Marijuana and male sexual function
While marijuana has been around for decades or maybe even centuries, it’s never been more mainstream as it continues to be legalized in various states across America, and soon in the entire country of Canada. However, as we’ve all seen with alcohol and the effects thereof – just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.
Marijuana does have a vocal following of supporters touting its health benefits, but there are also many people who have concerns about the long term health affects of using marijuana – especially if it is being smoked.
Many men enjoy occasional marijuana use. But is smoking marijuana good for your overall health? What about male sexual function? As doctors and scientists learn more about marijuana use and its effect on health, more is being discovered about marijuana and its impact on male sexual function.
Does marijuana help or hurt a man’s sexual performance?
The answer to this question might depend on the type of marijuana he uses and the amount.
Research suggests that that men who use marijuana more frequently are more likely to have sexual problems, such as weak erections and premature ejaculation.
Marijuana can have hundreds of ingredients and preparations vary. But the key to understanding the effects of marijuana is found in cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These chemicals bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body. It’s this binding that leads to marijuana’s “high” feeling. An individual’s experience with marijuana will depend on what exactly is in the mixture.
Some men say sex is better when they’re high. They might feel less anxious and less inhibited, which can make them enjoy the experience more. They might also have better control over ejaculation. Research also suggests that people who use marijuana have sex more frequently than those who don’t.
Others wouldn’t dream of using marijuana before a sexual encounter, as it can also have a negative impact on male sexual function.
7 Potential Negative Side Effects of Marijuana on Male Sexual Performance
- Reduced sexual desire
- Problems getting an erection
- Trouble reaching climax
- Premature Ejaculation
- Poor Judgement
- Unsafe sex/Risk of STD’s
Experts say that heavier marijuana users are more likely to have sexual issues than those who use small amounts every once in a while. Researchers have long argued that dosage is a very important consideration when looking at the effects of this drug, just like it is with alcohol. If you consume marijuana or alcohol in small quantities, the inhibitory effects on sexual performance tend to be pretty minimal. In fact, you may actually experience an overall performance boost with low doses due to these drugs lowering inhibitions and stimulating desire.
In contrast, when drugs like marijuana and alcohol are consumed in larger quantities, erectile and other sexual problems (e.g., difficultly reaching orgasm) become much more likely.
Marijuana use and Erectile Dysfunction
Consistent with the idea that higher doses of cannabis may be problematic, research has found that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction is three times as high for daily marijuana smokers compared to those who don’t use it at all.
In 2017 ‘The Journal of Sexual Medicine‘ published a study suggesting a link between marijuana and erectile dysfunction.
To understand this link between marijuana and ED, it helps to understand how marijuana affects the brain. The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. When a person uses marijuana, THC interacts with proteins in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. This interaction impairs the person’s brain function.
Researchers discovered that cannabinoid receptors are also present in penile tissue. They suggest that the interaction with THC likewise impairs penile function (possibly causing erectile dysfunction), although more study is needed.
How will marijuana use affect MY sexual performance?
It’s hard to know how smoking marijuana will affect your sexual function until you try it. Marijuana affects everyone differently, and not just when it comes to sex.
The different psychoactive effects of marijuana probably result from a combination of differences in drug sensitivity as well as usage of different cannabis strains; and it is very likely that different guys will experience different sexual effects based on how it interacts with their own body chemistry.
Animal studies have found that cannabis has an inhibitory effect on certain receptors inside the erectile tissue of the penis. While there is no similar research showing the same thing in humans because of ethical and legal difficulties in conducting the research, but the animal findings suggest that marijuana is more of a sexual inhibitor than it is a sexual enhancer.
The bottom line with marijuana use is similar to with most other things. Over-indulging is not a good idea, and moderation is always a good idea. If you feel that marijuana improves your sexual performance – then it probably does. Even if marijuana makes you feel like a sex machine in the bedroom – it’s probably still a good idea to enjoy it occasionally and not overdo it.
Men who feel that their marijuana use is causing sexual problems (or becoming excessive in general) are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider. Marijuana use can cause fertility problems in both men and women, so couples who want to conceive are advised to avoid marijuana use.
If you’re experiencing erectile dysfunction or problems with orgasm, consider your marijuana intake. And if you have concerns about testicular cancer or fertility, speak to your doctor. With occasional or light use – most men will not notice any serious impact on their sexual function or performance – and may in fact see improved performance and sexual enjoyment.
Only you can tell which direction it will go for you. Listen to your penis – it always knows!