New study: regular cannabis users have more sex


Sara Tiradossi

While tobacco companies are putting effort into giving cigarettes a sex appeal, cannabis may actually be the one to increase sexual appetite, according to a new study published Friday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s study suggests people who smoke cannabis are having more sex than those who smoke less or abstain. Researchers examined the lifestyles of more than 50,000 people aged 25 through 45, during various years between 2002 and 2015.

The participants were asked how often they smoked – monthly, weekly or daily – and how many times they had sex in the last month.

“What we found was compared to never-users, those who reported daily use had about 20 percent more sex. So over the course of a year, they’re having sex maybe 20 more times,” said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a urologist at Stanford University Medical Center and the senior author on the study.

On average, women who consumed cannabis daily had sex 7.1 times a month, whereas it was 6.9 times for men. Women who did not use cannabis had sex 6 times a month, whereas men who did not use the drug had sex an average of 5.6 times a month.

The findings applied to people of all races, ages, education and income levels, religions, health status, marital status and parental status.

Mitch Earleywine, a psychologist at the University at Albany who has studied cannabis and sex, said the association does not necessarily mean cannabis is responsible for the heightened sex drive.

“In some surveys, we saw that people [who used cannabis] did have sex more, but it seemed to be mediated by this personality type that’s willing to try new things or look for thrills,” he says.

In another study published in 2012, women’s sexual arousal increased when watching erotic films when they had cannabinoids in their system. That might be related to heightened sensory experience that cannabis provides in general.

“One question my patients always have is will smoking marijuana frequently negatively impact my sexual function?” Eisenberg said. “We don’t want people to smoke to improve sexual function, but it probably doesn’t hurt things.”

However, studies have also shown too much cannabis can decrease sperm count and orgasm may be a challenge for men.

“It can have different impact on different people,” Joseph Palamar, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at New York University, said.

It is also unclear in the study whether people had cannabis in their system before or during sex.

Palamar conducted a small study to compare the sexual experience of people who are under the influence of alcohol versus cannabis. He found those under either influence had increased feelings of self-attractiveness; but drinkers had more regrets about who they slept with and were less picky, whereas cannabis users were more selective.

He added people usually smoke cannabis in private places, leading to more opportunities to initiate intimacy, whereas people who drink alcohol tend to do it anywhere.

Both researchers hope their studies will help with further research on the topic. Current research is still limited, but previous studies have found regular cannabis use can impact one’s health, irritate lungs, raise heart rate, and make people more vulnerable to heart attacks.