Disclaimer: This article addresses adults and legal cannabis users. Please follow the law when consuming cannabis.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Rev wants to discuss the relationship between cannabis and sexual health. For patients who turn to cannabis for its medicinal properties and healing benefits, bringing cannabis into the bedroom can be the start of an amazing journey. But like any good relationship, you need to approach it the right way — and listen to expert advice!
To learn more about the sexual health benefits of mindfully using cannabis, our resident “Canna Mom” Barbara Van Hoosen spoke with two licensed healthcare professionals and cannabis advocates: RN-BSN Sherri Tutkus (Chief Nursing Officer and VP of Nursing at Holistic Caring, Co-Founder at The Green Nurse) and Dr. Jordan Tishler (President of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, Founder of inhaleMD).
Here are the highlights of their conversation!
First Step to Cannabis in the Bedroom: Go Solo
Nurse Sherri and Dr. Tishler are both advocates for combining cannabis with coitus, but they also acknowledge that starting this journey isn’t always easy. “Cannabis can help people address issues around sexual difficulties, but it can also be daunting,” says Dr. Tishler. “When we start thinking about coupled sex, we have a whole other layer of meaning to deal with.”
Both healthcare professionals agree the best way to start is to use cannabis on your own before doing so with your (consenting and legal-user) partner. “Patients should make a date with themselves,” Nurse Sherri advises. “Take the time to learn about the plant, your body, and then use it in a safe and effective way before you bring it into the bedroom with another partner.”
This essentially means “working solo,” as Dr. Tishler puts it — feeling how cannabis affects your own libido, arousal, orgasm frequency and intensity, or other personal explorations. “We want to practice using cannabis before bringing a lover into the picture,” Dr. Tishler explains. “Do it yourself before having to consider what you and your partner are thinking, feeling, and how you’re interacting with each other.”
How Cannabis Interacts with Sexual Systems
Both Dr. Tishler and Nurse Sherri have experience working with Ashley Monta, another educator and coach who advocates for the mindful combination of sex and cannabis. Along with discussing “working solo” and using cannabis to explore your mind, body and spirit, Ashley has discussed the two sexual systems at play in human beings: the Sexual Excitement system (step on the gas, let’s go!) and the Sexual Inhibition system (stop the brakes, not happening).
When one’s Sexual Excitement system is revved up, their awareness of “sexual and redolent stimuli goes up,” Nurse Sherri explains. Because cannabis can additionally heighten sensations and increase your “field of awareness,” bringing cannabis into the bedroom responsibly can even further Rev up your Sexual Excitement system.
Mindful cannabis usage could also help people overcome their Sexual Inhibition triggers. “Utilizing cannabis can help you relax, and pull back emotional or mental trauma,” says Barb. She adds that along with the “mood, elevation, and euphoria” some patients feel when using cannabis, there’s “certainly some interference with your pain receptors and endocannabinoid system, too.”
Male vs. Female Sexual Systems and Cannabis
“Cannabis has been shown now to be very effective and stimulating libido in both men and women,” Dr. Tishler tells us, “but it’s very much dependent on how you do it and how much you take.” Nurse Sherri completely agrees, calling cannabis a “multifactorial” medicine.
A small amount of women seek sexual help when purchasing medical cannabis, but the percentage of men seeking this kind of assistance “is basically zip,” says Dr. Tishler. “We think erectile dysfunction is the only issue men face, and that’s very much not the case,” he continues. “Issues around libido are huge for men as well — they’re just usually not as willing to talk about it.”
Interestingly, cannabis dosage tends to be more of an issue in men than it is for women due to natural fluctuations of estrogen. Estrogen is “a huge magnifying glass for cannabis,” Nurse Sherri explains. “Women tend to be more sensitive to cannabis when estrogen levels are high — meaning cannabis might be less effective before our menstrual cycle, and we might need more during this time.”
Ensuring proper dosage is another reason why it’s important to go solo before coming together. It’s normal for two people to need different amounts of cannabis in order to achieve the same desired effects!
Cannabis Dosage in the Bedroom
When it comes to dosing out cannabis before getting down to business, it’s important to start low and slow. “I always suggest systemic administration, starting with a relatively low THC or medium THC cannabis product,” Dr. Tishler advises. This gives you time to evaluate how you’re feeling, and “find gradations between doses” to find your perfect fit.
Dosage also depends on the kind of cannabis product being used. When ingesting cannabis flower, there are non-THC components in the plant that can further interact with your body. “I always point people to flower that’s in that 15 to 20% THC range,” says Dr Tishler. By doing so, patients can leave room for the entire plant’s chemical profile to take effect.
Lovers should also go slow when using cannabis lubricants, oils, and topicals. “When THC specifically is applied ‘down there’ over a fairly lengthy period of time — 40 odd minutes — the skin will absorb just enough for some to develop heightened sensitivity,” Dr. Tishler explains. “Some people find this helpful, while others might find it overly sensitive and uncomfortable.”
“What we want is a safe, high-quality, medium potency cannabis product that can be administered reliably,” Dr. Tishler asserts.
The Three “ions” of Sex and Cannabis: Location, Intention, Conversation
Along with knowing how cannabis interacts with your sexual systems, physical body, and mental awareness, it’s important to be mindful and intentional when using and experimenting with cannabis. “It’s really, really important to use cannabis intentionally in the bedroom,” says Nurse Sherri. This includes using cannabis in the right place, and at the right time.
“Do this in a safe space at a time where there are no competing stimuli, where there are no kids banging on the door, and all of those sorts of things,” Dr. Tishler says. “You want to set up an environment where you’re most likely to succeed — one that gives you the opportunity to see what this medication feels like and what feelings arise, both ‘down there’ as well as emotionally.”
It’s also important for couples to “have conversations around cannabis and sex outside the bedroom before co-consuming,” Nurse Sherri adds. Not only does this help address sexual inhibition up front and prevent it as much as possible, but also helps with the “polarity and ‘push/pull’ that really excites the Sexual Excitement system,” she continues. “ How fun and sexy is it to talk about sex before you even get there?”
“I love this idea of really trying to identify and control for multiple variables before just making a global guess,” Barb shares. “It’s important to realize when cannabis is the key factor in a situation, and understand how it enables you to experience something differently.”
Benefits of Sex Beyond Cannabis
Using cannabis to support your sexual health can bring a fun and exciting dimensin to your relationship. But did you know that by encouraging better sex with cannabis, you can actually boost your entire body’s health?
It’s true! “Cannabinoid therapeutics offer optimal endocannabinoid system signaling for homeostasis amongst all of these systems,” Nurse Sherri explains. To put it more simply, you feel better when you take good care of your body and endocannabinoid system.
Sex has the potential to:
- Relieve headaches
- Clear a stuffy nose
- Spur estrogen production, making hair softer and shiny
- Safely burn calories
- Clean your pores from sweat, making your skin glow
- Release endorphins, even helping with depression
- Act as natural muscle relaxer and tranquilizer
- Release more pheromones, making your partner fall in love even more
“When we’re looking at total health care, we’re looking at biological health, psychological health, social health, and spiritual health,” says Nurse Sherri. “And the plant is constantly evolving, constantly changing, and information is even becoming more available and more amazing.”
Discover more ways cannabis can benefit your sexual health and relationships:
Explore Cannabis with Rev
Rev is a Massachusetts dispensary, dedicated to helping patients unlock the healing potential of cannabis in a safe and regulated manner. Along with reading our other educational blogs, be sure to check out Rev’s medical dispensary menu and place an order online!