Article by Janet Burns, Forbes
Scientists are homing in on biological reasons for the age-old “cannabis makes sex better” theory, though there’ll need to be plenty of further research to come.
A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has seemingly uncovered a chemical link between human orgasm and the cannabis plant, the latter of which has long enjoyed a reputation for enhancing or enabling the former.
Being aware of the association between weed and good sex, researchers sought to determine whether our brains showed similar behavior along a certain set of neurochemical pathways we all have, known as the “cannabinoid system,” in response to chemicals called cannabinoids.
These can either be introduced to our systems from outside the body as phytocannabinoids, found in plants like cannabis, or activated naturally from within the body as endocannabinoids, which researchers speculated can be produced through sexual pleasure.
To test this notion, the team set out “to investigate plasma endocannabinoid levels before and after masturbation in healthy male and female volunteers.” Following this live (and presumably private) experiment, the study’s authors determined that often pleasurable endocannabinoids are apparently indeed released following orgasm, thereby stimulating the same neurochemical region that a joint before or after might have done.
As High Times explained, however, the group’s findings aren’t quite that simple, and highlight the significance of our two different kinds of cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, in the science behind some of our favorite activities.
CB1 receptors, found primarily in the brain and spine, are mostly triggered by an endocannabinoid known as anandamide, which draws its name from root words meaning “bliss.” CB2 receptors are found throughout our organs, meanwhile, and are rather triggered by 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG.