Getting down when high: Exploring cannasexuality 101

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On Jan 17, 2019

Cannasexuality® : A word Ashley created to describe anyone who mindfully, deliberately combines sex and cannabis.

As an overthinker, I tend to get stuck in my head. This is especially the case when I feel pressurized to impress, as is often the case when having sex. The stress and anxiety that comes from the idea of pleasing a partner often fills me with self-doubt leading to a premature and awkward conclusion to sex. I love sex and I would like to enjoy it to the fullest. Thus, when a little research into ‘CannaSexuality’ showed that cannabis could help alleviate my anxiety leading to a more fulfilling sex life I thought, why not?

CannaSexual is a word that was created and trademarked by sexuality educator, Ashley Manta, to mean anyone who mindfully and deliberately combines sex and cannabis to deepen intimacy and enhance pleasure both in solo and partner situations. The definition itself was music to my ears. However,  I was reluctant to start experimenting with cannabis. I have a history of cannabis-induced anxiety and paranoia, and besides that I was not sure how consensual sex works in this dynamic.

My assumption had always been that one is incapable of giving consent in an altered state. Yet the stories CannaSexuals shared of their experiences proved otherwise. There is an emphasis on ‘mindfullness’ and ‘deliberately’ in their sexual play, and this centers consent in the entire process. There is a lot of checking in before, during and after sex since cannabis affects people in different ways. Before sex, as Manta puts it, ‘negotiate before you medicate’. Be clear on what you are a saying “yes” and “no” to, how to signal that you are ready to be done and any specific care you might need after sex.

It is also important to share how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally, and what you might want to achieve together. Based on this, choose a strain and method of consumption that would best enhance your experience.When doing so consider the following questions: What kind of sex do you want to be having? How much experience do you have with cannabis? Are you susceptible to anxiety or other side effects of cannabis? How long do you want the effects to last?

Strains and styles: The science of Cannabis

In order to choose the right strain, you need to go further than the indica/sativa/hybrid classification we are so used to. The common assumption is that indicas are physically sedating, sativas provide uplifting cerebral effects, and hybrids fall somewhere in between the indica-sativa spectrum depending on the traits they inherit from their parent strains. While this might be true, it is not always the case. Bailey Rahn, a researcher who has written widely on cannabis use, contends that there is little evidence to suggest that indicas and sativas have a consistent pattern of chemical profiles that would make one inherently sedating and the other uplifting.


Both indicas and sativas contain cannabinoids known as CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with receptors in the brain and body to create various effects. THC is the main psychoactive part of cannabis and is responsible for a euphoric high. On the other hand, CBD is a non-intoxicating compound with medicinal and relaxing properties. A strain can be high in THC, CBD or a combination of the two. Rahn suggests that instead of choosing a strain based on its indica/sativa/hybrid classification, consider basing your selection on the cannabinoid profile. Is the strain THC-dominant, CBD-dominant or balanced THC/CBD?

For sex, Manta recommends strains low in THC for new consumers, stating that you do not need more than 15% THC for sex otherwise you risk getting too high. Too much consumption of THC causes anxiety, paranoia and sometimes even hallucinations in some people (no doubt what caused my cannabis-induced anxiety and paranoia in the past). Now we do not want to crumble into a bundle of nerves while getting down and dirty, do we? But just in case you consume too much THC, it is important to note that CBD can help counteract the effects due to its antixiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects on the brain.

The methods of consumption will largely be determined by how fast you would like the effects to manifest, how long you would like them to last and your experience with cannabis. Smoking and vaporizing offer better dose control compared to oils and edibles, because you feel the effects almost instantly and you are able to tell how much cannabis you have consumed. It is easy to overdose on edibles because of the amount of time it takes for the effects to kick in.

After eating an edible, digestion and metabolism have to take place before you can feel the effects. However, they are a great choice when consumed responsibly (and I have a feeling they will be my personal favorite). Most people who have taken edibles attest to their powerful full-body, psychoactive effects which can last for hours.

Cannabis Lubes: slippery solutions

There must be hundreds of cannabis oils out there but for today, let’s talk cannabis lubes! If you want the cannabis-induced pleasurable sensations without the euphoric high then the lubes may just be the way to go. Manta posits that they won’t get you high because they are local, they only affect the area where they are applied. Their topical application, in the vulva for instance, increases blood flow to the tissue and nerves and heightens sensation because THC is a vasodilator – like viagra.

One thing to have at the back of your mind as you look forward to fun sexy times is that everyone experiences cannabis differently. So, experiment and find out which strains and methods of consumption work best for you, and the best way to do this is of course to touch yourself! Like in all kinds of sex, knowing your body and pleasure zones makes it easier to communicate to a partner what you want. Have fun exploring!

For more information on sex and cannabis visit Ashley Manta’s website and Leafly’s website. Here is a Huffington Post article about it as well.

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