How Weed Can Supercharge Your Sex Life

how weed supercharges sex
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Forget viagra, aphrodisiacs, sex dust, and ecstasy: Weed is the new tool for enhancing your sex life.

As cannabis becomes legal in more and more states and subsequently available in numerous forms, our options for experimenting with and enjoying weed in our everyday lives have never been so vast. Not just a bud anymore, pot is hitting the market as a tincture, breath spray, cookie, lozenge, pastille, energy drink, massage oil, and yes, even LUBE. It's reefer madness!

As a sex-toy and lubricant peddler, I'm most interested in weed's sexy potential. So I sat down with Seattle-based Chelsea Cebara, a budtender, burlesque dancer, and sexpert offering sex and cannabis workshops, to figure out how best to use cannabis as an erotic tool.

Turns out, there's a lot to learn.

Weed can work wonders on sex in many forms

The most popular (and obvious) ways to use weed for sex are through smoking, vaping, edibles, and lube.

Smoking is a classic consumption method passed down through generations -- perhaps for as long as 10,000 years. Vaping is another option for the more health-conscious among us, and edibles are a tried-and-true method of getting way more stoned than we'd intended.

Chelsea recommends choosing one way to try out your cannabis of choice to better note the differences between each different strain.

"Strain specificity is a big deal," she said. "If you smoke a strain that is the wrong one for you, you can become nauseated, uncomfortable, and that's not what you want. The right strain is going to make you more aware of your body. This is really important. You want something that's not going to be too foggy, something that won't cause you anxiety. Good strains for sex are ones that maintain mental clarity while giving you a relaxing body high.

"Indica tends to work better in my experience than sativa, but that's a very broad generalization. Pick a strain like XJ13, also called Sex J 13, because it has really reliable aphrodisiac qualities, also Permafrost, Ewok, Pink Pez, those are all great."

If you're in the San Francisco area, one new strain creating some market buzz is Sexxpot. Developed by pot enthusiast Karyn Wagner, the Sexxpot strain has a relatively low amount of THC (14%, compared to other popular strains that are usually 18% to 20%), allowing for a body high without the haziness or confusion of other strains. Speaking of which...

Avoid getting too high

Smoking, vaping, and edibles all run the risk of being overdone to the point of you just falling asleep or ending up in a mess of late-night munchies and bad TV. To help avoid these pitfalls, Chelsea has some tips.

"Stay away from edibles unless you're really sure how you'll react, because if you end up at the wrong place your evening is negatively impacted," she said. "If you do get too high on edibles, you can smoke or ingest some pure CBD which is the natural counterbalance to THC. If you have too much THC, the CBD will offset that effect. You can also crack some fresh black pepper and inhale [the aroma]. Caryophyllene is a natural terpene present in both cannabis and black pepper, and the effect is huge."

Caryophyllene is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety terpene that is often found in topical cannabis products and some of the most popular strains on the market. Its reputation as an ultra-relaxing element in cannabis makes sense, and so does my personal affinity for fresh-cracked pepper on everything.

The amazing breakthrough of bud lube

"When I talk about cannabis lube in the sex and weed workshops, the No. 1 question I get is, 'Is it gonna get me high?'" Chelsea said. "The short answer is no, the long answer is… it's possible."

Applying cannabis to your skin, vagina, or other vascular tissue is tough to get high from, she explained, because skin is a natural barrier meant to keep things out. "The exception to this would be a topical compound with cannabis in it designed to traverse the skin barrier," Chelsea said, or for anal sex because of the high number of blood vessels.

Instead of making you high, topical cannabis lube play "causes these areas to be more sensitive and calls your attention to them. The effect really comes during orgasm, when you come longer and harder. [The aphrodisiac effect] is not so much a physical sensation, it's more akin to the natural flushing and engorgement experienced when you're turned on. Like being distractingly horny."

Cannabis lube works through a process called microcapillary dilation. "It means tiny areas of capillaries that flush with blood," Chelsea said. "The same reason your eyes flush red when you smoke. This affects areas that are highly vascular: like areolas, clitorises, glans, and vaginas, which tend to have very highly vascularized anatomy in comparison to penises and scrotums. There's a lot of density around the glans but not as much along the shaft."

Cannabis lube should be applied to the erectile tissue of your choice 20 minutes before sex. That’s right, weed lube is not for the impatient; its effects begin around the 20-minute mark and reach their height at about 40 minutes.

"If you have access to that kind of patience, go ahead and do it," Chelsea said.

Buyer beware: Oil-based cannabis lubes render most condoms ineffective

Since products like Bond are made with coconut oil, they are naturally antimicrobial and a popular choice as all-natural lubes. That being said, these products ARE NOT compatible with most safer-sex barriers, as they are oil-based. This means your favorite latex or polyisoprene condoms are, unfortunately, not an option.

The good news is that polyurethane and animal skin barriers are safe to use with oil-based lube! Polyurethane is considered slightly more prone to breakage than the standard latex or polyisoprene condom, but it does protect against pregnancy and the transference of STIs. Animal-skin condoms, often called sheepskin or lambskin, offer pregnancy prevention but do not protect against STIs.

Cannabis is a low-risk way to push your sexual boundaries

Enjoying the natural effect of cannabis in your sex life can lead to entirely new understandings of your body and sexuality. Utilizing these tools safely, respectfully, and mindfully opens up major gateways in healthy sexual exploration. And none of them come with the oftentimes nasty sid -effects of other libido enhancers or even over-the-counter, chemically derived schlock at your local pharmacy.

And, when we overdo the edibles in pursuit of better orgasms? There's always cracked pepper.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Callie Little is a sex educator and writer living in Seattle. She currently has more than 50 houseplants, and none of them can be smoked. Some of her work can be found at BUST, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, SheKnows, and YourTango. Follow her on Twitter @goshcallie.