Cannabis can heighten the senses. Sunsets become more exquisite, movies more exciting, your lover’s eyes more dreamy. The sense of touch also changes as certain cannabinoids may enhance tactile sensation and lessen discomfort, making everything from a hug to intimacy more enjoyable.

For many people cannabis consumption before the event can make for a more relaxed experience in the bedroom. Read on to learn about how cannabis can help us ease into pleasure.

The endocannabinoid system

Named after the cannabis plant that led to its discovery, the endocannabinoid system is involved in maintaining human health on various levels. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the endocannabinoid system performs different tasks to promote homeostasis in the body despite changes in the external environment [1].

Within this system, our body’s natural receptors get stimulated by our body’s own endocannabinoids: molecules that have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant. These cannabis-like molecules move through our bodies, affecting our sensations and perceptions. Similarly, the effects of the cannabis plant occur when cannabis molecules (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids) engage with our bodies’ cellular machinery and connect with cannabinoid receptors [2].

Endocannabinoids (made by our body) and cannabinoids (made by plants) play vital parts at various junctions of the body’s systems, allowing the modulation of activities. The endocannabinoid system’s complex interactions with our immune system, nervous system, and other systems form a bridge between mind and body [1].

The entourage effect in relation to sexual experiences

The entourage effect is a theory that explains how the different compounds in cannabis work together synergistically to enhance the effects of the plant.

Cannabis consists of hundreds of botanical compounds, including cannabinoids (such as CBD, THC, and CBG), flavonoids, and terpenes. Each compound brings its own unique effects and benefits to an experience, and each compound’s behavior can change when combined with other compounds. This interplay among cannabis compounds affects the experience of the user [3].

The entourage effect can affect your body on multiple levels. For instance, a full-spectrum product—meaning it contains  all of the components of the plant— might make for a better experience, than if an isolated cannabinoid was used alone. 

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History of cannabis and sex

For centuries, cannabis has been associated with sex. In seventh-century India, for example, it was included in the Kama Sutra and used in tantric sex rituals. Additionally, cannabis was used to honor the pagan love goddess Freya in pre-Christian Scandinavia, where they believed that cannabis held the erotic powers of the love goddess [4].

More recently, Victorian Europeans believed that cannabis consumption led to happy marriages. Who knew those buttoned-up Victorians were so sexually savvy? Across the Atlantic in the US, cannabis was declared an aphrodisiac in the Pharmacopeia publication from the late 1850s to 1940s, describing cannabis pills and extracts as “stimulating the sexual appetite” and countering the lack of sexual desire, a condition they referred to as “sexual torpor [5].”

The late 1930s’ “Reefer Madness” brought in new fears. The US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner claimed that cannabis turned women into nymphomaniacs who sought “relations with Negros and entertainers. [5]” This sexist and racist nonsense advanced the agenda of cannabis criminalization. Soon, cannabis became a Schedule I controlled substance in the US [6].

Thankfully, many forms of cannabis have been decriminalized. Indeed, many hemp-derived products are now widely available and legalized on a federal level. 

Common issues with anxiety and sex

Sex is supposed to be enjoyable. But it’s hard to enjoy it if you’re worried. When your mind is preoccupied, it’s tough for your body to get excited.

Common issues around sex and anxiety include:

  • Fear that you won’t satisfy your partner
  • Insecurity about your body image if you are self-conscious about how you look
  • Unresolved struggles in your relationship with your partner
  • Worry that you may not be able to reach orgasm or have sufficient sexual enjoyment

Most people have experienced some of these issues at some point in their lives. Cannabis can help people relax. But it’s important to find the right strain or product to meet your individual needs. Not every product is for everyone.

How CBD can help

Though more research is needed, several studies point to the potential benefits of CBD [7].

These, and other anecdotal reports, indicate the strong potential for CBD to provide benefits [8].  More research is needed regarding CBD in connection with these issues. It’s important to also nurture all of the aspects of your sex life, like an emotional connection with your partner and clear communication. 

Can Delta-9 THC help around sex?

Perhaps the most popular cannabinoid, Delta-9 THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. This particular cannabinoid may alter your experience in more dramatic ways than other cannabinoids like CBD [10].

Though THC has a wonderfully positive effect for many, it can do the opposite for others. For instance, it can amplify existing feelings of worry in some people. For this reason, it’s key to go easy on products containing THC, even the small amounts of THC that may be present in federally compliant hemp products, until you know how your body responds to it. Or, if the effects of Delta-9 are not in your comfort zone, try choosing a different product with CBD, a cannabinoid known for gentler effects.

Keep in mind that the type of strain and the dosage have a big impact on the effects. Many cannabis strains have different combinations of cannabinoids that yield more sensual, less mind-bending effects. Also, lighter doses of Delta-9 THC can generally make for better bedroom fun than higher doses.

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How much should I take?

To experience a positive effect, it’s important not to take too much THC. However, your optimal dose depends upon several things: the strength of the strain, cannabinoids present, your body weight, what food or other substances you might have in your system, and your personal chemistry. 

Since the effects of different strains vary widely, it isn’t easy to recommend e a specific dose across the board. While products generally have a suggested serving size listed on each package, the strength of the effects on a particular person will differ. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you reach satisfactory results.

Those newer to cannabis products can easily achieve a lighter effect by taking half or a  quarter as much as the recommended dosage. More experienced users can take more. Personal preference is the key to unlocking the right dose for the right balance. Go easy on your pre-sex cannabis intake and slowly increase it if you want a stronger effect. 

The legality of cannabis

Thanks to the Farm Bills, a wide range of hemp-derived cannabis products are legally available even in states that do not have medical or recreational marijuana programs.

The 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug  Enforcement Agency (DEA) list of Schedule 1 substances, ushering in the widespread commercialization of cannabis. The Bill defined hemp as cannabis with 0.3 percent or less Delta-9 THC and deemed it federally compliant, allowing long-forbidden research to begin after almost a century of prohibition.

Expanding on the first Bill, the 2018 Farm Bill allowed the production, sale, and consumption of hemp-derived products. Legal experts maintain that all plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp are also federally compliant [16].

Since this federal legislation defines cannabis plants with less than  0.3 percent of Delta-9 THC  per dry weight as hemp plants, hemp production and consumption in all 50 states has burgeoned over the past decade. However, a plant with more than  0.3 percent Delta-9 THC  per dry weight is still defined as marijuana, which federal law continues to treat as a controlled substance on the DEA’s Schedule 1 list. Even so, over half of the states allow medical use and/or adult recreational use of marijuana containing much more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.

Key takeaway

Confusion around sex is understandable in a country whose sexual pressures and tropes seem to leave little room for imperfection. But the truth is, most adults have experienced dissatisfaction at some point, and few can live up to the sexual ideals promoted by media and popular culture. That’s why many of us could use a little help to let go of those worries and pressures, kick back, embrace the life force, and allow ourselves to have good 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.


  5. Clarke, R., & Merlin, M. (2016). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press

Frequently Asked Questions

CBD can help with feeling calm so it may be a factor in a person being more comfortable engaging in activities like sex. People and situations are  different though so results will vary.

High CBD, low THC cannabis can produce a range of effects from clear-headed alertness & energy to calm & relaxation. CBD is not psychoactive but full spectrum products contain trace amounts of Delta-9 THC. Although everyone is different, it is possible that you will feel intoxicated or “high” after using Earthy Now products.