Research says marijuana might improve sex drive for some

Marijuana has been portrayed in our culture as a way to suppress nausea, treat nerve pain and of course to get high .

But, for centuries, cannabis has also had another use: as an aphrodisiac.

Its use is documented in India and China as far back as the seventh century and, in the 1890s, American marriage guides recommended cannabis for help in boosting sex drive.

While there has been no concrete research linking marijuana and libido, sex therapists say the drug can help relax both partners and eliminate performance anxiety to make sex more pleasurable.

However, cannabis is not a one-size-fits all drug and, while it might evoke pleasure for some, it could turn off sex drive for others.

Daily Mail Online spoke to two sex experts who discussed how using pot can provide for better sex, as well as negative side effects that can be experienced too.

While there has been no concrete research linking marijuana and libido, sex therapists say the drug can help relax both partners and eliminate performance anxiety to make sex more pleasurable

Healers from a variety of cultures have recommended marijuana as a way to increase libido, but scientists have only recently begun to investigate if there was any truth to the claims. 

A November 2017 study from Stanford University found that both women and men who smoked pot daily were more likely to have sex more frequently than those who didn’t use the drug.

Women who used marijuana daily had sex an average of 7.1 times during the course of four weeks compared to an average of six for women who didn’t use the drug.

Similarly, daily male users reported having sex an average of 6.9 times over four weeks compared to 5.6 times for men who didn’t use marijuana.  

Although the study did not explicitly state cause and effect, and there is no clear research as to how cannabis affects sex drive, there are several theories.

‘Marijuana helps with relieving pressure, decreasing pain and bringing about a feeling of relaxation,’ Amanda Pasciucco, a nationally certified sex therapist in West Hartford, Connecticut, told Daily Mail Online.

It is believed that is due to THC, the best-known of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids, or active components.

The chemical structure of THC is similar to the brain chemical anandamide, which acts as a neurotransmitter, sending chemical messages between nerve cells throughout the nervous system.

These neurotransmitters affect brain areas that influence pleasure, memory, concentration, movement and sensory and time perception.

Because of the similarity in structure, THC is recognized by the body and therefore can alter normal brain communication. 

Some users experience heightened sensory perception when using marijuana, which could help increase sexual desire.

‘People start to receive sensation in a different way,’ Nathan Guerrin, a life and sex coach who sometimes collaborates with Pasciucco in Hartford, Connecticut, told Daily Mail Online.

Anecdotally, he says that ‘everything is heightened so kissing becomes more pleasurable, touch is more pleasurable, orgasms are more widely felt throughout the body.’  


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are both derived from the cannabis plant. 

Together, they are part of the cannabinoid group of compounds found in hashish, hash oil, and most strains of marijuana. 

THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the euphoric, ‘high’ feeling often associated with marijuana.

THC interacts with CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and brain and creates the sensations of euphoria and anxiety. 

CBD does not fit these receptors well, and actually decreases the effects of THC, and is not psychoactive. 

CBD is thought to help reduce anxiety and inflammation. 

Pascuicco and Guerrin both said that time perception on cannabis is often altered so the amount of time that sex lasts and the amount of time an orgasm lasts may seem longer- even if neither are in reality.

Of course, they both note that not everyone will experience the same reaction when using marijuana.

Some marijuana strains can induce sleep or increase anxiety, neither of which leave you able to enjoy a sexual encounter.

Additionally, a 2015 study at the University of Copenhagen found that regular marijuana use was tied to low sperm count. 

Men who regularly used marijuana – defined as more than once per week – had a 28 percent lower sperm concentration than men who smoked less frequently or never.

Marijuana’s possible problems for sperm haven’t stopped cannabis-based sexual products from making their way onto the mainstream market.

A marijuana-based spray called Floria, which claims to be the first sexual lubricant designed specifically to improve sex for women, hit shelves in 2014.

Foria contains marijuana extract and the makers insist that the relaxing properties of cannabis can help women have better and more satisfying sex.

Users are advised to spray Foria on their genitals about 30 minutes before sex to ‘create the relaxation needed for sensual experience’ and possibly multiple orgasms.  

It is of course important to remember, if you’re considering experimenting, that recreational marijuana use is legal only in nine states while medicinal use is legal in 29 states.  

Therefore, sex therapists and sexologists could face legal or ethical issues if they recommend it to their clients.

‘It’s not something that’s able to be prescribed now but it’s totally possible that it could be prescribed in the future for sex,’ said Pascuicco.

‘I’d say everything is a test. I’m not a medical provider so I can’t prescribe it, but I would definitely say: “Report back and tell me about”.’