The following first appeared on Cannabis Now:
Thousands of years before some pharmaceutical mastermind developed a little blue pill to assist the sexually-defunct male in rising to the occasion, men and women of varying ethnicities and sexual prowess were using marijuana to enhance their carnal appetite. Arguably, this is because many ancient cultures were quick to discover that the green nectar from the cannabis plant made them feel very much like they did during lust-filled activities –– and for good reason.
Marijuana stimulates the neurotransmitters in the brain in a manner that closely resembles how it processes the animalistic urge to fornicate –– otherwise known as being turned on. So, it stands to reason that the consumption of marijuana, when combined with the fluttering hormonal injections of euphoria spawned by seeing, smelling and touching the object of one’s desires, can cause the collective union to come together on many levels.
Throughout the ages, cannabis has been revered as an aphrodisiac, with references to the sexual effects of the green weed documented in literary classics like Arabian Nights as well as its connection with both Ayurveda and Tantra. Yet, there does exist some research that suggests that marijuana can actually have some rather limp repercussions in the bedroom. Put to a vote, the majority of cannabis users would undoubtedly proclaim that pot has made their sex lives better, but as sexuality expert, Cory Silverberg, wrote in a recent piece entitled “Sex and Marijuana,” there is a physiological process that makes stoned sex somewhat unpredictable.
In the article, Silverberg claims there is a level of illusion that takes place during cannabis-fueled copulation that has a way of tricking the average minuteman into believing that weed has miraculously transformed him into an Adonis.
“At lower doses, marijuana may alter how you sense and perceive sexual stimuli in ways that enhance sex,” he wrote. “People report that their awareness of touch is heightened, and their perception of time can change. So things “feel” better, and sex seems to go on longer as well.”
Perhaps this is the reason nearly 40 percent of men participating in a Canadian sex survey indicated that smoking cannabis provided them with more staying power in the sack. However, this phenomenon is not supernatural, according to Silverberg, who believes any correlation between marijuana and increased performance during intercourse is likely the outcome of a man’s focus being redirected from his erection to other facets of the sex act itself –– a placebo effect of sorts that contributes to some men believing that weed turns them into love machines.
Although cannabis may provide some males with the added confidence to ravage their female counterparts, Dr. Silverberg claims women report more pleasurable sexual experiences from smoking pot than men. In fact, one particular study showed 90 percent of women think being stoned makes sex feel better, with 40 percent testifying that it magnifies the intensity of their orgasm. Still, Silverberg suggests the positive sexual effects of marijuana may occur because of a metaphysical experience rather than a product of chemistry.
“While we don’t know why marijuana has positive effects on sexual satisfaction in men and women, research and anecdotal evidence consistently show that in small doses, there are perceived positive effects,” he explained. “Lab research on animals offers contradictory results.”
In the 1980s, there were a number of studies conducted to explore the sexual effects of marijuana, but most of the reports did not provide researchers with clear indications for better or worse. One documented affair, however, which was published in a 1984 edition of the Journal of Sex Research claimed that “over two-thirds reported increased sexual pleasure and satisfaction with marijuana use. About half of both sexes also reported increased sexual desire while using marijuana. Emotional closeness and physical enjoyment of snuggling were also enhanced.”
The contention of this research has essentially remained in still water for the past two decades as no further conclusions have been made.
Dr. Mitch Earleywine, Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, told New York Magazine earlier this year that science still doesn’t truly understand the sexual effects of marijuana because there is not enough hard evidence to support the claims.
“All we have are self-reported surveys on it; we can’t give it to people in labs,” he said.
An article published several years ago in Psychology Today maintains that the “range of findings” regarding marijuana and sex are “pharmacologically unique,” considering that the sexual effects of other mind altering substances, such as alcohol, amphetamines and cocaine, are all well-documented without controversial wavering in their reports. Yet, for some, marijuana appears to enhance the sexual experience, heightening various aspects such as desire and touch, while it forces other individuals into a realm of dysfunction.
Nevertheless, as Dr. Earleywine points out, “Marijuana makes your whole body feel good, so it only follows that sex feels good, too.”
He suspects the negative effects documented throughout the years are the result of “dose-dependent” circumstances, which can happen when a person gets too stoned.
In the book Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Gettin’ It On, author Lisa “Mamakind” Kirkman claims there are specific strains that may be more advantageous to achieving a heightened sex perception than others. She encourages both men and women to experiment with hybrid blends with a ratio of 70/30 instead of using purebred strains. This will help eliminate unwanted side effects like paranoia and sleepiness, which can quickly creep up on the inexperienced user. Kirkman suggests going with a sativa strain, like Flo or Skunk #1, which will encourage sex over sleep, as well as Voodoo and Godbud.