Cannabis may help treat female orgasmic disorder, study finds as Ohio officials consider adding it as an eligibility requirement

Ahead of Ohio officials’ decision on whether to add female orgasmic disorder (FOD) as an eligibility condition to the state’s medical marijuana program, a new study highlights the benefits researchers say that cannabis could offer people with this condition, including increased ease of orgasm and satisfaction.

The 10-page study, published in the journal Sexual Medicine, is based on a 2022 survey of “sexually active women who used cannabis.” Among those who experienced difficulty achieving orgasm, more than 7 in 10 said cannabis use increased the ease (71%) and frequency (72.9%) of orgasm, and two-thirds (67%) said it improved orgasm satisfaction.

“The results support 50 years of anecdotal and scholarly speculation that cannabis helps women with FOD,” the paper said. “Research found that cannabis use increased the frequency of orgasms, alleviated orgasm difficulties, and improved orgasm satisfaction. At the same time, the results have opened new areas of discussion.

For example, survey results found that women with one or more mental health diagnoses who used cannabis before sex with a partner had “a more positive orgasmic response, whether or not they had FOD.” , which the authors said was “consistent with research findings that women with FOD experience high rates of mental health diagnoses, prescription drug use, or PTSD.”

“Cannabis-related treatments appear to benefit women who have difficulty or dysfunction with female orgasm. »

Anxiety was a significant area of ​​overlap with FOD. “Women with anxiety disorders comprised 44% (172/387) of the women participating in this study,” according to the research. “They were 3.5 times more likely to suffer from FOD than non-anxious women.”

Another new finding was that marijuana use led to more orgasms in women who survived sexual abuse.

“The number one sexual complaint of sexual abuse survivors is difficulty orgasming,” the report states, “associated with high rates of PTSD.” This study found that 33% more women with a history of sexual abuse reported FOD than women without FOD.

The THC found in cannabis could help in these situations by reducing “activity in the hippocampus and amygdala, the parts of the brain that store and respond to traumatic memories,” the authors wrote. “This activity may play a role in extinguishing traumatic memories and leading to a more positive orgasm experience.”

A separate report from the same data set, by the same authors – clinical sexologist Suzanne Mulvehill and Jordan Tishler, MD, Association of Cannabinoid Specialists and the inhaleMD Society – was published in March by the Journal of Sexual Medicine in a shorter article of two. page form. Mulvehill told Marijuana Moment that the full study, including methodology and other details, will be published in the journal Sexual Medicine Online in the coming months.

“Cannabis could be a treatment for women who have difficulty reaching orgasm during partnered sex.”

The latest release comes Wednesday ahead of a board meeting of the State Medical Board of Ohio, where a committee on medical marijuana considered adding FOD as an eligibility requirement for the state’s medical cannabis program . After a meeting of that committee, the full board could vote on the proposal, Mulvehill told Marijuana Moment in an email.

Mulvehill has been a leader in state-level efforts to recognize female orgasmic disorder as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use and last year submitted the petition for ‘Ohio that led to the next vote.

The state medical board announced in February that FOD, along with autism spectrum disorder, would be subject to expert review and public comment after petitions are submitted.

As for how marijuana might benefit FOD sufferers, the new sexual medicine report discusses a few possible theories. Among them is disinhabitance theory, the idea that cannabis “decreases routine habits, such as cognitive distraction, a known cause of FOD.”

The theory of neuroplasticity, for its part, “proposes that some women learn to climax by consuming cannabis, as shown by the comments in this study and anecdotally”.

“Cannabis and endocannabinoids, cannabinoids created by the human body, are increasingly recognized for their role in neuronal developmental processes, including brain cell growth and neuroplasticity,” the study states.

“Frequency of cannabis use before partnered sex was correlated with increased frequency of orgasm among women who experienced difficulty achieving orgasm.”

Research found that cannabis use did not help all women achieve orgasm. “Among survey respondents,” it says, “4% reported never having had an orgasm, even if they used cannabis before sex with a partner.”

Due to the survey methodology, the report states that the results “may not be generalizable to women who rarely use or do not use cannabis before sex, to women who have never had an orgasm or to women who do not have female genitalia.” Additionally, the study did not look at the type or amount of cannabis consumed.

Amid the growing evidence, Ohio is one of at least four states that have considered adding FOD as an eligibility requirement this year, along with Illinois, New Mexico and Connecticut.

In March, Illinois officials voted to approve the addition. In order to be officially adopted, the new recommendation from the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Council will need to be approved by the state Department of Health.

New Mexico regulators are expected to hold a hearing on the issue this month, and Connecticut plans to consider a similar proposal, although a meeting date has not yet been set.

There is growing evidence that marijuana can improve sexual function, regardless of sex or gender. A study published last year in the Journal of Cannabis Research found that more than 70 percent of adults surveyed said cannabis before sex increased desire and improved orgasms, while 62.5 percent said that cannabis increased pleasure while masturbating.

Since previous findings indicated that women who have sex with men were generally less likely to have an orgasm than their partners, the authors of this study said that cannabis “can potentially fulfill orgasm in terms of sex.” ‘equality’.

A 2020 study published in the journal Sexual Medicine found that women who used cannabis more often had better sex.

Many online surveys have also reported positive associations between marijuana and sex. One study even linked the passage of marijuana laws to increased sexual activity.

However, another study warns that more marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean better sex. A literature review published in 2019 found that the impact of cannabis on libido may be dosage dependent, with lower amounts of THC correlating with higher levels of arousal and satisfaction. Most studies have shown that marijuana has a positive effect on women’s sexual function, but too much THC can actually backfire.

“Several studies have evaluated the effects of marijuana on libido, and it appears that changes in desire may be dose-dependent,” the review authors write. “Studies support that lower doses enhance desire, but higher doses decrease desire or do not affect desire at all.”

Part of what cannabis appears to do to enhance orgasms is interact with and disrupt the brain’s default mode network, Tishler, Mulvehill’s co-author, told Marijuana Moment in an interview earlier this year .

“For many of these women, who cannot or do not have an orgasm, there is a complex interaction between the frontal lobe – which is sort of a ‘shoulda, coulda, coulda (part of the brain) ” — and then the frontal lobe. limbic system, which is ’emotion, fear, bad memories, anger,’ that sort of thing,” he said. “All of this is moderated via the default mode network.”

Modulation of the default mode network is also central to many psychedelic-assisted therapies. And some research has indicated that these substances may also improve sexual pleasure and function.

A paper published earlier this year in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, which claimed to be the first scientific study to formally explore the effects of psychedelics on sexual functioning, found that drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms and LSD could have effects beneficial on sexual functioning even months later. to use.

“At first glance, this type of research may seem ‘weird,'” said one of the study’s authors, “but the psychological aspects of sexual function, including how we perceive our own bodies, our attraction to our partners and our ability to form intimate connections with people – are all important to the psychological well-being of sexually active adults.

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