Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 23, 2022

The cannabis plant has been used for numerous purposes for thousands of years – from wellness and general health, to medical marijuana and just plain enjoyment – weed has been there. But one overlooked property of marijuana is its effect on sex drive.

One fun fact about weed is that ancient cultures have used it as an aphrodisiac and they included it in their sexual practices. Over time, many weed users have claimed that weed influenced their sexual appetite and made sex better for them, but there wasn’t any evidence to support these claims.

For decades, this topic was understudied due to the legal state of marijuana and only anecdotal evidence seemed to imply that weed can influence your sex life. However, following the legalization in some states in the US and some countries around the world, more surveys and studies could be freely conducted.

Even though sexual health is a complex topic and needs extensive research, the studies done in recent years can give us some insight into how the cannabinoids present in weed can affect one’s sexual experience.

So, let’s discuss how weed can make you hornier, how it can influence your libido, and what recent science has to say about it, as well as compare the effects of different strains.

What Science Says…

Thankfully, as we learn more about marijuana, the studies on marijuana use and sex drive are also increasing and we can get an overview of its effects, even though they may only show the general outline.

Marijuana Use and Sex Drive

One population-based study done at the Department of Urology at Stanford University, which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine (JSM), has investigated the connection between cannabis use and sexual frequency in men and women of reproductive age. They gathered data from previous survey cycles conducted by The National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), where the results of over 28,000 women and over 22,000 men across the US were analyzed. 

The results indicated that “a positive association between marijuana use and sexual frequency is seen in men and women across all demographic groups.” Moreover, the researchers found that marijuana didn’t seem to cause sexual dysfunction, but on the contrary, individuals (both men and women) who used marijuana daily had over 20% more sex than individuals who didn’t use cannabis at all.

Smoking Weed Before Sex

Another study conducted by Saint Louis University and which was published in the same journal, focused on women specifically. The objective of the study was to examine whether marijuana use before sex has any effect on a women’s overall sexual experience and to what extent, as well as which domains are affected.

The researchers surveyed nearly 400 sexually active women over the age of 18 over the course of one year. The women filled out a questionnaire regarding different aspects of their sexual activity, as well as marijuana use in general and prior to sex. Finally, their answers were reviewed retrospectively.

Out of the participants who were marijuana users, 34.1% answered that they smoke marijuana before sex, while 13.1% answered that they didn’t. Among the percentage of women who reported that they smoke weed before sex, the majority stated that they had a more pleasurable sexual experience, while the rest stated that their sex drive was increased.

How Weed Causes Positive Changes on Sexual Activity Is Still Unknown

Despite the results of various studies, there is still a lot to explore regarding the method of action of weed on sexual activity. Most researchers propose that it simply may be related to marijuana’s effect on anxiety.

As it has been long established, THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system which plays a role in many important bodily processes (sleep, memory, mood, etc). By binding to the endocannabinoid receptors (the CB1 receptor in particular), marijuana reduces anxiety and stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, also known as “the happy hormone.” This would lead to lowered sexual inhibitions which can help to increase the intimacy between partners.

One additional explanation is that one of the most well-known effects of weed is experiencing heightened senses. In an intimate setting, this would mean that each sensation would be felt more intensely, and therefore would contribute to heightened pleasure.

Finally, cannabinoid receptors are found in parts of the brain that regulate sexual function, including the amygdala and the hippocampus, so this can also partly explain how the cannabinoids in weed influence sexual experience.

Indicas, Sativas, Hybrids… How Cannabis Strains Can Increase Libido

For those who worry about finding the right strain to roll a joint or load a bong during foreplay, the following mini-guide will give you some insight before you head to your nearest dispensary.

As you may know, Indica strains cause a high that is predominately felt in the body. When adequately dozed, meaning you don’t smoke so much that you get a total couch lock, it should mellow you just enough so the physical sensations you feel are heightened, but you still don’t feel lethargic. Anecdotal evidence shows that a lot of users prefer to use Indicas.

Sativa strains, on the other hand, cause a more cerebral high. Depending on your chosen strain and its combination of CBD and THC, it could work really well to stimulate your imagination and mood, but still get you relaxed enough to enjoy it fully.

Hybrids may be the most versatile when it comes to specific effects, and here is where you have the most room for experimentation.

One word of caution, as always, is to pay attention to the THC content of your chosen strain and your dosage, as too much THC may cause side effects, like heightened anxiety and paranoia, and ruin a perfectly fun night for you.

Bottom Line – Should You Use Cannabis for an Improved Sexual Experience?

If you already enjoy weed, whether you’re a recreational or regular user, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use marijuana to improve your sex life. Keeping in mind your own tolerance and reaction to weed, enhancing your sexual experience with an edible or a joint will certainly benefit you.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.