Cannabidiol (CBD) can play a role in everyday health and wellness, supporting heightened energy levels*, stress relief*, and youthful, hydrated skin. It seems every area of can be positiively impacted by the phytocannabinoid, your sex life included. How can CBD help support enhanced intimacy, mood, and desire?
Getting to know CBD, the endocannabinoid system, and sex
Understanding how CBD and sex intertwine means getting to know your endogenous cannabinoid system and the compounds that interact with it, including CBD.
All humans have an endogenous cannabinoid system, also known as the endocannabinoid system or the ECS. Discovered by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, your endocannabinoid system can be found in nearly every part of your body, including your central nervous system, brain, organs, skin, and immune system. As your body’s great regulator, the ECS plays a significant role in allover balance and well-being,* helping to maintain homeostasis, or your body’s natural state of being.*
Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids interact with receptors found throughout your ECS. And while CBD is not made by your body, it does interact with your ECS receptors by allowing your body to preserve its own supply of endocannabinoids* It’s just one of many phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids sourced from plants like hemp, that like endocannabinoids engage with the ECS.
There are high concentrations of endocannabinoid receptors in many parts of the brain connected to sexual functioning and arousal, including the hypothalamus, cerebellum, hippocampus, cortex, and basal ganglia. ECS receptors can also be found around the adrenal glands, which produce sex hormones, and ovaries, which produce estrogen, as well as other areas of the female reproductive system.
What does the science say about CBD and sex?
Much of what we know about cannabinoids and enhanced arousal is anecdotal. Yet, the science tying together the endocannabinoid system and sex is emerging — and very promising.
One such study, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Sex and Medicine, explored the purported connection between the endocannabinoid system and female sexual functioning and arousal. The study of premenopausal women aged 19 to 45 found “significant associations” between concentrations of endocannabinoids and both physiological and self-assessed sexual arousal.* Researchers focused on the production of the endocannabinoids anandamide, also aptly-named the “bliss molecule,” and 2-AG, and how levels of those endocannabinoids changed based on the subjects’ sexual arousal. The study found a direct correlation between heightened endocannabinoid levels and heightened sexual arousal.*
One possible explored connection in the study is the role the ECS plays in areas of the brain and body that are involved in female sexual functioning processes, such as the brain, adrenal glands, and reproductive organs. Researchers are exploring whether endocannabinoid and phytocannabinoid interaction with receptors in these locations has a wider effect on sexual desire. Researchers are also interested in the relationship between neurotransmitters, CB1 cannabinoid receptors, and the release of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which have an impact on sexual functioning.
The influence of cannabinoids on sexual desire goes beyond influencing the brain. CBD has an impact on vasodilation, which opens up blood vessels and increases blood flow. Increased blood flow to the genital area is associated with increased arousal.
How does CBD influence sex?
As Ashley Manta of the lifestyle brand CannaSexual says, CBD doesn’t need to be applied to your genitals to have a positive effect on your sexual wellbeing. The cannabinoid can be a part of the journey to get you into the right headspace to enjoy sex. Here’s how you can incorporate CBD into your sexual wellness routine:
- CBD can help you relax.* Being in the mood for sex is as much a mental practice as it is a physical one. To that end, stress can make getting into the mood a difficult proposition. Recent studies, like this one published in 2013 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, have demonstrated that it can be difficult to get aroused when your mind is somewhere else, focused on an unfinished to-do list or worried about an unresolved situation at work instead of on arousal and pleasure. By promoting relaxation*, CBD can help you unwind your mind and ease you into a more mellow mood.*
- Balance energy and sleep with CBD.* A lack of quality sleep can inhibit the mental clarity that keeps you from concentrating on anything that isn’t a nap. Incorporating broad spectrum hemp extract products into your routine can help keep up your energy levels and help you get the proper sleep you need to stay focused and in the moment with your partner.* (And don’t discount the good night’s sleep that follows sex.). Consider adding our The Daily vegan softgel capsules into your routine — formulated with 15mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, this little gem can help bring these levels back into balance.*
- CBD products can help set the stage for sex. The lead-up to “the main event” can, and should, be just as pleasurable as sex itself. Why not try a CBD-infused product to help set the scene for an enjoyable experience ahead? Our Soak It In Bath Gem, infused with 25mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, can elevate a romantic bath to a whole new level. Aromatic lavender, relaxing epsom salt, and soothing magnesium can help. If a hot bath isn’t your style, consider giving your partner a massage with a cream like our R+R recovery rub, infused with broad spectrum hemp extract and botanicals like lavender and peppermint.
CBD and sex: Enjoying the moment
While the direct relationship between CBD and sex is still being explored in research labs, the phytocannabinoid can help address what gets in the way of enjoying pleasure. Stress and fatigue can be unwelcome distractions for your sex life, preventing you from focusing on enjoying the moment with yourself or with a partner. Hemp extract-infused products can be a tool as part of a lifestyle centered on health and wellness to help reclaim clarity, focus, and consequently, desire.*