CBD is widely available in various forms — from oils and tinctures to topical creams and beverages. Limited research suggests it may help reduce anxiety, increase lubrication, and relax muscles, which can be beneficial for sex.

Sex changed for Heather Huff-Bogart when she had a doctor remove her intrauterine device. The once fun, pleasurable experience now left her “curled over in pain with cramps.” Eager to find a solution, she decided to try a personal lubricant infused with cannabidiol (CBD) about 6 months ago and noticed immediate improvements.

“It helped reduce the pain and inflammation I have during intercourse. My husband noticed that I don’t complain as much about pain, and it’s been beneficial for both of us,” says Huff-Bogart.

But can CBD really improve your sex life? Here’s what you need to know about the science of CBD and sex and people’s intimate experiences with CBD.

Lately, CBD has also made its way into various products aimed at helping improve your sex life. You can find this substance in:

  • personal lubricants
  • massage lotions
  • oral sprays
  • edibles

Some CBD products may work better for use during sex than others. Discover some options of popular CBD products for sex and the 7 best CBD products in 2023.

Folks look to CBD for sex for many reasons, including pain from chronic conditions like endometriosis.

Other reasons include:

  • increasing pleasure
  • easing stress and anxiety, including performance anxiety
  • setting the right mood

When it comes to issues of lubrication during sex, Alex Capano, medical director for Ananda Hemp and faculty member at the Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp at Thomas Jefferson University, explains that CBD may help.

“There are so many cannabinoid receptors in reproductive organs and sexual tissue. CBD increases blood flow to tissues, which increases sensitivity and promotes the body’s natural lubrication,” says Capano.

For individuals like Allison Wallis, CBD helps foster relaxation for sex. Wallis has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a condition that causes joint subluxations and severe muscle spasms. She explains that she experienced the benefits of CBD firsthand when she tried a lubricant infused with CBD.

“It relaxes my muscles and allows for much more enjoyable sex,” she says, adding that the lube induces a “feeling of warmth and relaxation.”

“I was surprised by how well it worked. It allowed me to focus on the intimacy of the act instead of my muscle spasms.”

Moreover, CBD might just put some people in the mood for romance. Research shows that CBD may be effective at reducing stress and anxiety. That relaxation can reduce the distractions and worries that can hinder a positive sexual experience.

“There’s an important component of calming the mind and really focusing on enjoying,” says Capano.

“Especially for women in heterosexual couples, who often experience the pressure of needing to orgasm.”

While CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects, it may boost your mood by enhancing a neurotransmitter called anandamide.

“Anandamide is our bliss neurotransmitter, and it’s also associated with oxytocin [also known as the ‘cuddle hormone’],” says Capano. “CBD helps increase the natural neurotransmitters and endorphins that we make on our own that ultimately lead to a better sexual experience.”

While early research has CBD enthusiasts excited about its potential for health and sexuality, some experts say they need more studies before drawing any firm conclusions.

“There aren’t any studies on CBD for sexuality and, particularly, for using it as a topical application,” says Dr. Jordan Tishler, a cannabis therapeutics specialist at InhaleMD and president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists.

“CBD is wholly ineffective for sexuality. The primary advantage is the lack of intoxication, leading to widespread acceptance [of the compound], even though it is simply a placebo.”

He believes that the focus should be on cannabis, which has “40-plus years of data” on its effect on sexuality.

“For the treatment of sexual-related issues, I tend to recommend vaporized cannabis flower because we know the THC actually helps with the four stages of sexuality: libido, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction,” he says.

Sarah Ratliff, a 52-year-old woman who has been using cannabis for pain relief for many years, says she didn’t perceive any benefits from trying CBD oil. But when she tried smoking and vaping cannabis — which has both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — to improve her sex life, she noticed big improvements.

“It really helps me relax and let go of the day,” she says. “Sex was more intense after smoking, and I think it’s because it helps my inhibitions come down and allows my body to focus.”

However, doctors and health professionals who’ve seen improvements in patients’ sex lives say the anecdotal evidence has turned them into believers of CBD products despite the lack of clinical trials.

Dr. Evan Goldstein says he’s seen CBD’s positive effect on his patients firsthand.

“These products work. They obviously need to be taken into context and used correctly. Still, they can enhance the experience and make things a little more pleasurable,” says Goldstein, the founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical. This is an anal surgery practice that focuses on sexual wellness, education, and comfort in LGBTQ+ communities.

“Most of my knowledge of the benefits of CBD is coming from my patients. But as we see this become more regulated, there will be more studies done.”

If you’re interested in experimenting with CBD in your sex life, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what to know about getting started:

Buy a quality product

Don’t just reach for any CBD product. Read reviews and, before buying it, check that an independent lab verified it.

Also, CBD can come from hemp or cannabis, and cannabis-derived CBD products contain THC. The two cannabinoids may work best when used together, producing what experts call an “entourage effect.”

Moreover, while hemp and cannabis are cannabis plants, they differ in their THC content. Hemp must contain less than 0.3% to be legal at the federal level. Cannabis has a higher concentration of THC.

Find the right dose for you

When it comes to CBD dosing, everyone’s different, and there’s no conclusive evidence on exactly how much CBD someone should be taking for certain effects or health benefits.

“Start low and go slow,” says Capano. “Titrate slowly every couple of days, and if you keep getting increased benefits, keep going. If you add more and don’t feel better or start to feel worse, go back to the previous dose.”

Use CBD before going into the bedroom

CBD doesn’t necessarily work the moment you decide to use it, whether you apply it as a lubricant or take it orally. Plan and start taking it — or applying it — 30–60 minutes before you head into the bedroom to give it enough time to kick in.

And there may be some reasons CBD isn’t working for you.

Does CBD really work for sexual health?

CBD may help enhance sexual activity by reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and improving mood.

However, scientific research on CBD’s specific effects on sexual function is still limited, and individual responses can vary.

What type of CBD is the best for sexual wellness?

The best CBD product depends on your individual preferences and needs.

Some people prefer CBD oils or tinctures for their ease of use and ability to be taken sublingually (under the tongue) for faster absorption. Others prefer CBD-infused lubricants or topicals for targeted application.

It’s important to choose a high quality CBD product from a reputable manufacturer and start with a low dose to assess your body’s response.

Can you use CBD instead of Viagra for erectile dysfunction?

No evidence suggests you can use CBD instead of Viagra to treat erectile dysfunction.

However, the way CBD affects neurotransmitters in the brain may help improve sexual sensitivity and relieve anxiety, which may indirectly help with performance.

You can take CBD in various forms — from oils, tinctures, and creams to drinks.

Research suggests it may help lower anxiety levels, increase lubrication, and reduce muscle tension, which may help during sex.

That said, there isn’t enough research on the specific effect of CBD on sex, so experts need to perform more research to understand the effect.

Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC legal at the federal level. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them illegal at the federal level. Some states have legalized CBD, so be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

Joni Sweet is a freelance writer who specializes in travel, health, and wellness. Her work has been published by National Geographic, Forbes, the Christian Science Monitor, Lonely Planet, Prevention, HealthyWay, Thrillist, and more. Keep up with her on Instagram and check out her portfolio.