Sometimes the anticipation of sex can be more akin to dread than thrall. Maybe life is clipping along and you’re feeling fine, but oftentimes that just is not the case, and the fallout can be stress that affects not only your daily life, but your nightly one, too.

In some cases, coordinating your head, heart and body to really get into your sexual groove might need a little help. And just like caffeine can be the elixir that helps you start your day, CBD can be the one that helps you finish it. Here’s what I didn’t know about the benefits of using CBD—and specifically, CBD gummies for sex and boosting libido—but I’m so glad I do now.

What is CBD?

The cannabis plant, Cannabis sativa, also known as marijuana, has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years. The two most prevalent and commonly known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These active compounds are known to exert powerful anti-inflammatory, immune response, psychoactive and pain relieving effects through the activation of cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body.

Related: 4 CBD products that will completely upgrade your nightly routine

How does using CBD for sex work?

Your body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that produces its own cannabinoid substances that bind to tiny receptors found in your central nervous system and other peripheral tissues, including your sexual reproductive organs, switching them on or off to regulate a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation and immune response. Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s endocannabinoids. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors to effectively enhance these systemic functions.

Related: 11 must-try sex toys for yourself—or with a partner

Will CBD gummies make me high?

No. CBD and THC can both bind to the receptors in your brain, but they operate in opposite ways. In general, THC activates these receptors, causing the euphoria associated with marijuana, and CBD blocks any intoxicating impact caused by the receptors, so you don’t get high. And even though CBD doesn’t produce psychoactive effects, research has indicated it may boost your mood by enhancing your own endorphin-like neurotransmitter, anandamide, and the love hormone, oxytocin.

Related: 5 sex-positive apps we wish we’d found years ago

Why use CBD gummies for sex?

Most of us associate CBD as a natural remedy used for many common afflictions. But most of us are not aware that the potential therapeutic effects of CBD can also be beneficial in the bedroom. Research suggests that the same mechanisms can work to boost libido and increase lubrication.

Related: Is your libido lower than normal? This may be why

How is CBD good for sex?

There are many cannabinoid receptors in your reproductive organs and sexual tissues. When ingested, CBD can enhance your experience by reducing anxiety that can be distracting and inflammation that can cause discomfort, allowing you to focus on pleasure. When applied topically, CBD also can help relax blood vessels to increase blood flow to your sexy bits to enhance arousal, sensitivity and lubrication. While not fully understood, if you struggle with dryness and painful sex, using a lubricant that contains CBD, such as a CBD oil lube can improve sexual performance and relieve pain.

Related: Here’s why you might be having pain during sex, according to experts

So whether it is stress, anxiety, dryness or discomfort that stands in the way of a randy romp in the hay, CBD is uniquely capable of addressing each and every concern that amounts to your sexual wellness. And by relaxing muscles, easing tension and managing pain, it could be a game-changer for you postpartum.

Want to know what the best CBD products are for getting your groove on? Check out our top picks below.

Quim Happy Clam Serum
$48

1. Best aftercare serum: Quim Happy Clam Serum

If there’s a better product tagline out there than “eye cream for your vagina,” I haven’t found it. Happy Clam Serum (again, SLAM DUNK on the naming here) from Quim (!) is formulated for regular use to keep everything moisturized and happy–not just during sexy times. In addition to CBD, it’s packed with nourishing ingredients like apricot oil and calendula to soothe and hydrate along with tea tree oil which can help reduce the risks of UTIs and yeast infections. After sex, around your period, after a bath–literally any time you need a little bit of comfort apply and enjoy. A little extra pampering will pay off when you’re getting down to business. Promise. (After all, you’ve probably got a regular skincare routine for your face, right?)

House of Wise Sex Gummies
$49

2. Best CBD Gummies for Sex: House of Wise

We admit we’re a bit smitten with the female-founded House of Wise. Not only is their hemp organically grown on USDA Organic farms in Denver, Colorado, but their products are so easy to understand and navigate. Case in point, they offer four blends: Stress, Sleep, Strength and Sex. No glossary of terms needed.

But about those sex gummies. In addition to 15mg of Full Spectrum hemp-derived CBD, each piece includes 200mg Horny Goat Weed Extract, 100mg Maca Root Extract and 10mg Ashwagandha Extract to amp up your libido and make your sessions that much more enjoyable. Just pop one about 45 minutes ahead of time and let it get to work increasing blood flow, promoting calm and boosting energy. They’re not going to make you high, but with all that good stuff you may just feel that way afterward.😉

CBD-gummies
$60

3. Best CBD tincture: Deep Roots Full Spectrum CBD Tincture Berry 1000 Mg

If body aches or anxiety are getting in the way of enjoying your time between the sheets, a few drops of CBD can help you unwind. (Just give it an hour or so to really take effect.) The Deep Roots Full Spectrum CBD Tincture from Healthy Roots Hemp are a favorite not only for their efficacy but are also the most palatable we’ve tried. If you’re not a fan of the earthy tasting cannabis, these have a very subtle berry flavor and go down incredibly smooth.

equilibria-cbd-gummies
$58

4. Best CBD Gummies: Equilibria Daily Gummies

Female-founded Equilibria offers a wide array of CBD products along with educational support to help you determine your perfect dose—like with a real, actual human. (Each purchase includes a complimentary appointment to answer all your questions and build a routine that works!) CBD, like any supplement, only works if you keep taking it, so the best CBD is one you’ll want to take. That’s the brilliance of these delicious daily gummies. The pineapple dragonfruit flavor is delightfully candy-like which personally ensures I’ll never miss a dose.

Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD
$48

5. Best CBD oil for sex: Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD

If you want a little something to spice things up, Foria Awaken Arousal Oil with CBD is the nightstand superhero you should know about. The plant-based topical oil is designed especially for people with vulvas to enhance the pleasure of sex—whether solo or with your partner.

Just drip a few silky drops on all the places that count and wait about 20 minutes for it to get to work. The unique blend of broad-spectrum CBD and organic MCT coconut oil is mixed with warming infusions of cinnamon, ginger and essential oils to increase sensation and excitement. And don’t worry! It’s not overly tingly like other arousal topicals can be. It’s got that familiar, relaxing CBD feel that helps guide you toward a more euphoric session. NBD. (It’s also available in a CBD-free version as well!)

Lure Deluxe Intimacy Oil
$25

6. Best CBD Oil for Sex (that doubles as massage oil): Lure Deluxe Intimacy Oil

Sexual pleasure is about all the sensations, and the Lure Deluxe Intimacy Oil can help to heighten them. The silky soft formula is made with just Organic MCT coconut oil and organically grown, full spectrum CBD which is scent-free and flavorless to use with abandon. It’s perfect for loving (or spicy!) massages and when used in your most intimate areas, it can help keep things lubricated which, let’s be honest, is totally key. The best part? Unlike regular lube which is cold, wet and sticky this is the exact opposite. In fact, the softness it leaves behind rivals any fancy moisturizer!

CBD-bath-salts
$65

7. Best luxury CBD bath salts: Lord Jones High CBD Bath Salts

Admittedly, this is the bougiest pick on the list, but we have reasons. 1. It’s actually divine in its scent, performance and presentation, making your regular epsom salts feel very sad by comparison. With the addition of CBD, pink Himalayan sea salt, arnica for pain relief and calendula to soothe and heal, it’s a powerhouse for relaxation. 2. The luxe feel just begs you to take this dose of self-care seriously. Treat yourself to a full-on, door closed bath and you might be in the mood faster than you’d think. (Or ready to crawl into bed unbothered. That’s fine too.)

CBD-for-orgasms
$45

8. Best CBD Oil for Orgasms: Privy Peach CBD Infused Intimate Oil

When a friend uses the phrase “mind-blowing orgasm,” well, we listen. The individually packaged CBD intimate oil from Privy Peach works fast to rev things up. As a surprise to, well, exactly no one, the brand’s CEO and founder is a woman who clearly knows what works. The magic blend of ultra-filtered virgin coconut oil with nano emulsified broad-spectrum CBD is solid at first but emulsifies when applied topically to help increase sensitivity and even aid in lubrication. What are you waiting for?

CBD-lube
$44

9. Best CBD Oil-Based Lube: Foria Wellness Intimacy Sex Oil with CBD

CBD or no CBD, this lube would still make the top of our list for lube recommendations. The CBD is just an added perk on top of the long (enough) lasting and non-sticky performance that is as enjoyable as it gets. That said, the CBD lends an added layer of relaxation and sensation that can’t be overlooked.

Editor's Note

Editor’s note: If you’re currently pregnant or considering getting pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks of using CBD products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against the use of cannabidiol (CBD) in any form during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel.

Sources

Chauhan NS, Sharma V, Dixit VK, Thakur M. A review on plants used for improvement of sexual performance and virilityBiomed Res Int. 2014;2014:868062. doi:10.1155/2014/868062

Crippa JAS, Derenusson GN, Ferrari TB, et al. Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2011;25(1):121-130. doi:10.1177/0269881110379283

Klumpers LE, Thacker DL. A Brief Background on Cannabis: From Plant to Medical IndicationsJ AOAC Int. 2019;102(2):412-420. doi:10.5740/jaoacint.18-0208

Leweke FM, Piomelli D, Pahlisch F, et al. Cannabidiol enhances anandamide signaling and alleviates psychotic symptoms of schizophreniaTransl Psychiatry. 2012;2(3):e94. Published 2012 Mar 20. doi:10.1038/tp.2012.15

Magon N, Kalra S. The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and laborIndian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011;15 Suppl 3(Suppl3):S156-S161. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.84851

Mouslech Z, Valla V. Endocannabinoid system: An overview of its potential in current medical practiceNeuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009;30(2):153-179.

Rajesh M, Mukhopadhyay P, Bátkai S, Hasko G, Liaudet L, Drel VR, Obrosova IG, Pacher P. Cannabidiol attenuates high glucose-induced endothelial cell inflammatory response and barrier disruption. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology. 2007 Jul;293(1):H610-9. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00236.2007

A version of this story was published October 17, 2021. It has been updated.