In a small study published in the Open Access Journal Sexual Medicine, researchers led by St. Louis University School of Medicine OB-GYN and sexual health expert Dr. Becky K. Lynn show evidence linking female cannabis use with greater odds of having better orgasms and sexual intercourse.
“We found that they thought that, for the most part, sexual satisfaction was improved, orgasm was improved, desire was improved, no change really in lubrication, and pain was better,” Lynn tells Inverse.
Her data came from the self-reported surveys 373 patients filled out in her sexual health clinic between March 2016 and February 2017 (before Missouri voted to legalize medical cannabis). They included questions about sexual satisfaction as well as cannabis use, designed to generate data to investigate what Lynn had heard from her patients.
“There Really Was a Lack of Scientific Evidence”
As a doctor who specializes in treating sexual problems in women like low libido, painful sex, and orgasm issues, Lynn was curious about what her patients told her about cannabis.
“I noticed that women would come to me with the problem, and they would say, ‘Oh, and by the way, if I smoke marijuana, it gets better,’” she says. In particular, one patient said she went to Colorado specifically to buy a cannabis-laced lube. “She’s actually the one who kind of sparked my interest in all of this,” says Lynn.
She launched this study because there “really was a lack of scientific evidence” regarding women’s sexual satisfaction and cannabis despite numerous articles on the internet saying “it’s great, it fixes everything,” she says.
Of the 373 women she surveyed in her clinic, 127 said they used cannabis. Of that smaller group, the data showed that women who used cannabis before sex had 2.13 times higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms compared to women who didn’t use the drug. Women who used cannabis “frequently,” regardless of when they did it in relation to sex, had 2.10 times higher odds compared to women who used it “infrequently.”
Of the 127 women who used cannabis, 68.5 percent said sex was more pleasurable, 60.6 percent said they had an increase in sex drive, and 52.8 percent said they noted an increase in satisfying orgasms.
A Small but Growing Field
This study is a small one and doesn’t show causality, but Lynn and her co-authors note they’re consistent with the findings of the few other studies on cannabis and sexual behavior in women. In particular, they call attention to a paper published in Psychology and Sexuality in 2018, in which 53 percent of young adult cannabis users reported increased sexual enjoyment, and 44.9 percent said they had increased orgasm intensity. In that study, 38.6 percent of the respondents were women.
In 2017, Stanford University researchers became the first to report on an increase in male and female sexual frequency linked to cannabis use, drawing their conclusions from self-reported survey data from over 50,000 Americans.
So far, scientists haven’t studied how cannabis use makes sex more satisfactory, but some have made a few educated guesses. As the team notes, it may be that cannabis lowers stress and anxiety; that it causes the perception of time to slow down, prolonging pleasure; or that it lowers sexual inhibition and boosts confidence in the bedroom. In addition, cannabis tends to heighten the senses, potentially making sex an even more stimulating experience. One study published in 2016 even suggested that cannabis users have more sex because the illegality of it was a turn-on.