Sex, Cannabis, and the Endocannabinoid System

If you’re a true cannabis-enthusiast, you’ve heard of the 1930s propaganda film Reefer Madness; but did you know that directors Louis Gasnier and Joseph Seiden made a spinoff of that movie titled Sex Madness?

It’s a bit ironic, because out of all wrong, misguided, and downright stupid clichés portrayed in those movies, they did get one thing right – sex and cannabis go hand in hand like a bowl and lighter.

However, it’s not at all like depicted in the movie – uncontrolled, sloppy and completely uninhibited. Cannabis has been used as a natural aphrodisiac for centuries and it’s said to do everything from improving the quality of orgasms to relieving pain during sex, curing sexual dysfunction, and fostering stronger and more meaningful connections.

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A historical aphrodisiac

While it may sound a bit New Age, cannabis has been used as a sexual remedy for thousands of years. As far back as 700 A.D., cannabis was a major part of Hindu culture and tradition. Aside from being a common medicinal herb, cannabis was a known aphrodisiac that was strongly associated with the goddess Kali.

During certain rituals and gatherings, cannabis leaves and buds were mashed-up and prepared into a beverage known as Bhang, which is still consumed widely at the annual spring festival of Holi. Bhang, yoga, and tantric sex were used together to heighten the senses, induce euphoria, and achieve “oneness”. This ritual was not so much about having an orgasm, but more of a way to guide participants toward a spiritual awakening.

Cannabis Use in Ancient Times – From Nomadic Warrior Women to Egyptian Pharaohs, and beyond

Even in Eastern Europe, where cannabis culture is virtually non-existent and it’s still one of the more restrictive regions of the world, there is some history of cannabis use to increase sexual prowess. In Serbia, for instance, hemp has been used in ancient folk medicine for hundreds of years. Hemp seed is viewed as an aphrodisiac and many Serbian men believe that wearing hemp will improve their performance.

Polish Anthropologist Sula Benet also notes that many Eastern Europeans prepared a “happy porridge,” which contained almond butter, honey, sugar, hashish, and numerous herbs and spices. Apparently, this mixture was considered a high-end, luxury cannabis product and was sought out by men who were looking for what they believed to be “the strongest aphrodisiac.”

In ancient German pagan tradition, cannabis was associated with the Norse goddess of love, Freya. It was believed that by smoking cannabis, one would became connected with Freya’s feminine and sexual energy, which wasn’t too far off-base considering it’s the feminized plants that produce smokable flowers, with both hemp and marijuana. Even the harvesting of cannabis was coordinated with an “erotic high” festival of the time.

Orgasms and the endocannabinoid system

Sex is good for the body. Aside from the fact that it’s a physical activity, when done in a healthy manner, it can help improve your mental health and confidence, result in better sleep, and boost oxytocin throughout the body. Additionally, research found that in already healthy people, orgasms led to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and an increase in collagen production.

According to Dr. Genester Wilson-King, MD, OB-GYN, and cannabis-advocate, “Endocannabinoids might play a very important role in the sexual response cycle, leading to maybe a better understanding and treatment of sexual dysfunction.” She added that, “There’s a little bit of evidence supporting the theory that regular orgasms could help ECS (endocannabinoid system) function, not conclusive; but the ECS does well with similar stimuli that create a short-term strong production of cannabinoids, like exercise.”

When functioning properly, the Endocannabinoid System is responsible for regulating numerous different functions and processes in our bodies including sleep/wake cycles, appetite, mood, and even fertility. Some healthcare professionals have linked endocannabinoid deficiency to a slew of different medical conditions and disorders.

The Endocannabinoid System Explained – Why Cannabis is Good For Our Bodies

More sex and better orgasms

According to numerous studies and surveys, sexual satisfaction is on the decline, and this particularly true for women. On average, only 25% of women orgasm regularly during sex. Let me say that bit louder for those in the back – only a quarter of women experience regular orgasms, regardless of size, how long it lasts, or her feelings and interest toward her partner.

This could be due to a number of reasons – like stress, anxiety, poor performance, etc. – but it could be other factors at play, hormonal or health-related. Regardless of the reasons, it seems that cannabis is extremely effective at helping women (and men) experience more satisfying orgasms.

A study published last spring in the journal Sexual Medicine, looked at 373 women and studied them for a period of 11 months, looking closely at how cannabis use equated to better sex. Lead researcher, Dr. Becky K. Lynn, found that  women who used cannabis prior to sex were more than twice as likely to have an orgasm categorized as “extremely satisfactory”. Additionally, most women said it helped them feel more relaxed, increased their sex drive, and helped manage pain during intercourse that was often a limitation for some of the participants.

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Just one month later, East Carolina University graduate Amanda Moser wrote her master’s thesis on this topic, and her research mirrored that of Dr. Lynn. Eight hundred-eleven people between the ages of 18 and 85 participated in Moser’s study in which cannabis was found to be sexually beneficial for both men and women of all age groups.

“People who were 18 years old had amazing benefits as well as people up to 85 years old, and everyone in between,” explained Moser. “All found that cannabis was beneficial for their sexual functioning as well as their sexual satisfaction.”

But using cannabis doesn’t just correlate with better sex, research indicates that it also means MORE sex. A study published in 2017 aimed to determine whether rate of cannabis use had an impact on sexual frequency. As it turns out, it does. The study analyzed 28,176 women and 22,943 men of reproductive age in the U.S. and found that, “Marijuana use is independently associated with increased sexual frequency and does not appear to impair sexual function.” Daily users reported having 20% more sex than their counterparts who have never used cannabis before. This could be attributed to the cannabis itself, or the fact that cannabis users are often more laid-back and open-minded than non-uses (although that obviously is not always the case).

Curing sexual dysfunction

In Uganda, cannabis has been a common remedy for erectile dysfunction for hundreds of years. Cannabis is actually illegal in Uganda, but the plant is cultivated regularly within the country, specifically for men to use to maintain their sexual health. The most common method of medicating: smoking.

This knowledge is reaching in the western world lately. Doctor Jordan Tishler, an M.D. and researcher from Harvard University has been making great advances in the field of treating sexual dysfunction with natural remedies, particularly cannabis.

“For the men, the issues revolve around low libido or early finish (premature ejaculation – although that term is not commonly used any longer),” says Dr. Tishler. “It may surprise you but men report low libido as their most common issue — 30% of men, compared to 20% for erectile dysfunction and 20% for early finish. For women, the problems are low libido and difficulty achieving satisfactory intimacy (often associated with difficulty achieving adequate quality and frequency of orgasm).”

“The interesting bit is that, for both men and women, all of these problems respond well to cannabis therapy,” he added. “In men, the success is a bit more tricky as the dose must be controlled more accurately. I’m a big fan of inhalation (vape) as a method. Sharing a vape can be a really wonderful part of the foreplay.”

The Most Overlooked Medicinal Aspect of Marijuana? Its Psychoactive Effects

Final thoughts

If there’s one thing that should really be stressed here it’s this – there is no blanket solution when it comes to sex. What works for me might not work for you, so it’s important to be open-minded when it comes to finding options for improving your sex life. Cannabis can definitely help in ways unimaginable, but a combination of spontaneity, comfort, consent, and mutual understanding is what truly makes any experience memorable.

Thanks for stopping by CBD FLOWERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Check back regularly and make sure to subscribe to the CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter to stay up-to-date on all the most interesting and important industry topics.

Alexandra Hicks
Alexandra is the managing editor and lead writer at She has always been interested in alternative and natural remedies, and the versatility of cannabis as a healing plant is something that greatly appeals to her. It's for this reason that she decided to work as a cannabis industry journalist and editor, to help spread accurate information about the benefits of this plant.


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