Oh baby, is it hot in here or is it just me?
Mixing drugs and sex are a timeless tradition that date back centuries but it seems like kids nowadays are doing it more than ever. The thing is, humans love sex. They also love drugs. Combing the two together is a no brainer for those looking for the transcendental, life changing experience we're all after.
So, is marijuana the drug to turn to if you're looking for that out-of body, self-realized experience
Like most things related to marijuana and scientific research, it's complicated. The research behind marijuana use with sex has been a long sought after topic but we've still been unable to come up with a conclusive understanding on how marijuana affects human sexuality.
So, the answer is: it depends. There are many factors at play when having sex under the influence of marijuana and even though the scientific community has done its best to pinpoint the physiological affect of smoking weed while banging, the research isn't completely conclusive.
The University of California Santa Barbara would agree with me: they found through their research that it really depends on the person, the situation, and what kind of marijuana you're smoking. "Many marijuana users find that they fall somewhere in between these two extremes; that is, they are sometimes aroused and other times disappointed with marijuana’s sexual side effects." That would explain why some of your friends may say smoking weed decreases their inhibitions and stimulates arousal while others may find it has the opposite effects. Some fear that losing inhibitions during sex isn't a positive thing when dealing with STI protection but it's important to note that you should use protection while having sex, with or without marijuana.
Much of the research concerning weed and sex concerns itself with testosterone. We know testosterone plays a crucial role in the sexuality of both men and women and that decreased levels of testosterone result in a lower sex drive. This 2002 study by the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found that weed does indeed decrease testosterone levels in men and women. Another study by the National Center Biotechnology Information found the same thing but also added that testosterone levels went back to normal after 24 hours from smoking. Not the best news for all the smokers out there but at least the possible damage is reversible.
Like most side effects associated with weed, decreased levels of testosterone can be linked to THC. To put it simply, THC can be androcrine disruptor, meaning it disrupts GnRH secretion from the hypothalamus. The disruption of GnRH secretion means lower LH and FSH production which lowers testosterone production. Check out this article for the full scientific run-down on how this works.
Many even fear that repeated marijuana consumption can increase estrogen levels in men. These studies examine the estrogenic effects weed has on the body. They are largely inconclusive, though, because both were done on rats in test tubes. THC's estrogenic effects were also not shown inside living organisms. No more blaming your man boobs on weed.
So far, it doesn't seem too bright for all the weed lovers out there but, again, all of these findings have been refuted (source, source). These studies found no correlation between marijuana use and decreased levels of testosterone. If there even is a correlation, we know that the effects are reversible as well.
Marijuana's effects on women sexuality, too, has been shown to be quite different than men. This study claims that there are cannabis topical oils that can enhance sexual pleasure in women when THC levels are at 14% or less. These topical oils can even be used as treatment for women with low sex drives.
So, yeah, it's complicated. When it works, it works and when it doesn't, it doesn't. Even though there is conflicting data, if you're looking to play it safe, I'd recommend waiting until after your next sexual encounter to light up and relax. An remember kids, use protection, no means no, and stay away from the girls on the corner.
Now read: Why Marijuana Makes Music Sound Better