Does cannabis help with premature ejaculation?

Could the relaxing effects of cannabis help guys who struggle with premature ejaculation? Brain science says no

Cannabis plants growing in field

Darren writes:

I try to keep positive about my lifelong rapid ejaculation. I’m up for trying things to make it better, like slow breathing and full-body relaxing. It hasn’t worked much tbh.

A mate told me that him and his girlfriend smoke a little weed before sex. They love it and he reckons it helps him go for longer. I’ve heard Dan Savage talk about the benefits of weed on his podcast, so my girlfriend and I wanted to try.

Neither of us like smoking so we bought a vaporiser and it works well. It feels really nice, relaxing and we both get a bit high but careful not to inhale too much.

So far I’ve found it does help with getting horny and sex is a bit more sensual and deep-feeling… but I don’t last any longer at all. I’m still quick. My gf thinks it might intensify her sensations so she can get off quicker, but not every time.

So my question is this – should weed make me last longer? It helps other men so does this mean there’s no help for me? I can’t help feeling disappointed and a bit hopeless.

I don’t want to develop a habit and get stoned every time we have sex, but I was hoping for some kind of sign that things could get better. Was it a dumb idea?

I’m a Dan Savage fan too, and a long-time listener to his sex advice podcast. Dan is indeed a proponent of moderate cannabis use for lowering anxiety and improving our mood. He even launched a stoner film festival.

But to your question, Darren: does cannabis help with PE? And if it does, why isn’t it helping you?

The TL;DR answer: I believe that cannabis offers some health benefits when used in moderation. But unfortunately, fixing premature ejaculation isn’t one of them.

It’s a bummer, I know. One particular study suggests that regular cannabis use makes PE and erection difficulties worse.

Before we get into the reasons why, note that this issue hasn’t been extensively researched yet. Early studies have relied on questionnaire responses, which can introduce all kinds of subjective skew. Everyone’s idea of ‘good sex’ or even ‘premature ejaculation’ might be different, and sexually confident people are more likely to volunteer for study.

And what has been written on the topic of cannabis use, both pro and against, is often influenced by political and commercial agendas. Online sellers of cannabis products will hype its miracle qualities, whereas traditional health agencies and pharmaceutical manufacturers are likely to big up the risks and dangers.

The brain science of cannabis and PE

Remember that the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system are relevant to PE:

  1. The sympathetic nervous system is ‘the accelerator’. We describe this state as ‘fight or flight’ or instinctive reflex. It’s the mechanism that promotes our survival and, most relevant to this conversation, powers our ejaculations.
  2. The parasympathetic nervous system is ‘the brakes’. This is our relaxed, in-control state. It enables us to chill, think creatively and put our more cerebral skills to use.

Intercourse requires us to be sufficiently relaxed to get hard and get into the groove. We start out in parasympathetic, in-control mode. Then as our sexual excitement builds, we ‘accelerate’ to orgasm. This is the reproductive reflex switch, the sympathetic nervous system doing its thing.

In neurological terms, this switch is an amazingly complex and sophisticated process. For guys who struggle with PE, it occurs much sooner than desired. Anything that keeps us in the parasympathetic state for longer, and delays the switch to sympathetic, is potentially helpful here.

So what effect does cannabis have on this process?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two primary cannabinoids that occur naturally in cannabis. According to the non-profit CANNA foundation which conducts research on cannabis:

  • THC leads to an increase in cardiac output, heart rate and heightened blood pressure, which later reverts to normal. These bodily changes are also drivers to ejaculation.
  • Low or moderate doses will probably increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and reduce parasympathetic activity.
  • High doses inhibit sympathetic action and directly activate the parasympathetic nervous system, causing bradycardia and hypotension. These bodily changes are often associated with erectile difficulties.

This suggests that moderate doses of THC might make PE more likely, and higher doses can make it difficult to stay hard. Ouch.

Studies have also shown that daily cannabis use can wreak havoc with men’s orgasms. Respondents reported an inability to reach orgasm or reaching orgasm too quickly. I would speculate that if a guy already struggles with PE, frequent use of weed will keep him in the latter camp.

So what about CBD and PE?

According to CANNA, CBD-rich varieties minimise the ‘hit’ of THC. So perhaps CBD oil might be the way to go for guys who struggle with PE?

Inevitably, this has been exploited by quacks. They have identified men’s desperation for a quick PE cure and jumped on the CBD bandwagon.

Nonsense CBD premature ejaculation books

For the record, CBD oil is not proven to delay ejaculation or help men last longer in bed.

Ultimately, there is no clear evidence that cannabis or CBD is an effective remedy for premature ejaculation. The research we do have suggests that frequent THC intake has potential to make matters worse.

What are the benefits of cannabis for sex?

I can offer some anecdotal evidence from the guys that I work with in therapy. Please note that this is not scientifically measured and is based on a small sample of guys, but it does appear to back up the research findings above.

This is what I hear from guys who experiment with occasional cannabis use and sex:

  • It increased their arousal levels and they got erect easily. I suspect this is due to the increased blood flow, and then repeated use has a conditioning effect.
  • They felt less inhibited and more assertive in bed.
  • They felt a closer connection to their partners and increased sensation.
  • Despite feeling relaxed and more confident, they don’t experience lasting any longer.
  • One couple enjoyed the experience so much, they started smoking weed several times a week. They soon had to pull back; they both experienced mood issues and he found it increasingly difficult to get hard.

Conclusion: it’s complicated, but cannabis is not a cure

And this is why, Darren, your friend might find that weed helps him to last longer. We all function differently sexually, and our unique physiology, relationship history, social conditioning, beliefs and expectation will give us different outcomes. Placebo effect plays a role here too.

To quote Jordan Tishler MD, medical cannabis expert at InhaleMD:

A lot of the understanding that needs to go into a discussion around cannabis and sexuality has less to do with cannabis and more to do with sexuality.

For men who want to try stoned sex, I would say give it a go and have fun. Used occasionally and in moderation, the guys I speak to have enjoyed positive experiences with their partners. If the chilled state does help you to last longer, that’s a bonus and you’ve gained an insight into the benefits of relaxing your physiology.

Be sure to apply common sense. I recommend that guys make sure that they get affirmative consent from their partners first, be aware of the possible side-effects (asthma irritation, coughing, feeling wired or anxious) and get any sexual problems checked out by a professional. Weed is probably not going to fix it.

But Darren and anyone else who doesn’t experience lasting longer, this is absolutely normal. If you’ve always come too soon, it’s going to take a more holistic and committed approach to change this embedded habit.

Guys who take SSRI medication for their PE generally discover the same thing: it takes more than a pill, smoke, vape or oil drop to make a lasting difference. Perhaps the chemical alteration extends intercourse by a minute or precious seconds, but real change requires learning new skills.

That’s not to say that guys with lifelong PE need to enter therapy. There are effective, self-help methods that don’t require any kind of medication and don’t come with dependency or side-effects.

I’m convinced of the many therapeutic benefits of cannabis, and I think we’ll understand a lot more as acceptance grows in society. Use it to enhance your sex life by all means, but keep your expectations healthy and real.

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One response

  1. hey I have the same experience. Both me and my girlfriend vape a small amount of pot and it does enhance sex for us both. I get turned on at the smell hehe. Sex can be more crazy, uninhibited for sure and my girl says her body feels different, more connected. I don’t last any longer though, never have done. That doesn’t matter so much as we still having fun. Peace

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