for cannabis treats and topicals are practically endless when it comes to pre-sex marijuana or hemp products.

Check out Earthy Now’s CBD Daily Gummies for a delicious CBD-packed experience. They feature organic ingredients and are vegan, gluten-free, and tree nut free. The premium gummies are crafted with full-spectrum distillate and highest-quality CBD, CBG, CBN and THC. They’re loaded with minor cannabinoids CBDV, CBC, CBDA, CBGA, THCA and THCV for a full entourage effect.

The history of cannabis and sex

We’re not the only society to understand how sexually relevant cannabis can be. Throughout history, many cultures explored the power of cannabis and sex. For example, in 2nd century India, Tantrism was practiced in both Hindu and Buddhist rituals that involved cannabis consumption. Tantrism was a type of philosophy intended to lift people’s consciousness and help them find oneness with each other. Focused on complete unity with the other and the universe, Tantric sex involved mantras where the participants drank cannabis mixtures and made love [12].

In Scandinavia, the Norse deity Freya— the goddess of love and fertility—was thought to protect hemp and flax fields. The fields held erotic rituals where, on the evening before the summer solstice, unmarried girls rolled naked while throwing wreaths of hemp at the nearest tree branches. According to their mythology, the number of times the wreath fell to the ground would be the number of years the girl would stay unmarried [12].

The Inquisition provoked mass persecution of herbalists and healers in Medieval Europe. These healers used cannabis for ailments that included low libido, but in 484, Pope Innocente VIII banned hemp rituals, classifying them as heretical. Among these rituals was the “witches’ sabbath; a cannabis ritual where witches were thought to gather for sex while high on herbs, including cannabis, opium, hemlock, and belladonna [12].

Even more recently, in 19th century America, cannabis was thought to help maintain good marriages and treat a condition they referred to as “sexual torpor;” the state of low libido [13].

The Farm Bills and the legality of cannabis

Though all 50 states now allow hemp and hemp-derived products, this was not always the case. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 outlawed cannabis cultivation, limiting farmers’ ability to produce even non-psychoactive hemp. Richard Nixon then signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which put the nail in the coffin for hemp farmers, lumping it together with marijuana and outlawing both as the same substance [14].

But the 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) list of Schedule 1 substances, allowing for hemp cultivation and research.

The 2018 Farm Bill blazed the trail for hemp’s current status, allowing people to produce, sell, and consume hemp-derived products. Legal experts assured cultivators, sellers, and consumers that all plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp were finally federally-compliant [15].

Currently, federal law defines cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC per dry weight as hemp and allows hemp production and consumption throughout the United States. However, a plant with more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight is defined as marijuana. Federal law still treats this as a controlled substance on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list.

Some states currently allow adult use of medical and recreational marijuana containing much more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. 

Key takeaways about the Reasons Folks Enjoy Cannabis Before Sex

If you simply hope to improve your sex life, cannabis has the potential to open doors. Remember to take small doses of cannabis with THC if you are new to it. The last thing you need is an overload of THC to a virginal endocannabinoid system. Look around for products that resonate with you. Ask your partner what cannabis products they might be interested in.

If cannabis seems like a promising option for you, start low and go slow. Let your natural intimacy unfold as the chemistry of the cannabinoids teaches your body and mind new ways to relax and enjoy.

Read more in The Complete Guide to Cannabis and Sex.

Medical Disclaimer / Legal Disclaimer – Information is provided for educational purposes. It does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice or medical advice. We attempt to be accurate and up-to-date, but the legality of cannabinoids and the science of cannabis are evolving. The author is neither a legal professional nor a medical expert. Before buying or using any products, you should check with your local authorities and medical providers


    1. The Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System
    2. The Endocannabinoid System – Essential and Mysterious
    3. Marijuana’s Unexpected Effects On Sex
    4. Actually, Weed Can Be Great for Your Libido
    5. Does marijuana increase sexual desire?
    6. There’s new evidence that marijuana might help women have better orgasms
    7. Sex, Intimacy, and Cannabis
    8. Love Potion #420: How Weed Affects Intimacy
    9. Cardiovascular Pharmacology of Cannabinoids 
    10. How cannabis relieves different types of pain
    11. Cannabis for Better Sex? Here’s What the Science Says
    12. A global history of weed and sex
    13. Cannabis & Sex: A Brief World History
    14. 1970 | Controlled Substances Act Bans U.S. hemp production
    15. HIA Position Statement on Delta-8 and Hemp Cannabinoids

Frequently Asked Questions

Respondents to a 2019 survey by the National Institutes of Health called How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women, reported an increase in sex drive, and increased sexual satisfaction. Cannabis may not have the same effect in everyone.

Everyone’s system and reactions are different so it’s important to experiment to find what works best for you and your partner. 

Anecdotal reports and studies have shown that when people use cannabis they feel a higher sex drive and increased feelings of pleasure. Some women also report easier-to-achieve and better orgasms.