Though Craft was clear that her work in rodents doesn’t conclusively translate to humans, she said it’s well established that women experience a heightened sensitivity to pleasurable stimuli during ovulation as well. “I would say definitely when [estrogen is] really peaking during ovulation, for example, there’s more dopamine activity in that pathway, and this makes females more sensitive to all types of rewarding stimuli, including food, drugs, and sex,” she said. “Presumably it evolved to make us more amenable to social interaction…when we’re most likely to be able to become pregnant.”
Amanda, a Boston-based healthcare professional, has been experimenting with marijuana on and off for six years. She isn’t looking to get stoned; rather, she’s been using the drug to help her sleep and eat better, but over the years she’s realized one interesting side effect.
Navigating the women’s health landscape can be overwhelming—and a little scary. Misinformation, disinformation, badly designed studies, and the drive for profits can all factor into the decisions you and your physician make about your health. This new column and my podcast, “Empowered Health with Emily Kumler,” are here to help. I am not a doctor; rather, my expertise is in looking at information, evaluating it, and deciding what’s worth sharing—and what’s not.
Becky Lynn, who sees women with problems ranging from low libido to painful sex to difficulty with orgasm as director of the Center for Sexual Health at Saint Louis University, first noticed this trend among patients a couple years ago. “[They] would come to me and they would say, ‘Well, you know, if I smoke marijuana or use marijuana, then I can have an orgasm or my libido’s better,’” she told me on-air this week. When she couldn’t find much research on the topic, she decided to conduct her own study. Enlisting the help of her fellow practitioners in a university practice that treats women for all kinds of reasons, Lynn surveyed 300 female patients. “What we found was that the majority of women noted that [marijuana products] did improve the overall sexual experience,” she said. “It did improve libido, it lessened pain, it improved their orgasm.”
As newly legal recreational pot shops continue to pop up across Massachusetts, this week on my podcast, “Empowered Health with Emily Kumler,” we explore how women experience this drug differently than men, as well as a lesser-known use of cannabis: as a female aphrodisiac.
“I am definitely hornier if I smoke or if I take an edible,” Amanda says. “It really makes my sex drive better.”
I wondered: What is it about marijuana that is helping women, in particular, enjoy sex more? Rebecca Craft, a professor of psychology at Washington State University who researches the effects of drugs on behavior, may have the answer. In one study, Craft found that female rodents experienced about a 25 percent increase in sensitivity to the pain-relieving effects of THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) during ovulation, when their estrogen levels were rising. When the estrogen dropped and progesterone levels came up, their sensitivity to THC dropped and became similar to that of male rodents.
A new reason to swing by your neighborhood dispensary? Research suggesting that marijuana may heighten women’s experience in the bedroom.
Photo via Getty Images
A new reason to swing by your neighborhood dispensary? Research suggesting that marijuana may heighten women's experience in the bedroom.
- Dry mouth
- Loss of coordination and sense of balance
- Feeling giggly and laughing a lot
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling relaxed
- Trouble thinking or concentrating/slowed reaction time
- Red/bloodshot eyes
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased appetite
- Acute anxiety/paranoia
Other important things to know: the amount of THC in marijuana can be different depending on the type of plant, which part of the plant is being used, where it was grown and prepared, and finally, how it is stored. Marijuana is typically smoked as a “joint” (cigarette), a “blunt” (hollowed out cigar made of tobacco leaves), in a pipe, or a bong. Marijuana, or concentrated THC extracts or oils, can also be vaporized and inhaled (“vaped”), mixed into foods, or brewed as a tea.
Yes. Because the chemical THC directly affects the brain, marijuana can cause problems that can last for days, or even weeks, including:
- You can’t control the urge to use it
- You use it before school and other activities
- You drive while high
- You specifically seek out people who use marijuana and place yourself in situations where it will be available
- You continue using marijuana even if it has a negative effect on your schoolwork, relationships, sports, or other activities
- Feeling social pressure because many of their friends (or siblings) are using it.
- Using it as an escape from problems in their lives (family, school, etc.)
- Thinking it’s cool because they hear popular songs about it, and see it used by actors in the movies and on TV
Posted under Health Guides. Updated 23 March 2020.
THC can harm the developing brain of a fetus (unborn child) if a pregnant woman uses any form of marijuana. THC also passes through breastmilk and can be harmful to an infant.
Long-term marijuana use can have many negative effects as well.
The FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) has approved pills that contain THC for cancer patients (who have nausea and vomiting) and for patients diagnosed with AIDS (who have a low weight and/or no appetite). Research is being done to find out other possible uses and forms of THC and other cannabinoids (chemicals from the cannabis plant that act on a certain type of receptor in the brain). A person must have a prescription to get it. Companies that make certain medicines are working to develop safe, standardized medications with the Cannabidiol (CBD) compound.
Center for Young Women’s Health Posted under Health Guides. Updated 23 March 2020. +Related Content Weed, pot, Mary Jane, ganja, bud – what do these terms have