CBD for ED and Libido: 7 Ways it Helps Your Sex Life

CBD is being used today by partners looking to enhance sex and help with issues like erectile dysfunction. This oil is an extract from the hemp plant and acts on the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS supports regulating homeostasis and various functions in the body. These include sleep and circadian rhythm, mood, immunity, and hormone regulation. When activated, it also provides cardiovascular and stress-reducing benefits. Both of these play a role in enabling better sex. CBD works as a vasodilator, improving blood flow, which can enhance libido. It also assists with calmness and preventing stress, which impacts our sex hormones and lowers libido. By calming us and enabling better blood flow, CBD puts us in an optimal state for arousal and sexual performance. Let’s explore how it works and the top benefits it offers for a better sex life.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a potent natural extract derived from cannabis sativa. It belongs to the class of cannabinoids, which are unique compounds produced solely by the hemp plant. CBD is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiolytic properties but is increasingly seeing interest as an aid for sexual performance. These benefits are stimulated by the cannabinoid’s interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system or ECS. The ECS has properties that make it ideal for supporting the hormones, mood, sleep and stress management we need to maximise our sexual performance. In addition, it’s thought to assist with libido and sexual desire through its intricate interactions with the brain’s sex drive pathways. More couples and individuals are using CBD to activate these pathways, helping them prime their minds and bodies for better sex.

Importantly, as an aid for sex life, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive or intoxicating effects, meaning it won’t get you ‘high’ like its counterpart THC. This is another cannabinoid produced from cannabis, which acts more powerfully in the brain, triggering euphoria. After being extracted, CBD is usually infused into a carrier oil like coconut or MCT oil, which helps the body absorb it while also providing benefits due to containing healthy long-chain fatty acids like GLA. CBD can be consumed in various convenient forms, such as gummies, sprays, tinctures, or edibles. 

Can CBD Help With Libido?

Many who take CBD regularly report benefits to their sex drive and libido. But despite this, there is currently limited clinical research to back up these effects. Its ability to assist some individuals may stem from CBD’s calming, stress-alleviating properties that help some get into the mood more easily. For others, its vasodilating effects may assist in similarly boosting blood flow to Viagra, which can help with arousal. Much of CBD’s libido-enhancing effects are likely through indirect benefits as opposed to being directly capable of increasing sexual drive or desire. Let’s explore some of these benefits and how they might improve your sex life.


The research into the benefits of cannabinoids like CBD for libido and sexual health is very mixed. Some studies, like a 2009 review from the US into endocannabinoid biology, uncovered that the genitals are rich in cannabinoid receptors that can bind with CBD. They also exist across neurological regions that help to regulate sexual instincts and physiology, such as the hypothalamus and limbic system. A separate piece of research from 2017 revealed that cannabinoids stimulated brain regions that influence the psychological components of sexual arousal, modulating feelings of desire and libido. There is little doubt that cannabinoids affect sex and sexual hormones in some way, but whether they are directly beneficial is not fully clear based on the clinical evidence.

Sex Hormone Balance

Sex hormone levels are vital in boosting libido plus helping with sexual performance. When the body is under-producing testosterone, oestrogen or other sex hormones like progesterone, our libidos can suffer. High stress, poor sleep, unhealthy dietary habits or even endocrine system problems can impair hormone health. Disrupted signalling of these hormones can not only cause lethargy, poor mood, low energy and irritability but may mean our sexual desire becomes non-existent. Research on the endocannabinoid system has revealed its importance in regulating hormones through supporting endocrine function. 

In particular, endocannabinoids can interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis in the brain’s hypothalamus, which regulates gonadotropin secretion. In men and women, gonadotropin plays a core role in the production and regulation of sex hormones like testosterone. Its secretion tells the body when to produce these hormones, crucial in stimulating libido. CBD’s activation of endocannabinoid pathways that influence gonadotropin signalling may explain its capacity to assist with sex hormone levels. More people are anecdotally reporting raised levels of these hormones after starting with CBD. But this could be from lower stress or better sleep associated with the compound. At this stage, it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise benefit of CBD when it comes to sex hormone regulation and its libido benefits.

The other pathway CBD aids in reinforcing our sex hormone levels is through the endocannabinoid system’s homeostatic regulation. Homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain a balanced and stable internal state. It plays a crucial part in regulating our pituitaries, gonads and endocrine glands that secrete the hormones we need for sex drive, healthy erections and stable moods. Better secretion and stability of these hormones are essential to a healthy libido. CBD’s role as a support agent for homeostasis positions it well to aid in the fundamentals that our body needs to arouse and perform sexually.

Reducing Stress & Anxiety Before Sex

Chronic stress is a significant cause of libido issues amongst both men and women. Those who are excessively stressed have elevated cortisol levels, which causes reduced sleep, impacts sex hormone production and reduces our ability to get aroused. It is thought that approximately 40% of issues relating to libido or erectile dysfunction are the result of psychological factors, including anxiety or stress. CBD’s stress-reducing effects can help people relax, reduce tension and ease into being present with their partner. It helps remove the feelings of anxiety or self-consciousness during intercourse to aid with bedroom performance.

Mitigating performance anxiety helps erections to be maintained longer and reduces the likelihood of issues like premature or delayed ejaculation. More couples are citing the ability of CBD to keep them calm, collected and in a better mood before intercourse, helping them with their sex lives.

Better Sleep

Sleep health is a fundamental component of sexual performance and arousal. It plays a core role in stabilising our mood and keeping our sex hormones well-regulated. Poor sleep and insomnia can cause dysfunctional hormone signalling and result in our libidos becoming out of balance. Those with low or sporadic libidos typically have weak or out-of-balance levels of testosterone, oestrogen, or other hormones that regulate our sexual desire. By improving sleep health, you can correspondingly enhance the balance and regulation of these hormones, leading to a more stable, vigorous libido. 

CBD helps with sleep and a better libido through several pathways. It’s been shown to aid in relaxing users to sleep more easily at bedtime while boosting sleep length and quality. Research has indicated it aids in mitigating sleep disruptions or poor sleep quality that results from anxiety or stress. This is because it has anxiolytic qualities that suppress our minds from being overactive and alert at night, helping us to relax into sleep. It also enhances REM sleep cycle length, which has the most significant benefits in supporting better hormone balance. Our REM stage of sleep is the most crucial in endocrine regulation and restoring the balance of our sex hormones. CBD’s action through the endocannabinoid system facilitates more REM by bolstering circadian rhythm regularity and homeostasis during our sleep. It can help get deeper sleep, better hormone secretion and greater bedroom satisfaction. 

Does CBD Have Benefits for Erectile Dysfunction?

For those with erectile dysfunction or problems with getting aroused, CBD may offer some help, but it isn’t a cure for these disorders. It plays a role as a vasodilator in the body due to activating CB2 receptors in blood vessels throughout the cardiovascular system. These form part of the endocannabinoid’s cardiovascular regulating properties, which can be tapped into to modulate blood pressure and boost blood flow. While not as potent, CBD’s vasodilating effects are similar to Viagra, which opens the blood vessels to enable more significant movement of blood to the genitals.

It’s likely that the cannabinoid’s stress-alleviating properties also contribute to its ability to help with erections. Stress can cause cardiovascular suppression and vasoconstriction from cortisol, the stress hormone. Over time, chronic stress weakens cardiovascular health and circulation, making erections more challenging. By preventing stress, CBD can help in counteracting these erectile dysfunction problems caused by vasoconstriction. Some even report enhanced genital sensitivity during sex as a result of the heightened blood flow to the genitals that CBD stimulates. Little evidence exists to support these benefits. A 2023 study highlighted CBD’s capacity to lower blood pressure through vasodilation in healthy and hypertensive individuals. Amplifying blood flow when it’s needed in the genitals through vasodilation may be a way it bolsters longer, stronger erections.

Can CBD Replace Viagra?

CBD isn’t a strong replacement for pharmaceuticals that treat erectile dysfunction, such as Cialis or Viagra. These medications are much more potent at enhancing blood flow through vasodilation directly to the penis’ erectile tissue. Compounds like Viagra are also more effective for the elderly, who have lower circulation and sex hormone levels and can struggle to become aroused.

Other Sex Benefits of CBD

Outside of indirectly aiding with libido and arousal, CBD has additional properties that make it well-suited as an overall sexual aid.

Enhancing Sexual Sensation

For many people, CBD can improve the physical sensations of intercourse and bring about greater sexual satisfaction. For example, a 2019 study performed on a placebo and test group showed cannabidiol was able to increase the length and satisfaction of orgasms in couples. Its vasodilating effects increase genital sensitivity, improving feelings of intercourse and nerve-ending activation. Endocannabinoid activity in and agonism of CB2 receptors within the genitals may help to explain these effects. Some endocannabinoids, like anandamide, can modulate nerve signalling in the body. Upregulating the sensitivity and activity of nerves in the genitals through this pathway promotes a sense of touch in the area, which means sex feels better.

Mood Enhancement

Our emotions and mood can play a significant role in our sex lives, including whether we are in the mood with our partner. Couples experiencing negative emotions towards sex or their partner can struggle to get aroused and enjoy sex. This is another area where CBD can assist due to its mood benefits. Its mood-enhancing properties help couples get intimate and connect more deeply. After being consumed, CBD activates the brain’s CB1 cannabinoid receptors. These bioactive receptors release endogenous endocannabinoids within the brain, which help modulate serotonin and GABA. Both of these neurotransmitters have potent roles in regulating and normalising mood. CBD delivers calming, blissful, relaxed sensations for individuals through this modulation of the brain’s natural signalling chemicals. Before sex, this is incredibly useful, helping to reduce inhibition and boost mutual sexual enjoyment for partners.

Mitigating Pain During Sex

CBD has analgesic or pain-relieving effects, helping users mitigate neuropathic pain and prevent it from impacting sexual performance. Pain during sex is common and can detrimentally impact our sex lives. This is a condition known as Dyspareunia in women, which can be caused by both physiological issues like problems lubricating or psychological issues. The pain occurs in the genitals and can ruin the enjoyment and pleasure that sex offers. Up to 18% of the world’s population suffers from some degree of Dyspareunia during sex. Many with the condition will avoid intercourse altogether due to the pain involved. CBD offers benefits in counteracting Dyspareunia’s pain symptoms via its analgesic properties. It downregulates feelings of pain by suppressing pain signalling in our nerves. Using it before sex is a practical and easy way to help block the pain that prevents the enjoyment of intercourse. Individual results vary substantially, and there’s no guarantee it will work, but it can help some people.

Using CBD for Libido and Sex

If you’re considering taking CBD to help with your sex life and libido, it’s best to check in with your doctor first. They can help advise you on the most appropriate action for your health needs and ensure you avoid any risks involved. For many people, prescription erectile dysfunction medications like Viagra will be better suited to treating their particular condition. It may also be more sensible to address underlying health problems that are affecting your libido before taking CBD, such as chronic stress, insomnia, hypertension or hormone disorders. CBD isn’t a cure for any sexual disorder or erectile dysfunction and can only help as a natural supportive tool for sex.

Dose and Timing

Using CBD for sex requires individualised approaches. There isn’t a recommended dose or usage frequency that will apply to all people. Some individuals find high doses of 300mg or more before sex to be most effective in helping with performance anxiety. In others, using low dosages each day to manage stress symptoms offers higher efficacy in sex drive enhancement. You’ll need to experiment with dosage ranges to find the right amount of CBD that helps you with sex. 

Timing of your CBD doses when it comes to sex can be crucial. Similarly to using CBD for sleep, taking CBD an hour or two before sex is optimal for many individuals as it means the cannabinoid’s peak effects occur during intercourse, which can maximise its benefits. Following this approach is often the best for those with ED or who become anxious before sex. But equally, opting to dose CBD daily to manage anxiety, stress, or inflammation better can be viable. Try a few different timings for your CBD intake and see what works best for your needs. Everyone responds differently, and no two people are the same when it comes to using CBD.

Product Choice

Most will use CBD for sex via oral ingestion through a CBD oil, tincture, gummy or edible. Any of these products are viable ways to take CBD, but they may have some differences in their rate of absorption, which you should factor in if you’re planning to take them before sex. For example, CBD edibles take longer to digest and absorb but will last longer in their effects. Taking them earlier in the day may be prudent if you’re seeking the best results for sex as opposed to an hour or two beforehand. 

Some couples opt to use CBD as a lubricant through topical application to the genitals. It is generally not advisable to do this with CBD oil or tinctures as they can contain additives or carrier oils that may irritate the genitals and trigger allergies. Look for specially formulated CBD-infused lubricants or topicals that are designed for sex. These products should be additive-free and use calming natural lubrication enhancers.

Combining CBD with Lifestyle Improvements

As with many other health applications, the best results when using CBD for sex come from combining it with further improvements to your lifestyle, diet, exercise and emotional state. Treating CBD as a crutch for your libido or thinking it will reverse erectile dysfunction is not the right mindset. In most, these sex problems are caused or exacerbated by health conditions such as being overweight, suffering from mental disorders like anxiety or having issues with cardiovascular circulation. Taking steps with your doctor to treat these problems, adjusting your lifestyle, and prioritising health can all make a big difference to your sex life. Adding CBD after doing so for holistic support in your health is more efficacious. 

Risks and Side Effects

Taking CBD for ED or libido enhancement carries certain risks in different individuals. Firstly, the cannabinoid can cause both allergies and side effects in some. These outcomes are rare and typically pass in hours, but they can occur. It may cause dizziness, lethargy, gastrointestinal discomfort or dry mouth. For some people, sensitivities can exist with cannabinoids or the carrier oils they are carried in. Carrier oils like MCT and coconut oil, plus the fragrances or flavours added to CBD products, can be poorly tolerated by many people and cause diarrhea or upset stomachs. If this happens, look for a product that contains pure CBD with no additives or carriers. You may need to shop around to get a higher quality offering that is better produced and has greater purity.

Mixing CBD with medications is another crucial risk to avoid. It shouldn’t be combined with prescription medications until you’ve cleared this with your physician. This includes sex medications like Viagra or Cialis, which are vasodilators like CBD that exacerbate the risks of fainting, dizziness or heart issues if you use them with CBD. Mixing CBD with other blood pressure medications, such as statins or blood thinners, is also a bad idea for this reason.


Can CBD Increase Sex?

Research into CBD’s direct impact on sexual function is limited. Some people report positive effects on their libido, sexual performance and sensitivity during intercourse, but this evidence is mainly anecdotal. The indirect benefits CBD offers for sex through better managing performance anxiety, normalising sleep and hormone levels, plus promoting relaxation before intercourse are likely a more significant source of benefits it provides. The extent of these effects can vary, and more research is needed to understand CBD’s impact on sexual health.

Should I Take CBD Before or After Sex?

The best timing for taking CBD for sex comes down to your individual preferences, in addition to the goals you have in handling it. Some individuals choose to use CBD before sex to benefit from its properties in enhancing genital sensitivity and promoting relaxation for better sensation during intercourse. In others, taking it after sex helps with relaxing and lowering stress if sex is a source of anxiousness. Experimenting with different timings and dosages can help determine what works best for you.

Is CBD Better Than Viagra?

CBD isn’t ‘better’ than Viagra but offers differing effects and benefits that are more suited to helping with separate health issues. Viagra is a prescription medication designed to treat erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis. CBD, on the other hand, offers properties that lower stress and anxiety while having mild vasodilating effects. Some users report positive experiences with CBD in terms of reducing anxiety and enhancing their sex, but it’s not considered a substitute for Viagra in treating erectile dysfunction. The two products should not be combined due to both having blood pressure-altering effects. Check with your doctor if you’re considering either option to get the best advice tailored to your health needs.

Does CBD Do Anything for Sex?

Many people use CBD to help with their sex lives due to its relaxing, mood enhancing and vasodilating properties. It offers the ability to help lower performance anxiety before intercourse naturally and may boost genital sensitivity through CB2 receptor activation. Through these mechanisms, it can enhance tactile sensations and minimise discomfort during sex, improving the overall sexual experience.


Undoubtedly, CBD has practical applications amongst those looking to improve their sex life, promote libido or seek support for erectile dysfunction. Its benefits across these areas are stimulated through the endocannabinoid system activity it enables through the brain and genitals, promoting greater sexual sensitivity. Simultaneously, it offers powerful support for sex hormone regulation, sleep quality, stress and anxiety reduction, in addition to bolstering mood. In combination, its potent psychological and physiologically stabilising effects are aiding more couples to get in the mood while reducing sexual performance anxiety. Using it for sex is easy as it can be taken in many ways via oral or topical CBD products. Be careful in mixing CBD with Viagra or other medications, as adverse reactions can occur. Before trying it, ensure you speak to your doctor so you can get the best result for your individual sexual needs.