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Can Marijuana Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Reviewed by Kelly Brown MD, MBA

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 06/05/2019

Updated 04/22/2024

Unfortunately, yes. If you were coming here in hopes of a different answer to the question of whether weed can cause ED, we’re here to tell you that, like most recreational drugs, marijuana has potential side effects — including an elevated risk of experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED).

However, the scientific research on the link between weed and ED is mixed. Some studies suggest that marijuana reduces sexual performance, while others claim the exact opposite. 

Whether you’re wondering, can smoking weed everyday cause erectile dysfunction, or you’re worried about taking the occasional edible, it’s important to know how weed may affect your sexual functioning. Read on for more about weed’s effect on ED, as well as how ED meds like Viagra® and marijuana mix.

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Like lots of other things related to marijuana consumption, the jury is currently still out on whether or not marijuana use is associated with sexual issues. That said, we’ve compiled some anecdotal evidence on weed’s effects on the sexual experience and sexual behavior in general:

  • Many marijuana users report feeling more interested in having sex after smoking marijuana or eating marijuana edibles. 

  • Some also report that they enjoy sexual encounters more when they feel stoned.

  • However, others report issues with sexual performance after smoking, including “weed dick” — one of many terms for marijuana-related ED.

It’s important to keep in mind that most of the sex-related claims you hear about or read about online regarding marijuana are anecdotal, meaning they shouldn’t be treated as proven side effects or benefits.

That said, given cannabis use alters your mental and physical state through the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, it’s not improbable that it would have some sort of sexual impact. 

The direct effects of cannabis include relief from pain, altered senses, changes in mood and a degree of impairment in thinking and functioning.

Marijuana’s psychoactive effects — the effects that change the way your brain functions — are caused by a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Most of these are the result of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the most significant active chemical in marijuana.

When you use marijuana, THC travels through your bloodstream to your brain, where it acts on specific receptors. These cannabinoid receptors affect several aspects of your thoughts and mood, causing the “high” that’s associated with the use of cannabis.

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Short-Term Side Effects of Smoking Weed

The amount of time that’s required for THC to have an effect on your mood varies based on how you consume marijuana. When marijuana is eaten, it may take 30 to 60 minutes before you can feel its effects. Smoking or vaping dramatically shortens this window, and some effects may be instantaneous.

With that in mind, common short-term side effects of marijuana use include:

  • An altered sense of time

  • Changes in your senses (for example, being able to see colors differently)

  • Impaired memory, movement and thinking

  • Changes in your moods and feelings

When marijuana is consumed in high doses or at a high level of potency, it can also contribute to hallucinations, delusions and psychosis.

Long-Term Side Effects of Smoking Weed

Although marijuana causes most noticeable effects in the short term, it can also have long-term effects on certain parts of your body. 

For example, research suggests that long-term marijuana use is associated with a reduction in your ability to think, form memories and learn new functions. Additionally, weed can have the following long-term effects:

  • Marijuana may affect the way that your brain develops connections.

  • Marijuana use can cause lung irritation, which may result in breathing problems.

  • It can also contribute to a high heart rate that may persist for several hours after smoking.

Other physical issues associated with marijuana use include nausea, vomiting and, in women, a higher risk of problems associated with child development both during pregnancy.

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The link between marijuana and ED isn’t crystal clear. However, research suggests that marijuana use may have a negative effect on your cardiovascular system, an issue that could affect blood flow to your penis and erectile function. 

  • In the short term, marijuana can cause an increase in systolic blood pressure. High blood pressure and erectile dysfunction are linked, meaning you may find it harder to get an erection after smoking marijuana.

  • Other research has found a more direct association between marijuana use and sexual dysfunction issues such as ED. In a 2011 review of study data, researchers stated that marijuana could stimulate certain receptors in the tissue of the penis, potentially increasing the risk of ED while the chemicals in marijuana are still active in the body.

  • Another study that was published in 2010 found a link between marijuana use and difficulty achieving orgasm in men. Interestingly, marijuana use was also associated with elevated rates of PE, or premature ejaculation, in men who participated in the study.

Marijuana contains many of the same substances as tobacco, which can pass into your body when it’s smoked. Many of these substances can harm your heart and lungs over the long term, potentially increasing your risk of developing cardiovascular-related health issues.

Overall, research findings on marijuana and sex are mixed. For example, one study published in 2017 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that marijuana may be correlated with an increase in sexual desire. 

The study, which used a survey of data from more than 50,000 men and women, found that use of marijuana was “independently associated with increased sexual frequency.”  Further, the study noted that marijuana use did not appear to impair sexual function in the men and women surveyed. 

Although the researchers concluded that the findings were reassuring, they stated that the effects of marijuana on male sexual health and function “warrant further study.”

Other research has found that marijuana use may make sex more enjoyable for women. In one study published in Sexual Medicine in 2019, researchers found that women who reported using marijuana prior to sex reported increases in sex drive, improved orgasms and less pain.

A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, which used data from more than 200 online questionnaire participants, suggests that most people who use marijuana before sex have positive or neutral results.

According to the study, 38 percent of respondents said that sex was more enjoyable after using marijuana, while only 4.7 percent said it was worse. Participants reported feeling more sensitive to touch after using marijuana, having stronger orgasms and feeling more interested in sex.

However, it’s worth noting that some participants reported sexual performance issues, including negative effects such as difficulty reaching orgasm, while under the influence of marijuana.

Because marijuana is still a Schedule I drug, research into its potential interactions with Viagra and other ED medications is currently limited. This is also the case for other FDA-approved erectile dysfunction medications, such as tadalafil (generic for Cialis®) and avanafil (generic for Stendra®).

ED medications are safe and effective for most men. However, like other medications, they can cause drug interactions when they’re used with other medications, recreational drugs and other substances.

There have been isolated case reports of marijuana interacting with sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra). For example, a report published in the journal Clinical Cardiology in 2006 states that marijuana can inhibit the isoenzyme cytochrome P450 3A4, which is involved in the metabolization of sildenafil. This could potentially increase the risk of side effects if Viagra and weed are used together. 

To reduce your risk of experiencing drug interactions, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before using any ED medications if you often consume marijuana. They’ll be able to inform you about how you can treat erectile dysfunction safely and provide personalized medical advice.

During the conversation, you should also mention to a healthcare professional what other medications you’re taking as a cannabis user, as marijuana also can cause interactions with other medications, including several common over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Because it affects multiple enzymes, marijuana can potentially affect a large range of common medications, including drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. In addition to these mental health medications, weed also can interact with medications prescribed to treat certain allergies, cardiovascular health issues, viral infections and other issues.

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Does weed cause ED? Can being high affect your erections and sexual function? Right now, we don’t have all the answers about the impact of marijuana on sexual health, but we’re learning more at a rapid pace. 

Both medical and recreational marijuana have only been legal for a short period of time and in a select few states. Because of this, research on marijuana’s effects on male sexual performance is very limited, with only a few large-scale studies available from which to draw data.

Right now, some studies indicate that marijuana can have positive effects on sexual enjoyment, while others suggest that it’s linked to erectile dysfunction and other sexual health issues. 

On the whole, there just isn’t enough high quality scientific evidence available at this point to give a definitive conclusion on whether weed is good or bad for your sex life and if weed can cause ED.

If you experience erectile dysfunction after using marijuana, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider to explore ED treatment options. You may be able to improve your sexual function by cutting back on marijuana prior to sex, taking days off from weed or making other changes to your habits and daily lifestyle. 

You also might explore other solutions to ED, such as different types of therapy or our chewable ED meds.

13 Sources

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  5. Lynn, B.K., et al. (2019, June). The Relationship between Marijuana Use Prior to Sex and Sexual Function in Women. Sexual Medicine. 7 (2), 192-197. Retrieved from
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  9. Shamloul, R. & Bella, A.J. (2011, April 1). Impact of Cannabis Use on Male Sexual Health. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 8 (4), 971--975. Retrieved from
  10. Smith, A.M., et al. (2010, February 1). Cannabis Use and Sexual Health. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 7 (2), 787-793. Retrieved from
  11. Wiebe, E. & Just, A. (2019, November). How Cannabis Alters Sexual Experience: A Survey of Men and Women. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 16 (11), 1758-1762. Retrieved from
  12. McLeod, A.L. (2002, March). Myocardial infarction following the combined recreational use of viagra® and cannabis. Clinical Cardiology. 25 (3), 133-134. Retrieved from
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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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