What Happens To Your Libido When You Smoke Marijuana Every Day

It's well-known that libido, or sexual drive and satisfaction, can affect your health and well-being. However, it's one of those areas that many people shy away from talking to their doctor about due to embarrassment. You shouldn't, though, because understanding your libido and factors that might decrease or increase your sex drive is vital to ensuring every area of your health is in balance.

According to Better Health Channel, every person is different when it comes to libido, depending on relationship status or issues, hormones, medications, and hormone levels. For some individuals, having sex every few months or so is the norm, but others enjoy passionate encounters daily, and both are normal and natural. However, certain substances can enhance or deter your libido, and cannabis (marijuana) is one of them. Cannabis is a natural THC-containing plant that's smoked or vaped and provides altered senses, changes in mood, impaired movements, and impaired memory, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse

According to The New York Times, dosage is everything when it comes to enhancing your sex life or making it non-existent with cannabis. Here's how cannabis might enhance or hinder your sexual experience, as well as why cannabis has been linked with erectile dysfunction and how the sexual side effects vary based on the sexes.

Cannabis can improve the sexual experience

Given the fact that cannabis is known to heighten your senses and induce relaxation, it's not surprising that it can enhance sexual experiences, especially for women. Dr. Becky K. Lynn, a sexual medicine and menopause expert, notes to The New York Times, "I've had several patients come to me and say, 'I have low libido. Can you help me? And, oh, by the way, if I use marijuana, I can orgasm, no problem.' They also tell me that low libido improves with marijuana."

This is backed by a 2023 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research. The researchers surveyed 811 participants (mostly women) who had previously used cannabis, ranging in age from 18 to 85, and found that nearly 70% reported increased desire and orgasm intensity. This suggests cannabis as a viable treatment possibility for those experiencing sexual dysfunction. Additionally, per 2019 research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, cannabis use could improve the sexual experience and libido due to how it enhances the intensity of feelings and touch sensitivity.

Importantly, enhancing sexual experience might also come down to dosing. Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a primary-care doctor and medical cannabis consultant, told The New York Times, "At low doses, cannabis helps libido, but at high doses, it often isn't as effective." Basically, even a little can take you a long way.

Cannabis can also hinder libido in some individuals

Not everyone experiences positive sexual stimulation from using marijuana. Males smoking cannabis daily can have a dulling of their sense of touch, making it harder to get aroused and subsequently reach climax, per FHE Health.

Additionally, there has historically been a link between chronic use of cannabis and a lowering of testosterone in males. While the research is limited, a 2022 study in Fertility and Sterility showed that male primates have a 58% shrink in the testes, a decrease in testosterone, and a reduction in libido when they eat THC daily. One of the study's authors, Jamie Lo, M.D., M.C.R., told OHSU, "Our analysis of the collected samples found that THC use was associated with significant adverse impacts to the animals' reproductive hormones, including decreased levels of testosterone and severe testicular shrinkage [...] Unfortunately, these effects appeared to worsen as the THC dose was increased, suggesting a possible dose-dependent effect." A reduced desire, sexual satisfaction, and interest in having sex are correlated with low testosterone, per WebMD

Additionally, the International Society for Sexual Medicine notes that marijuana might cause premature ejaculation and trouble reaching orgasm in men, which could play into the decrease in libido. The balance between potential improvement and reduced libido is a fine line. Finding your balance when it comes to the daily use of cannabis is vital to ensuring it doesn't hinder your sexual desire. And for some, it means quitting it altogether.

The link between cannabis and erectile dysfunction

Another side effect of cannabis, which can significantly reduce the libido of males, is erectile dysfunction, according to Mike Hsieh, MD. Erectile dysfunction is the persistent inability of a male to get an erection, keep an erection, and sustain sexual desire, according to the Mayo Clinic. Getting an erection is a bit more complicated than it seems, including different hormones, emotions, sensations, and vessels working in conjunction to allow the penis to harden. Marijuana is known to affect everything from your hormones to your sensations; therefore, it makes sense that it could lead to this condition.

Research in 2019 from the American Journal of Men's Health showed it might be more common than you think. The study analyzed over 3,300 men, breaking them into cannabis and non-cannabis users. The findings "suggest that ED is twice as high in cannabis users compared to controls [nonusers]." Per the researchers, the prevalence could be due to the way cannabis binds to specific receptors in the hypothalamus and accounts for the reason some males have sexual dysfunction while others experience sexual function improvement.

Ultimately, it's important to know the good and the bad of how marijuana can affect the libido, including differences in dosing and in the ways males and females are affected. This can help you make an informed decision on whether cannabis use is a road you want to venture down with your partner.