Have you noticed certain cannabis products and strains dropping hints about their sexual benefits? Betty’s Eddies Smashin’ Passion, House of Wise’s Sex Gummies, Candescent Connect, the list goes on [1]. These names are no accident and likely not only chosen because, in advertising, “sex sells.”

Cheeky branding aside, it turns out that cannabis can be a serious boon in the bedroom. Read on to learn about how and why cannabis and cannabis products can be your friend when it comes to sexual desire and sexual enjoyment.

The endocannabinoid system and sexual arousal

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of chemical signals and receptors that operates throughout the human brain (central nervous system) and body (peripheral nervous system), including the sexual organs. Employed in almost every aspect of our functioning, including sensations of sexual desire and sexual function, the ECS has a unique relationship with cannabis because of the interplay between the endocannabinoid receptors and the cannabinoids found in cannabis. Because of this unique relationship, sex is one of the functions that may be affected by cannabis use.

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 travel through our bodies, affecting our sensations and perceptions. Similarly, the effects of the cannabis plant occur when cannabis molecules (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids) essentially use our bodies’ cellular machinery and engage with the cannabinoid receptors [2].

The cannabinoid receptors are composed of CB1 and CB2 receptors and are stimulated by cannabinoids: either endocannabinoids (made by our body) or phytocannabinoids (made from plants). These receptors influence neural activity in response to things like hunger, sexual desire, or temperature. CB1 receptors mediate most of the psychoactive effects of certain cannabinoids (when applicable), whereas CB2 receptors are more associated with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive responses [2].

A brief history of sex and cannabis

The connection between cannabis and sexual pleasure, sexual function, and sexual performance has been documented throughout the ages. In seventh-century India, cannabis was featured 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. The inhabitants of the time purported that cannabis held erotic powers. Those who consumed it, they believed, would receive the seductive powers of the Freya [3].

Victorian Europeans may not have been as stuffy as we imagine. In fact, they believed that cannabis promoted happy marriages. Meanwhile, in the US, cannabis was advertised as an aphrodisiac in The Pharmacopeia from the late 1850s to 1940s. The Pharmacopia promoted 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 [4].”

But all that ended in the late 1930s during the era of “Reefer Madness” when the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner Harry Anslinger made the ugly claims that cannabis turned women into nymphomaniacs who sought “relations with Negros and entertainers. [5]” This sexist and racist rhetoric advanced the agenda of cannabis criminalization, resulting in its designation as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Fortunately, many forms of cannabis have now been leglized, and a multitude of cannabis products are now available for widespread use [5]. 

Cannabis and libido: what the research suggests

Despite limited research, numerous surveys indicate that cannabis enhances the sexual experiences of many women and men who use it [6]. These surveys and other anecdotal evidence suggest that the right dose may yield more intense orgasms and increased sexual pleasure, drive, and satisfaction.

Dr. Becky K. Lynn, a sexual medicine expert, recently told the New York Times that her patients come to her with complaints of low libido but report that their use of cannabis helps them achieve orgasms and overall sexual satisfaction [6]. Dr. Lynn concedes that this may be partly because some cannabinoids are known to enhance the senses and may also mitigate some of the feelings that dampen a sexual experience (like discomfort or worries) and may, in turn, lead to an improved overall sexual experience.

Because she received so many anecdotal reports about the sexual benefits of cannabis, Dr. Lynn conducted a study at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Missouri in 2019. She surveyed 373 women about cannabis, of which 34 percent reported an increased sex drive, improved orgasm, and decreased pain after using cannabis [6].

Does CBD boost libido?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been widely touted as a magical sexual cure-all. In reality, CBD plays only second violinist in the sexual orchestra, but the music would not be the same without it. In other words, CBD can contribute to enhanced sexual drive and enjoyment in various ways but is best employed along with other factors, such as supportive communication and emotional connection.

So, how can CBD help enhance libido? People look to CBD for improved sexual experiences for a variety of reasons. One of the main ways is vasodilation. Vasodilation is a process whereby the blood vessels expand to allow more oxygen to muscles, increase blood flow, and natural lubrication [7].

While CBD is non-psychoactive, it may boost your mood by activating a neurotransmitter called anandamide, an endocannabinoid that may play a role in pain modulation, working memory, identification of novelty, hunger, sleep, and interpretation of your environment [8]. Nicknamed the “bliss neurotransmitter” because of its association with oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” anandamide can play a welcome role in sexual intimacy.

Learn more in the Guide to CBD

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Will CBG boost your energy, even sexual energy?

Though cannabigerol (CBG) is a lesser-known cannibinoid, many covet it for its unique benefits. Anecdotal reports inform us that many people take CBG for extra energy, though more research is needed to know the science behind the perceptions. Some CBG users compare its effects to a rush of creativity, like a shot of caffeine or the surge of adrenalin. Others report that they feel less stressed when they take CBG products [9]. CBG’s energy-giving qualities are thought to enhance sex drive. What would sexual desire and stamina be without sustained energy?

Delta-9 THC intensifies a sexual experience

Though sex with Delta-9 THC can lead to body-awakening, transcendent sexual romps for some, it can make others feel paranoid. Delta-9 may amplify what you feel, whether bliss or shyness. That’s why it’s important to go easy on Delta-9 THC products if you are not an experienced user or if you find yourself standing in your skivvies undergoing an existential crisis. But, don’t worry. If you start low and go slow, as they say, you should do well. Or, if the effects of Delta-9 are not for you, choose a different cannabinoid, one like CBD, which may help decrease nervousness as you get intimate. 

Alternatively, you may want to explore the issue of whether it might not be the THC and sex making you paranoid but rather the type of strain. There are plenty of sensual cannabis strains to play around with until you find the perfect balance of sex-friendly cannabinoids.

Does cannabis enhance orgasm?

Many a lover will secretly read this heading with a chuckle. “Of course it does,” they’ll think. But cannabis affects people differently. Even so, the conclusion of a new study at the Stanford Urology Department found that women who consume cannabis regularly report having better orgasms, higher arousal, and more sexual satisfaction overall [10].

The study surveyed 452 women who responded to an ad distributed at a chain of cannabis retail stores. The participants were asked to complete a Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire designed to consider and assess their sexual activity over the previous four weeks. There were six categories in the questionnaire: desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain [10].

Then, the researchers compared the frequency of cannabis use to each participant’s score, ultimately finding that women who reported more frequent cannabis use had better sexual experiences and more satisfying orgasms. The Stanford authors of the study summarized their results in this succinct statement: “Our results demonstrate that increasing frequency of cannabis use is associated with improved sexual function and is associated with increased satisfaction, orgasm, and sexual desire.”

Unfortunately, the jury’s still out on how cannabis affects male orgasm. On the one hand, an East Carolina University study suggests that cannabis can improve sexual experiences for both men and women. The study found “participants perceived that cannabis use increased their sexual functioning and satisfaction” no matter the age and gender of the participant. On the other hand, cannabis, and particularly products with THC, are rumored to affect the male body differently. For instance, some men report it can make sex last longer, often a fun sequel to the initial act. But for other men, this extended time may last too long, sometimes sidestepping orgasm altogether [11].

Menopause, cannabis, and libido

Any woman approaching menopause will tell you that a lot changes when her estrogen begins to wane. Some women’s sex lives become complicated by this loss of estrogen since the hormone is part of what fuels a woman’s sex drive. But many women find hope in cannabis.

Cannabis can help with some of the woes of estrogen loss. For instance, menopausal women have anecdotally reported more pleasurable orgasms after using cannabis, while others report a boost in their overall sexual sensations and satisfaction [12]. Cannabinoids like CBD and Delta-9 THC are potent vasodilators that serve to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow. This increased blood flow can work wonders for perimenopausal and post-menopausal women who seek to revitalize their libidos. Additionally, some cannabinoids may enhance sensitivity or encourage relaxation.

How much cannabis should I take for better sex?

How much cannabis you should take depends upon the strength of the product, the cannabinoids present in it, and what you hope to experience. The effects of different strains vary widely, so it’s hard to recommend a specific amount for everyone. However, most products provide suggested doses listed on the packaging. But the strength of its effects will differ depending on the individual, their body weight, what food or other substances they may have in their system, and their unique body chemistry. Thus, it is recommended that you start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you reach the results you desire.

Someone newer to cannabis can achieve a lighter effect by taking half or a  quarter as much of the recommended dosage. In contrast, people who know what effect cannabis has on their bodies can take more for stronger results. Each individual is different, so it’s a process of finding the right balance. A good rule of thumb is to go easy on your pre-sex cannabis intake and then inch your way up if you find yourself curious about a higher dose.

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The legality of cannabis: know the facts

After the 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug  Enforcement Agency (DEA) list of Schedule 1 substances, the commercialization of cannabis hit the country by storm. The Bill made hemp, which was designated as cannabis with 0.3 percent or less Delta-9 THC, as federally compliant and allowed long-forbidden research to begin after almost a century of prohibition.

Expanding on the first, 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 are federally compliant [13].

Federal legislation now defines cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent of Delta-9 THC per dry weight as hemp and allows hemp production and consumption in all 50 states. 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. Even so, many states allow medical use and/or adult recreational use of cannabis containing much more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC.

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.

Key takeaway

Now that cannabis is widely accessible, and myriad products are federally compliant, there’s no excuse to avoid cannabis if your libido is caught in the doldrums. The tricky thing is this: there are so many amazing cannabis products that can help steer your proverbial vessel back into waves again, how do you choose which product is right for you?

There’s no harm in trying different types of cannabis products to put wind back in the old sails. The good news is cannabis is a tried and true method of getting in touch with your inner love goddess, so there are countless ways to explore good lovin’.

Learn 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. https://carolinescannabis.com/product/bettys-passion-fruit-10-pack/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannabinoid_system
  3. https://www.hellomd.com/articles/cannabis-and-sex-a-brief-world-history/
  4. https://www.amazon.com/Cannabis-Evolution-Ethnobotany-Robert-Clarke/dp/0520292480
  5. https://cannigma.com/physiology/cannabis-sex-a-womans-guide/
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/01/well/live/marijuana-sex.html
  7. https://get-base.com/blog/cbd-sex-benefits 
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anandamide 
  9. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-is-cbg-cannabinoid
  10. https://nypost.com/2020/08/05/women-who-use-marijuana-have-better-orgasms-study-claims/
  11. https://hightimes.com/health/effects-thc-on-sex/
  12. https://www.foriawellness.com/blogs/learn/cbd-thc-sexual-health-menopause 
  13. https://thehia.org/hia-position-statement-on-delta-8-and-hemp-cannabinoids/

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Frequently Asked Questions

Both sativa-dominant and indica-dominant cannabis strains can enhance a sexual experience, yet individual needs and desires vary, as does the wide range of effects from different hybrid strains. 

Anecdotal reports and limited studies indicate that cannabis may bolster sexual function, but more research is needed to confirm these promising ideas. 

Product labels have suggested serving sizes, but is recommended to start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you reach a satisfactory level. This is especially recommended to a novice cannabis consumer. Consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.