Cannabis doesn’t elicit the raised eyebrows it once did. Quite frankly, it’s become mainstream. The pungent aroma of it dwindles around besuited businessmen and women outside office highrises in the same way cigarette smoke alone used to cloud these throngs of workers on breaks. With its widespread acceptance, cannabis has also become popular among couples who seek to enhance sex. But is sex better when you’re high? And how do the effects compare to those of alcohol-influenced sex?
We’ll explore what the experts say about these questions and why you might want to stock up on cannabis products before your romantic weekend getaway.
The cannabis-sex connection through history
The free lovin’ hippies weren’t the first to understand how cannabis enhances sexual behavior. Cultures have illustrated this understanding throughout history. For example, Priapus, the Greek god of the erect penis, represented male virility in Roman religion and was associated with cannabis rituals. Likewise, in ancient India and Scandinavia, cannabis populated erotic rituals to enhance fertility and promote sexual desire .
Additionally, in medieval Europe, herbalists and healers used cannabis mixtures to treat conditions including low libido. That is, until 1484 when mass persecutions spread throughout Europe and Pope Innocente VIII banned the use of hemp in religious rituals .
Cannabis in the US Today
Today, cannabis has taken on a sexy role in the US as more people learn the aphrodisiac qualities of the herb. Most people who use weed to enhance sexual pleasure find that having sex while high leads to lowered inhibitions and a heightened sense of touch.
Marijuana is illegal federally but many states have programs to support legal medical and recreational use of marijuana by adults. Even in places that don’t, the US Farm Bill states that cannabis products made from hemp are federally lawful, so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. Learn more in the Guide to CBD.
The endocannabinoid system
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) comprises a complex network of chemical signals and receptors spread throughout the human body. The ECS’s CB1 receptors act much like traffic cops in the brain and control the activity of many of our neurotransmitters. They regulate various functions by giving our bodies feedback and adjusting things like hunger, temperature, alertness or sexual arousal.
To activate these receptors, we produce endocannabinoids, similar to the molecules in cannabis. The first endocannabinoid discovered in the ECS was one coined anandamide, after the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss. Cannabis alters our sensations and experiences because it engages with the cannabinoid receptors and influences our feelings and perceptions .
We also have CB2 receptors in the ECS, mostly in our immune tissues. These receptors are essential for maintaining and adjusting our immune function. CB2 receptors play a role in easing things like pain and intestinal inflammation. Particularly exciting regarding potential drug development, CB2 receptors don’t cause the high associated with THC .
The science behind why stoned sex feels so good
Some people claim that the euphoric effects of cannabis can reduce anxiety, increase sensation and even help us develop better emotional relationships with our sexual partners. In addition, because the ECS is present in the entire body, we feel the effects of the cannabinoids all over, including our sexual organs. In other words, sex often feels good by itself, but adding the heightened tactile sensations that THC brings can make sex incredibly pleasurable.
But before you start the seduction act, keep reading to learn the science behind some of the mental and physical effects of cannabis on sexual experiences so you can safely enjoy them with your partner.
Learn more: Best Cannabis Products for Sex
The difference between high sex and drunk sex
Joseph Palamar at New York University was inspired to learn more about the difference between cannabis and alcohol’s effects on sex. Thus, he and his colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 24 heterosexual couples regarding their prior sexual experiences under the influence of either alcohol or cannabis.
To that end, they recorded their findings about the participants’ experiences to shed light on the various effects and provide insight for consumers. They conceded that the interviews weren’t meant to represent a national sample but to obtain information about the particular group that could be used as a starting point for further study.
What the researchers found
- Lower standards: Respondents reported that alcohol use was more likely to negatively affect who they chose to have sex with. In other words, they were more likely to lower their standards in terms of both character and appearance. By contrast, with cannabis use, they did not feel they chose someone they would later regret.
- Regret: “The most commonly reported feeling after sex on alcohol was regret,” the researchers said about the study results. “Both males and females commonly reported that regret, shame, and embarrassment were associated with alcohol use,” but this was rarely reported for cannabis.
- Sick versus distracted: Respondents reported that alcohol more often made them feel sick, whereas cannabis sometimes made them feel distracted or more cerebral.
- Numbing versus enhancing sensations: The study found that alcohol tended to detract from sensations, whereas cannabis made sex more pleasurable.
- Risky behavior versus in-control: The participants reported they exercised poorer judgment after having had alcohol than when they were stoned. They were less likely to black out and forget whom they were with. With cannabis, they were more likely to use protection and stay safe .
Mental benefits of using cannabis during sex
THC often causes euphoria; not a bad way to begin a sexual foray. This feeling can sometimes help people become more receptive to their partner and lower inhibitions. However, unlike the inebriating effect of alcohol, many cannabis users feel in control, focused and tuned in. Safely lowering inhibitions allows an individual to experience the pleasures of sex and connection with another person (or themself?) more fully.
Some people find anxiety hinders their sex lives. It can take over your mind and body, keeping you from enjoying an otherwise joyful connection with another. For this reason, anxiety sometimes contributes to difficulty reaching orgasm. But, at the proper doses, cannabis has the potential to alleviate inhibitions and promote a more mindful and fulfilling sexual experience. Looking for edibles? try Earthy Now’s CBG Revive Gummies for energy and uplift.
Studies show that cannabis can increase “divergent thinking,” a theory about how the brain connects seemingly unrelated ideas. Divergent thinking is said to be the essence of creativity . When two people feel free to explore each other’s bodies in a spirit of creativity, they may feel sexier, and experience more pleasure and yes, possibly even more orgasms.
What’s more, cannabis has been said to reduce negative bias, helping us see our different relationships positively as glasses half-full. Voicing fantasies, or using sex toys, are more accessible activities to engage in when you trust your partner won’t judge you.
Physical benefits of combining cannabis and sex
Though cannabis can spark a new idea or fantasy, it can also keep you from getting stuck in your head. Amplified physical sensations are some of the hallmarks of stoned sex. Focusing on smells, tastes, sounds and touch can help you enjoy the moment more fully.
Some people find themselves more in tune with music and sound when using cannabis . Listening to or playing music with your partner can further ignite passions and anchor you and your body in the pulse of the music.
Cannabis increases blood flow via vasodilation . As a result, orgasms may be more intense and lubrication more naturally abundant. If you tend to experience pain during sex, cannabis may help to ease or distract from this and facilitate more pleasurable sex.
Best cannabinoids: is sex better when you’re high?
Sex therapist Lawrence Siegel claims that Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC) targets a part of our brain associated with sexual arousal.
“Our body’s natural endocannabinoid system is key in regulating things like pleasure, pain, relaxation and homeostasis,” he told CNN, adding, “When it is activated by the cannabinoids in cannabis, it can leave users feeling relaxed with increased pleasure and decreased pain .”
THC and pleasure sensations
Peter Barsoom, the founder of 1906, said that THC “can lead to increased arousal and make sex even more enjoyable. For others, the reason is the increased pleasurable sensations that can arise with cannabis. This effect can make sex feel even more enjoyable .”
CBD and lubrication
Regarding lubrication issues, Alex Capano, medical director for Ananda Hemp and faculty member at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, says that CBD may help.
“There are so many cannabinoid receptors in reproductive organs and sexual tissue,” he explained to CNN. “CBD increases blood flow to tissues, which increases sensitivity and promotes the body’s natural lubrication .”
Key takeaways on high sex
Plenty of evidence indicates cannabis can be a major boon in the bedroom. But don’t just reach for any cannabis product. Read reviews and check that an independent lab has verified a product before buying it.
Educate yourself about how much cannabis makes sense for you and your partner and whether or not you want to experience the psychoactive effects of THC. Using a combination of THC and CBD may produce an optimal effect by what experts call the entourage effect .
Moreover, if you’re looking for mind-bending, transcendent sex that you won’t regret later, steer clear of alcohol, and reach for a tried and true strain of the good stuff. Check out Earthy Now’s wide range of high-CBD, low-THC cannabis products – available for nationwide delivery.
Read next: 7 Reasons Folks Enjoy Cannabis Before 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.