Cannabis and Sexual Wellness: The Stanford Study

“The jury’s still out on rock ‘n’ roll. But the link between sex and at least one drug, marijuana, has been confirmed.”  –ScienceDaily.com

In a study recently conducted by Stanford University Medical Center and published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that frequent cannabis use appears to be positively associated with increased sexual activity. The study’s lead author, Andrew Sun, MD, a resident in urology, and the study’s senior author, Michael Eisenberg, MD, assistant professor of urology, analyzed responses to the National Survey of Family Growth, which is sponsored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey addresses a variety of topics under the umbrellas of family structures, sexual practices and childbearing, including how many times respondents had intercourse in the previous four weeks, and how frequently they smoked marijuana in the past 12 months. By looking at survey responses dating back to 2002, Eisenberg and Sun were able to analyze more than 50,000 Americans between the ages of 25-45.

In total, 24.5 percent of men and 14.5 percent of women reported having used marijuana. Women who hadn’t used marijuana in the past year had sex on average 6.0 times during the previous four weeks, in comparison to 7.1 times for daily pot users. For men, the corresponding figure was 5.6 for nonusers and 6.9 for daily users.

"The overall trend we saw applied to people of both sexes and all races, ages, education levels, income groups and religions, every health status, whether they were married or single and whether or not they had kids," explained Eisenberg.

It’s important to note that the trend remained even after taking into consideration respondents’ use of other drugs, such as cocaine or alcohol. “This suggests that marijuana's positive correlation with sexual activity doesn't merely reflect some general tendency of less-inhibited types, who may be more inclined to use drugs, to also be more likely to have sex,” added Eisenberg. “In addition, coital frequency rose steadily with increasing marijuana use, a dose-dependent relationship supporting a possible active role for marijuana in fostering sexual activity.”

It is a significant development to see evidence based solutions applied to our modern epidemic of alienation and disconnection. Cannabis provides a Sabbath of connection, relaxation and wellness. Our traditional, human needs can be met with an ancient plant's evidence-based modern application. Couples can be happier together and more involved with each other. Cannabis, which has long suffered from the stigma that frequent marijuana use may impair sexual desire or performance, is overdue for a major image revamp.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 20 million adult Americans are current cannabis users. With expanding legalization, that number continues to grow. However, for many, the negative connotations associated with cannabis remain. Studies like this one – the first to examine the relationship between marijuana use and frequency of sexual intercourse at the population level in America – are paving the way for serious science to be applied to emotional wellbeing. With this research comes the good news of modern, evidence-based cannabis, and of course its many benefits.