Written by: Tanya Griffin, Founder of OoYes Inc.
It is well known, especially for women, that sex is as much about the brain as it is the body. Showing up and staying present can not only induce prolonged sexual pleasure, but it can also lead to an incredible orgasm.
In her article, Here's What Happens To Your Brain When You Orgasm, Insider Consultant, Sofia Mitrokotas explored the use of MRI scans when studying the brain during climax and shared some remarkable insights when it comes to hormones such as dopamine and the body’s release of endorphins, oxytocin, prolactin, and vasopressin.
The magic that happens when you have an orgasm is nothing short of spectacular. The surge of dopamine, a hormone responsible for the feelings of pleasure, desire, and motivation, and the spontaneous reward that comes as this ‘pleasure’ chemical ravages our mind and body teaches us to want more and more. The release of endorphins, vasopressin and oxytocin also promote pain reduction, intimacy, and bonding.
Not unlike eating a delicious meal, hearing a favorite song, or the freedom and excitement one may feel when using cannabis, pleasurable sex also triggers and stimulates reward pathways. The benefits of these magical hormones surging through the body go beyond intimacy and bonding compounding when kindness is shared between one another.
So if pleasurable sex does all this why are we not prioritizing more and better sex? What will it take to get and keep us in the mood?
Similar to the demonization of cannabis, being free in our bodies and removing the cultural and societal influences is often not enough to offset even the most powerful of hormones and chemical reactions that occur during love making with ourselves or others.
Cannabis and Sex
Sex and cannabis have long been intertwined throughout Eastern and Western medicine. As early as the seventh century cannabis has been integral in tantric rituals and marriage ceremonies in India, and Europeans jumped on board from the 1850s to the 1940's before money, politics and religious ideology took control and demonized the plant.. The US Pharmacopeia promoted cannabis aphrodisiac pills and extracts made by pharmaceutical companies like Ely Lilly and Upjohn and physicians recommended cannabis use for “pleasant intoxication”, “stimulating the sexual appetite,” and to treat “sexual torpor” in women (in other words, lack of sexual desire.)
This love for cannabis would all come to a screeching halt in the late 1930’s when the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner, Harry Anslinger made claims that cannabis turned women into nymphomaniacs, and much worse. His rhetoric would help advance the criminalization of cannabis and land the plant its current designation as a Schedule I controlled substance. The US then spread and enforced its ‘war on drugs' rendering the cannabis plant a worldwide villain. Thankfully, the tides of cannabis legalization are finally turning and, once again, cannabis is being used to enhance sexual pleausre.
When it comes to sex and cannabis, one size does not fit all! Mitigating factors such as sexual orientation, age, mindset about our bodies, sexual experiences, relationship dynamics, physical disorders, libido, hormones, menopause, pregnancy, breastfeeding, stress, pain, etc. etc. can each disrupt the path to sexual health and wellness. All this before we even discuss the “orgasm gap”.
Although this gap has been firmly cemented through cultural and religious ideology, there is hope my friend. Sociologist, Kathleen Rowland, found that “neither medical malady nor psychological condition but rather a result of our culture’s troubled relationship with women’s sexual expression” is at the root of this difference. Similar to the legalization of cannabis, we have made great strides in accepting other taboo subjects like opening the door to female sexuality. Our job now is to make sure this door stays open and that the path is clear.
We have long understood that women have the upperhand when it comes to sex. Our bodies are capable of multiple orgasms and once they get started, they can roll baby roll! Furthermore, men and women may not be created equally when it comes to cannabis. Although we are just getting around to being allowed to study the cannabis plant and its effects on the human mind and body, early studies suggest that while men’s libidos may lower with cannabis use, women experience the opposite effect. In a 2019 study published in Women’s Sexual Health, thanks to cannabis, women reported improvements in their libido, pleasure and orgasm departments.
Mind, Body and Cannabis
Let’s face it. Sex is as much in the mind as it is in the body. At oOYes, we believe that great sex starts with open communication, showing up and staying present. Whether you choose to bring pleasure products, lubes, or partner(s) into the bedroom, you are opening the door to a new and potentially exciting sexual experience.
When it comes to cannabis and pleasure one of the key benefits comes with the ability to ‘free your mind’. In his book, How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan speaks to the “importance of forgetting” and staying present. Recent research suggests that the naturally occurring neurotransmitter anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid also known as ‘the body’s own marijuana’, helps to calm the stress response, lowers cortisol and ultimately, helps us erase traumatic memories. Cannabidiol (CBD) boosts the production of this trauma-soothing molecule, and THC mimics it, interacting with the same receptors.
Although we are only beginning to understand the biological mechanisms of both sex and cannabis we have discovered that the part of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, the same part that responds positively to erotic stimuli, suggest that THC in cannabis reacts to the same receptors intensiyifying the desire to experience pleasure and keep one focused and in the mood for more and better sex.
Moderation is Key
While research has shown that women who include cannabis in their sex play experienced increased pleasure, studies have yet to demonstrate the optimal cannabis potency, ratios, strains or infused products certain to deliver a predictible high. Like sex, it will take experimentation, an open mind and plenty of practice to consistently hit that ‘sweet spot’. Unlike great sex, moderation is key.
Those of us who have mindfully blended cannabis into sex play have joined the choir of anecdotal reporting singing the praises of cannabis and sex. As a cannagasmic warrior you also learn that more is not always better. The key is to go slow, take note of dosage relative to sensation and keep practicing understanding that great sex happens as much in your head as your body, and each time will be different.
When it comes to topical use, like our Well Balanced CBD Lube, you have more leeway to experiment and less risk over doing it. That being said, the mouth and vagina are both vessels rich in mucus membranes ready to deliver cannabis to mind and body.
Due to puritanical ideology and government overreach neither sex or cannabis have been properly researched. We are only beginning to understand the magical reactions our mind and bodies have to major and minor cannabinoids and the chemical reactions that come when we play with pleasure.
What we know beyond the anecdotal evidence is that CBD reduces pain, inflammation, anxiety and can increase blood flow, while minor cannabinoids such as CBG add cell rejuvenation and antibacterial, antifungal qualities.
A guide for use
If you choose to use cannabis-infused products during pleasure, the fun part will be experimenting to find what combination works best for you. We are not all created equally when it comes to dosage and the effects of cannabis products.
A safe place to start with cannabis is with topicals such as infused lubes and oils. Topicals can be applied directly to your skin, localizing the cannagasm while exciting the mind with a new experience. It is recommended to allow up to 10 minutes for pre-lubes to seep into the mucous membranes and hit the bloodstream.
While non-THC infused ecstatic sex products like oOYes and Well Balanced can be purchased online or at local retail stores, THC-dominant products should be purchased at a license dispensary to ensure products or safe and lab tested. When shopping at a dispensary, you can rely on a seasoned budtender to guide you through the best product that is right for you.
Choosing cannabis for sex
While opening your mind and body to explore cannabis products and pleasure, we encourage you to try new and exciting play into your sex life. Whether solo or with a partner, giving yourself permission to fall deep into your sexualty and awareness can elevate the effects of the cannabis. As with any substance and sex, it is important to discuss ground rules and consent with your partner prior to consumption.