The Gateway Drug to the Female Orgasm

The Gateway Drug to the Female Orgasm : Cannabis, Comfort, and Climaxing

Written by Lauren Klein

February 14, 2024

Artistic display of a smoking accessory placed on a black surface with flowers

Some cannabis enthusiasts claim that their favourite smokable plant can treat anything, from migraines to schizophrenia. While some of these claims might seem far-fetched, human beings across cultures have used cannabis for medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes for centuries. In fact, some scholars believe that cannabis co-evolved alongside Homo sapiens, based on the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. 

Yet despite this long-standing relationship, Western societies are just beginning to uncover the benefits of cannabis. One of these benefits? Cannabis could help women experience more satisfying sex and treat female sexual dysfunction. 

The pleasure gap: a gendered phenomenon 
It’s no secret that women orgasm less than men in heterosexual relationships. The statistics vary, but some studies estimate that only 39% of women orgasm regularly during sex, compared to 91% of men. Another study comparing the frequency of orgasms between various genders and sexual orientations found that straight women had the lowest frequency of climaxing. 

Experts call this disparity the “gendered pleasure gap.” Since the female orgasm wasn’t included in medical research until 1957 (and “hysteria” wasn’t officially debunked until 1952), we still have a long way to go as a society when it comes to valuing and understanding women’s sexual pleasure. 

With all this in mind, it’s unsurprising that so many women struggle to climax; women are often faced with the expectation to behave submissively which constrains their ability to ask for what they want. Additionally, many women wrestle with body consciousness during sex, which can dampen the mood and make sex less pleasurable.

The research so far: incomplete but promising

Dr. Laurie Mintz, author of Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters and How to Get It, believes that cannabis could play a critical role in closing the pleasure gap between heterosexual men and women.

Since the criminalization of cannabis in parts of the world has made it difficult to study, there’s still a lot we don’t know about how cannabis affects the human body. So far, science suggests that cannabis could open up new worlds of sexual pleasure for people with vaginas. A study conducted between 2016 and 2017, which surveyed 373 patients at an obstetrics and gynaecology clinic, found that those who used cannabis before sex had 2.13 higher odds of experiencing what scientists call a “satisfactory orgasm.” 

Another 2019 study shows similar results and unlike others, this study included more 2SLGBTQI+ participants, a wider range of cannabis usage patterns, and a wider age range. Most participants with vaginas reported reaching orgasm with significantly greater ease after getting high. This study also found that using cannabis before sex led to more compassionate sex and “foreplay” (in this context, referring to anything other than penetrative sex for heterosexual couples ). 

Results in people with penises are more mixed. Getting high can sometimes lead to more pleasure and more powerful orgasms, but it can also result in sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction, and taking shorter or longer to orgasm. 

How these findings can help people with vaginas
While the studies that have been done so far show a link between cannabis use and increased sexual pleasure, it’s still unclear what physiological processes make this happen. It could be that cannabis interacts with a specific hormone, reduces pain, or simply creates a relaxing effect. 

Some experts argue that the power of cannabis lies in its ability to treat multiple issues at once by lowering inhibitions, relaxing the body, and potentially targeting hormonal and physiological issues; it is this uniquely holistic approach to sexual wellness that supposedly makes it so effective.

Cannabis could also be an effective treatment for female sexual dysfunction. Anecdotal evidence shows that weed can significantly alleviate or even cure symptoms of vaginismus – a condition where the vagina closes tightly when anything is inserted. Since the current treatments are difficult and painful, cannabis could be a game changer. 

Potential limitations

While these findings might seem definitive, not all experts agree. Critics point out that the research has not been extensive enough to determine anything at the population level. Others point to the failings of self-reported data, arguing that surveys cannot be trusted as accurate sources of data. (e.g. a participant might say that they smoked half a gram of weed and climaxed in 20 minutes, but scientists have no way of verifying this information).

In general, those who chose to participate in these studies were frequent cannabis users and felt comfortable smoking weed or taking edibles before sex. But weed is not everyone’s drug of choice: for some, it causes anxiety and paranoia. All in all, these studies are not necessarily representative of the entire population. 


Although we’re still in the early stages of understanding the effects of cannabis on women’s bodies, the fact that science has begun to explore a possible link between cannabis and women’s pleasure is revolutionary in itself. Hopefully, we will see much more research on both cannabis and female pleasure in the near future. 

But perhaps the real takeaway message here is that sexual enjoyment is a personal and subjective matter, where different methods work for different people. Learning more about your body and sexual preferences may involve some trial and error, but can ultimately result in a more fulfilling sex life. If you happen to be someone who struggles to relax during sex or just want to heighten your experience, it might be worth conducting your own experiments with cannabis. 

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