by Traci Knight – Staff Writer
The effect of marijuana consumption on libido has been the subject of much discussion but little research. Based on anecdotal evidence, the ancient history of cannabis, and recent studies – marijuana has a primarily positive effect on the sexual experience. For most users, especially women, it acts as an aphrodisiac. However, some people tend to retract into themselves and become disengaged from their partners. Dosage seems to be the primary factor, with aphrodisiac effects being greater with smaller amounts.
The History of Cannabis and Sexuality
Marijuana has been used for over 3,000 years to heighten libido, predominantly in the Hindu/Buddhist Tantric practices of India but also in Serbia, Morocco, Egypt, the Middle East, and Northern Africa. India’s Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbi medicine systems have utilized cannabis to overcome impotence, raise libido, and as a general cure for disease. Tantric Cannabis rituals date back to 700 A.D. and help the users achieve Nirvana by escaping suffering and gaining knowledge and enlightenment. Elaborate rituals were created to this end, celebrating sexual union and kundalini yoga.
The cannabis high for these Indian rituals was not obtained through smoking, but rather through a traditional drink called Bhang. Considered a sacred medicinal drink to this day, Bhang resembles a spiced chai but with a milkshake consistency. It is said to ward off evil spirits, heal the body, bring good fortune, and cleanse people of sins.
Anthropologists have linked marijuana use in India to the goddess Kali, and note that psychotropic effects come from the female (flowering) part of the plant. As a result, the sacred use of cannabis was more popular in regions where there was some form of goddess worship. However, cannabis has also been used to enhance the sexuality of women in traditionally repressed cultures. Of interest is the fact that Buddhist monks and ascetics have been using cannabis to decrease sexual desire and achieve union with the spirit of oneness. Thus the duality of marijuana continues to prove that individual differences in the user, plant strains, and dosage can change it’s effect on libido.
The Psychosexual Aphrodisiac Effects of Cannabis
The primary strains of marijuana are indica and sativa. Sativa offers a more active, cerebral high, while indica generally imbues the user with a body high and a more restful, mellow experience. Although there is still debate over which type acts as a greater aphrodisiac, it is typically thought that indica is a better choice for sexuality primarily because of it’s physical effects. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which releases dopamine in the brain but also stimulates a neurochemical called anandamide. This is a naturally occurring cannaboid receptor that is labeled the “bliss molecule”.
Studies of the interplay between the body and brain after consuming cannabis show that testosterone levels surge upon intake and then plummet. However, in low dosages the testosterone peaks longer and the subsequent drop is less. With appropriate dosages (low to moderate) cannabis can heighten sexual climax and aid in partner bonding, increased stamina, length and power of orgasms, loving interaction, and tactile sensation. With higher doses sexual desire decreases, causing dysfunction and erectile issues.
Sexual Ethics and Marijuana Use
Informal studies have shown that more than two thirds of the population experience aphrodisiac effects when using cannabis. While critics are quick to cite research linking infertility to marijuana use, there has been
no evidence of lowered reproductive rates in populations who consume cannabis regularly. There is also no documentation of fetal damage when exposed to cannabis in utero. Additionally, marijuana use is not known to increase risky sexual behavior or cause the user to act overtly sexual. According to Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a psychiatrist and retired professor at the Harvard Medical School, there is minimal risk to using cannabis and most can find some medicinal benefit. As a well-published author in the field of drugs and drug policy, Dr. Grinspoon notes that marijuana is not an aphrodisiac in the true sense of the word as it does not lead to an erection but instead enhances arousal when attraction already exists.
Is Cannabis the Viagra for Women?
Although there is not much scientific research on the subject, reports have been surfacing that marijuana has an increased effect on female libido. To this aim, developers have come out with a topical sex spray for women, made from cannabis and coconuts that doubles as an edible. Women, sensitive to stress and multiple responsibilities often find that their libido suffers. Based on reports from real women, cannabis can increase female desire for their partners and enhance pleasure during intercourse. Smoking marijuana can provide an immediate response but eating marijuana can enhance the physicality of intercourse while also increasing foreplay and the emotional quality of the experience. Benefits are also obtained through topical applications.
Humans have an ancient history with cannabis. We have evolved with biological receptor sites that are triggered by cannabinoids. It has a myriad of benefits and is extremely low risk when compared to alcohol or synthetic pharmaceuticals. Why not take this gift that nature has provided and allow it to soften our interactions with each other? The brilliance of this plant is that it heightens the good in our life while minimizing negativity. That, in and of itself, is a recipe for a healthy sex life.