Written by: Tanya Griffin, Founder of oOYes Inc.
It is well known, especially for women, that sex is as much about the brain as it is the body. Showing up and staying present can not only induce prolonged sexual pleasure but can lead to orgasm.
In her article, Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Orgasm¹, Insider Consultant, Sofia Mitrokotas explored the use of MRI scans when studying the brain during climax and shared some remarkable insights when it comes to hormones such as dopamine and the body’s release of endorphins, oxytocin, prolactin, and vasopressin when it comes to the “big O”.
The magic that happens as you embark and finally roll over and into orgasm is nothing short of spectacular. The surge of dopamine, a hormone responsible for the feelings of pleasure, desire, and motivation, and the spontaneous reward that comes as this ‘pleasure’ chemical ravages our mind and body teaching us to want more and more. But wait, there’s more, the release of endorphins, vasopressin, and oxytocin each promote pain reduction, intimacy, and bonding¹.
Not unlike eating a delicious meal, hearing a favorite song, or the freedom and excitement one may feel when using cannabis or psychedelics, pleasurable sex also triggers and stimulates reward pathways. The benefits of these magical hormones surging through the body go beyond intimacy and bonding compounding when kindness is shared between one another.
So if pleasurable sex does all this why are we not prioritizing more and better sex? What will it take to get and keep us in the mood?
Similar to the demonization of cannabis and psychedelics, being free in our bodies and removing the stranglehold of cultural and societal influences is often not enough to offset even the most powerful of hormones and chemical reactions that occur during lovemaking with ourselves or others.
Cannabis and Sex
Sex and cannabis have long been intertwined throughout Eastern and Western medicine. As early as the seventh-century cannabis has been integral in tantric rituals and marriage ceremonies in India. The Europeans jumped on board from the 1850s to the 1940s before money, politics and religious ideology took control and demonized the plant. The US Pharmacopeia promoted cannabis aphrodisiac pills and extracts² made by pharmaceutical companies like Ely Lilly and Upjohn and physicians³ recommended cannabis use for “pleasant intoxication”, “stimulating the sexual appetite,” and to treat “sexual torpor” in women⁴ (in other words, lack of sexual desire.) 4
This love for cannabis would all come to a screeching halt in the late 1930’s when the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner, Harry Anslinger⁵ made wild claims that cannabis turned women into nymphomaniacs who sought “relations with Negros and entertainers,”. His racist, sexist rhetoric would help advance the criminalization of cannabis and land the plant its current designation as a Schedule I controlled substance. The US then spread and enforced its ‘war on drugs’ rendering the cannabis plant a worldwide villain. Thankfully, the tides of cannabis legalization are finally turning, and, once again, cannabis is being used to enhance sexual pleasure.
When it comes to sex and cannabis one size does not fit all! Mitigating factors such as sexual orientation, age, mindset about our bodies, sexual experiences, relationship dynamics, physical disorders, libido, hormones, menopause, pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress, pain, etc., etc. can each disrupt the path to sexual health and wellness. All this before we even discuss the “pleasure gap” between men and women.
Although this gap has been firmly cemented through cultural and religious ideology there is hope, my friend. Sociologist, Kathleen Rowland⁶, found that “neither medical malady nor psychological condition but rather a result of our culture’s troubled relationship with women’s sexual expression” is at the root of this difference. Similar to the legalization of cannabis, we have made great strides in accepting others, legalizing gay marriage, and opening the door to female sexuality. Our job now is to make sure this door stays open and that the path is clear.
We have long understood that women have the upper hand when it comes to sex and cumming. Our bodies are capable of multiple orgasms and once they get started they can roll baby roll! Furthermore, men and women may not be created equal when it comes to cannabis. Although we are just getting around to being allowed to study the cannabis plant and its effects on the human mind and body, early studies suggest that while men’s libidos may lower with cannabis use, women experience the opposite effect. In a 2019 study published in Women’s Sexual Health, thanks to cannabis, women reported improvements in their libido, pleasure, and orgasm departments.7
Mind, Body, and Cannabis
Let’s face it. Sex is as much in the mind as it is in the body. At oOYes , we believe that great sex starts with open communication, showing up, and staying present. Whether you chose to bring toys, lubes, cannabis-infused products, or partner(s) into the bedroom you are opening the door to a new and potentially exciting sexual experience.
When it comes to cannabis and sex one of the key benefits comes with the ability to ‘free your mind’. In his book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan⁸ speaks to the “importance of forgetting” and staying present. Recent research suggests that the naturally occurring neurotransmitter anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid also known as ‘the body’s own marijuana’, helps to calm the stress response, lowers cortisol, and ultimately, helps us erase traumatic memories. Cannabidiol (CBD) boosts the production of this trauma-soothing molecule, and THC mimics it, interacting with the same receptors.
Although we are only beginning to understand the biological mechanisms of both sex and cannabis, we have discovered that the part of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, the same part that responds positively to erotic stimuli, suggests that THC in cannabis reacts to the same receptors intensifying the desire to experience pleasure and keep one focused and in the mood for more and better sex.
Moderation is Key
While research has shown that women who include cannabis in their sex play experienced increased pleasure, studies have yet to demonstrate the optimal cannabis potency, ratios, strains, or infused products certain to deliver a predictable high. Like sex, it will take experimentation, an open mind, and plenty of practice to consistently hit that ‘sweet spot’. Unlike great sex, moderation is key.
Those of us who have mindfully blended cannabis into sex play has joined the choir of anecdotal reporting singing the praises of cannabis and sex. As a cannagasmic warrior, you also learn that more is not always better. The key is to go slow, take note of dosage relative to sensation and keep practicing understanding that great sex happens as much in your head as your body, and each time will be different.
When smoking, vaping, or ingesting cannabis edibles it is important to remember that a little goes a long way. Getting too high can cause the opposite of the desired effect of showing up and staying present and instead leave you dazed, confused, or laughing uncontrollably. When it comes to topical use, that is, lubes and massage oils, you have more leeway to experiment and less risk of overdoing it. The mouth and vagina are both vessels rich in mucus membranes ready to deliver cannabis to the mind and body.
This brings us to the difference between intoxicating, THC-dominant cannabis and non-intoxicating, CBD-dominant options. While both are derived from the cannabis Sativa plant, full-spectrum hemp extracts have under.3% THC and are unlikely to leave you dazed and confused.
Due to puritanical ideology and government overreach, neither sex nor cannabis has been properly researched. We are only beginning to understand the magical reactions our minds and bodies have to major and minor cannabinoids and the chemical reactions that come when we play with pleasure.
What we know beyond the anecdotal evidence is that CBD reduces pain, inflammation, and anxiety and can increase blood flow, while minor cannabinoids such as CBG add cell rejuvenation and antibacterial, antifungal qualities. While all cannabinoids can affect mood, THC is particularly effective. These characteristics are a result of the plant’s biochemical “profile” that combines cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and CBG with flavonoids and compounds called terpenes to cause a variety of physiological effects through interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). For best results, cannabis extracts derived from the whole plant deliver the benefits of an “entourage effect”.
A Guide For Use
Whether you choose to smoke, eat, or rub infused cannabis products onto your private parts the fun part will be experimenting on what combination works best for you. We are not all created equally when it comes to dosage and the effects of cannabis. Regular users will build a tolerance that can only be broken by time off while virgin users may feel the effects come on quickly and unpredictably.
A safe place to start is topicals such as infused lubes and oils. Topicals can be applied directly to private parts localizing the cannagasm while exciting the mind with a new experience. It is recommended to allow up to 20 minutes for pre-lubes to seep into the mucous membranes and hit the bloodstream. Adding smoking or vaping to the mix can ‘free your mind’ and let you experiment with the more immediate effects allowing you to best navigate your high.
Remember, ‘moderation is key’. When experimenting with edibles less is often more. Micro dosing is always an option as you learn what makes you happy. As the edibles kick in you will know it's coming as all your senses become elevated and taste, smell and touch-trigger increased excitement. Unlike smoking, edibles can time to kick in so plan your foreplay accordingly and don’t eat the entire chocolate bar, it is sure to sneak up on you!
While non-THC infused ecstatic sex products like oOYes can be purchased online or at local retail stores, THC-dominant products should be purchased at a licensed dispensary to ensure products or safe and lab tested. When shopping at a dispensary you can rely on a seasoned budtender to guide you through the best strain or edible that is right for you.
Choosing Cannabis For Sex
While opening your mind and body to explore cannabis with sex may start with choosing and experimenting with the ideal Sativa, Indica, or hybrid strain, infused edible or topical it is also about bringing new and exciting play into your sex life. Whether solo or with a partner giving yourself permission to fall deep into your sexuality and awareness can elevate the use of substances such as cannabis or psychedelics. As with all substances and sex, it is important to discuss ground rules and consent with your partner prior to consumption.
● Both S. (2017). Recent Developments in Psychopharmaceutical Approaches to Treating Female Sexual Interest and Arousal Disorder. Current sexual health reports, 9(4), 192–199. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11930-017-0124-3
● Michael R. Aldrich (1977) Tantric Cannabis Use in India, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs, 9:3, 227-233, DOI: 10.1080/02791072.1977.10472053
● Cannabis and Culture World Anthropology, Vera Rubin ISBN 3110812061, 9783110812060
● How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollen
● Gorzalka, B. B., Hill, M. N., & Chang, S. C. (2010). Male-female differences in the effects of cannabinoids on sexual behavior and gonadal hormone function. Hormones and behavior, 58(1), 91–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2009.08.009
● Becky K. Lynn, Julia D. López, Collin Miller, Judy Thompson, E. Cristian Campian, The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women, Sexual Medicine, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2019, Pages 192-197, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2019.01.003.
● Cannabis and Sexual Experience, Richard Balon, MD. Published:December 30, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.11.269
● Becky Lynn, Amy Gee, Luna Zhang, James G. Pfaus, Effects of Cannabinoids on Female Sexual Function, Sexual Medicine Reviews, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 18-27,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sxmr.2019.07.004.
● Mahler, S., Smith, K. & Berridge, K. Endocannabinoid Hedonic Hotspot for Sensory Pleasure: Anandamide in Nucleus Accumbens Shell Enhances ‘Liking’ of a Sweet Reward. Neuropsychopharmacol 32, 2267–2278 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1301376
● Androvicova, R., Horacek, J., Tintera, J. et al. Individual prolactin reactivity modulates response of nucleus accumbens to erotic stimuli during acute cannabis intoxication: an fMRI pilot study. Psychopharmacology 234, 1933–1943 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4601-1
● Cannabis & sex: a woman’s guide, Melinda Misuraca, Cannigama.com