CBD (cannabidiol) is one of over 100 compounds derived from cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike its chemical cousin THC, it’s non-psychoactive and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ feeling associated with recreational cannabis use.
However, CBD could provide a wealth of other health benefits for the body.
For this reason, thousands of manufacturers across the globe are using CBD extract and isolate to create natural wellbeing products. Some of these companies make products that are designed to assist you in the bedroom. Increased libido, enhanced lubrication, and a reduction in pain related to sexual activity are just some of the purported benefits.
So, are these businesses jumping on the CBD bandwagon or can CBD improve your sex life?
Read on to find out what the latest research and anecdotal evidence suggests.
How Does CBD Impact Sex Drive?
To understand how CBD could improve your sex life, let’s discuss how researchers suggest CBD works in synergy with the human body.
Inside the body and brain are tiny receptors that collectively make a system that scientists have named the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD is known to stimulate these receptors, helping to encourage homeostasis and balance throughout the body.
When CBD is ingested, vaped, or applied topically, it can start a series of reactions that ‘activate’ the endocannabinoid system. Via this activation, the body responds in several ways, including as an anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory.
What Does the Research Say?
Though research is still in its infancy, a 2009 article from the Annals of New York Academy of Sciences suggests that there are ECS receptors present in sexual reproductive organs such as the testicles. These receptors are also present throughout the brain.
Research around the topic of cannabis and sex drive has so far provided us with mixed messages. Some studies have revealed that cannabinoids like THC and CBD increase libido, while others suggest that cannabis use lowers sex-drive.
An article published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics in 2015 stated that chronic use of cannabis in males decreased their sex drive. However, other research reports that CBD use may increase sex-drive by reducing levels of anxiety. Many people experience anxiety around sexual performance, which can have a negative impact on their libido. Therefore, reduced stress levels may increase the desire for sex.
Click here to read a review of the latest literature on CBD and anxiety.
Due to the lack of concrete research and scientific evidence, many reports alluding to CBD and sex drive are anecdotal. That said, CBD could provide other sexual benefits, including:
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
According to a piece published by the Biomed Research International Journal, Ayurvedic practitioners have used cannabis for hundreds of years to boost ejaculatory function and sexual performance.
How CBD could help people living with ED is yet to be fully understood. However, one theory suggests that CBD may encourage relaxation in blood vessels, promoting blood flow. With increased blood flow to the penis, it’s easier to achieve and maintain an erection, thus improving sexual performance.
At the time of writing, doctors are yet to study the effects that CBD has on ED specifically. That said, a 2017 study revealed that a single dose of CBD helps to reduce blood pressure. However, this research looked at arteries leading to the heart rather than the groin.
Pain Related to Sexual Activity
One of the most well-known uses of CBD is as a pain reliever, which is a massive deal for thousands of women when it comes to sexual intercourse. In fact, over 40% of women are unable to fully enjoy sex due to Dyspareunia (painful sex).
Some estimates suggest that topical CBD products may provide relief for these women, helping them to enjoy sex thanks to increased lubrication, relaxed muscular tissue, and decreased tension.
This suggestion could be due to CBD’s well-documented anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to decrease muscle tension. If there is less tension, pain, and inflammation during sexual intercourse, conditions like Dyspareunia can be alleviated.
In 2019, a Remedy Review survey of more than 500 adults found that 98% of participants said that CBD had worked to alleviate pain associated with sex.
For people experiencing problems with dryness and sexual discomfort, using a lubricant can help to relieve pain and improve sexual performance. There are currently hundreds of CBD manufacturers creating lubricants that use CBD as an active ingredient for enhancing sexual pleasure.
Researchers have looked into the effects of CBD as a topical dermatology treatment. A 2010 article stated that topical CBD provides anti-inflammatory effects, which, in theory, could make sex more comfortable and enjoyable. That said, there are currently no studies that specifically look into CBD and lubrication.
Researchers have studied the effects of topical CBD as a dermatology treatment. According to a 2010 article in the journal Fitoterapia, topical CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect, which could theoretically make sex more comfortable. However, there aren’t any studies specific on CBD and lubrication.
Decreased Sex Drive
A theory exists that cannabis has a direct effect on levels of sexual desire inside the brain. One study, conducted in 2017, revealed that cannabis use activated the region of the brain that controls sexual arousal. The paper concluded that cannabis use could help people experiencing low sex drive.
One last way that CBD may help to improve your sex life is by helping to provide a deeper level of emotional connection during intimate moments.
This is because CBD helps to increase the serum concentration of anandamide in our bodies. Anandamide is closely associated with oxytocin, otherwise called the ‘love hormone’, ‘cuddle chemical’, and ‘hug hormone’. Although the science is yet to back this claim, one could guess that increased levels of anandamide would enhance sexual feelings and actions.
Although a lot of the claims around CBD and sexual health are primarily anecdotal, thousands of CBD users across the globe swear by CBD products to enhance and support their sex life. As always, please speak to your doctor before taking any CBD product if you are currently taking any prescribed medications.