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Is Weed an Aphrodisiac? Marijuana’s Effects on Sex

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Geoffrey Whittaker

Published 02/13/2019

Updated 06/03/2024

Cannabis is part of the mainstream, and these days, it’s also moving into the bedroom, in the form of lubricants, topicals, and even different strains designed to boost sexual pleasure. But when it comes to the combination of weed and sex, can weed make you horny, or is that just a bunch of half-baked marketing?

Here’s what experts believe right now: Weed is like Viagra® in that select studies show that some people have better sex when using it. But the similarities end there. While Viagra is a well-studied, FDA-approved treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), the modest research on marijuana as an aphrodisiac shows a number of conflicting conclusions.

Below, we get into what current research says about weed as an aphrodisiac, and whether weed can increase sex drive, or have the opposite effect. We also share some proven alternatives for those who think that sparking up is the only way they can get, ahem, something else up.

There are some really promising studies out that make compelling points about the interplay between sex and weed. So far, they’ve found that:

  • People who use weed have more sex. A study of 50,000 survey respondents published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found a positive association between marijuana use and how often people were having sex. In other words, using weed correlates with increased sexual frequency. The findings applied to both men and women, in all demographic groups.

  • People who have sex while using marijuana say the sex is better — sometimes. A smaller survey of 200 participants showed that half of marijuana users consumed weed to alter their sexual experience, with many (but not quite most) saying that it improved their sexual experience some or all of the time.

Those are two great starts for weed’s benefit-in-bed argument. Unfortunately, using cannabis in bed gets a little harder to argue for when you ask specific questions about how it improves sex.

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While evidence shows that cannabis can enhance sexual pleasure for some users, its side effects can have the opposite effect on others. So, for certain people, marijuana can make you “horny,” but that’s not a guarantee for everyone.

Data is pretty scant on whether weed makes you more aroused or turned on, or on the other hand, that it results in a low sex drive. The information that is out there shows a lot of conflicting results.

For instance, one study of 373 patients suggests that weed can increase arousal and performance, and even lead to better orgasms. However, the study was limited to statements from a single office of a medical practice, and all of the respondents were women.

We’re not saying that similar data wouldn’t come from a comparable study conducted on men. However, no such study has been done yet.

A larger study from 2023 looked at more than 800 participants and found similar results, but it was primarily focused on women as well. The one additional point it made: results didn’t differ significantly among genders. Still, sexual satisfaction and desire in men as it relates to weed hasn’t been studied as much. 

Further, there is a lack of controlled, blinded research to determine how, when, or in what contexts someone may consider using weed to increase sex drive or improve sexual performance.

While we’d like to point you to specific cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors, THC concentrations, or an indica or sativa strain that’s best for sexual pleasure, there’s no substantial research on this to date.

The claims of gummies and other products you can pick up from a dispensary are not FDA-approved, nor do they constitute medical advice.

Generally speaking, any weed strain that makes you paranoid, anxious, sleepy, or nonverbal is probably not ideal for intimacy. Meanwhile, strains that reduce discomfort, relax tight muscles, or create feelings of calm or euphoria might make intimate activities more enjoyable.

Sex is already a subjective experience — everybody likes what they like, and people like different things — so do what makes you happy.

If you enjoy smoking weed and having sex, keep on enjoying it. If you’re unsure, talk to your partner about mixing weed and sex. And if you don’t feel horny or sexy when you smoke, there’s no reason to force it. 

Choose your chew

What’s Better for Sex Drive: Weed or Alcohol?

Truth be told, neither marijuana or alcohol are “good” for your sex drive, nor does drinking or using marijuana make you “horny.” While both intoxicants may lower your inhibitions or stimulate certain elements of your libido, they can likewise impair sexual function physiologically or psychologically.

There’s some anecdotal evidence that young people feel better in sexual encounters due to the effects of marijuana and alcohol. However, sexual health experts looking at that recent study did not find conclusive evidence that weed or alcohol is better enhancement than the other, or that a combination of the two was generally going to improve sexual activity.

Likewise, it would be reasonable to assume that young people (who are at lower risk for cardiovascular and other health issues that cause erectile dysfunction) experienced better sex with the use of cannabis and alcohol because these substances can reduce psychological inhibitions. Young people are more at risk of sexual dysfunction due to psychological factors, like anxiety, self-esteem issues, and performance anxiety due to inexperience.

Even though marijuana generally isn’t known as being particularly dangerous, it isn’t exactly harmless. Some of the effects of cannabis can influence the body and brain in ways that aren’t great for your sex life.

For instance, frequent marijuana use can impact:

  • Mood: Marijuana has a notable impact on people’s moods, and we’re not just talking about the desire to watch terrible movies. While some of us might feel more relaxed and cheerful after ingesting THC, others get more nervous and anxious. That’s not exactly a great place to be when you’re trying to get lucky, as anxiety can contribute to ED.

  • Memory loss: Frequent marijuana use can cause long-term memory loss and cognitive impairment. Also, frequent marijuana use can cause long-term memory loss and cognitive impairment. Kidding aside, we’re pretty sure you want to remember sex, right?

  • Appetite: Munchies are no joke. Research has found that THC enhances one’s sense of smell and causes your brain to release more dopamine when eating. While more dopamine may also be the cause of better orgasms, bad snacking habits can lead to health issues like weight gain, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and more — none of which are great for your erections.

  • Breathing: In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in different ways to ingest marijuana, like edibles, THC pills, and the use of vapes. Smoking marijuana has been connected to bronchitis, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of infections. It’s also believed that the smoke inhaled from marijuana contains many of the same carcinogens, irritants, and toxic chemicals as tobacco smoke. Legalization aside, it’s still something you should keep in mind if you’re a regular toker. 

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Does weed make you “horny” or increase your sex drive? Are edibles among foods that help you last longer? The answers to these questions aren’t clear — at least not yet.

Weed may lower your inhibitions or improve your sexual performance, but it may just as well not. Science can’t predict the outcome of mixing weed and sex (or masturbation) at this point. So, all we can do is give you some general advice and words of caution:

  • The verdict is still out on marijuana as an aphrodisiac. Though if you’re hoping for something that is, here’s our official list of aphrodisiac foods to boost sexual desire.

  • While some studies show promise and there’s plenty of anecdotal information, the research about cannabis and libido is still lacking.

  • This doesn’t mean marijuana definitively isn’t an aphrodisiac or that it won’t do anything for your libido. We just need more conclusive research before we can recommend that you incorporate terpenes into your toy box or introduce cannabis lube to your sexual activity.

  • But marijuana won’t treat sexual dysfunction. If you’re experiencing ED, it's best to speak with your healthcare provider about what your options are. If you have physical causes of ED, sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) offers a more viable solution by helping blood flow to the penis. It's a clinically proven and verifiable way to help you achieve and maintain an erection.

  • If you view marijuana as enjoyable, then everyday activities like eating, watching TV, or having sex are going to be more fun while you’re under the influence. 

  • And if you have a lot of anxiety about sex and smoking a joint generally alleviates stress for you, then marijuana may be an aphrodisiac for you. That’s because there are a variety of psychological causes of ED.

While weed has the potential to influence psychological drivers of ED, it's worth noting that there are plenty of physical issues that contribute to bedroom performance problems. If you’re experiencing issues that marijuana isn’t fixing, or you want a more proven solution, learn more about the erectile dysfunction treatments that we offer, including our chewable ED hard mints.

9 Sources

  1. Fantus, R. J., et. al. (2020). The effect of tetrahydrocannabinol on testosterone among men in the United States: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32067074/
  2. Lynn, B. K., et. al. (2019). The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522945/
  3. Moser, A., et al. (2023). The influence of cannabis on sexual functioning and satisfaction. https://jcannabisresearch.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s42238-022-00169-2
  4. Roman, Pablo. (2022). “The Influence of Cannabis and Alcohol Use on Sexuality: An Observational Study in Young People (18–30 Years).” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8775629/
  5. Sun, A. J., & Eisenberg, M. L. (2017). Association Between Marijuana Use and Sexual Frequency in the United States: A Population-Based Study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29110804/
  6. Teixeira, T. A., et. al. (2022). Marijuana Is Associated With a Hormonal Imbalance Among Several Habits Related to Male Infertility: A Retrospective Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9580681/
  7. Thistle, J. E., et. al. (2017). Marijuana use and serum testosterone concentrations among U.S. males. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5660879/
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023). Cannabis (marijuana) Drugfacts. Nassar GN, Leslie SW. (2023). Physiology, Testosterone. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/cannabis-marijuana
  9. Wiebe, E., & Just, A. (2019). How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31447385/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kelly Brown MD, MBA
Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Dr. Kelly Brown is a board certified Urologist and fellowship trained in Andrology. She is an accomplished men’s health expert with a robust background in healthcare innovation, clinical medicine, and academic research. Dr. Brown is a founding member of Posterity Health where she is Medical Director and leads strategy and design of their Digital Health Platform, an innovative education and telehealth model for delivering expert male fertility care.

She completed her undergraduate studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (go Heels!) with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science and a Minor in Chemistry. She took a position at University of California Los Angeles as a radiologic technologist in the department of Interventional Cardiology, further solidifying her passion for medicine. She also pursued the unique opportunity to lead departmental design and operational development at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, sparking her passion for the business of healthcare.

Dr. Brown then went on to obtain her doctorate in medicine from the prestigious Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine and Masters in Business Administration from Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Management. During her surgical residency in Urology at University of California San Francisco, she utilized her research year to focus on innovations in telemedicine and then served as chief resident with significant contributions to clinical quality improvement. Dr. Brown then completed her Andrology Fellowship at Medical College of Wisconsin, furthering her expertise in male fertility, microsurgery, and sexual function.

Her dedication to caring for patients with compassion, understanding, as well as a unique ability to make guys instantly comfortable discussing anything from sex to sperm makes her a renowned clinician. In addition, her passion for innovation in healthcare combined with her business acumen makes her a formidable leader in the field of men’s health.

Dr. Brown is an avid adventurer; summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania (twice!) and hiking the incredible Torres del Paine Trek in Patagonia, Chile. She deeply appreciates new challenges and diverse cultures on her travels. She lives in Denver with her husband, two children, and beloved Bernese Mountain Dog. You can find Dr. Brown on LinkedIn for more information.

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