Like many people, Susan would use alcohol as a way to unwind and unleash her inhibitions. Sure, it had its drawbacks, but she figured it did the trick ― and for years, it did.
That’s until she discovered cannabidiol, or CBD, the nonpsychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant that’s skyrocketed in popularity recently.
“I actually only started trying CBD [for sex] in my 40s, and it was a revelation for me,” said Susan, who wished to withhold her last name because using cannabis-related products isn’t allowed in her workplace. “I could relax, get a bit giggly, and it definitely puts me in a happy place.”
Susan also noticed her senses felt more heightened when she used CBD, and her orgasms became more intense. And, unlike with alcohol, she said she no longer had to put up with the hangovers, fuzzy memories and vaginal dryness. If anything, she’d get a better night’s sleep with CBD after fooling around, she said.
But Susan seems to be in the minority of people experimenting with CBD in the bedroom. In a recent survey conducted by Remedy Review, a website that features research and information related to CBD and other natural remedies, 94 percent of people reported that they have never used CBD for sexual purposes. However, those who did had only positive things to say. Approximately 64 percent of the respondents who had tried CBD out in the bedroom said it had improved their sexual experiences.
It’s important to note that the survey size was pretty small (only about 1,000 people were polled), and the data skewed mostly female, which is somewhat reflective of other polls that found CBD users are mostly women.
CBD ― typically available in oils, edibles and vapes ― is fairly new on the market, and there hasn’t been enough research on it to support any definitive conclusions. Much of what you hear about the compound is purely anecdotal, and more data needs to be collected surrounding CBD in order to fully understand people’s habits around the product and exactly how it works.
But some experts say it couldn’t hurt to try CBD ― where it’s legal ― to improve your sex life and other aspects of your well-being. Here’s what you should know:
CBD can help get you out of your own head, and possibly in the mood.
Maybe you’ve questioned the way your body looks or the way you smell. Maybe you worried that you wouldn’t be able to please your partner, or you put pressure on yourself to experience an orgasm.
If so, you’re not alone ― millions of people suffer from stress or performance anxiety in the bedroom. Unsurprisingly, all of that can quickly put a halt to your sex drive. CBD may help slow down those mood-killing thoughts, according to Dr. Felice Gersh, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist based in Irvine, California.
“CBD oil can reduce sexual and negative self-images relating to one’s appearance or sexual appeal,” Gersh said. “Feeling less self-conscious about your body or your performance can help you to relax and enjoy the whole experience.”
That’s because CBD works directly on the body’s endocannabinoid system ― a complex network of receptors in the body that help regulate the nervous system, immune system and the body’s organs. According to Gersh, those receptors, when activated by the body’s own endocannabinoids, can have an anti-anxiety effect on the brain. As it turns out, CBD has the same stress-eradicating properties as endocannabinoids when added to the mix.
“CBD bonds to the receptors of this system as if it was our homemade, or endogenous, endocannabinoids,” Gersh said, adding that this process can help relieve anxiety that may pop up when you’re about to get busy.
Studies have found the CBD can help with anxiety overall. And the less strung out you are, the more you’re likely to enjoy yourself.
CBD can reduce pain.
It’s not just the mental benefits of CBD that experts tout. There’s another group of receptors in your endocannabinoid system that can reduce pain, Gersh said, making CBD an option for people who experience any sort of acute or chronic pain like muscle spasms, fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic floor pain.
“Topical, whole plant CBD balm can help women experiencing painful sexual intercourse due to vaginal dryness or to irritation at the vaginal opening to have more comfortable and enjoyable sexual experiences,” Gersh said.
Men experiencing issues with erectile dysfunction may also benefit from using CBD, according to Evan Goldstein, an expert in queer sexual health and wellness and founder of Bespoke Surgical, a surgical practice for men based in New York and Los Angeles.
“CBD increases blood flow and nerve sensation, which can help enhance sexual pleasure and intensify orgasms for all parties,” Goldstein said, adding that he also advises many of his LGBTQ+ clients to experiment with CBD if they’re experiencing issues.
CBD works differently for different bodies.
It’s important to note there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to using CBD for sex. CBD is likely to affect people differently depending on factors like their sex and body mass index. While it may boost one person’s libido, it may not work for someone else.
There’s also an issue of dosing, which is why CBD is difficult to study in the first place. Most CBD products include dosing recommendations on the packaging. However, if you’re new to CBD, it may be worth consulting a doctor or a knowledgable employee at a dispensary ― such as MedMen or Lord Jones ― for a recommendation based on your specific needs, Goldstein said.
Bottom line: There’s still a lot to learn about CBD’s effects on the body. But based on the growing anecdotal and research evidence, a bit of CBD could be useful when you’re between the sheets.