CBD has become a wildly popular go-to for wellness seekers. But can it also enhance your sex life? This beginner’s guide to CBD and sex drive is here to help. While clinical research is still in its infancy, there are some studies — and plenty of anecdotal reports — that indicate CBD can serve us in myriad ways by offering relief and systemic support. But can it help you get in the mood?
In recent years, a great many hemp-derived CBD products have hit the shelves, intended for those who desire a boost in the bedroom. Read on to find out how CBD might fuel your sex drive and open the door for more fulfilling and satisfying sex.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Though it has reached near-celebrity status in recent years for its health-giving reputation, it arguably still plays second fiddle to the more widely known psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Yet, CBD has proven to be a powerful compound in its own right and has made its way into the anti-seizure medication Epidiolex; the first and only FDA-approved prescription CBD medication . Additionally, many people have found CBD to be a helpful self-care tool in countering various issues.
How does CBD work?
CBD is a cannabinoid that works in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, which are lipid-based neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors and are expressed throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems .
Although the ECS developed in the human body millions of years ago, only recently have researchers discovered its existence and its function, which is to maintain homeostasis in the body. Scientists have found that cannabis has a special relationship with the ECS because the cannabinoids in the plant essentially engage our body’s ancient cellular machinery to modulate certain physiological responses within the ECS.
Researchers like Matthew Hill, PhD, an associate professor at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Alberta, are exploring the role the ECS plays in modulating anxiety and other kinds of stress responses. Dr. Hill proposes that a more comprehensive understanding of the ECS may reveal how CBD may affect anxiety, either by itself or together with THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis .
The connection between the endocannabinoid system, CBD, and sex
The ECS influences a wide range of physiological functions, including pain sensations, temperature, mood, memory, appetite, metabolism, and reproductive processes. This vital system communicates through endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters produced naturally in the body and bond with the receptors of the ECS.
CBD, THC, and other plant-based cannabinoids — chemically similar to endocannabinoids — likewise interact with the ECS. Thus, as cannabinoids connect with the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the ECS, physiological functions alter. For example, when THC bonds with the endocannabinoid receptors, a psychoactive response is initiated. On the other hand, when CBD engages with the ECS, more subtle changes to the body’s physiology may occur .
Benefits of CBD
Though more research will help us fully understand the benefits of CBD, some limited studies and anecdotal reports indicate CBD may be beneficial for conditions including sleep issues, sex drive issues, mitigating feelings of withdrawal, and others [4,5,6,7]
Does CBD improve orgasms?
A recent survey conducted by Remedy Review, including 5,398 participants, found that 9.3 percent of respondents who took CBD to improve their sex life found CBD to intensify their orgasms .
Other ways CBD might facilitate better orgasms is by reducing anxious feelings (including performance anxiety) which may, in turn, promote less inhibited expressions of sexual desire and less self-conscious sexual performance. There’s nothing more dampening to the ability to orgasm than stress and anxiety. It follows that if CBD can help ease worry, then it might help to enhance pleasure and orgasms.
Alex Capano, a faculty member at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, explains that CBD may help with lubrication during sex, which can have a positive effect on orgasm. “There are so many cannabinoid receptors in reproductive organs and sexual tissue,” he said to Healthline, “CBD increases blood flow to tissues, which increases sensitivity and promotes the body’s own natural lubricants.” Topical CBD products such as CBD lubricants or CBD massage oil can add extra lubrication .
For people with more severe conditions, talk to your doctor to see if CBD may help increase sexual pleasure. Others have found that they can experience feelings “of warmth and relaxation” leading to” much more enjoyable sex .”
CBD and menopause
Many women of a certain age incorporate CBD into their self-care rituals for a variety of reasons. Though there are no studies that promise CBD can cure menopausal symptoms, many women enjoy CBD’s benefits to help them ease some of the discomfort associated with menopause. For example, some menopausal women complain of worry and sleep issues, both problems that CBD may help alleviate. One study’s research suggests that CBD may be beneficial for these problems. However, the quality of the participants’ sleep fluctuated over the duration of the study .
Another area where CBD has been found helpful for menopausal women is in the realm of arthritis-related joint pain. As estrogen levels decrease in a woman’s body, old injuries can flare up and cause worsened arthritis pain. CBD products are being studied to see if they may help with this type of ailment. For example, the results of a 2015 animal study indicate that a topical CBD product has promise as a viable solution .
Additionally, there may be sexual benefits for menopausal women who use CBD edibles and CBD oil. For instance, CBD may help improve blood flow and enhance sexual pleasure. As estrogen declines, many women complain of painful sex and vaginal dryness, symptoms that can make sexual intercourse problematic. CBD’s indirect activation of pleasure-enhancing sensations may help women with these issues, but more research is needed to know for certain.
Full-spectrum versus broad-spectrum CBD for sex
Full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, including THC. Broad-spectrum, on the other hand, has some or all of the compounds of the plant minus the THC. So if you are seeking a larger helping of sexual health benefits from your CBD product, you may opt for full-spectrum since many people find it to be great at boosting libido. But if you’d rather skip the THC altogether, broad-spectrum is your best bet.
CBD and erectile dysfunction (ED)
According to a recent article in BioMed Research International, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine sometimes use cannabis, including cannabinoids like CBD, to improve sexual performance .
The ways in which CBD may help problems like ED aren’t fully understood, yet one theory is that the cannabinoid could help relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. These effects could provide relief and potentially result in longer-lasting sex, but more research is necessary to confirm this theory. Researchers have not specifically tested the effects of CBD on ED, so these notions are based on anecdotal reports .
However, a small study published in JCI Insight reported that even one dose of CBD has the potential to influence blood pressure to parts of the body crucial to sexual activity. Ultimately, more research would shed light on whether or not these initial findings might ring true for ED related issues .
What CBD products to look for
The CBD market has a plethora of products for sex to choose from. But the best ones should include natural ingredients and high concentrations of cannabis compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes. If concentrations are high enough, CBD is more likely to be effective for sexual relaxation. Serums, lubrications, and massage oils tend to be popular not only because they offer the power of cannabinoids but they also can add enjoyable pre-sex rituals.
In contrast, CBD edibles such as gummies, chocolate, or smokes can be delicious and sexy while turbo-charging the endocannabinoid system quickly.
How much CBD do you take?
There are many factors that play a role in determining your ideal CBD dosage. In the simplest terms, for most people the heavier you are, the more CBD you’ll need in order to feel its effects.
The rate at which CBD is absorbed and metabolized varies depending on one’s height, weight, and how much food you have in your system. Personal body chemistry and experience with – and tolerance of – cannabis are additional factors.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that you start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you reach satisfactory results. This is especially wise for new cannabis consumers. Remember, you can take less than the recommended serving size to see what’s right for you.
That said, one general recommendation from Discover magazine is that an individual should take 0.2mg-0.7mg of CBD per pound of body weight. To get the correct starting dosage, multiply your weight by 0.2mg and increase the amount gradually if you feel you could use more .
The legality of CBD and other cannabinoids
CBD is naturally occurring in cannabis, which can be classified as hemp or marijuana depending on how much Delta-9 THC it contains. The 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA’s) list of Schedule 1 substances, which initiated cannabis commercialization on a broad scale. The Bill made hemp, which was defined as cannabis with 0.3 percent or less Delta-9 THC, federally compliant and allowed research into hemp to begin after almost a century of prohibition.
Four years later, the 2018 Farm Bill allowed the production, sale, and consumption of hemp-derived products, making it clear to legal experts that all plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp were deemed federally compliant . This Bill made cannabinoids like CBD legal, whereas THC had certain restrictions.
Currently, federal law still defines cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent concentration of Delta-9 THC per dry weight as hemp plants and allows hemp production and consumption in all 50 states. In contrast, a cannabis plant with more than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC per dry weight is defined as marijuana, which federal law still treats as a controlled substance on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list. Even so, some states allow medical use and/or adult recreational use of cannabis containing much more than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC.
Any drawbacks to using CBD to enhance your sex life?
CBD carries minimal risks. Though it’s well-tolerated by most individuals, in some it can cause dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, or drowsiness. It’s also possible that CBD could interact with medications .
Additionally, CBD is not yet intended to cure any disease or malady, (except two forms of epilepsy with the CBD-based medication Epidiolex), so it’s important to consult your doctor before you use it for conditions such as anxiety disorders and assess potential drug interactions.
Learn more in The Complete Guide to Cannabis and Sex
Key takeaway for the beginner’s guide to CBD and sex drive
If you’re planning to experiment with CBD in your sex life, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, buy a quality product.
Don’t just grab the first CBD sex product you see. Take your time and read consumer reviews. Make sure an independent lab has reported exactly what is in it. Once you’re confident that the product has what you want, go ahead and pop it into your lover’s Valentine’s day gift bag for the best kind of romantic surprise.
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.
- The Endocannabinoid System – Essential and Mysterious
- Can CBD Really Relieve Anxiety? Research on the Endocannabinoid System May Hold the Answer
- What Are the Effects of CBD Oil?
- Cannabidiol (CBD) Use in Psychiatric Disorders; A Systematic Review
- Cannabidiol: A Potential New Alternative for the Treatment of Anxiety, Depression, and Psychotic Disorders
- Cannabis, Marijuana and Cannabinoids – What You Need to Know
- CBD Sex Effectiveness – Potential Benefits
- Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series
- Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
- A Review on Plants Used for Improvement of Sexual Performance and Virility
- Healthy Sex, CBD and Libido – Other Sexual Benefits
- CBD Dosage Tutorial for Beginners
- HIA Position Statement on Delta-8 and Hemp Cannabinoid
- Is CBD Safe and Effective?
- A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study