There’s an ever-emerging, wide, new world of Cannabis tinctures and oils designed for use during sex. Typically, these products are referred to as lubricants, but their main function really lies elsewhere. It’s more about increasing sensation, stimulating natural vaginal lubrication and masking pain, rather than providing a little extra slip and slide.
My entry to the category was with Foria’s Pleasure oil, which contains THC. From there, I tried different oils/lubes made by Quim, Velvet Swing, Kush Queen, Her Highness, Toca and eventually, María Magdalena. Most of them contained THC, some were CBD-only. All give instructions to use generously over the vaginal lips, labia, clitoris and general vaginal area. It is also recommended, though not necessarily officially, to use inside the vagina, as well.
But why is Cannabis, specifically THC, good for enhancing sexual pleasure? Why add it to sex at all?
It’s a good question. Lindsay Wynn, the San Diego-based co-founder of Cannabis sexual wellness companies Oshihana and Momotaro Apotheca, explains that, first and foremost, THC is a vasodilator. That means it widens blood vessels, which allows for greater blood flow and, therefore, sensation. When a sex organ is aroused it receives a rush of blood. THC as a vasodilator also shows up elsewhere in the body – it’s why people’s eyes become bloodshot after smoking.
There are also CBD-only sex oils on the market. Some people swear by their efficacy, however, I personally think they’re mainly effective in dulling pain and little else, and experts agree. That isn’t a small deal, however: According to statistics from the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, 75% of women experience pain during sex at some point in their life.
Anecdotally, I know heterosexual women who have to focus on other sex acts, apart from penetrative sex, because their vaginal and uterine pain is too much to handle. If this sounds familiar, CBD sex oils and suppositories are a good place to start.
But if arousal and increased sensation is the deal, regardless of what kind of sex one is having with whichever parts, the focus is going to be on products featuring THC. Wynn has advice for those looking to figure out which products are worth it, versus those that are just jumping on the stoned sex bandwagon.
“Buyers should do their own research to compare and contrast different products – how many milligrams of CBD or THC is in the products?” she suggests. This is an excellent point, as many manufacturers don’t even list dosage on their website or on the package.
In general, there’s a dosing sweet spot that the best companies have determined for their own formulas, which include both THC and CBD, and are usually at higher milligrams. This will also mean the price is higher, but it’s worth it because a low dose is essentially ineffective.
“You also need to examine which cannabinoid the company is claiming is in there – what are they claiming it is doing? You have to consider what part of the body you’re applying to, if it’s a mucous membrane or not. Usually, [Cannabis sex oil] companies are claiming increased sensation,” Wynn explains.
I get asked all the time if these oils work or not. Personally, I skip the CBD lubes. I know they work wonders for people with pain issues, but since I’m mainly looking for arousal, I think manufacturers claiming CBD sex oils work for arousal are peddling in snake oil. Wynn says she agrees. When it comes to THC, though, the results are all over the board.
Part of this is due to active ingredients. Foria’s oils, for example, contain peppermint oil. Many others do, too, among other things. Obviously, if you slather that all over your genitals, it’s going to tingle right away – but many users wrongly attribute these feelings to weed. The trick is to apply it 30 minutes in advance of when one is actively trying to reach orgasm, which gives it enough time to absorb into the bloodstream and activate.
And, to answer one of the most commonly asked questions on the topic: Yes, it is technically possible to get super stoned from using THC-loaded lube, though it is admittedly hard to do so.
Wynn says that one would have to use quite a lot and specifically inside the vagina. The dosing also has to be high enough so there’s enough bioavailability for THC to be absorbed into the bloodstream at levels that produce an intoxicating effect. When used solely on outside vaginal tissue or other parts of the body (excepting the mouth and anus), a user won’t get high off of it.
Both Wynn and I agree that the mental aspect is another benefit to using these oils. Rituals, in particular, are important and often overlooked parts of sex. Rituals are also important in Cannabis culture, like with rolling a joint or preparing a bowl. Wynn says that the focus of the oils in her line is not just for in-the-moment sexual enhancement, but a vital part of pre and post-care, too. “A sex ritual can include everything from, like, getting ready and shaving your legs to smoking a joint. Everybody has these different things,” Wynn says, explaining that Cannabis has a ton of psychosomatic effects.
“For example, that feeling of, ‘I need to go home. I need to smoke a joint. Chill the fuck out.’ And whether it’s the joint or the ritual, it’s probably a combination of those things that make you feel good,” says Wynn. “That’s what we’re responding to as humans. And I definitely think there’s an aspect to that within topical oils as well. You can apply Cannabis lube and just have it be another action, or you can make it part of an intimate ritual.”
Using Cannabis lube is also a great way to introduce new things into the bedroom. Wynn thinks that because using a Cannabis lube is similar in practice to using a non-medicated lube, it can be a less intimidating way to spice up a routine. “It’s not, like, a toy or a ball gag or whatever it may be that you’re into. I think there’s a lower barrier to entry here. It expands the conversation,” she says.
Part of that expansion is that the conversation around Cannabis sex oils inherently revolves around vaginas and vulvas. After all, it’s the vagina’s mucous membrane that’s absorbing the oil and feeling the physical effects. This is particularly fascinating and exciting because up until recently, the mainstream dialogue about sex and pleasure was focused on heterosexual sex and, specifically, the man’s role and pleasure during it. The conversation has shifted, and weed can be thanked for that. Once again, Cannabis is leading the way to change.