By now, you’re possibly familiar with the heaps of mental and physical wellness benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) oil. We know the hemp-derived compound is anti-anxiety, anti-inflammation, pain-relieving and focus-boosting, but one benefit of CBD that is discussed less frequently is its potential to boost your sex life.
In this article, we’ll explore whether CBD can improve libido, the additional potential benefits of CBD for intimacy and how to use CBD for sex.
Can CBD Improve Libido?
CBD is a naturally-occurring compound of the cannabis plant. Though it derives from cannabis, CBD does not cause a ‘high’ like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) does. THC is more commonly associated with marijuana.
CBD is safe to use and non-addictive, and is extracted from cannabis and added to a variety of products, such as CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD balms and moisturisers.
While clinical research remains underway into CBD's impact on sex drive, and evidence to date is largely inconclusive, some studies – plus anecdotal reports – are promising so far. How exactly CBD achieves this is unclear, but one theory is that sex drive may improve as CBD reduces anxiety, since anxious feelings surrounding sexual performance can be a cause of low libido.
CBD, Sex and Science
In the 1990s, scientists discovered that mammals have a complex cell signalling system which was named the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS exists throughout the body; in the brain, tissues and organs, and plays a key role in promoting homeostasis and regulating our mood, sleep, appetite, memory, pain perception and more. The ECS consists of endocannabinoid receptors that respond to the body’s endocannabinoid chemicals. When the ECS encounters CBD – a hemp-derived cannabinoid – those receptors react; triggering a chain of biochemical communication which stimulates your body to respond in a particular manner, for instance, feeling relaxed or lowering inflammation.
By stimulating ECS receptors, CBD can lower levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol have been linked to decreased libido. By reducing cortisol in the body and promoting a sense of relaxation, CBD could indirectly help to rev up your sex drive.
One endocannabinoid is anandamide, a chemical responsible for the release of our “love hormone” oxytocin. Upon interaction with the ECS, CBD can also boost levels of anandamide, which subsequently boosts oxytocin. Elevated levels of the love hormone, as you might expect, can positively impact our social contact, including sexual and intimate encounters.
Other Sexual Benefits of CBD
Cannabidiol may inject additional benefits into your sex life.
CBD for Painless Sex
CBD is known for its pain-relieving properties, and painful sex is an issue for many, including 1 in 13 women according to one survey. Some users of CBD find that it helps to relieve post-sex pain and soreness.
CBD for Female Arousal
While our reproductive system's endocannabinoid receptors are key to relieving pain during sex, they are also fundamental to female sexual pleasure. One study showed a significant link between the concentration of endocannabinoids and sexual arousal in females. Consequently, the introduction of cannabinoids such as CBD, which mimics the activity of endocannabinoids, may positively impact sexual stimulation in women.
CBD for Erectile Dysfunction
ECS receptors also play a role in increasing blood flow and intensifying nerve sensation. Combine this with muscle relaxation and reduced anxiety, and CBD could be the answer to erectile dysfunction (ED). There are many positive anecdotal reports on CBD and its effects on ED but further studies are required to understand exactly how the cannabinoid has an impact.
Can CBD Oil Be Used as a Lubricant?
Yes, some CBD brands offer products specifically formulated as a lubricant and it is an effective, natural alternative to chemical-based products. We would always recommend opting for a CBD oil formulated for sexual use as some CBD oils contain additives that may be irritating when used intimately.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Taking CBD for Sex?
Side effects from CBD oils are rare but possible. They may include irritation, drowsiness and diarrhoea in typically mild forms. Be aware of the interaction with prescription medicines, too (talk to your GP if you are concerned).
Some small studies also suggested that long-term use of CBD may actually lower sex drive rather than enhance it. Further research is required, but intermittent use is advisable until further evidence emerges.
If you are planning for pregnancy soon, discuss the use of CBD for sex (or other purposes) with your GP beforehand.
There are a variety of ways to use CBD-infused products for enhanced sex and they largely depend on your choice of product. For instance:
- CBD oil can be dropped under your tongue before sexual activity to lessen anxiety and heighten sensation
- Specific CBD lubricants can be used to enhance pleasure
- CBD gummies can be eaten before sex to lower stress and promote better sex
- CBD bath bombs can be used for anxiety relief and muscle relaxation before sex
Is It Legal?
Yes, CBD for sex is legal in the UK. CBD-based products must contain less than 0.2% THC (that’s the cannabinoid that gets you ‘high’) to be sold legally. CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects.
Studies and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD can boost libido and enhance sexual pleasure, although there isn’t enough research currently to prove this. It is possible that CBD may reduce ED, enhance female arousal and enable pain-free sex. CBD has also been shown to significantly reduce anxiety, relax the muscles and increase blood flow – all of which should contribute to a healthier, happier sex life.