In the past few years, an increasing number of people have been turning to CBD to improve their sex lives.
People cite a reduction in pain, increased pleasure and a lessening of stress and anxiety as some of the main reasons they use CBD in the bedroom. For others, they simply use the supplement to help set the right mood.
But why has CBD become such a popular choice for people looking to ‘spice up’ their sex life or manage discomfort and pain?
Speaking to Healthline, Alex Capano, medical director for Ananda Hemp and faculty member at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, explained: “There are so many cannabinoid receptors in reproductive organs and sexual tissue. CBD increases blood flow to tissues, which increases sensitivity and promotes the body’s own natural lubrications.”
Issues such as body image, day-to-day stress and pressure to please is leading many people to experience anxiety before and during sex.
CBD has the potential to help ease this anxiety. Reports show that the supplement may improve people’s mood by boosting anandamide, a neurotransmitter often associated with sex.
Capano said: “Anandamide is our bliss neurotransmitter, and it’s also associated with oxytocin [the ‘cuddle hormone’]. CBD helps increase the natural neurotransmitters and endorphins that we make on our own that ultimately lead to a better sexual experience.”
Some people use CBD purely as a method to enhance their sex life, but for others, it can help manage more serious issues.
1.5 million women in the UK experience Endometriosis, a condition caused when endometrial tissue, which usually lines the uterus, grows on the ovaries, bowel and tissues lining the pelvis.
This can cause pain which is often difficult to keep under control. Although the current evidence-base is limited, many women have found CBD oil and other products have helped ease the discomfort.
Another sex-related pain issue that CBD may have the potential to improve is dyspareunia, which causes women to experience pain during sex. A survey of around 7,000 women published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology revealed that almost one in ten find sex painful.
The reported anti-inflammatory properties of CBD have the potential to relieve this pain which is why a growing number of women are turning to CBD products to manage the condition.
According to the NHS, an estimated one in ten men in the UK have issues related to sex, with erectile dysfunction being one of the most common.
The cause of erectile dysfunction is different for each man, with a combination of physiological and psychological reasons coming into play.
Performance anxiety, for example, is a wide-spread issue which is often the root of many cases of erectile dysfunction. CBD is reported to help relieve stress and anxiety, which may help men overcome these psychological barriers.
Research published in BioMed Research International found that cannabis sativa may have the potential to improve ejaculatory function and sexual performance.
Research into the effectiveness of CBD for enhancing sex remains incomplete, however anecdotal evidence has turned both consumers and health professionals into devoted supporters of the supplement.
In an interview with Healthline, Dr Evan Goldtein, the founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, said: “These products work. They obviously need to be taken into context and used correctly, but they can enhance the experience and make things a little more pleasurable.
“Most of my knowledge of the benefits of CBD is coming from my patients. But as we see this become more regulated, there will be more studies done.”