Valentine’s Day is coming up, and our thoughts are turning to romance, passion, and SEX. Cannabinoids are great for putting you in the mood, but why is that?
Firstly, a decrease in anxiety helps people to relax, and removes obstacles to intimacy. A mental high is associated with increased intensity of feelings and emotions, allowing people to focus on the excitement of love, attraction, and passion. The chemical structure of THC is similar to the endocannabinoid anandamide, a neurotransmitter which sends messages throughout the nervous system – affecting memory, pleasure, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, and sensory and time perception. Once cannabinoid receptors are activated by THC, the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, which results in increased sexual pleasure.
People report that cannabis increases the intensity of an orgasm, and should be considered an aphrodisiac. Both men and women who use cannabis daily report having sex more frequently compared to those who never use it. People report increased desire for sex, increased sensitivity of sensation, and increased sexual satisfaction. Keep in mind that no particular delivery method has proven to be more effective in increasing intimacy – so smoking, vaping, using edibles, or sublingual topicals can all be helpful.
Secondly, topical cannabis, when applied to the vulva, enhances sexual pleasure. The mechanism of action may be that THC stimulates the release of nitric oxide (NO) which causes the smooth muscle of the blood vessels to relax (vasodilation). Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory, helping to relieve pain from vaginal dryness and thinning, pain from penetration, and other sources of pelvic pain. In a topical form, THC is non-intoxicating, it therefore penetrates the skin and muscles for localized relief without a high. – Remember to use a topical without menthol!
Lastly, serums and lubricants containing THC and CBD enhance sexual pleasure through muscle relaxation and increased blood flow. Post-menopausal women often experience pain with sex because of vaginal thinning and dryness. Out of a population of women who reported having pain during sex, 77% reported that cannabis use reduced pain. There is a clear connection between cannabis use and better sexual health in women, however it is less clear with men as there are conflicting findings in studies. Some patients reported difficulty achieving orgasm, whilst others report enhanced erectile functioning.
Given the positive health profile of cannabis, including there being no lethal dose or risk of toxicity, it seems that experimenting with different cannabis products for Valentine’s Day is a great idea – relax, get playful, put on some sexy music and a silky outfit, grab some massage oils – and have fun!