It’s no secret that many people believe cannabis improves their sex lives. You can see evidence of this all around. From Dianne Keaton’s character in Annie Hall lighting up to set the mood to Carl Sagan claiming that cannabis “enhances the enjoyment of sex” and “gives an exquisite sensitivity,” popular culture reflects what many already know [1].

One of the great pleasures of life, sex is an activity that all too often carries with it a host of conundrums ranging from anxiety to pain to other perceived limitations. That’s why there’s no shortage of products that promise a better sex life. But we forget that some of the best joy can be found right on the shelves of our local cannabis dispensary. Read on to discover how cannabis consumption might lead to improved satisfaction with sex.

Cannabis and sex through the ages

Cannabis has a long history of association with increasing sexual pleasure, improving sexual function, and boosting sexual performance. For example, dating back to seventh-century India, cannabis was used in the tantric sex rituals explored in the Kama Sutra. Likewise, in pre-Christian Scandinavia, cannabis seeds were used in rituals to honor the love goddess Freya. Archaeologists have found evidence that inhabitants believed cannabis possessed erotic powers and that those who consumed it would be endowed with the seductive traits of the love goddess [2].

According to Cannabis and Culture, Victorian Europeans believed that the plant promoted happy marriages [3]. In the US, cannabis was lauded as an aphrodisiac in The Pharmacopeia from the late 1850s to 1940s. This publication promoted cannabis pills and extracts made by pharmaceutical companies like Ely Lilly and Upjohn. The cannabis concoctions were recommended by doctors for “stimulating the sexual appetite” and the lack of sexual desire, a condition they referred to as “sexual torpor [4].”

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

Thanks to the activism of cannabis proponents and scientists over the decades, many forms of cannabis have now been legalized, and certain cannabis-derived products are now available for recreational use [6]. 

Cannabis and libido

Though there is not a massive amount of clinical research on cannabis and the libido, most of the research that does exist relies on data from questionnaires. However, despite the limited evidence, these surveys indicate that cannabis seems to affect the perceptions of sexual experience of many women and men who use it [7].

Can cannabis ease anxiety around sex?

Sexual arousal and functioning are complicated and multilayered issues. Thus, the discussion around cannabis and sexuality sometimes has less to do with cannabis and more to do with psychology. Of course, good sex means different things to different people. Yet, it may be safe to say that most people need to achieve a level of relaxation and comfort to be able to enjoy sex fully [8].

Cannabinoids like Delta-9 THC and CBD can work synergistically in what is known as the entourage effect to alter certain responses [9]. The entourage effect is a process whereby the compounds of the cannabis plant work together in the body, enhancing the effects of the plant. 

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The endocannabinoid system and sexual responses

Critical for almost every aspect of our functioning, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a unique relationship with cannabis. It is a network of chemical signals and receptors that operates throughout the human brain and body as part of the central and peripheral nervous systems, which in turn are connected to sexual organs. 

CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are stimulated by cannabinoids: either endocannabinoids (made by our body) or phytocannabinoids (made from plants). Each of these receptors influences our bodily functions by turning up or down neural activity and adjusting responses. CB1 receptors mediate most of the psychoactive effects of certain cannabinoids, whereas CB2 receptors are principally involved in other responses [10].

Our natural receptors get stimulated by our body’s own endocannabinoids: molecules that have a structural similarity to molecules in the cannabis plant. These tiny cannabis-like molecules float through our bodies, affecting our sensations and perceptions. Similarly, the effects of the cannabis plant occur when cannabis molecules (cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids) essentially work with our bodies’ ancient cellular machinery and engage with the cannabinoid receptors. CBD, THC, and CBN are only three of the hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that interact with the ECS [10].

CBD’s influence on sexual experience

People look to CBD products for a variety of reasons. While the cannabinoid doesn’t yield psychoactive effects, CBD may boost your mood by activating a neurotransmitter called anandamide, an endocannabinoid that may play a role in working memory, identification of novelty and interpretation of your environment [12]. Some have coined anandamide the “bliss neurotransmitter” and associate it with oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone.”

Some reasons people anecdotally report CBD helps them achieve better sex include:

  • Relaxation
  • Increasing pleasurable sensations

Learn more in the Guide to CBD

Does CBG influence sex drive?

Though it has not been substantiated by conclusive research, many people anecdotally report that cannabigerol (CBG) makes them feel energetic. Some users liken the effects of CBG to elevating their creativity and mood. Because sex is often spurred on by these energy-affirming characteristics, it follows that CBG might elevate one’s senses [13].

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The best cannabis strains for sex

Good sex requires the involvement of both body and mind. Thus, the question of which strains are better for sex is complex. For example, Indica strains are rumored to offer a hefty dose of bodily sensitivity and tactile sensations. On the other hand, Sativa strains are associated with increased energy and creativity. Few could argue that you don’t need both energy and sensitivity for a satisfying experience. Therefore, there is not just one answer to the question of which strains are better. It ultimately boils down to what an individual most wants to feel.

But an excessive dance with any cannabis strain, whether sativa or indica-dominant, can do the opposite of what you might hope to feel, that is if you take too much of it. Too much of a sativa strain might turn into something entirely intellectual or introspective. Or, after a megadose of an indica-dominant strain, you could find yourself feeling clumsy or lacking in motivation, also not optimal [15].

Experimentation to find the best products for you will be the key. That said, a few good cannabis strains include:

Bubba 77—this premium high-CBD, low-THC cannabis strain produces a range of effects, from clear-headed alertness and energy to calm and relaxation. Bubba 77 brings a unique Indica-dominant profile and flavors of licorice, pine, and dark sweetness. 

Sour Suver—this high-CBD, low-THC Sativa-dominant cannabis strain is pungent with hints of sour apple, bitter pine, and mild cheese. The effects range from creativity and energy to intense focus.

Forbidden V—this premium high-CBD, low-THC cannabis strain offers a potent terpene profile with effects that range from energetic creativity to sultry confidence. It boasts a rich tropical aroma of guava, mango, and coconut with berry notes. 

Can cannabis improve orgasm?

Some cannabis users say using cannabis in the bedroom improves things [16]. Sounds great. But is there any evidence? Several small studies have been conducted to gain knowledge about whether cannabis is involved in orgasms. These studies need further research to be conclusive, yet they offer hope [17].

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Menopause, cannabis, and sex

When women reach perimenopause (pre-menopause), their natural estrogen begins to wane, finally disappearing altogether at menopause. Since estrogen is part of what fuels a woman’s libido and sex drive, sometimes, when reaching this point in her life, a woman’s sex life can take a nosedive [21].

How much cannabis should I take?

Serving size matters, and of course, how much cannabis you take depends upon the strength of the strain and the cannabinoids present. Since the effects of different cannabinoids and strains vary, it isn’t easy to recommend a specific amount to use across the board. 

While products generally have a suggested serving listed on each package, the strength of its effects on a particular person will differ depending on a few things: the amount consumed, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience with cannabis. Generally speaking, it is recommended that you start with a small amount and gradually increase it until you reach satisfactory results.

Newer users can easily achieve a lighter effect by taking less than the recommended dosage. On the other hand, more experienced users can take more for stronger results. Personal preference is the key. However, a good rule of thumb is to go easy on your pre-sex cannabis intake, especially if it contains THC.

Starting with higher doses may mean you’ll sabotage the effects that you’re after. It’s good to experiment with minor increases. Soon, you’ll find the perfect dose to take before your romantic adventures.

Drawbacks to using cannabis for sex

While some people experience increased anxiety when using cannabis with THC, others find it does just the opposite [14].

If you find that the cannabis you are taking is not helping you, you should stop taking it. That said, there may be another cannabis product that is better suited to your needs. One of the main drawbacks of taking cannabis for sex is that it may take some time to find the optimal product and dosage for you.

Legality of cannabis

The commercial resurgence of cannabis occurred after 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 long-forbidden research to commence at last.

The 2018 Farm Bill expanded on the first Bill, allowing for 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 [22].

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


Combining cannabis and sex is all about finding the perfect balance. If you go overboard, hoping to channel a Hindu love god, you may freeze up from the sheer intensity of the effects. If you’re taking cannabis to improve your sexual experience, better too little than too much. Then, you can slowly increase until you hit the magic.

But before you stock up on cannabis products for your imminent sexual liberation, it’s important to differentiate between whether you want to use it to enhance your sexual experience or solve something else. If you are experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction or pain, for instance, it is wise to discuss your situation with your doctor or therapist to see what remedy might be needed.

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


  3. Rubin, V. (1973). Cannabis and culture. Mouton and Company
  4. Clarke, R., & Merlin, M. (2016). Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany. University of California Press

Frequently Asked Questions

No, butn they are similar and come from the same plant. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both naturally-occurring cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and both have the same molecular structure. A slight difference in how the atoms are arranged accounts for the differing effects on the endocannabinoid system.

Both sativa-dominant and indica-dominant strains can enhance an experience, yet individual needs and desires vary.

The FDA advises against using CBD and THC products during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider for more informtion.