For many, indulging our primal instinct to copulate can be anything but easy. Nearly 75% (or one in three in women) will experience dyspareunia, or pain or discomfort during sex, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
For women, common causes of dyspareunia include dryness, muscle spasms (vaginismus), inflammation, and other conditions including endometriosis.
Cannabis was prescribed for a variety of gynecological conditions until it was stripped from the medical community in the 20th century. Gynecological use of the plant was first documented 4,000 years ago, and its use can be traced all the way back to ancient China, Mesopotamia and Egypt. In just one well-documented example from human history, Queen Victoria’s physician prescribed cannabis tinctures to treat period pain. Long before her reign, however, hemp was used in female-based medicine for centuries. One herbal remedy from the 1480s “advises that, for [c-sections], the mother should be bandaged with “a plaster made of three eggs, hemp cloth and Armenian earth.”
The cannabis plant was also employed as an aphrodisiac. Michael Aldrich, author of “Tantric Cannabis Use in India,” details the use of cannabis in sexual rituals to induce euphoria and spiritual awakening in his book.
It was these benefits and more that inspired Mathew Gerson to found Foria, the first company to develop cannabis-infused pleasure products, including lubricants and suppositories. Now, many are re-discovering cannabis’ positive effects on both pain and pleasure.
“Our first product, Pleasure, was created to address the ‘orgasm gap’ or the ‘pleasure gap’ between men and women,” said Gerson. “Big Pharma has created countless Viagra-style drugs for men with next to nothing for women’s arousal challenges (let alone women’s problems with menstrual or sexual pain).”
A lubricant specifically designed with women in mind, Pleasure continually receives rave reviews from users in California and Colorado, where the product is currently available. The award-winning blend of sungrown cannabis and certified-organic coconut MCT oil earns an overall five-star rating from users throughout North America.
“Pleasure is an ultra-pure blend of liquid coconut oil and THC, but because of the way it’s used [topically], it isn’t as much psychoactive as it is sexually activating,” said Gerson.
The ECS and Sex
Research in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has shown that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in female sexual arousal. The ECS is comprised of receptors which are activated by cannabinoids.
Our bodies are chock-full of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2); they’re even found in our reproductive tracts. In females, CB receptors “are most dense in the uterus, but are also found in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina and vulva,” Foria reports on its website.
Here, the receptors help mediate nerve sensations; control inflammation; influence hormone secretion; and ease muscle spasms. Applying phytocannabinoids directly to your vulva can also increase blood flow.
“When you experience sexual arousal, blood rushes to your clitoris and vagina, creating opening, elongating and lubrication,” said Genevieve R. Moore Ph.D. It makes sense that cannabinoids could help this process along. “Vasodilation is the reason people’s eyes can redden when they get high (and also why cannabis is an effective treatment for glaucoma).”
Further research suggests that cannabinoids are effective at calming muscle spasms. Though much of the science focuses on muscle spasticity in patients with spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis, anecdotal evidence further proves cannabis eases muscle contractions and symptoms of PMS (including nausea).
The Analgesic Abilities of Cannabis
A recently released study published in the journal Phytochemistry shows cannabinoids to be powerful pain relievers. The study found the plant produces two molecules that battle inflammation. Those molecules, cannaflavin A and B, are 30 times more effective by weight at reducing inflammation than aspirin.
Pain during sex kills libido. One of the leading causes of dyspareunia is lack of lubrication, according to Psychology Today. The inclusion of lubricant can ease friction, and therefore discomfort. Infused lubricants go even further to ease pain, thanks to the analgesic properties of cannabis.
This may be why Foria’s infused lubes are so effective at relieving localized pain “down there.”
While more research is needed, the link between cannabinoids and pleasure is shown to be more than anecdotal. In fact, a recent study conducted by Stanford scientists found that cannabis users have 20% more sex than non-users.
TELL US, have you used cannabis to enhance a sexual experience?