The relationship between marijuana use and sexual activity is still unclear, but a large study led by researcher Michael Eisenberg, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California (USA) strongly suggests that the Regular use of cannabis can increase sexual desire. The findings have been published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
“The use of marijuana is very common, but its use on a large scale and its association with sexual frequency has not been studied much in a scientific way,” says Eisenberg.
In previous research, experiments with rats found that the active compound in marijuana generates fluctuations in sexual desire. However, more recent studies suggest that endocannabinoids increase sexual arousal in women, and that the drug improves the sexual experience for both men and women.
In order to gain a better understanding of the impact of marijuana on sexual function, experts examined data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a large-scale research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on fertility, maternity, family life, marriage, divorce and men and women’s health.
Studying the use of marijuana and sexual frequency
The survey included questions about the frequency of sexual intercourse and the use of marijuana. More specifically, 28,176 heterosexual women and 22,943 heterosexual men were questioned about how many times they had had sex in the past 4 weeks, as well as how often they had used marijuana in the past 12 months.
Participants were between 25 and 45 years old, women 29.9 years on average and men 29.5 years old, on average. The researchers included data that had been collected since 2002 and adjusted for possible confounding factors such as the use of other drugs such as cocaine or alcohol.
In general, 24.5% of men and 14.5% of women reported having used marijuana in the last 12 months. Experts noted an association between the frequency with which people smoked marijuana and the frequency with which they had sex. More specifically, people who used marijuana had 20% more sex than those who did not use marijuana and this applied to both sexes.
The women who abstained from using marijuana in the past year reported having had sex six times, on average, in the last 4 weeks, while for marijuana users, this number was 7.1 times.
Men who abstained from consuming marijuana had sexual intercourse 5.6 times in the last 4 weeks, while men who consumed the drug daily had intimate relationships an average of 6.9 times during this time.
“The general trend we saw was applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, levels of education, income groups and religions, all health states, whether they were married or single and whether they had children or not,” explains Eisenberg.
Despite these strong associations, the authors caution that this study does not prove causality. “It does not say that if you smoke more marijuana, you’ll have more sex,” he says.
However, the general message of this research is clear: “The frequent use of marijuana does not seem to affect motivation or sexual performance, in any case, it is associated with a higher frequency of intercourse,” concludes Eisenberg.