The connection between marijuana and great sex may seem relatively trendy, but as Joe Dolce writes in his new book Brave New Weed: Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis, cannabis has actually been praised for its aphrodisiac properties for at least three thousand years, ever since it entered India and was applied to Tantra.
Dolce, the former editor-in-chief of Details and Star magazine, spent the past few years researching and reacquainting himself with marijuana, after a relative started growing and introduced him to Super Lemon Haze, a Sativa strain, which Dolce fell in love with. And thanks to more weed-friendly laws, Dolce says that now's the time to reevaluate the way we look at the plant's potential effects on our lives, particularly our sex lives. (Cannabis is currently legal in eight states for both medical and recreational use, and available for forms of medical use in 23 states. In Washington D.C., it’s legal for personal use but not commercial sale.)
"As we approach the world of post-prohibition, it’s time to open that conversation up to different thoughts, different people, and different ways of using the plant," Dolce says.
One way the game is already changing? Cannabis-based intimacy oils and lubes for people with vaginas, like Foria Pleasure and Apothecanna Sexy Time, which are being created to heighten arousal and increase orgasm. Products like these are showing people a new way to experience the ancient aphrodisiac. Of course, enjoying more classic methods, like a joint or a cannabis edible, with a lover can be just as intimate.
Ahead, I spoke with Dolce about two of the most fun things on Earth (in my opinion, at least): weed and sex. If you're an avid cannabist (the preferred term to "stoner") or curious consumer, I recommend that you read Brave New Weed in its entirety — it covers much more ground than the sex aspect, including what's in store for the weed industry in general. In the meantime, read on to learn what Dolce has to say about how cannabis can transform sex for the better.
As you mention in Brave New Weed, cannabis has been praised for its aphrodisiac properties for thousands of years. Speaking currently, how did you learn of it as an arousal tool?
"I have to be honest: For the first 30 years of me using cannabis, I never found it to be very effective [erotically]. It used to make me tired and not sexually aroused. What I use [now] is this concept of micro-dosing [ingesting very low doses], using less to do more. That works super effectively. Then, I learned other things, like mixing delivery systems. You can play with a low-dose edible, and a couple of vape hits or puffs. However, you want to inhale it; that yields a nice effect."
Yes, especially in regards to edibles, consuming the proper dosage is essential.
"If you're in a legal state, it’s really easy to buy edibles that are dosed, so you can find out [what works for you]. Am I good at 10 milligrams, or am I good at 50 milligrams? I know I like between 5 and 10 milligrams. Fifty to 100 milligrams is just not going to make me a fun partner in bed. I’m going to be zoned out, and I’m not going to be connected. Like all things with cannabis, you really have to explore on your own body, and then with your partner’s body, too. There are new interesting [cannabis intimacy oil] products, like Apothecanna Sexy Time or Foria. Have you tried them?"
Yes. I’m a fan.
"It’s quite interesting; everybody has a different response. I know some women who said it’s amazing and that it recharged their entire sex lives, but then I know other women who are real [cannabis] enthusiasts who said, 'I used it five, six, seven times, and nothing. Zip.' What is interesting is that older women I know have said it is so useful to them. I know some women after menopause who have said it has absolutely reawakened their sexuality. It’s an incredible thing. If it gives someone another 10 years of a sex life, with no side effects, how great is that? That’s a miracle product, basically.
"Also, you don’t have to use it vaginally or anally, if it’s made with a good base [like cannabis and coconut oil]. You can put it under your tongue and in the oral tissue of your mouth. You get the same effect, the same uptake, and it’s quick. For a woman to use this on a man, he’s not going to get this from applying it to his cock."
Well, Foria makes anal suppositories…
"Anal suppositories sound like no fun [to most straight men]. So for a guy, you have to be willing to use it on their mouth or explore areas that are not typically or initially explored [during heterosexual sex]. That’s how it works. It’s not going to work by putting it on their cock. If you're a woman [dating someone with a penis], you need to know that. Talk about opening up to your partner, like, 'Hey, we’re going to try this out together — are you willing, buddy?' That’s important! Certain men are really afraid of that stuff. They’ve got to get over themselves; it’s well worth the exploration."
It can create a better experience if both parties are enjoying.
"If your partner is inexperienced, it’s nice to say, 'I want to enjoy this with you. Are you willing? Will you go there with me? I’ll be your guide. It will be safe; it will be fun. I’ll make sure that we’re here together. It’s quite nice. It’s better than nice; it’s sexy." I like the fact that Apothecanna calls Sexy Time an intimacy oil. I think that’s accurate. To call it a Viagra or a female version of Viagra would be inaccurate, and it would be setting you up for disappointment. This is not about the organs. It’s about your feelings. I have found that cannabis, in general, does remove a barrier or layer of resistance."
Aside from cannabis intimacy oils, how can using cannabis with a partner in more traditional forms (smoking, vaping, etc.) increase intimacy?
"It’s not aggressive-inducing; cannabis is known for its benevolence. When it comes to being with a partner, not only can it help you communicate, but it can slow you down a little bit. I tend to be a type A person, so I think and I speak quickly. Sometimes, it's really useful just to shut up a little. I’ve learned the hard way; it’s better to take it down a notch and relax sometimes. In a sexual situation, the same idea can be applied; it seems to align me or point me in tune with my partner more. Also, it enhances your sexual being. You feel your partner and you feel their response. If you’re pleasantly high, you can get lost in a kiss, or god knows where we go — we go to Mars sometimes and come back in the span of two seconds. But it’s a beautiful journey to Mars."
IF YOU’RE PLEASANTLY HIGH, YOU CAN GET LOST IN A KISS.
In the 1970s and '80s, a few promising studies suggested that cannabis could work as an aphrodisiac and aid in intimacy, but there hasn’t been much research since then, due to federal laws that affect funding. How do you think the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug prevents further research on intimacy?
"These soft areas that are hard to scientifically prove, but these are things that I’ve known and [other] people have known. I don’t think it’s so much a matter of law. I think it’s more: How do you study intimacy? It’s such a personal, human, thing. It’s something that comes from experience. I don’t know how science is going to be able to define that. And by the way, not everybody has that experience. Some people just don’t enjoy it. So I think it is a matter of sampling and testing, and I don’t think science is really going to get us there. This is outside the realm of science."
Are there any other benefits of legalization?
"Legalization gives you education, and that’s the main goal. The more you know, the smarter you are about how to use it, and the less fearful you are. We need the basic facts: 'Here is the amount I am comfortable with, here’s when it’s going to cross the threshold, here’s what I can expect.' You need to teach yourself these things. In a legal state, you can go into a dispensary, have a conversation, with a budtender, who is often quite knowledgeable about the basics, and really have a foundation for exploration. When you're in the black market, you’re still reliant on the guy who brings you stuff or your friends who have their own. But look, the good news is that, with cannabis, it’s never permanent, and it’s never fatal. There are some uncomfortable moments you’re going to have if you’re not educated, but you’re always going to come down, and you’re always going to be okay. That’s the great news."
What advice would you give to first timers looking to use cannabis as an aphrodisiac and intimacy tool?
"Learn about what you’re using. Dose matters, delivery matters, and intention matters, too. Let’s talk about how having a partner that you trust matters. It may not be the best to try this with somebody you just met or at a first date or a hook up. You want to be where, if you do get paranoid, they can hold you and make you feel good. We want to be loved. We’re talking about intimacy and love. Give it a little experimentation, and find your comfortable place."