I told her that I was a flop with chics
I’ve been this way since 1956
She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign
She said, “What you need is Love Potion Number 9”
–Love Potion No. 9
Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller
Recorded by The Clovers, 1959
February is the month of Valentine’s Day and love, so we decided to take a look at the question: is cannabis an aphrodisiac?
History seems to answer “yes!” Cannabis can be traced back to the ancients, whose shamans and priests knew about the plant’s abilities for some people to induce relaxation, sociability and enhance sensory responses … all positive things if you’re doing you-know-what.
There are records from India in the seventh century showing the use of cannabis in tantric sex rituals. But they mixed the plant’s flowers with milk and a variety of herbs and spices to create a drink called bhang.
These days, we prefer to consult academic studies to answer these important questions. In 2019, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a survey in which 69.8% of respondents reported that cannabis helped them relax more during sex and 50.5% reported they were better able to focus during sex.
An earlier study in the same journal reported that in a study of 373 women in a gynecology practice found that 60.6% of women noted a lift in their sex drive when they used cannabis before sex. And the women who reported using cannabis before sex had 2.13 times higher odds of satisfactory orgasm than women who did not use cannabis before sex. 68.5% reported their overall sexual experience was more pleasurable.
Cannabis users report that using the substance and its various strains can promote relaxation, ease mental blocks like self-consciousness, and reduce stress. Like consuming dark chocolate, another well-known substance often considered something of an aphrodisiac, cannabis and its extracted strains can stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, and is thought to release dopamine into the bloodstream, which can enhance the body’s pleasure response.
So the answer seems to be that cannabis use before sex can help with the overall pleasure response in many people. That’s a good thing. But there are some caveats to keep in mind:
Cannabis enhances what you’re already feeling. It is likely that cannabis will not automatically make you more interested in having sex, nor will it magically eliminate any contrary feelings about having sex. But if you’re with a partner you love and you’re both ready, willing and able … it may well enhance the experience to the enjoyment of both.
Different strains will produce different results. There is no one-size fits all. We all have different bodies, different temperaments, different feelings. And we all react differently to using cannabis. Some strains will make you feel more relaxed. Others will make you feel more energized and alert. You may have to experiment a little with your partner to find the strain and extract that works best for both of you.
Less is more. If a little cannabis use makes you feel good and helps the sexual experience, will a ton of it blow your mind? Yeah, no. Too much stimulation can be as bad as too little. Again, go slow, experiment, try different strains and see what works best for you. Hopefully, the experimentation process will be fun, too!
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