Already, many patients prefer cannabis to prescription pain medications. But, the plant may be closing in on another pharmaceutical market: sexual dysfunction. Originally reported by Business Insider, Italian and Czech researchers are diving in on the herb’s aphrodisiac potential. The world is a long way off from a new “little green pill”, yet early research into cannabis and sexual health is quite promising.
Cannabis & sexual behavior
Viagra may have a new competitor. Cannabis has been used as a sexual aid since ancient times, yet modern day evidence is uncovering the workings behind the herb’s aphrodisiac abilities.
Researchers from the University of Catania in Italy and Charles University and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic performed a review of the available pre-clinical and human data on cannabis and sexual function.
They cite that half of all participants felt that the herb had “aphrodisiac effects” when they lit up before frisky.
Of those who consumed the herb, 70% experienced some form of “enhancement in pleasure and satisfaction” during the big event. These statistics stem from work by Erich Goode, a former sociology professor at Stony Brook University.
Goode’s work was included in the Italian/Czech review. Later research confirms Goode’s findings.
In 1983, a study published in the Journal of Sex Research found that about half of all participants reported increased sexual desire for a partner they knew. The majority of participants also reported enhanced sexual pleasure and satisfaction. The participants tested were predominantly heterosexual, sexually active college-aged students.
According to the review, both men and women reported equal amounts of success with the herb. While pharmaceutical aphrodisiacs are most successful with men, cannabis seems to be something that can be enjoyed by both biological sexes.
This lead the review authors to conclude that cannabinoid therapies may be useful in treating sexual dysfunction down the line. In crude forms, cannabis therapies for sexual problems were first recorded in the mid-1800s, when Irishman Sir William O’Shaughnesy reported,
Cannabis is most fascinating in its effects, producing extatic happiness, a persuasion of high rank, a sensation of flying,voracious appetite and intense aphrodisiac desire.
Other early research reported that cannabis preparations were often used to treat impotence in men, along with bowel complaints, and cough.
Just a little bit
Unfortunately, the aphrodisiac qualities of cannabis seem to only occur in low to moderate doses. In high doses, the plant can have an opposite effect.
Rodent research from the 1980s found that psychoactive THC seemed to cause an immediate spike in testosterone, followed by a dip. Testosterone is a key hormone that is beneficial to both male and female libido.
The 2016 review also cited research explaining that dosage is an important factor for the stimulating qualities of cannabis. in a 1974 study, a single joint was thought the be sexually beneficial, while higher doses hindered performance.
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