Run a cursory internet search on cannabis and its ability to enhance sexual function and you’ll find plenty of articles suggesting that cannabis is good for sex. Most of the data cited in such articles is anecdotal in nature. While there certainly is room for anecdotal evidence, clinical studies suggest a more cautious approach, especially where recommending cannabis as a treatment for sexual dysfunction is concerned.
Clinical studies do back up the supposition that cannabis consumption impacts sexual function. But here is the thing: not all the impacts are positive. Furthermore, data seems to suggest that cannabis consumption affects female and male sexual function differently. The impacts tend to be more positive for women but more negative for men.
What the Data Shows
Let us look at the data, beginning with what it shows about marijuana’s impact on female sexual function. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2019 offers the clearest picture. The study involved 373 women. It showed two important things:
- That overall sexual satisfaction increased with cannabis consumption; and
- That female sex drive and satisfaction with orgasm also increased.
Although some 34% of the survey respondents reported using cannabis immediately before having sex, the positive impacts of cannabis on sexual function did not seem to matter in relation to when the drug was consumed. It is also worth noting that regular female cannabis users were more than two times more likely to report satisfying orgasms.
A separate study involving tens of thousands of male and female subjects showed that regular cannabis users report greater sexual frequency then non-users. Simply put, cannabis users appear to have sex more often.
Cannabis for the Men
Clinical studies involving men are not as definitive. There have been a few studies suggesting that men suffering from sexual dysfunction as a result of depression, anxiety, and even chronic pain might be helped by medical cannabis to the extent that the drug alleviates the symptoms of those other conditions enough to enable men to perform better. But that is about as far as it goes.
The other side of the coin is a study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health which took a look at five controlled studies involving nearly 4,000 men, of which just over 1,000 reported being regular cannabis users.
Strangely enough, the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) among the cannabis users was just over 69%. Meanwhile, it was only 34.7% among the non-users. Researchers suggested that the way cannabinoids interact with the human hypothalamus could possibly lead to ED in some men.
The Bottom Line
So here’s the bottom line: treating sexual dysfunction with cannabis isn’t even on the radar for lack of clinical evidence. If you were to walk in to the Deseret Wellness medical cannabis pharmacy in Provo, UT, you wouldn’t be able to get cannabis products to treat sexual dysfunction. Not only is sexual dysfunction not a qualifying condition in the state, but medical cannabis also isn’t even being considered as treatment right now.
People who self-treat sexual dysfunction with cannabis can only do so by purchasing from the recreational market. In states where recreational marijuana is legal, self-treating is no big deal. But in medical-only and prohibitionist states, self-treating requires buying illicit cannabis off the street.
At this point, the limited evidence we do have suggests that cannabis can improve sexual satisfaction in women. There is also a link between cannabis use and greater sexual frequency among men and women alike. As for treating sexual dysfunction with cannabis, the jury is still out on that one.