Does marijuana increase sexual desire?
Although there’s a difference between dependency and enhancement, Annie might have been on to something. Researchers are beginning to study the link between cannabis and sexual desire, with some interesting results. In one recent study, for example, investigators found that men and women who used marijuana daily had about 20% more sex during the previous four weeks than their peers who abstained from the drug. Although this research didn’t show cause and effect, it raises an interesting question: What’s the connection between sex and marijuana? I posed this and other questions about sexual desire and pleasure as related to cannabis to some of my colleagues. Marijuana affects libido in different ways It’s still unclear exactly how marijuana might boost sex drive, but theories abound. “People who use marijuana may have more sex because they put less pressure on themselves when they are high, so they don’t have the same performance anxiety as those who are sober,” suggested sex therapist Amanda Pasciucco, who practices in Connecticut, where medical use is legal. “A small amount of marijuana may also help increase your ability to communicate your preferences to your partner.”
Sex therapist Lawrence Siegel noted that in particular, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol — the cannabinoid THC — appears to target a part of our brain associated with sexual arousal, at least in females. “Our body’s natural endocannabinoid system is key in regulating things like pleasure, pain, relaxation and homeostasis. When it is activated by the cannabinoids in cannabis, it can leave users feeling relaxed with increased pleasure and decreased pain,” explained Peter Barsoom, founder of a company called 1906, which aims to bring cannabis back to the mainstream. “This can lead to increased arousal and make sex even more enjoyable. For others, the reason is