How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience

How cannabis alters sexual experience

Why do we feel the need to smoke right after we have a sex intercourse? The effect that interests us in understanding the link between sex and the desire to smoke is related to the “reward”. Physiological pleasurable stimuli such as making love, eating, drinking, or drug intake including cannabis, stimulate the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens (NAc). This is a part of our brain that, when our body is subjected to a stimulus considered pleasant, it releases dopamine as a reward. And this molecule gives us pleasure.

After orgasm, our brain still wants dopamine.

During sexual activity (be it intercourse or masturbation), our brain is flooded with dopamine. There is a crescendo of this neurotransmitter, at least until orgasm occurs. At that point, there is a dopamine peak that ends at the end of the orgasm. But our brains still crave more dopamine. The quickest way for the smoker to raise dopamine again and continue to experience a chemically similar pleasure to the orgasm experienced before, is to light a joint.

 Cannabis, like other substances, acts on the nervous system, where it binds to receptors and triggers among other physiological signals, the release of dopamine. In practice, the urge to smoke occurring after orgasm largely depends on the unconscious will we have for new dopamine and new pleasure. Some people, after orgasm, immediately eat sweets for the same reason: good food determines the release of dopamine.

This is what happens when you feel that urge to smoke right after sex. More or less everyone can experience that feeling, but what happens when we smoke before having sex? We could try to answer this question.

Cannabis before sex: do they get along?

Smoking cannabis before making love? Lots of people do it, young and old. But few really know its effects.

When it comes to sex, cannabis has a somewhat mixed reputation. You may have heard that it is a traditional natural aphrodisiac that enhances libido, or that it can reduce sperm count or cause erectile dysfunction. Is it true or not? It’s much more complicated than that. This is the reason why we’ve put together everything we know about cannabis induced effects on sex.

Often general opinion is split in half, it seems in fact that smoking before having a sexual intercourse could be beneficial from a sexual point of view or instead completely ruin the passion. But why? Let’s quickly see some pros and cons of smoking before sex:

Pros of smoking cannabis before sex

  • Heightened sexual drive and libido
  • Increased orgasm perception. Numerous witnesses attested that cannabis intensifies orgasm, mainly in women, enhancing enjoyment and duration
  • Improved feelings. It appears that marijuana’s well-documented calming effects extend to the bedroom. Customers claim that smoking cannabis before sexual activity enhances tactile and pleasurable sensations, which is beneficial for reducing nervousness and upholding a positive attitude.

Cons of smoking cannabis before sex

  • Vaginal dryness. As it happens for dry mouth, cannabis use could affect vagina’s natural lubrication and cause dryness of the mucous membranes.
  • Inability to reach orgasm. A recent study done in Australia claims that for some men smoking cannabis on a daily basis, there is a general feeling of not reaching orgasm
  • Premature ejaculation

What to consider?

We have to keep in mind that the effects of smoking cannabis are very different and subjective for each person, as well as the possible potential effects on the sexual activity. Some of the variables involved in the potential effects of cannabis on sexual activity are the following:

  • The habit of consuming marijuana
  • Cannabis Strains
  • Quality and quantity
  • Physical conformation and mental state

Therefore, the effects on sex will not be the same for all people. The best that can be done is to pay attention to your body and see how it reacts on a sexual level after using cannabis, what sensations are felt, and how it makes you feel.

The Body response to cannabinoids and endocannabinoids

In order to assess If your cannabis is good or not for your sexual experience, you should check whether it is an Indica or a Sativa strain. Indica generally tends to quiet the mind, encourage rest, and encourage sleep, whilst Sativa typically makes us feel euphoric and energetic.

The interesting aspect that is not obvious, is that the brain produces its own natural version of cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids, which are molecules that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our brain, and some of these receptors are found in the areas that regulate functions concerning sex, such as the amygdala and the hypothalamus. Recent studies indicate that the endocannabinoid 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is released in humans during the orgasm, indicating that these substances may be involved in typical sexual functions.

But what happens if cannabis is added to the mix? We do have some answers. As a vasodilator, cannabis widens blood vessels and boosts blood flow. It directly affects the skin’s cannabinoid receptors and the nerve pathways responsible for pain perception. Additionally, it may have an impact on some higher-order cognitive processes, such as memory and anxiety-provoking emotions.

And it’s easy to understand how all of these effects might improve sex for some people, and don’t for some others. Nevertheless we still don’t have a complete understanding of how cannabis affects physiologically the body during sex. There are just speculations and there isn’t yet a conclusive response.
More scientific studies should be done on this topic in order to reveal the facets of cannabis effects on sex.

In conclusion

It is evident that objective answers are unattainable. While our brain may chemically respond to cannabis use, the actual body response holds significant importance and it is highly subjective, making it challenging to provide satisfactory answers. 

Cannabis is a psychotropic substance, and each individual has a unique response to it. So, to ensure you have the most pleasurable and secure experience possible, especially if it’s your first time using the substance, it’s vital to start low, progress slowly, and take some measures. 

It’s also important to differentiate between whether you want to use cannabis to enhance your sexual experience or to help manage a diagnosable sexual dysfunction. If you are experiencing symptoms of sexual dysfunction or pain during sex, check in with your doctor or a sex therapist to talk about that.


  1. What Are The Best Edibles For Female Arousal?
  2. How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. Ellen Wiebe , Alanna Just. PMID: 31447385. 
  3. Sex and Gender Interactions on the Use and Impact of Recreational Cannabis. Lorraine Greaves, Natalie Hemsing. PMID: 31947505.

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