There’s a lot of information out there about how marijuana can affect the psychological side of sex, or how if you get high regularly you’re probably having more sex than people who aren’t.
But what about how weed can change your sex life on a physical level?
There are a number of conditions that can cause sex, penetrative or otherwise, to be too painful for women to engage in, like vulvodynia or vaginismus. For some women, products like cannabis lube can help even when nothing else can.
Ashley Manta, creator of CannaSexual, claims cannabis oil spray allowed her to have sex without experiencing physical pain.
Manta runs events and educational workshops, and has suggested cannabis products like CBD-containing topical ointments, to help with female pain. Like with many medical applications of marijuana, using it for sexual pleasure does not necessarily mean you get high while doing so.
Products that emphasize CBD, as opposed to the better-known psychoactive THC, have pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties that can be harnessed without changes to the user's mental state.
“I'm most excited about THC and CBD infused topicals, because they're the most accessible to novices,” Manta said. “Foria was the first company I saw marketing its products specifically for genital application, with Pleasure, its THC-infused coconut oil spray for vulvas.
The market has now expanded to include a variety of genitally-focused oil based formulations and most recently, a water based (and thus latex friendly) option.”
It's hard to gauge how much scientific support there is for these products since marijuana itself remains a Schedule-1 substance, and so is difficult to study. But anecdotal evidence from their purveyors is encouraging.
Manta finds women with a variety of physical conditions and disabilities have success experimenting with combinations of products like topical ointments and lotions, vaporizers, and edibles.
“The expansion of medical cannabis legalization means more opportunities for access and regulation,” Manta wrote. “I want consumers to be able to trust that the products they're putting in their bodies are free of contaminants and have lab test results with a cannabinoid and terpenoid profile breakdown. That kind of data provides the opportunity to mindfully and intentionally experience cannabis, with precise dosing and a clear sense of how to choose the right products for your needs (sexual or otherwise).”
According to Ah Warner, founder of Washington–based body-care line Cannabis Basics and an activist for the industry, there are hundreds more of such compounds, each with unique healing properties. “They’re anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, analgesic, cell-regenerative, and anti–cell proliferative for bad cells,” she says.
And when applied topically, cannabinoids can bring localized benefits without detectable brain buzz. Think of them as a natural high for your bum knee, or that pesky patch of irritated skin.
Foria claims its THC-heavy Pleasure oil for women, when applied externally and internally, increases blood flow and nerve sensation—amplifying sexual pleasure and intensifying orgasms. Less titillating, though equally ingenious, are its CBD-rich Relief suppositories, designed to ease cramping and pelvic pain.
Dr. Jennifer Berman, M.D., a prominent sexual-health advocate and clinician in Los Angeles, prescribes both Foria products to patients regularly—and is, in fact, such a fan of the line that she recently discussed it on Conan.
“Perimenopausal, menopausal, and post-menopausal women who have noticed a decline in response have had great success with it,” she says of the oil. “Younger patients who have difficulty achieving orgasm have had enhanced response with it as well.”
All of which immediately sparks the question: How, and where, to get it?
Some companies, like Oregon-based Empower Bodycare and Colorado-based Apothecanna, ship CBD-only versions of their products nationwide.
But as Empower Bodycare founder Trista Okel points out, marijuana extracts that include THC “work better—this is because of the ‘entourage effect,’ in which the combination of cannabinoids are greater than the sum of their parts,” she explains.
In states where marijuana is legal, like Washington, California, Oregon, and Colorado, anyone of age can buy the products from cannabis dispensaries, though some marijuana-derived brands, like Cannabis Basics, sell only in the states where they’re made.
Medical cardholders can access dispensaries in states like Illinois. Some companies, such as Foria, allow online orders from certain medical-marijuana states once you’ve submitted the appropriate paperwork.
For the curious, the products offer an excuse to visit Portland or Seattle or Aspen or Los Angeles or San Francisco this summer.
“They’re effective, and they’re nonthreatening,” Warner says. “There’s no reason why everyone shouldn’t have access to them.” In any case, the anecdotal evidence appears highly promising.