Can Orgasms Help Your Endocannabinoid System?

May 14, 2020

What if sufferers of certain health conditions having to do with endocannabinoid deficiency were able to heal through the power of orgasm? That question has been on my mind since reading a 2017 study which hypothesizes that endocannabinoids can play an important role in the sexual response cycle.

Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that the body produces which bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors, much like THC and CBD in cannabis. Specifically, the above study showed significant increases in the body’s levels of the endocannabinoid 2-AG post-orgasm—which could help contribute to the delightful experience we colloquially refer to as “post-coital bliss.”

So, if you’re trying to improve the functioning of your endocannabinoid system (ECS) and thereby related health issues, should you be prioritizing regular orgasms in your self-care routine? I delved into this question with a couple cannabis experts to find out.

Getting down to raise endocannabinoid levels

Dr. Genester Wilson-King, MD, obstetrician, gynecologist, and cannabis advocate, was also intrigued by the 2-AG study mentioned above. “Endocannabinoids … might play a very important role in the sexual response cycle, leading to maybe a better understanding and treatment of sexual dysfunction,” she said.

When asked if regular orgasms could help ECS function, Dr. Dustin Sulak, D.O., said: “There’s a little bit of evidence supporting this theory, not conclusive; but the ECS does well with similar stimuli that create a short-term strong production of cannabinoids, like exercise.”

I asked Sulak if orgasms could be a “double-whammy” since they stimulate the ECS by both being an enjoyable exercise as well as directly boosting endocannabinoid levels: “Absolutely. Sex [with orgasm] is the double-whammy for sure. It’s a triple or quadruple whammy. It involves touch. In animals, touch and social grooming are strong ways to stimulate endocannabinoid release. I think many people don’t have enough social grooming activities or physically touch each other on a daily basis, but feel better when they do.”

Doc’s orders

So how often should one be taking advantage of these benefits? According to Dr. Sulak, “I would suggest at least once a day doing something that strongly stimulates endocannabinoid activity. And so, perhaps if it’s a day when somebody didn’t have a chance to exercise, or dance, or sing, and the day’s winding down, and they realize, well, it’s time for a different type of practice, I would say go for it.”

Women could actually benefit from more than one orgasm per day. “I think experts in the orgasm field would recommend, especially for women, to have several per day for optimal health. And you know, typically for women, one orgasm can follow the next. And so there’s not a good reason for stopping at one,” he said.

Dr. Wilson-King noted that cannabis can potentially help bring back multiples for some women: “I don’t know that it can help a person who is not multi-orgasmic, but a person who has had multiple orgasms in the past, certainly using cannabis can enhance that.”

But it’s different for the fellas. “What a lot of men don’t realize is that they can absolutely have orgasms without ejaculating,” said Dr. Sulak. “The practice is essentially to approach orgasm very slowly and cautiously, then wait in that space that leads up to orgasm. It starts out feeling like a very narrow space where they kind of get right up to the edge and then fall over. With enough practice that edge can become miles long, and they can remain at the edge and have all sorts of orgasmic feelings and actual contractions in their body without ejaculation.”

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