While the internet contains numerous claims about the benefits of CBD for a person's sex life, CBD products for libido, erectile dysfunction, and sexual enhancement are flooding the market. Still, a lack of regulation makes these products confusing and potentially dangerous. Below, we look at what CBD can do to enhance sex, as well as evidence for and against these claims.
There is limited scientific research on CBD's direct effects on libido and sexual function.
Nevertheless, there is significant public interest and copious anecdotal evidence that CBD may be able to improve a person's sex life, perhaps via the placebo effect.
If CBD does improve sex, it may do so indirectly, for example, by reducing anxiety or pain.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound derived from the
cannabis, or marijuana, plant. It works by interacting with the
body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate mood,
appetite, pain, and inflammation. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),
another compound found in cannabis plants, CBD does not produce psychoactive
The effects of cannabinoids can vary depending on their chemical structure and how they interact with the body's cannabinoid receptors and signaling molecules. Factors like genetics, tolerance, and the specific product used also affect an individual's experience with cannabinoids.
There has been a growing demand for CBD products in recent years, including oils, CBD gummies, capsules, topical, and other forms. But high-quality scientific research on the potential benefits of CBD lags far behind this demand.
How can CBD improve libido and sex life?
There is limited scientific research on CBD's direct effects on libido and sexual function. For the most part, the popularity of CBD supplements for sex appears to be related to widespread anecdotal evidence from those experimenting with CBD products for better sex life.
Still, research can provide some insight into how sexual function and pleasure might be indirectly improved with CBD.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment
There is no scientific evidence that CBD can help treat
erectile dysfunction directly, can it stimulate blood flow to the penis to improve erections or ejaculation.
It's important to note that ED can have physical and psychological causes, making it complex to treat. For example, general and performance anxiety can inhibit erection or lead to premature ejaculation. Therefore, CBD's potential to treat anxiety could help treat ED.
However, while a 2021 survey of CBD users found that 53% report having anxiety, we still lack conclusive evidence of CBD's antianxiety effects.
The most widely cited 2019 study on CBD as a treatment for anxiety is a retrospective review of psychiatric case files and not a controlled clinical study (the gold standard for scientific research).
Increased sex drive
Anecdotal evidence touting the benefits of CBD for sex drive
typically appears in an anonymous form and scant detail. Studies on CBD for libido and arousal have provided mixed results and typically
include THC products.
Studies have even found that the ECS is suppressed during female sexual arousal, which may suggest that introducing exogenous cannabinoids of CBD could be detrimental.
As a result, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD improves sex drive in patients of any gender. Nevertheless, CBD could produce a satisfactory placebo effect.
Improved sexual performance
We also lack evidence of any direct role played by CBD in
improving sexual performance.
The hypothesis that CBD helps people last longer in bed has not been proven, and the research is still in its infancy.
While CBD oil users report that these products help with lubrication, it remains unclear if CBD is the reason.
Reduced pain and inflammation
Genital pain can play a significant role in sexual satisfaction and libido. However, most studies CBD marketers and aficionados cite on CBD's ability to reduce pain and inflammation come from animal studies, studies on the endogenous endocannabinoid system, or human studies in which the subjects suffer from a primary disease, such as multiple sclerosis. It's unclear whether these results extend to healthy people. Most studies find that chronic pain requires a combination of CBD and THC, while some have found that CBD only decreases moderate to severe pain and has no effect on mild pain.
Investigations are ongoing into CBD's ability to specifically reduce genital pain during sex for both men and women. No research shows that vaginally inserted CBD suppositories reduce pain or can even be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Improved blood flow and blood pressure
Results of studies on the role of cannabis-derived products
and blood pressure in humans have
been inconsistent, differing by everything from frequency of use to gender
to socioeconomic status.
CBD has been shown to increase blood flow in animal models. While more human studies are needed, there is evidence that CBD can have beneficial vascular effects even if it does not appear to affect resting blood pressure or heart rate. However, CBD's potential to benefit those in cardiovascular distress does not translate to improving blood flow to the genitals to improve sexual function or desire.
There is no evidence that CBD can benefit blood vessels or improve blood pressure response in otherwise healthy humans experiencing sexual dysfunction. A few studies on CBD and blood pressure show promise, but none investigate the effect of CBD on the arteries or adequate blood flow leading to the groin.
The best way to take CBD for better sex
There is currently no “best product” or “best way” to use CBD for better sex. Researchers are still investigating any long-term
use effects of CBD and its fertility effects separately from
THC, which appears to have a negative effect
on male fertility.
Even studies on cannabis (with THC) in which some participants report feelings of relaxation, sensitivity to touch, heightened libido, and enhanced sexual experience after use show that others in the same trial reported no effect or decreased sexual arousal due to sleepiness.
One of the most recent studies on the therapeutic benefits of CBD noted benefits only at doses greater than or equal to 300 mg for anxiety, which is quite high.
Are there any risks to using CBD?
The lack of regulation of the CBD industry in the U.S. means some products could have adverse effects on health due to impurities. For example, a 2019 study of nine e-liquids advertised as 100% natural CBD extracts found dextromethorphan (which may be addictive if abused), synthetic cannabinoid (which may cause anxiety, psychosis, and tachycardia) in over half of the samples.
and filler ingredients may also cause drug interactions. Other CBD products
have been found to contain more than the
advertised (and legal) level of THC, which could cause a user to fail a
When purchased from a reliable source with third-party testing, it appears the most significant risk associated with experimenting with CBD is that it simply doesn't work.
CBD is still widely used and appears safe under many (but not all) conditions. Since it is legal in many U.S. states, it's up to consumers to assume the risk of experimenting with CBD products. However, it is still illegal for companies to market CBD as a supplement or a medical treatment.
Do CBD products actually work for sex?
Although the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in sexual functioning, there is no scientific evidence CBD is effective in improving one’s sex life. Many CBD products also contain THC which is known to have positive effects on sexual functioning. However, CBD may have indirect effects on sexual function by improving pain and reducing anxiety.
Should I take CBD before sex?
If CBD has any beneficial effect on an individual's sexual performance or pleasure (even as a placebo), it will likely need to be taken before having sex to have this effect.
Can CBD improve erection?
There is no evidence that CBD directly affects the ability to achieve or hold an erection. If anxiety plays a role in a person's erectile dysfunction, CBD may be able to address those symptoms and improve erection.
Is CBD addictive?
CBD is not considered to be addictive. In fact, some studies suggest CBD may have potential therapeutic effects for addiction. However, some CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC or other cannabinoids that could be addictive. It is also possible to develop a psychological dependence on substances that are not physically addictive.
- Current Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports. Complementary and alternative (CAM) treatment options for women with pelvic pain.
- JAMA. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online.
- Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Use of cannabidiol in anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.
- Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics. Marijuana, phytocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and male fertility.
- The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Circulating endocannabinoid concentrations and sexual arousal in women.
Show all references
- Journal of Sexual Medicine. How cannabis alters sexual experience: A survey of men and women.
- Scientific Research and Essays. Psychological impotence: Psychological erectile dysfunction and erectile dysfunction causes, diagnostic methods and management options.
- Scientific Reports. Association between cannabis use and blood pressure levels according to comorbidities and socioeconomic status.