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CBD vs. THC for Sex: What’s the Difference?

Published on October 18, 2016 · Last updated September 23, 2022
CBD vs. THC for Sex: What's the Difference?

This week, we had a question from a reader about the difference between CBD and THC for sex. Although I know what has worked for me personally, I wanted to consult an expert in the science of utilizing cannabis to create specific effects on the body to help address this topic. I reached out to my friend Andrew Mieure, owner of Top Shelf Budtending, certified cannabis sommelier, and cannabis grading technician at the Trichome Institute, where they developed the standard operating procedure for grading cannabis objectively. His business, hosting bud bars at weddings and other events, requires him to be an expert on how to use cannabis to enhance experiences.

What are some of the differences between CBD and THC in terms of how they would apply to sexual experiences?

Andrew: The more CBD the less euphoric, so I think CBD would be best utilized as a recovery tool after sex or to lessen anxiety before an encounter. I don’t think CBD provides enough of a “mental shift” to really impact performance negatively or positively. CBD seems more like a pre or post-game cannabinoid to me.

During an encounter, THC is important because of that mental shift you experience. Whether that be loosening your mental state to be ready for sex or actually making the sex feel better physically, the mental shift is more noticeable with THC, thus the need for the higher THC products.

In my personal experience, I’ve noticed a very clear difference in sensitivity (in a good way) after consuming THC which CBD alone does not provide. However, it’s always a balance game to find the right combination of cannabinoids. Too much THC and I’m a heart pounding mess. It’s vital to have just the right amount of each. I personally think 1:1’s are the best. A good mixture of euphoria and relaxation without too much knockout power. That leads to less anxiety for newer sexual partners, lessening potential erectile difficulties which can stem from anxiety.

Are there any other plant-related factors that can impact the effects of THC and CBD?

Andrew:Terpenes play a major role in tailoring the high. The cannabinoid profile is only part of the picture. Skunky/woody/earthy terpenes cause sleepiness. Citrus would greatly increase alertness and would strongly enhance visual stimuli. Lavender and nutty terpenes would relax without knocking out.

What are cannabis terpenes and what do they do?

We’ve been talking mostly about mostly with flower or oils, but how do edibles fit in?

Andrew:Micro-dosing with edibles is amazing. 1-3mg of THC evokes just enough of that mental shift. However, it’s important to remember that edibles are wildly different per person due to how they are processed in the body.

I fully agree with Andrew’s last thoughts on edibles. Micro-dosing is ideal, since employing a heavy dose of edibles can put an unwelcome kink (not the fun kind) in your intimate plans. Always start low and go slow, and remember to wait a full two hours before taking more!

With regard to CBD’s sexual effects, I find high CBD strains like Cannatonic and Harlequin especially useful for anxiety as well as acute and chronic pain. Since CBD lacks psychoactive effects, it’s great for a quickie when you don’t have time to ride out the high, pun intended.

Because there is so much nuance to cannabis, it’s important to visit a dispensary and chat with a budtender who understands cannabinoids and terpenes and can make recommendations based on the effects you’re seeking. As always, it’s best to sample new strains and products on your own before trying them with a partner so that you can isolate the variables impacting your sexual experience.

What sexual differences do you notice between CBD and THC?

Do you have a sex, relationships, or intimacy dating question? Send it to tips@leafly.com and I may address your request in a future article! (Don’t worry, we’ll keep your queries anonymous.)

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Ashley Manta
Ashley Manta
Ashley is a writer, feminist, and sexuality educator. She is a contributing writer for Leafly.
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