Study provides new insights into how cannabis can enhance or diminish the sexual experience

New research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that the use of cannabis can often improve sex — but that’s not the case for everyone.

Study author Ellen Wiebe was working on another project related to using cannabis for menstrual pain and the pain of medication abortions with her co-author Alanna Just of the University of British Columbia. “While we were talking about our various cannabis projects, Alanna talked me into this one,” Wiebe said.

For their study, the researchers surveyed 133 women, 63 men, and 2 transgender individuals who had used cannabis before sex to examine which aspects of sexual experience were enhanced or diminished.

The survey found that 16% of the participants said sex was better after cannabis use, 16% said it was better in some ways and worse in others, about 25% said it was sometimes better in some ways and worse in others, and about 5% said it was worse.

“Cannabis has mostly positive effects on sexual experience, but these are related to the increased ability to relax and the heightened perceptions, not specifically sexual effects. The negative effects are mostly dose related and are mostly related to sleepiness and lack of focus,” Wiebe told PsyPost.

The participants reported a number of positive benefits, the two most common being increased sensitivity to touch and increased sexual satisfaction in general.

Other benefits included increased vaginal lubrication for women, increased erectile function/hardness for men, increased intensity of orgasms, increased ability to relax, increased ability to focus, increased confidence, and increased emotional closeness.

But cannabis could also have the opposite effects for some participants.

“Sometimes I became self-conscious and paranoid and it detracted from the experience,” one participant told the researchers. “I’m usually too tired from the marijuana to be in the mood,” another explained.

“People react differently and everyone gets different effects from different doses,” Wiebe said.

Women tended to have more difficulty with focus and less difficulty achieving orgasm when using cannabis compared to men.

The study — like all research — includes some limitations. “This survey is limited by being a convenience sample of people who responded to the advertisements. As such, it may not represent the general population of people who use cannabis,” the authors of the study said.

But the findings are mostly in line with another study, which found that “women who used marijuana before sex reported positive sexual effects.”

“There is so much more to know,” Wiebe remarked.

The study was titled: “How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women“.