Cannabis can Improve Female Sexual Experiences
Words and image by @SuperFunker.
Whether it’s a common symptom (inflammation, pain, nausea) or a debilitating disease (epilepsy, cancer, arthritis), Cannabis appears to provide innumerable therapeutic solutions. Annually, the number of associated studies continues to increase. For example, if you search “medical cannabis” at PubMed, you will find the following results:
- 2015, 724 studies.
- 2016, 850 studies.
- 2017, 957 studies.
- 2018, 1,205 studies.
- 2019, 1,330 studies.
- 2020, on track to exceed 1,600 studies.
Many of these studies are listed on Liquid Life’s Scholarly Research page. Liquid Life has sourced, described and linked 150 open-access full-text studies. Among this list is research that explores the therapeutic potential of Cannabis to address treatment-resistant female-specific aliments such as endometriosis, breast cancer and sexual dysfunction. And, in this article we reveal some of the clinical work that supports Cannabis as a treatment to improve female sexual experiences.
The Endocannabinoid System is Linked to Sexual Arousal in Women
In 2012, Klein assessed the association between the endocannabinoid system and female sexual arousal. Although relevant physiological analysis is limited, numerous indicators suggest that Cannabis can influence the female sexual experience. Cannabinoid receptors involved in controlling sexual function are abundant within the brain/peripheral tissues and self-reporting women have reported heightened sexual episodes associated with the use of Cannabis. As such, Klein endeavored to explore the connection between the endocannabinoid system and sexual arousal among women by measuring both physical and subjective responses.
21 medically healthy premenopausal heterosexual women between the ages of 19 and 45 were recruited for analysis. Each participant proclaimed an absence of:
- Chronic medical illnesses.
- Hormonal disorders.
- Mental health issues.
- Acute infections.
- Sexual difficulties.
- Use of prescribed medications in the previous six months, other than oral contraceptives.
- Use of illicit drugs in the previous month.
- Pregnancy within a year of the study.
- Current breastfeeding.
Klein measured physiological and subjective sexual arousal of women who were exposed to erotic films. Each woman engaged in real-time physical and subjective evaluations. Additionally, the participants responded to pre and post film surveys.
Physiological sexual arousal was measured using Vaginal Photoplethysmography. This is a process that gauges Vaginal Pulse Amplitude which is comprised of phasic changes in vaginal engorgement with each heart beat, such that higher amplitudes indicate greater engorgement.
A computer program was used to numerically evaluate subjective real-time arousal with values ranging from -2 (least sexually aroused) to 0 (sexual indifference devoid of positive or negative sexual feelings) to 7 (most sexually aroused).
Pre and Post Survey
Before and after each film, a measure of arousal was gathered using a self-report film scale that assessed several domains:
- Overall subjective sexual arousal.
- Mental sexual arousal.
- Perceptions of physiological sexual arousal.
- Autonomic arousal.
- Positive affects.
- Negative affects.
Blood was extracted to obtain serum for the measurement of endocannabinoid concentrations (AEA and 2-AG). Samples were obtained pre and post viewing of each of two erotic films, for a total of four. With these samples, Klein found that AEA and 2-AG decreased as both physical and subjective sexual arousal increased. Klein was able to validate a link between endocannabinoid levels and sexual arousal among women. However, Cannabis-induced modulation was not explained.
Cannabis can Improve Sexual Experiences Among Women
In 2019, Lynn conducted a clinical survey that assessed the sexual health, sexual behavior and sexual perceptions of both Cannabis users and non-users. Of 373 obstetrics and gynecology patients, 47% (176) were Cannabis users and 34.1% (127) attested to using Cannabis prior to sex. The majority of the Cannabis users, reported an improvement in sexual satisfaction, desire and orgasms, with a reduction in sexual pain. And, the women who used Cannabis before sex were more than twice as likely to report satisfactory orgasms. Ultimately, Lynn speculated that Cannabis may lead to the development of a therapy for female sexual dysfunction.
Studies Support the Benefits of Cannabis in Female Sexual Function
In a 2020 clinical review, Lynn examined 12 human studies and 8 animal studies in an effort to detail the effects of cannabinoids on female sexual function. It has been established that the endocannabinoid system is directly involved in female sexual function, but the nature of this action and the influences induced by Cannabis have yet to be fully elucidated. For example, research indicates that low doses of Cannabis may increase sexual desire, while high doses may actually reduce desire. Nevertheless, of those women who use Cannabis in association with sexual activity, most report greater sexual enjoyment, prolonged orgasms and enhanced quality of orgasms. Such sexual improvements may be due to:
- Cannabinoids directly influencing specific functions.
- Cannabis-reduced anxiety.
- Phytochemical activity associated with specific strains/chemovars.
- A combination of numerous biochemical processes that still need to be rationalized.
Lynn underscored, “Female sexuality is a complex interplay of environmental, psychological, and physiological processes. Multiple neurotransmitters and hormones play a role in sexual excitation and inhibition.” Essentially, she maintains that Cannabis does indeed improve female sexual function, but more work is required to fully understand the therapeutic potential.
While Lynn continues her research, consider Cannabis supplementation as a medicinal strategy. You may find suitable personal solutions on Liquid Life's Cannabis Gifts page.