Can Marijuana Blunt Your Sexual Health?

It's hard to say what cannabis actually does to your erection, but here's what science tells us.

Can Marijuana Blunt Your Sexual Health?
Images: Photo by Nayan Sutariya/EyeEm/Getty Images, Illustration by cheifyc via Pixabay

OK, first of all, weed is not going to give you a bigger penis with superhero abilities.

It makes sense that it could have some kind of influence though. Science has shown that we have receptors distributed from our head to toes made to interact with our endocannabinoids, compounds similar to those found in cannabis. It is part of our chemistry, at a cellular level. 

We wanted to know more about how cannabis may affect men’s sexual health, so we asked The Fresh Toast Medical Director, Dr. Thomas Green, a board-certified urologist who has helped men be their best sexual selves for the past (nearly) 40 years. He pointed out that for young men, a common concern is erections:

When I evaluate men with impotency, I categorize the potential causes: circulatory, neurologic, hormonal and psychological. My experience is that there is commonly psychological overlay for medical erectile difficulties. In the younger age groups, there is a higher incidence of pure psychological impotence than the older age groups.

Let’s take a look at each of those.

Circulatory concerns

Some Canadian researchers chose to study marijuana and monkey erections. Really, they did. They discovered a negative effect in the smooth muscle tissue of the monkey penis. It seems that high doses of THC decreased the ability of the smooth muscle of the erectile body to contract and made erections less likely, while smaller doses showed no change. Thus, a super high monkey is not always a hard monkey. Point taken.

Neurological

We do know that being high can create the perception of shifted time or an ability to be lost in the moment. In one small Canadian study, half of respondents said cannabis was sex enhancing and delayed orgasm. We do not know if this was a true change or a difference in the perception of time. Two-thirds said it had a positive effect on their sexual desire. Others found it killed their love buzz.

Hormonal

Findings regarding how using cannabis affects testosterone vary widely and are rather inconclusive so far. Higher consumption rates of cannabis have been tied to lower testosterone levels. These levels seem to readjust as quickly as 24 hours after use is stopped or reduced. We do know that frequent users are leaner and less likely to be obese. Being fit can allow for a more active and even athletic sexual expression. That’s not bad.

Psychological

“It’s not about the body, it’s about the mind,” to quote the late, great musical genius Prince, who certainly knew a thing or two about sex. Performance anxiety can increase with an intense high. So, guys with an inconsistent erection may not want to smoke out before the big moment or they may risk getting too much in their head. On the other hand, cannabis can help make a good sexual experience a nearly mystical one, given the right balance.

As you may have gathered, none of this is absolutely resolved, not by scientific standards.

Being a good doctor, concerned for our general health and safety, Dr. Green left us with a bit of professional advice:

We have much to learn about the effect of cannabis on erections. Lower doses tend to reduce anxiety and higher doses tend to increase anxiety. If we look at the effects of anxiety on erections, it appears that anxiety can cause intermittent impotence. Therefore, on an anecdotal basis I would recommend moderation to increase the odds of erectile success.

Here is some fun homework if you are ready to take matters into your own hands. Find some time and privacy to enjoy some good, clean cannabis home alone and see how marijuana may affect your erection. If things go well, invite your partner to try a special, elevated experience. While we wait for additional data to answer these questions, you may have fun doing your own home-grown research. 

Note: Dr. Thomas Green writes the “Ask the Doctor” column for The Fresh Toast. If you have any medical questions, please send it to Dr. Green

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