The use of medical cannabis has proven to be effective for treating a wide range of both physical ailments and psychiatric conditions. Studies pointing to cannabis as an effective treatment option has motivated lawmakers to pursue the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes in individual states all over the country. One medical issue impacted by cannabis use is sexual health. Studies indicate that cannabis has different effects on men as it does on women when it comes to both sex drive and sex life satisfaction.
Cannabis and Men’s Sexual Health
There are countless studies aimed at measuring the impact of cannabis use on men’s sexual health, particularly when it comes to testosterone production. A study conducted as part of a joint collaboration between the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation and the Missouri Clinical and Biochemical Laboratory found that cannabis does indeed have an impact on testosterone production.
However, it is important to note that this study related to intensive cannabis use that was primarily recreational in nature. When cannabis is used for medical purposes, the effects on those who are utilizing cannabis to ease the symptoms of a medical condition may not experience the ill effects of cannabis when it comes to sexual health. The difference is in part due to the use of modified strains for medical use as compared with recreational cannabis. High levels of THC cause the body to produce lower levels of testosterone. Additionally, men should be aware that any negative impact on testosterone production is temporary in nature. Discontinuing use of cannabis in this specific situation allows the body to regulate hormone levels once again.
Perhaps the most confusing characteristic of studies related to men’s sexual health and cannabis use is the differing results from scientific studies seeking to measure the same variable: testosterone levels. The results of a study conducted through the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Research Center at Harvard Medical School-McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, concluded that cannabis use does not have a significant impact on testosterone, although the key word here is “significant.” These studies did indicate an impact on testosterone levels, but researchers in this instance felt that the impact was not a strong one. In many cases, determining whether medical cannabis can be beneficial to sexual health is a matter of discussing personal details with a licensed medical provider.
Cannabis and Women’s Sexual Health
On the other hand, there are claims that topical oils containing medical cannabis are able to enhance the sexual experience for women. The results of a study conducted through the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, support the theory that cannabis is able to improve sexual health for women by increasing arousal and strengthening the physiological responses to sexual stimulation.
After a topical oil containing cannabis was applied to test subjects, one group of subjects was shown erotic films. The other group was not given an outside stimulus. Physiological responses related to blood flow associated with sexual arousal were measured, and test subjects were found to have an increased sexual response following the application of the cannabis oil. In addition, subjective responses to questions concerning perceived sensation were answered positively after application of the oil. The ultimate conclusion of the study was that a topical oil containing medical cannabis is an effective treatment for low sex drive in women.
Medical cannabis containing a lower-than-average THC concentration has also been used to improve sexual health in women. The low-THC cannabis increases sensitivity and delays orgasm to give couples more time to share the intimate experience. Positive effects on women’s sexual health seem to be most associated with cannabis with a THC level around 14 percent, while standard THC concentrations typically fall between 15 and 20 percent.
The need to stay at a THC concentration of 14 percent or lower for women’s sexual health benefits is believed to be linked to the effects that higher concentrations have on estrogen production. Standard THC levels in medical cannabis can decrease sex drive by throwing estrogen levels out of balance.
In response to the question if medical cannabis should be prescribed to improve sexual health, the answer is that it depends on the specific dysfunction and also the gender to which it’s being prescribed. Some men may find that their hormone levels are negatively affected through cannabis use for medicinal purposes, while some women can enhance the strength of orgasms through the use of medical cannabis infused into a topical oil.
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