Want a more satisfying time in the bedroom? A quick toke or two may do the trick, according to a new study in the journal Sexual Medicine.
While scientific evidence about the effects of marijuana use on sexual functioning is limited, there’s plenty of anecdotal claims online about cannabis improving libido, arousal and orgasm. So researchers decided to investigate, publishing one of the largest studies on the issue to date.
For their analysis, the authors used the anonymous survey responses of 373 participants (the majority of whom were straight, white women) who all sought care at a specific OB/GYN practice between March 2016 and February 2017. The survey included questions about overall sexual activity—including how satisfied they were with their current sex life, drive, orgasms and lubrication. The survey also asked whether or not they used marijuana, if they used prior to having sex and how frequently they partook.
“Marijuana appears to improve satisfaction with orgasm.”
Of the sample, 176 women said they use cannabis. “Among those who reported using marijuana before sex, 68.5 percent stated that the overall sexual experience was more pleasurable, 60.6 percent noted an increase in sex drive, and 52.8 percent reported an increase in satisfying orgasms,” the study’s authors wrote.
“The majority reported no change in lubrication,” however.
After they adjusted for race, the authors found that women who said they used marijuana before their bedroom activities had 2.13 higher odds of reporting satisfactory orgasms during sexual activity than those who reported no marijuana use before sex.
Becky Lynn, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Saint Louis University in Missouri, is the lead author of the study. In a recent interview, she said that she became interested in better understanding the impact of cannabis on sexual functioning when she found a number of her patients reporting use to help with their sexual problems.
“I have seen it used in women with chronic pain disorders that lead to painful sex, women who experience difficulty with orgasm or an inability to orgasm, and women who use it to improve their libido, which may not match their partner’s libido,” she told Weedmaps.
#Marijuana and SEX. Excited to see my published paper in Sexual Medicine! Thanks to all involved! #cannabis #weed #pot #stoned @mocanntrade @DrRachnaPatel @LisaLarkinMD @SherylKingsberg @MKrychman @mocanntrade @NishaMcKenziePA @DrCorriel @DrKrisFerguson1 @bitnermd pic.twitter.com/xDYVeDkwlW
— Becky Lynn, M.D. (@beckyklynn) March 4, 2019
It’s still unclear, however, exactly why marijuana use appears to improve sex for women. Some experts believe it may be because cannabis helps to lower stress and anxiety, thus increasing a person’s confidence and willingness to experiment in the bedroom. It may also have something to do with the way marijuana interacts with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, some of which are located in parts of the brain responsible for regulating hormones that play a role in sex.
The current study adds to a growing body of research that shows marijuana positively affects women’s sexual experiences in a number of ways, and could potentially lead to life-changing treatments for female sexual dysfunction. And considering that women are less likely to support marijuana legalization than men, according to many polls, studies like this one are imperative to showing just how beneficial cannabis might be for them.
Federal Health Agency Blames Schedule I For ‘Slow’ Marijuana Research And Commits To Fund Studies
A federal health agency is blaming “slow” marijuana research progress on the drug’s restrictive Schedule I status but says it is committed to funding studies into how cannabis can help people manage pain in spite of budget cuts recently proposed by President Donald Trump.
“A growing body of literature suggests that the cannabis plant has pain-relieving properties; however, as a schedule I substance with known psychoactive effects, research on the potential pain-relieving properties of cannabis has been slow,” the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) said in a budget justification document published on Wednesday.
NCCIH supports studies into non-conventional medicines and therapies that can be used as an alternative or supplement to traditional treatments for a variety of conditions, but the president’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget would cut its funding by about $20 million, the agency said in the new overview.
“The FY 2020 President’s Budget reflects the Administration’s fiscal policy goals for the Federal Government,” it wrote. “Within that framework, NCCIH will pursue its highest research priorities through strategic investments and careful stewardship of appropriated funds.”
Cannabis research apparently meets that standard as a high research priority, though, with the agency saying it will be announcing a funding opportunity for scientists interested in exploring medical marijuana as a natural product in the treatment of pain.
“NCCIH plans to expand efforts around natural products for pain management,” the agency wrote. “Natural products have historically been a source of novel pain-relieving compounds developed into pharmaceuticals (e.g., willow bark into aspirin).”
The funding opportunity it plans to announce will “support research on the diverse components of cannabis to explore if the pain-relieving properties can be separated from the psychoactive properties and to further characterize those components that may reduce pain.”
This is by no means the first time NCCIH has expressed interest in marijuana. It has previously posted notices for several funding opportunities for cannabis research, including a call for studies on the effects of “minor cannabinioids and terpenes” on pain. NCCIH also hosted a workshop last year that was specifically designed to address barriers to marijuana research under federal prohibition.
Dr. Emmeline Edwards, the director of the division of extramural research for NCCIH, explained in a presentation at the workshop that marijuana’s Schedule I status under federal law significantly complicates research efforts, and she also complained about the lack of diversity in the types of cannabis available to researchers from the country’s only federally authorized source.
This latest budget justification reflect’s the agency’s commitment to hone the therapeutic value of cannabinoids to address pain—a condition for which 40 percent of NCCIH’s research funding is dedicated.
A separate federal health agency is also pitching in. Earlier this week, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality published three notices soliciting public input on studies and information about marijuana as a potential alternative or supplement to opioid painkillers.
Marijuana Consumers Gain Less Weight Than Non-Users, Study Confirms
Popular cult classics like The Big Lebowski would have you believe that people who use marijuana not only always have the munchies, but they’re also too lazy to engage in a lot of physical activity.
With those kinds of stereotypes pervading movies and TV shows, it makes sense that many people would assume marijuana use is positively associated with weight gain.
But a new study published last week in the International Journal of Epidemiology appears to undermine that belief. It’s the latest research to show that marijuana users are actually less likely to be obese compared to non-users.
For their work, Michigan State University researchers drew on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a cross-sectional, nationally representative study sample of U.S. citizens aged 18 and older. In total, they looked at the reported responses of more than 33,000 people.
In the first wave of interviews completed in 2001-2002, participants were asked if they used cannabis and, if so, how recently and how frequently. When they returned for their follow-up interview in 2004-2005, researchers asked participants if they used cannabis since that first interview.
Between the two interview periods, researchers tracked an increase in body mass index (BMI) in all categories of respondents—those who’d never consumed, people who had discontinued past use, “initiates” or newbies and persistent users.
Once they excluded participants who were older than 65 (because research shows BMI declines in older people are often due to loss of muscle mass), they discovered “an attenuated BMI gain for cannabis-use subgroups when compared with never-users.”
In other words, those who reported using marijuana gained weight, but at a reduced rate compared to those who have never consumed cannabis.
“In NESARC, persistent cannabis users and the initiates were under-represented in stably obese subgroups,” the study states. “In addition, these same actively cannabis-using subgroups were under-represented among newly incident cases of obesity observed at W2.”
The study offers a couple of theories to explain why marijuana users experience lower weight gain. One, for example, has to do with how the density of a specific cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) decreases with chronic cannabis use. It’s a theory that was first introduced last year by a separate team of researchers at Indiana University South Bend.
“For many patients,” they wrote in the meta-analysis they published in December, “Cannabis may be a better option for weight loss than surgery or pharmaceuticals.”
Another possibility to explain the relationship between marijuana use and BMI has to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of another cannabinoid receptor, CB2R. “The association of inflammation and obesity is widely established in pre-clinical and clinical studies,” the study’s authors write.
These findings are important for future biomedical research regarding cannabinoids—especially since medical marijuana is often toted as a potential treatment for preventing weight loss in HIV and cancer patients, the study states.
The average cannabis consumer concerned about their waistline might also find a little bit of comfort in these results, too—especially since other research has indicated that states with legal marijuana saw an increase in junk food purchases.
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.
Denver’s Teen Marijuana Education Campaign Seems To Be Working, Survey Finds
A year after Denver launched a marijuana-focused educational campaign targeting local youth, a new survey released Tuesday reports that the majority of teens familiar with the city’s efforts said they decided against underage cannabis consumption.
The research, conducted by Insights Lab, was commissioned to measure the effectiveness of Denver’s High Costs campaign, which was launched in 2017 and is funded by the city’s tax revenue on retail cannabis. Among the myriad ways the city is working to get teens talking about marijuana and its associated risks for underage users are social media campaigns, billboards, school bus signage, an online game show called “Weeded Out” and a Weeded Out trivia card game.
More than 500 teens who live in the city and county of Denver participated in the survey, which was available online November 21 through December 18, 2018. Sixty-four percent said they were aware of the High Costs campaign, most having seen online ads on Facebook and YouTube. A majority recognized that the campaign’s intended message was to provide facts about underage marijuana use, though 53 percent also said the program “provides biased information” to discourage use.
Many teens also said they thought High Costs was trustworthy (75 percent) and likable (73 percent), while about half indicated the tone was “preachy or judgmental.”
In terms of effectiveness, the survey found that 75 percent of the participants who were aware of High Costs said the campaign made them either not want to use, less likely to use or think twice about using marijuana.
“Teens want facts and they want to be able to make their own decisions,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D), who called the city’s legal cannabis system a “success” last year, said in a statement. “When we give teens the facts and equip them with knowledge, they make smarter choices about using marijuana.”
In order to build on the first year’s success, the survey report’s authors suggest the city continue growing its online presence and consider more nontraditional marketing methods, including giveaways.
The report also points out that 18 percent of teens said they currently use marijuana. According to the survey’s findings, they appeared skeptical of the campaign and less likely to share its information with friends.
“This audience is going to be difficult to reach, as they’ve already decided to use and naturally are going to reject information that contradicts their decision,” the report states. “For now, focus on the core audience of non-users and past-users, and evaluate the opportunity to target this segment again in a year.”
Last week, Denver officials released an interactive map that tracks how the city spends cannabis tax revenue on educational efforts.
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash.