The findings of the Stanford study-"the first to examine the relationship between marijuana use and frequency of sexual intercourse at the population level in the United States", published Friday in the Journal of Sexual Medicine-are unambiguous: "Frequent marijuana use doesn't seem to impair sexual motivation or performance", says the study's senior author, Michael Eisenberg, in today's study-hyping press release.
He looked at data from the National Survey of Family Growth, which asked about 28,000 people who identify as women and almost 23,000 people who identify as men about their drug use and sexual habits. Women who didn't use marijuana in the previous 12 months reported having heterosexual intercourse an average of 6.0 times in the preceding four weeks, while women who smoked marijuana daily had sex with men 7.1 times in the past four weeks. Among men, marijuana users had sex 6.9 times a month, compared with 5.6 times for nonusers.
Marijuana is legal for medical or recreational adult use in 29 states and the District of Columbia in the US.
That amounts to roughly 20 percent higher frequency of sexual intercourse for people who consume marijuana. Those surveys recorded how many times people smoked weed and how many times they've had sex in the last month. However, they saw the same association for every group that was studied.
A key distinction: The study does not establish a causal connection between cannabis use and sexual activity. In fact, the researcher noted that smoking weed frequently is linked to an increased rate of sexual activity.
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However, some studies have found the drug affects a man's sperm count and erectile function, while others have shown it activates sexual arousal in the brain.
The data Eisenberg and his team used comes from a large Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of Americans age 15-49. The survey, which provides data pertaining to family structures, sexual practices and childbearing, reflects the overall demographic features of the USA population. This trend held even when researchers accounted for other drug use by participants. "This was across the board: marital status, race, none of that mattered".
New research contends that folks who frequently indulge in marijuana have better sex lives.
Dr Eisenberg cautioned the study should not be misinterpreted as having proven a causal link.