According to an article in the Journal BioMed Research International, Ayurveda practitioners have used cannabis for centuries to improve ejaculatory function and sexual performance . So, should we take this as a clue that cannabis can increase sex drive in men? Though there may be more studies regarding cannabis’s effect on women’s sex drive, a growing body of evidence indicates it may have similar outcomes for men. However, there do appear to be some differences.
Judging from current scientific surveys, it’s clear that both men and women find that using cannabis can lead to better sex, more intense orgasms, and increased sexual pleasure. Even so, questions have arisen about the potential risks of higher doses of cannabis, particularly regarding men’s sexual health. But using the correct dose of cannabis appears to be one of the main factors when determining if cannabis use can help or hinder a man’s sex life.
Here we’ll explore the evidence and anecdotal reports regarding the potential advantages and disadvantages of using cannabis to counter low libido in men.
The endocannabinoid system and sex drive
The psychoanalytical definition of libido is “the energy of sexual drive as a component of the life instinct .” In other words, our body’s instinct to preserve and carry on our genes makes us sexually aroused. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) regulates many of these instinctual sensations.
While monitoring and managing various body systems, our cannabinoid receptors affect the central nervous system via the ECS’s CB1 receptors. In contrast, CB2 receptors maintain and modulate the peripheral nervous system and immune responses. Signals natural to our bodies engage with these receptors and send vital messages, promoting homeostasis on all levels.
When we consume cannabis, these responses may alter. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD mimic our natural endocannabinoids, causing changes in how we feel and perceive our bodies and our surroundings. Some of these signals affect our sexual responses. This is one of the reasons that cannabis has won the reputation of stimulating sexual arousal .
The impact of cannabis use on men’s sex drive
Though there are mixed reports about how cannabis affects men’s sexual function, many participants in a recent study found that cannabis helped them relax, heightened their sensitivity to touch, and increased intensity of emotions. These participants enjoyed increased frequency and interest in sex. Some men found they became less anxious and had better ejaculatory control.
Here are 8 strains to supercharge your sex life.
In contrast, other participants in the study found that cannabis use had some adverse effects, such as making them sleepy and less focused when having sex. Additional participants reported no change in their sexual experience from the effects of cannabis use .
These reports may indicate that those who felt sleepy and less focused were more sensitive to the cannabinoids or had taken higher doses of cannabis. For example, a study by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drugs found that 44 percent of marijuana users felt marijuana significantly increased their sexual drive. More than two-thirds of them, both men and women, said their marijuana use increased sexual desire. Yet, most of these participants smoked a total of only about one joint per week, signaling that they did not take the higher doses, perhaps associated with lethargy .
Learn more in the Guide to CBD.
Which cannabinoids are best for sexual arousal?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most popular cannabinoids associated with increased sex drive. But which is better for sex depends on the desired effect. For example, THC is psychoactive, so if you want to feel high during sex, it’s ideal. In contrast, CBD is not psychoactive, so it will not get you high. Yet, CBD has other potential benefits that many people find helpful. For instance, some people stress about physical intimacy or sexual performance. CBD may potentially ease these anxieties, yet more research is needed .
THC is said to slow down responses in a way that intensifies sensations and feelings. When this is combined with sexual experiences, it can trigger extra-sensual sex for some. That said, other people find that the psychoactive qualities of higher THC doses can make them paranoid or anxious. That’s why if you’re new to to THC, it’s best to take lower doses of THC before sex if you’re hoping for a sexual boost .
Learn more in the Best Cannabis Products for Sex
Can cannabis help sexual dysfunction in men?
Some have theorized that CBD has the potential to help erectile dysfunction (ED) and premature ejaculation (PE), but the reasons are not yet fully understood. One theory is that CBD could help relax blood vessels and promote blood flow with increased vasodilation. Better blood flow to the penis might relieve ED and PE and promote longer-lasting sex. However, more research is needed to substantiate these theories .
Does cannabis increase the chances of erectile dysfunction (ED) or premature ejaculation (PE)?
What we know about cannabis in how it relates to ED or PE comes mainly from animal studies. “Animal research suggests that stimulating the CB1 receptor delays ejaculation,” says Dr. Becky Lynn, M.D., director of the Center for Sexual Health and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Saint Louis University, “so reports about the time of the act in humans could be true (and not just a result of impaired time perception).” Additionally, Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Albany, suggests that this delay may contribute to increased sexual enjoyment in men .
However, the effect of delayed ejaculation may become problematic for some men. For instance, a 2010 survey of 8,656 Australian adults published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that men who used cannabis daily were more likely to reach orgasm too slowly or not at all than those who did not use cannabis. But the same study also found that cannabis use was associated with premature ejaculation, which contradicts the former findings. The findings were based on men’s assessment of their own sexual performance. It was not an objective measure of what happened, so it may not reflect the event’s true nature .
Other potential undesirable effects of cannabis use in men
There is also some evidence to suggest that frequent use of cannabis can cause other undesirable effects for men. For instance, among chronic, heavy marijuana users, the drug may negatively affect sperm count .
For example, in a study published in 2015 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers examined the semen quality of 1,200 Danish men between the ages of 18 and 28. Close to half of them reported using cannabis within the previous three months. The results showed that the cannabis users (who used more than once a week) had a 28 percent reduction in sperm concentration and a 29 percent lower sperm count than those who used less than once per week .
The Farm Bills and cannabis legality
The primary goal of the 2014 Farm Bill was to initiate and protect research into hemp. It also differentiated hemp from its higher THC cousin, marijuana .
When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by the federal government, it removed hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), and derivatives of cannabis with 0.03 percent concentrations of Delta-9-THC (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis), from the definition of marijuana under the guidelines of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
The 2018 Farm Bill preserved the FDA’s authority over hemp products. For example, FDA’s control over foods, dietary supplements, human and veterinary drugs, and cosmetics now apply to hemp when they fall into these categories. The bill put these safeguards in place to help ensure that Americans have access to safe hemp products and, in the case of drugs, that patients can depend on the efficacies of these products .
Key takeaway on can cannabis increase libido in men
So, can cannabis increase sex drive in men? The answer is nuanced, and many factors are involved. It is different for each person. Some men swear by it, while others seek alternative solutions for potential sexual issues. If you do decide to give cannabis a try in the bedroom, remember that for some people, that less is more. A high dose of THC might make you sleepy or sluggish, while chronic, heavy use might also affect your drive. Nonetheless, moderate doses of cannabis products might be just the ticket to a more exciting and fulfilling sex life.
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.
- A Review on Plants Used for Improvement of Sexual Performance and Virility
- Sex Drive and the Endocannabinoid System
- How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience
- Does Marijuana Increase Sensuality?
- Alternative Treatments for Anxiety-CBD
- CBD versus THC; Which is Better for Sex?
- How Does CBD Affect Your Libido, and Does It Have a Place in Your Sex Life?
- How Cannabis Affects Sex
- Association Between Marijuana and Male Reproductive Hormones