Just as sexual health isn’t the taboo topic it once was, cannabis consumption among women is becoming discussed more openly. Put the two together, and women could benefit from the plant to improve this aspect of their well-being.
“There are a lot of women impacted by issues related to sexual function,” says Sabrina Ramkellawan, COO and co-founder of Knowde Group Inc., a research organization and consultancy specializing in plant-based medicine. “Issues include lack of sexual desire, pain during sex, and arousal or orgasmic disorder. They may also have anxiety related to sex.
“Some women are using cannabis to help with sexual function,” says the former registered nurse and prominent cannabinoid researcher. “Some are using an edible, smoking prior to sex, or using cannabis-infused lube.”
Although research focusing expressly on lubrication is lacking, researchers have studied the effects of topical cannabidiol (CBD) in dermatology. Because topical CBD appears to have anti-inflammatory effects, it may help make sex more comfortable for women experiencing vaginal dryness or pain during sex—symptoms that are common during menopause.
Low level of arousal isn’t confined to menopause, but women who experience a lack of desire might benefit from cannabis. Some research suggests cannabis activates the part of people’s brains that controls arousal. There are also studies that support cannabis use leading to prolonged and multiple orgasms in women. One report found that women who consumed cannabis regularly (not only prior to sex) had twice the likelihood of having a satisfying orgasm.
Early scientific study points to the potential for reduced pelvic pain in women via cannabis. A 2019 study of 135 women with pelvic pain (more than half having tried other medications without relief) found that 79 had improvement in pain after consuming cannabis. Three reported no change, while pain levels weren’t documented in the remaining 48 women, and no instances of worsening pain were reported.
There are other ways cannabis could improve sexual function and sexual experience, though they’re theoretical. One relates to the way cannabis can diminish anxiety in some cases.
According to the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the substance may enhance emotional bonding and release inhibition, helping consumers “let go.” Along these same lines, many cannabis consumers say it can help them be more mindful or present, to focus more on their bodies rather than the noise in their heads. Because cannabis enhances skin sensation, this effect could make sex more enjoyable for women who find it uncomfortable.
There are caveats to cannabis use for sexual function, however. It’s important to find the right type of cannabis and an appropriate dose. The route of administration can lead to variations in effects, whether it’s smoking, vaping, edibles, topical products, tinctures, or lubricants.
Keep in mind that cannabis use can increase anxiety in some women. And, as with any sexual encounter, it’s best to consume cannabis in a situation where you feel safe and can trust your partner.
To learn more, read “Cannabis In Women’s Health” by Gail Johnson in the May 2021 issue of alive Magazine.