The Wins and Losses of Using Delta-8 for Sex
Whether it's the economy-boosting power of the local dispensary or the pain-relieving properties of an Indica-dominant strain, the narrative around marijuana has evolved from a "dangerous gateway drug" to something you can, in some places, consume during an office happy hour without risking an email from human resources.
But the embers of controversy still manage to flicker as more and more states legalize weed. One of those embers is Delta-8-THC, a powerful cannabinoid that skirts the line of legality and delivers a high more powerful than CBD. Think of Delta-8 as weed light, the middle ground between CBD and the run-of-the-mill Delta-9-THC you'd find packed in a bowl.
Delta-8-THC is enjoying a popularity spike due to its availability. You can find Delta-8 for sale in all but 14 U.S. states, where it's sold online, in gas stations, in head shops and even at medical marijuana dispensaries. Blame it all on a loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill, which inadvertently legalized the milder (albeit still controversial) cannabinoid, bringing forth a wave of Delta-8-THC sales.
Anecdotally revered for its paranoia-free high and libido-boosting effects, Delta-8 is beginning to drift over into use in the bedroom. Is the stuff all it's said to be? Does its supposed paranoia-free high lend itself to a more robust sexual experience? Will its shady legal status ultimately end the scene before it gains more momentum? We asked.
Popular and powerful?
"Ruby" is a Redditor active in the Delta-8 subreddit. She came across Delta-8-THC accidentally while she and her partner were mixing weed and sex. She doesn't fancy herself a smoker but has in the past enjoyed Delta-8 gummies and tinctures before intimate moments.
"It's like I'm in a fuzzy little bubble and everything outside that bubble disappears for a while," said the 37-year-old Redditor. "I'm very focused and enthusiastic. When I'm high and masturbating, I'm able to get off quicker and more times. Usually, I'm more the one and done type, but four to six orgasms aren't unusual for me with Delta-8."
A 2019 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine took a look at the relationship between sex and marijuana in women in an effort to evaluate how marijuana affects a woman's libido, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction. Of the 373 women surveyed, 127 reported having used marijuana prior to sex and noted an increased sex drive, improvement in orgasms and decrease in pain, but no change in lubrication.
"It's like an orgasm takes over my full existence for a few moments," Ruby added. "They just feel different—it's not necessarily that they feel better as much as they become a full-body experience."
Now, the challenges
The term "Delta-8" refers to the eight double bonds within the compound (as compared to the nine found in THC), which have been known to reduce anxiety and inflammation by targeting the brain's CB1 and CB2 receptors. With both anxiety and high blood pressure impacting sexual performance, some researchers have concluded that Delta-8 can potentially promote healthy sexual function by relieving these symptoms.
So, where's the controversy? It comes down to Delta-8's current placement on the line between legal and illegal. Jordan Tishler, M.D., is the president and CEO of inhale MD, the president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists and an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
"THC, regardless of form or source, is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act," Tishler said. "The world is just pretending that because the feds aren't yet prosecuting anyone over [Delta-8], it's therefore legal."
New York City lawmakers are pushing for the state's health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, to prohibit the drug based on the fear children could potentially get ahold of Delta-8, but the concerns don't stop there.
"It's also crucial to point out that, since Delta-8 is not legal or regulated (like CBD), we don't have testing standards or regulations in place to assure user safety," Tishler said. "As a result, we've found that many CBD products are contaminated or tainted with a range of dangerous things. There is no reason to expect that [Delta-8] products are any safer."
For the Redditors who have to "fight the urge to beat off after hitting dabs of D8," all you can do is wait and see.
People who are interested in experimenting with Delta-8 products for sex or other reasons should consult with a doctor beforehand, and check the legal status in their state of residence. Municipal use of marijuana, though legal in certain states, is still largely illegal under federal law.
Giddy Notice: Our medical experts have informed us that few supplements of this nature have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That is to say, statements and claims made about the efficacy or possible health benefits of these unapproved supplements have neither been evaluated nor reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Furthermore, any statements or claims regarding the supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Our medical experts advise that before you use a supplement in any way, first consult your healthcare provider to ensure you have full knowledge of appropriate dosages, if any, as well as any potential side effects or interactions with any prescription medications you're already taking.