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Cannabis and Sexuality

  • Current Controversies (P Kleinplatz and C Moser, Section Editors)
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Purpose of the Review

The purpose of this study is to review the impact of cannabis use on sexual functioning.

Recent Findings

The effects of cannabis on human sexuality have been known for centuries and explored for decades. The aphrodisiac effect of acute cannabis use has been frequently promoted, while the negative effect of its chronic use, especially in higher doses, has been less recognized and appreciated. The mechanism of cannabis effect on sexual functioning is not well understood, though results of some studies suggest a possible and controversial endocrinological explanation such as lowering of testosterone levels.


Cannabis has bidirectional effect on sexual functioning. Low and acute doses of cannabis may enhance sexual human sexual functioning, e.g., sexual desire and enjoyment/satisfaction in some subjects. On the other hand, chronic use of higher doses of cannabis may lead to negative effect on sexual functioning such as lack of interest, erectile dysfunction, and inhibited orgasm. Studies of cannabis effect on human sexuality in cannabis users and healthy volunteers which would implement a double-blind design and use valid and reliable instruments are urgently needed in view of expanded use of cannabis/marijuana due to its legalization and medicalization.

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Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Correspondence to Richard Balon.

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Richard Balon declares no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

Additional information

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Current Controversies

The terms cannabis and marijuana are used interchangeably in this article, as it reflects the interchangeable use of these two terms in the literature.

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Balon, R. Cannabis and Sexuality. Curr Sex Health Rep 9, 99–103 (2017).

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