Suppose your sex life needs a boost. The kind that heightens your senses and frees you from mental and physical burdens like stress, pain, or life’s mundane distractions. If this is the case, you’ll likely find solace in cannabis. But which products are best?
The right cannabis products can help you reach this sexually awakened state more readily. And, happily, many of these products are not hard to come by. Indeed, over the past few years, the cannabis market has exploded with topicals, potions, flowers, lubes, and edibles, all aimed at enhancing sexual wellness, arousal, drive, and orgasm.
Read on to find out which cannabis products make the best aphrodisiacs.
History of cannabis and sex
Sociologists have observed the association between cannabis and sexual pleasure throughout the ages. For example, in seventh-century India, cannabis was featured in the Kama Sutra and used in tantric sex rituals. Likewise, in pre-Christian Scandinavia, cannabis was employed to honor the pagan love goddess Freya. Inhabitants believed that cannabis held erotic powers and those who consumed it would be given the seductive attributes of the love goddess .
Even in Victorian Europe many believed that cannabis consumption made for happy marriages, while in the US, cannabis was promoted in the Pharmacopeia from the late 1850s to 1940s as an aphrodisiac. The publication featured cannabis pills and extracts that were recommended by doctors for “stimulating the sexual appetite” and countering the lack of sexual desire, a condition they referred to as “sexual torpor .”
But in the late 1930s, during the era of “Reefer Madness,” the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner made public claims pegging cannabis use as a means of turning women into nymphomaniacs who sought “relations with Negros and entertainers. ” This sexist and racist rhetoric was part of what led to the criminalization of cannabis, ultimately resulting in its designation as a controlled substance.
Many forms of cannabis have now been decriminalized and certain cannabis-derived products are available for widespread use , including products that enhance sexual pleasure.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of chemical signals and receptors operating throughout the human body. Important for many aspects of human functioning, including sensations of sexual desire, the ECS has a unique relationship with cannabis because of the interplay between the endocannabinoid receptors and the cannabinoids found in cannabis.
Our body’s natural receptors get stimulated by our endogenous endocannabinoids: the molecules that have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant. These cannabis-like molecules affect our sensations, functions, and perceptions. Similarly, the effects of the cannabis plant take place when molecules (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids) mimic our bodies’ cellular mechanisms and engage with the cannabinoid receptors .
Cannabinoid receptors include both CB1 and CB2 receptors and are stimulated by either endocannabinoids (made by our body) or phytocannabinoids (made from plants). These receptors influence neural activity in response to hunger, sexual desire, temperature, and other sensations. CB1 receptors mediate most of the psychoactive effects of certain cannabinoids, whereas CB2 receptors are associated with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive responses .
Learn more in the Guide to CBD.
What is the entourage effect?
A theory originally proposed in 1999, the entourage effect describes a mechanism by which cannabis compounds—such as terpenes and flavonoids—work synergistically with cannabinoids to modulate the overall effects of the plant , whether those may be mood-altering or not.
For example, the Journal of Cannabis Research explores data representing individual responses to various strains in their relationship to cannabis synthesis. Their conclusions describe how flavor perception could represent a reliable marker to indirectly characterize the psychoactive and medicinal effects of cannabis via the entourage effect .
When it comes to sex, cannabis products that are full-spectrum or broad-spectrum can harness all of the benefits of each compound to enhance the overall pleasurability of the experience. Full-spectrum cannabis products include all or many of the cannabinoids and compounds of the cannabis plant, including up to 0.3% THC. Broad-spectrum products, on the other hand, can contain all the same compounds as full-spectrum, minus the THC .
Research about cannabis and sex
Many surveys indicate that cannabis enhances female and male arousal, but the right dosage is key. Though more research is needed, these surveys suggest that cannabis products may yield more intense orgasms, increased sex drive, and enhanced satisfaction .
Dr. Becky K. Lynn, a sexual medicine expert, told the New York Times that her patients sometimes come to her with complaints of low libido. But many of these patients report that their use of cannabis benefits their sex life by helping them achieve orgasms and overall sexual satisfaction .
These anecdotal reports inspired her to conduct a study at a clinic at Missouri’s St. Louis University in 2019 where she surveyed 373 women about how cannabis affected their sex lives, of which 34 percent reported an increased sex drive, improved orgasm, and pain relief after using cannabis .
Top cannabinoids for sex
Most experts might agree that the best cannabinoids for sex are THC, CBD, and CBG. Certainly, other cannabinoids may enhance your sex life, but they are not yet fully understood.
How does Delta-9 THC affect sex? Essentially, it enhances your sensations and perceptions. Thus, products containing various levels of it can lead to fantastic, ultra-sensual sex. But for some, even low doses of Delta-9 THC can lead to some paranoia or anxiety. Therefore, it’s important to access the THC content of the product and evaluate how you may personally respond to the cannabinoid before taking it. Remember, if your response to THC is unknown, start low and go slow. Or, if you find its effect too trippy for your taste, CBD is a great alternative and is thought to reduce anxiety. A CBD massage oil, Indica or Indica-dominant strain, or Indica-dominant hybrid strain—versus a Sativa-dominant strain— may be less heady and more relaxing.
CBD is thought to ease inflammation, boost relaxation, and increase circulation. Many people believe it, in turn, improves their sexual experience. Myriad edibles, topical creams, ointments, and lubricants offer calming ingredients and pain-relieving qualities associated with CBD’s effects. For example, certain CBD products are popular with women who suffer from endometriosis and other types of pelvic pain. Additionally, some women find that because THC products may increase vaginal dryness, CBD-based lubes can be a pleasurable way to counter that side effect .
Alternatively, CBG has become a popular ingredient in some sex-enhancing cannabis products. Some anecdotally report it gives them more energy. Additionally, there is some evidence that suggests CBG benefits sexual wellness in other ways. For example, a 2020 study reported that CBG promoted antioxidant activity, though more research is needed . The research documented how CBG has the highest level of antioxidant activity of neutral cannabinoids, while CBGA performed better than CBDA and Delta-9 THCA in this regard. They attributed this difference to the phenolic groups in the compounds. Additionally, a combination of CBG/CBGA performed better at fighting the harmful effects of free radicals in the body than CBD and delta-9 THC. In turn, the study proposed that sexual wellness may indirectly be enhanced by the potential antioxidant activity initiated by CBG .
Check out the Complete Guide to Cannabis and Sex
Edibles and sexual pleasure
According to recent surveys reported by Let’s Toke About Sex, THC edibles have a significant impact on orgasm length and frequency . However, before you down a bag of THC gummies in your quest for orgasmic nirvana, consider how much THC is in the product and how your body responds to THC. If all checks out, gummies make for an easy, fun way to get in the mood for love without committing to a higher dose that might be overwhelming. CBD gummies may be a better choice to avoid any psychoactive effects. Additionally, cannabinoid-infused chocolate is always a deliciously romantic addition to any pre-sex picnic.
Prerolls, flowers, and vaporizers, oh my!
Vapes, flowers, and prerolls can also help lead to intense and satisfying orgasms. In a study group facilitated by Lioness, cannabis vapes and smokables ranked high in their ability to increase the number of orgasms among the participants. Notably, the effects of the cannabinoids tended to kick in faster than edibles, which can be a boon in the bedroom if natural attractions are moving faster than pre-sex rituals .
What’s more, flower and vape options offer a wider selection than edibles and topicals, given all of the different plant strains and varieties. With pure flower, you can experience the optimal effects of the entourage effect with all the natural compounds found in the plant. Moreover, a post-sex roll-up can preclude the possibly awkward moment when you and your partner have reached the zenith of your connection and might not be sure what comes next. Out of that silence, what could be more calming (and cinematically cool) than the ritual of lighting up a fragrant cannabis roll-up as you let your body settle into its fulfillment? Think Anne Bancroft’s character Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.
Cannabis topicals and sex
Want to jazz up your sexual experience without eating or smoking? Topicals might be a good choice. For people who experience muscular tension, pain, or achy joints, topicals can soothe the body, soften the skin, and increase the kind of sensitivity you might seek. Moreover, topicals incorporated into foreplay can make for a sexy time with massage oils, salves, and lubes rich in cannabinoids.
But be careful if you’re looking for something to use “below the equator.” Lotions and creams are wonderful for certain areas of the body. Still, they are not necessarily advisable to use as lubricants, especially for women who experience frequent yeast infections or vaginal discomfort. Make sure there is nothing in the product that might agitate the intimate corners of your body.
God’s gift to women: cannabis lubes
Many THC- and/or CBD-infused personal lubricants can make sex especially pleasurable and often less painful. These products are usually designed to be applied directly to the nether regions. But before you fill your nightstand drawer with weed lube, it’s key to do some research on the products available. Some of the best products contain weed strains or hemp strains with a combination of THC and CBD or sometimes just CBD without THC.
Delivering cannabinoids and other compounds directly to receptors in the skin, cannabis lubes may produce effects including:
- Increased arousal: By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, cannabis lubes (with CBD, THC, or a combination of both) may impact levels of sexual arousal.
- Vasodilation: THC and CBD have both been shown to affect blood flow to the areas to which they are applied.
- Heightened sensation: Though more research is needed, initial studies show promising potential for CBD, THC, and other cannabis compounds to offer analgesic effects.
- Increased sensitivity: Cannabis lubes can help increase blood flow to the genitals, sometimes increasing sensitivity .
The legality of cannabis
Fortunately for cannabis enthusiasts, the recent Farm Bills have blazed a trail for widespread cannabis cultivation and commercialization. Now, hemp-derived cannabis products are legally available nationally, 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. The Bill made hemp, designated as cannabis with 0.3 percent or less Delta-9 THC, federally compliant and allowed researchers to study its effects and potential therapeutic and medical benefits after almost a century of prohibition.
Four years later, the 2018 Farm Bill allowed the production, sale, and consumption of hemp-derived products. This bill clarified to legal experts that all plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp are federally compliant .
Hemp production and consumption is now allowed in 50 states. Under this umbrella of federal legality, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent of Delta-9 THC per dry weight. In contrast, a 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. Nonetheless, some states allow medical and/or adult recreational use of cannabis containing much more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.
Explore and enjoy the process
Remember, at the end of the day, what matters is that you and your partner find joy, pleasure, and harmony through your sexual experiences. Since everyone experiences cannabis uniquely, try out new products with curiosity balanced with a modicum of caution, especially when it comes to THC products. Sexual pleasure is a personal and subjective journey that, at its best, can renew your body and spirit. Ultimately, the best cannabis products can remind you why sex is often referred to as the “life force.”
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.
- Clarke, R., & Merlin, M. (2016). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press