Arousal for Women Can Be Enhanced by Cannabis - RxLeaf

Arousal for Women Can Be Enhanced by Cannabis

Christine Kielhorn PHD
blonde woman hair blowing with red lipstick aroused

Long have women known the arousals and pleasures of cannabis and sex. However, are we able to prove its pharmacological effect? And does that even matter?

Problems with sexual dysfunction (inability to achieve satisfaction in sexual activity) and arousal are more common for women experiencing menopause or using anti-depressants. While Viagra (sildenafil) is considered helpful for women, it does not treat all the symptoms involved in female sexual dysfunction. Women deserve better and cannabis can do exactly that.

How Does Cannabis Improve Your Sex Life?

The recreational use of cannabis has long been associated with increased sexual desire and sexual enjoyment in women. Cannabis could potentially treat many of the aspects of sexual dysfunction that other mainstream therapies, like sildenafil, or cognitive therapy, cannot. To date there are very few scientific or clinical studies on the use of cannabis to treat sexual dysfunction in women. However, there is a small body of data suggesting it has good potential.

Aroused Woman in black bra being caressed by unseen man


The bulk of the data surrounding the effect of cannabis on the sexual arousal of women is based on questionnaires and self-reporting,  collected over the past several decades from recreational users. The responses to these questionnaires converge on several points: low doses of cannabis and short-term usage promote aspects of female sexuality, such as enhanced sexual desire, enjoyment, and satisfaction. An increased perception of intimacy with a partner was also reported. High doses of cannabis or chronic usage appear to have a negative effect on sexuality.

Cannabis and Arousal Studies

Scientists have inspected the main component of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in animal studies. Their aim is to uncover the mechanism responsible for its effect on female sexuality. The scientists believe it works mainly through the cannabinoid receptor CB1, and not as a hormone analog.

In several animal studies, THC activating the CB1 receptor was able to increase the sexual receptivity of animals by working together with hormones. The THC signaling pathway appeared to intersect with those of dopamine and progesterone. However, there are also a small number of animal studies that found the opposite to be true, that inhibiting the CB1 receptor could facilitate sexual receptivity. While mechanisms don’t always translate perfectly from animal models to humans, it is clear that more research is needed to discover the true mechanism of THC’s effect on sexuality.

Can Women Achieve Better Orgasms with Cannabis?

Sadly, human subjects make up a fraction of testing. There is a case study from 2004 of one woman who took dronabinol (a drug made of synthetic THC) to successfully treat her sexual dysfunction caused by the medications she was taking for her bipolar disorder. Obviously, a study on one person does not provide conclusive evidence. THC needs scientific approval in order to qualify as sexual dysfunction treatment. The study does provide hope, however.

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Another small study found that the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) decreased in the blood following arousal. Findings demonstrate the endocannabinoid system playing a role in human female sexual arousal. In spite of the findings, the scientists expected to see an increase in endocannabinoids. They hypothesize that this may indicate a negative effect on sexual functioning. However, no follow-up studies have yet confirmed these findings.

Meanwhile in Real Life…

Anecdotal reports praise cannabis’ powers to help women relax, let go of body image issues, and stay present during foreplay. All of these factors are hinderances to sexual satisfaction. In addition. cannabis can make you more sensitive to touch in all regions of the body. We don’t have to have successful reports from the pharmacological perspective in order to know that it works.

Whatever the mechanism, it is possible that cannabis could be effective at combating the lack of desire or sexual dissatisfaction occuring in women with sexual dysfunction. However, a more focused research effort will provide the data necessary to make this a more mainstream treatment.

Christine Kielhorn
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