Cannabinoids (Cannabis) and Sexual Wellness —What You Need to Know Now
The legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes has become more commonplace across the United States. As a result, we’ve seen an increase not only in marijuana usage, but also an increase in questions around its health and wellness benefits.
So, is there a connection between these cannabinoids and women’s sexual health and wellness? Yes! Read more to find out!
First, let’s begin with how we can scientifically measure female sexual health and wellness - yes, you read that right, we can measure female sexual function!
The questionnaire health care providers use to measure female sexual health is called the Female Sexual Function Index, or FSFI. The questionnaire assesses sexual health across six domains.
- Sexual Desire
If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction, your provider can recommend different therapeutic and treatment options, including cannabis.
So, how does cannabis help female sexual function? Let’s review some of the research,
Cannabis can have a positive effect on desire, libido, and orgasms.
Using the FSFI, researchers studied cannabis use and its impact on sexual function and found that cannabis use is associated with improved sexual function. More specifically, cannabis use has been shown to have a positive effect on certain domains of female sexual function, including desire, libido, and orgasm. Studies suggest that lower doses of cannabis seem to have a positive effect on libido, but higher dosages may produce an opposite or negative effect on libido.
Cannabis may also help with sexual pain.
When looking at another domain of female sexual function, pain, research has shown that cannabis may also provide pain relief. In a study that measured the impact of cannabis use on female sexual function, researchers found participants who used marijuana before sex reported decreased pain.
Cannabis is also recognized for its potential to manage menopausal symptoms.
In this study of cannabis use amongst midlife women veterans, 27% of study participants reported using cannabis to manage their menopausal symptoms. The research also found that many women are looking for non-hormonal as well as OTC solutions. One menopausal symptom, pain with sex, may be alleviated with use of the rise of CBD-containing products that are increasingly available to the public.
With the growing popularity of CBD, researchers are just beginning to explore its impact on female sexual function.
While the number of research studies evaluating this relationship is limited, personal testimonials suggest CBD suppositories can help to alleviate pelvic floor pain during sex, as they can promote muscle relaxation and ease the stress and anxiety associated with painful sex. So, if you’re experiencing pain during sex, you may want to check out the State Of Menopause x IYP CBD Vaginal Moisturizer to determine for yourself if CBD-containing suppositories can help alleviate your symptoms.
There are FDA-approved treatment options for female sexual function.
Also worth mentioning here are the two FDA-approved treatment options that address female sexual function. These are Addyi, a nightly oral medication, and Vyleesi, an “on-demand” injection, which are indicated for the treatment of Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD), or low libido. Women with HSDD struggle with low sexual desire. They may also experience issues with orgasm, problems with arousal, sexual pain, and vaginal dryness.
There are also other treatment options that can be used to address sexual pain and/or dryness, such as radio frequency (RF) or laser treatments, localized hormones, and over-the-counter lubricants and moisturizers. Other than libido, limited treatment options exist for arousal and orgasm issues, oftentimes these are “off-label” treatments, meaning medications that have data to support that they may help these issues, but are not FDA-approved for orgasm or arousal disorders.
So, with the ongoing research being done on the impact of cannabis use on female sexual function, and the need for larger studies to inform FDA-approved treatment options for certain domains of sexual function, it is important to start by talking to your provider about the treatment options that may work best for you. Seek out solutions that are backed by scientific data and have positive reviews! With these evidence-based practices, we can come to truly understand the relationship between therapeutic options like cannabis and its impact on female sexual health and wellness.
About Dr Somi Javiad
Dr. Somi Javaid is the founder and chief medical officer of HerMD, a company that operates female-focused centers solely dedicated to women’s sexual health and menopause services. Dr. Javaid is a board-certified OB/GYN, leading women’s sexual health care provider, and recognized thought leader. HerMD operates within an insurance-based model to ensure ALL women have access to exceptional healthcare.