Delta-9 THC and sex certainly seem to play well together, but can we say with certainty that Delta-9 THC will increase your sexual desire or improve your sexual pleasure? No, but anecdotal reports suggest that there’s a connection between this auspicious cannabinoid and sex. These welcome effects of cannabis may be part of why THC can clear the path for improved enjoyment.

Read on to find out if cannabis products with Delta-9 THC might be right for you and your partner.

What is Delta-9 THC?

Cannabis, whether hemp or marijuana, contains hundreds of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, CBN and various types of THC. These powerful molecules affect the body in different ways through the endocannabinoid system. When we consume cannabis, our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors bond with these cannabinoids and respond in different ways, ultimately relating to our experiences.

There are several forms of THC in cannabis plants, all with varying levels of psychoactive potential. The most abundant form of THC is Delta-9 THC, which is what most people mean when they refer to the effects of THC. Other types of THC, such as Delta-8 and Delta-10, are similar to Delta-9 but have slightly different chemical structures. The effects of these other forms of THC can vary but are ultimately similar to those of Delta-9 [1].

Does Delta-9 increase sex drive?

Libido and sex drive are complicated subjects, which makes it challenging to determine the sexual effects of any substance. However, it might be foolhardy to ignore the wealth of self-reported cannabis effects when it comes to looking for a natural aphrodisiac.

When researchers examine sexual desire and enjoyment, they need to take a lot of things into account; biological, social, and psychological factors all play roles in a person’s sexual experience. That said, many people claim that cannabis ignites their overall arousal and leads to increased pleasure [2].

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The history of cannabis and sex

Humans have been doing it while buzzed on cannabis for thousands of years and in many different places around the globe. For example, in 2nd century India, Tantrism was practiced in both Hindu and Buddhist cannabis rituals. Tantrism was a type of sex-related philosophy intended to lift people’s consciousness and help them find oneness with each other. Focused on absolute unity with the other and the universe, Tantric sex included mantras where the participants would drink a cannabis mixture and engage in ritual lovemaking [3].

Likewise, in Scandinavia, the Norse deity Freya, goddess of love and fertility, was thought to protect the hemp and flax fields which were places where erotic rituals were said to take place. On the evening before the summer solstice, unmarried girls were said to roll naked in the village hemp fields while throwing wreaths of hemp at the nearest tree branches. Their mythology dictated that the number of times the wreath fell would be the number of years the girl would stay unmarried [3].

In Medieval Europe, the Inquisition provoked mass persecution of herbalists and healers who used cannabis for ailments that included low libido. In 1484, Pope Innocente VIII banned hemp when used in rituals, classifying it as heretical. Among these banned rituals was the “witches’ sabbath;” an event where witches were thought to gather for sexual rituals while high on herbs, including cannabis, opium, hemlock, and belladonna [3].

Even in 19th century America, cannabis was thought to help maintain happy marriages and treat a condition doctors referred to as “sexual torpor;” the state of low sexual desire [4].

Cannabis legality and the Farm Bills

Cannabis’ legal history is fraught in the United States. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 outlawed cannabis cultivation [5]. This made it challenging for farmers to produce even hemp. Further hindering hemp cultivation, Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which gave hemp the same status as marijuana under the law [6].

Hemp’s commercial resurgence came after the 2014 Farm Bill removed hemp from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) list of Schedule 1 substances. This bill made hemp federally compliant and allowed long-forbidden research into hemp-derived cannabinoids to begin.

The 2018 Farm Bill expanded on this, allowing people to produce, sell, and consume hemp-derived products. Legal experts assured cultivators, sellers, and consumers that all other plant materials and substances derived from legally-defined hemp were federally-compliant [7].

Today, federal law defines cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent Delta-9 THC per dry weight as hemp plants and allows hemp production and consumption in all 50 states. On the other hand, a plant with more than 0.3% 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.

Many states now allow adult use of medical and recreational marijuana containing much more than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. 

The data behind Delta-9 THC and increased sexual arousal

Research on how THC might affect sexual function, sexual dysfunction, and overall sexual health is scarce. However, since the Farm Bills, some studies into the potential medicinal use of cannabis have commenced. While scientists are still trying to tease out the precise relationship between THC and male and female sexual function, a growing body of evidence points to a meaningful connection.

The scientific research behind THC’s influence on male sex drive is thin. More research is needed to fully understand the answer to this question [10].

Delta-9 THC versus CBD

Though both Delta-9 THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are cannabinoids, Delta-9 is a form of THC, which is psychoactive. CBD does not have psychoactive properties.

One prescription CBD oil medication (Epidiolex) has been FDA-approved and is considered an effective anti-seizure medication for certain seizure disorders. Even so, further research is needed to determine the cannabinoid’s other benefits.

While CBD is currently being studied for a wide range of applications, anecdotal reports indicate it may have the potential for various benefits [11].

Risks of Delta-9 THC

Though cannabis users enjoy THC for a wide range of potential benefits, including relief, creative inspiration and relaxation, there are some risks associated with it, especially at higher doses. For example, people prone to anxiety may experience increased anxiety after taking THC [12].

Benefits from THC may be dose-dependent. In other words, too much THC can not only serve to quell sexual arousal but over-intoxicate you. So, if you’re considering adding cannabis products with THC to your sex life, it is critical to start low. It’s important to learn your individual tolerance and responses to the cannabinoid before taking more than a small amount yourself or drawing your partner into a cannabis-driven sexual encounter.

High doses of THC may induce anxiety, paranoia, or nausea— all experiences that promise to put a damper on sexual intimacy. Remember, start with a low dose and gradually increase to moderate doses once you’ve determined how THC works in your system, especially if you are a beginner.

Best Delta-9 THC products for sex

Though some people enjoy the sexy nature of the smoking ritual along with sex, others prefer edibles such as gummies, lozenges, or tinctures for increased pleasure. These edibles are great not only for the nature of their easy consumption, but also because you can control your dosage differently than with smoking or vaping.

Even Delta-9 topicals, such as lubes and massage oils, are popular for added sensual enjoyment and increased desire. Though the THC in these topical products will not be absorbed as efficiently into the endocannabinoid system as with smoking, vaping, or eating, they can be a welcome solution.

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Delta-9 THC versus Delta-8 THC

Chemically speaking, Delta-9 THC and Delta-8 THC are quite similar. However, the main difference between them is that the placement of one of the carbon double bonds in the molecule is in a different place.

Though both Delta-9 and Delta-8 are psychoactive, Delta-8 may be less potent. A recent survey indicated that Delta-8 THC might have fewer potential side effects compared with Delta-9. The side effects experienced by some users of Delta-9 THC products included anxiety, paranoia, short-term memory problems, and difficulty concentrating [13].

More research is needed to determine the exact differences between the effects of Delta-9 THC and those of Delta-8 when consumed.

How does Delta-9 THC work?

Delta-9 THC binds with CB-1 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, producing psychoactive effects in addition to sensations such as euphoria and laughter. The endocannabinoid system is a bodily system that modulates many sensations and functions with the purpose of promoting homeostasis. Cannabinoids like Delta-9 THC work like our body’s own endocannabinoids and engage with the receptors to alter our bodily regulatory processes [14].

The bottom line on Delta-9 THC and your sex life

Notions about sex, of course, are subjective and multilayered, with many factors involved. Yet, there’s no harm in trying out a little Delta-9 THC to see what it has to offer you. (But remember to start low, and go slow.)

Like countless others, you may find that Delta-9 THC awakens, if not your inner love goddess, a renewed sense of drive and fulfillment. Or, at the very least, the pleasures of the world’s most amazing kiss.

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. What is Delta 9?
    2. How Cannabis Affects Sex
    3. A Global History of Weed and Sex
    4. Cannabis and Sex  – A Brief World History
    5. Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 
    6. 1970 Controlled Substances Act
    7. HIA Position Statement on Delta-8 and Hemp Cannabinoid
    8. The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women
    9. Cannabis for Better Sex? Here’s What the Science Says
    10. Does Weed Lower Sex Drive?
    11. Is CBD Safe and Effective?
    12. What Are the Health Risks of Cannabis?
    13. Delta-8-THC: Delta-9-THC’s nicer younger sibling?
    14. Endocannabinoid System
    15. Can Weed Cause ED or Infertility
    16. Marijuana, the Endocannabinoid System and the Female Reproductive System

Frequently Asked Questions

Every individual is different, so it’s impossible to pinpoint the perfect strain for everyone across the board. Sativa type strains often produce more heady effects while indica strains are often associated with body feelings. Either one may be better for you, and there are unlimited hybrid strains which combine benefits from both. 

It’s best to start with a small amount like 2 to 5 mg of Delta-9 THC, to see how it affects you before consuming more. Most products have a suggested serving size as a guide but starting slow is recommended, especially for new consumers.