Cannabis is commonly considered a natural aphrodisiac, but this post from Motherboard explores the possibility of too much weed getting in the way of getting it on.
A recent query to Leafly, an online encyclopedia of cannabis strains, came from a woman lamenting that her boyfriend couldn’t get an erection after consuming a 120-milligram edible one night, and a couple joints the next.
“When we went to have sex everything was heated but he couldn’t get an erection. He said he was into it, which I’m inclined to believe, but said he couldn’t really feel his nether regions, which is what we attributed the difficulty to,” the query read.
In response, Leafly’s Ashley Manta, a sexuality educator, hypothesized that the problem came from the edibles. While most budtenders recommend 20 to 35 milligrams for even those with a high tolerance, 120 milligrams could definitely impair functioning for well over 12 hours.
“As with any mood altering substance you can overdose,” Betty Dodson, PhD, sexologist and author, told Motherboard. The worst that can happen with a cannabis overdose is you get too tired and fall asleep instead of having sex, she said. Generally though, cannabis can be very positive for sex. “When we smoke marijuana it slows down our brain waves. When it comes to sex, you want to get out of your head and into your body and marijuana really supports that transition.” Your taste buds are enhanced, motor senses enhanced, skin more sensitive, and sex organs more easily engorged, Dodson added.
But again, it all depends on dose.
Cannabis has been shown in some scenarios to lower testosterone levels, and lower testosterone may lead to erectile dysfunction. This happens when THC blocks the release of GnRH, a hormone critical for successful reproductive function. Cannabis has also been studied in regard to issues with orgasming, either because of premature ejaculation or the inability to achieve an orgasm. That same study also found that it can inhibit certain receptors in the penis’ erectile or cavernous tissue. Another study found marijuana might prevent the nervous system response that helps cause an erection.
“As many older [heterosexual] couples find, half an hour before intimate time, she should keep smoking and he should stop”
However, the inability to get an erection can also be rooted in psychology. If a man is feeling anxious, his reaction to cannabis—and more specifically to whatever strain he’s ingested—could either qualm or contribute to his anxiety, which could have negative or positive effects on his ability to relax and get an erection.
In this regard, cannabis can be positive for sex, as in legal states it is often recommended to patients who have anxiety. Other reports suggest that cannabis can help men with stamina in bed.
Still, cannabis has different effects on men and women.
“As many older [heterosexual] couples find, half an hour before intimate time, she should keep smoking and he should stop,” author and endocannabinoid researcher Lex Pelger told Motherboard.
As with alcohol, the dosage is crucial in regard to how cannabis affects sexual performance, in this case, specifically in regard to men. If the boyfriend mentioned in the Leafly query had had a smaller edible, he might have been able to get an erection.
And yet, pot has still been helpful for many couples aiming to enhance their sex life. Foria, a weed lube for women, is applied directly to the vagina and aids with sensitivity during sex. Meanwhile, cannabis itself is associated with higher sensitivity and responsiveness to touch and other stimuli.
In one survey, 76 percent of men said cannabis increased their sexual pleasure; 68 percent reported it enhanced their orgasms; and for 39 percent it helped them last longer. Often, women are more likely to feel sexual satisfaction from cannabis, with 90 percent reporting in one study that it enhanced sex in various ways.
In any event, next time you get high before getting down in bed, remember: Your dose could influence your performance and satisfaction.