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Can the Warm Embrace of CBD Help Me Stay Hard, Too?

For ED caused by psychological issues like anxiety and PTSD, there might be a more natural treatment than Viagra

Like many things related to the supposed therapeutic benefit of cannabis, the efficacy of CBD and THC to improve men’s sexual health is largely unknown due to being poorly studied (thanks federal prohibition). But a growing body of anecdotal evidence suggests a variety of cannabis products may indeed be effective for men in the bedroom. 

“Cannabis taken systemically can be very helpful for male sexuality,” confirms Jordan Tishler, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists, adding that it might stimulate libido, increase the frequency and quality of orgasm, provide heightened satisfaction and assist in getting and maintaining erections. 

That said, for guys suffering specifically from erectile dysfunction, Tishler first recommends trying Viagra or the like since he says they’re “simply more effective.” If ED is purely psychological, however, or related to low libido or premature ejaculation, Tishler says cannabis may be a better alternative. He recommends vaping one or two puffs of whole flower with 15 to 20 percent THC, which can be stimulating due to “heightened sensation and increased desire at the emotional and cognitive level.” He does caution that the dosage must be accurately regulated for men “since it’s difficult to maintain an erection when your head is orbiting Jupiter.”

An alternative for psychological ED sufferers who aren’t looking to bone intergalactically may be CBD oil, explains Dee Dee Taylor, founder and CEO of 502 Hemp Wellness Center in Kentucky. (Everyone I speak with couches their cannabis assertions with “may,” since the FDA prohibits making medical claims about THC/CBD.) The body reacts to CBD through two endocannabinoid systems, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and although CBD can’t be alleged to cure anything just yet, studies have shown that CBD and THC can increase relaxation and lower anxiety. The same issues, of course, are contributing causes of psychological ED, Taylor says, and while she too stops short of calling CBD a “cure,” she believes it likely mitigates ailments that cause ED.

CBD oil can be particularly beneficial for erectile dysfunction in older men, agrees Brooklyn urologist Jonathan Lazare, since aging creates a boner-killing toxin called dioxins, something CBD oil flushes out. 

Moreover, while sublingual CBD oil reduces anxiety, the topical variety applied directly to the penis likely increases blood flow, Erin Simon Berenson, cofounder of Simon Wolff, a CBD company in L.A., tells me. “Our feedback suggests the topical CBD is effective at addressing mild and/or occasional ED,” she says, explaining CBD to be a vasodilator delivering blood to wherever it’s applied on the body. What’s more, she adds, topical CBD lacks the side effects of most ED medication when dosed appropriately. “Our male clients tell us that applying Sex Elixir [Simon Wolff’s trademarked CBD lube] before sexual activity creates firmer erections and increased sensitivity, which in turn increases blood flow and sensation, creating a lovely virtuous cycle.” 

Once more, though, CBD’s greatest impact is likely on the sensory, emotional and cognitive centers of our neurological center than the penis itself. “Most sexuality occurs between the ears, not between the legs, so I’m less sold on topical cannabis as it takes time to kick in (who wants to wait?) and also only affects the genitals,” Tishler says. “Since most of our sexuality occurs above the neck, it misses the really important sexual organ — the brain.”