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With more and more , CBD — the non-psychoactive cannabinoid — may be taking the backseat to its cooler, psychoactive brethren THC. But while CBD doesn’t get you high like THC does, don’t discount it quite yet.
For those who experience and want relief during sex — or for people who just want to try something new in bed — look no further than CBD lube. My first foray into products like these came from last summer and since then, my world has blossomed into a CBD lube haven.
The science behind CBD lube
To be clear, there’s much more research to be done on the medical benefits of CBD and cannabis in general, especially as it relates to sexual health. OB/GYN , the “medical marijuana women’s doctor,” said she hasn’t seen studies that prove CBD is the “secret sauce” to these lubricants, but said that CBD does have a calming factor.
The reports that do exist are pretty encouraging. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School concluded in 2016 that , for example. A 2019 study out of the University of Louisiana stated that in opioid users, and decrease their reliance on opioids as well.
This is potentially great news for chronic pain patients such as myself; while neither of these studies are about vulvas or the pelvis, specifically, the nature of the cannabinoid suggests it can help there as well. CBD is a vasodilator, according to , an OB/GYN, sex and pleasure coach and author, meaning it opens up (dilates) the blood vessels. This means CBD lube likely helps with arousal by getting blood flowing to the genitals, which also helps with the production of the body’s natural lubricants.
What do mental benefits have to do with sex? “Your biggest sex organ is your brain,” explained , a former OB/GYN who currently works with medical cannabis patients. “It’s important to be present, be in the mood, and to want to be there no matter what you’re using.”
“Your biggest sex organ is your brain.”
Even if you use a lube rather than smoke or ingest CBD, the cannabinoid can still reach your brain. Here’s how: When you use CBD lube, the molecules are absorbed by your body and enter the bloodstream, where it circulates through your body.
What to consider before buying CBD lube
In addition to any possible physiological benefits, CBD lubes also bring a novelty factor to sex, said Brandye, which in itself can get you more excited to be intimate. “Anything that is helping women to explore what they enjoy and like about sex…is pretty good in my opinion,” she said.
In my experience, CBD lube is a great addition to the bedroom. I feel a heightened sensation during sex; when I use water-based CBD lube on my to relieve pain, I feel more relaxed (and my muscles do, too).
There are, however, two caveats to consider about CBD lube.
First, many, but not all, CBD lubes are oil-based. This is because CBD is a fat-soluble cannabinoid, meaning it dissolves in substances like oil (such as coconut or hemp oil). Oil breaks down condoms and sex toy material, so don’t use these lubes — CBD or not — with those items.
Second, these products take time to work. Instructions on product labels or websites may state to apply the product anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes before intimacy. This makes sense, as it takes the body time to absorb the CBD and do its thing. If you’re going to have a quickie, CBD lube may not be the right choice. For extended foreplay, however, it can be wonderful.
What to look for in a CBD lube
Not all CBD lubes are created equal. At this point in time, CBD is not regulated by the FDA. Parodneck recommends you look for a company that lab tests its product with a third party so you know what you’re paying for (i.e. that there’s real CBD in the product).
No one Bone has recommended CBD lube to had a bad reaction, but always check the ingredients to see if there’s something that may not agree with your body. do exist, and users can be sensitive to other lube additives such as horny goat weed as well.
“Sometimes there are other things that may produce tingles like cinnamon oil or a mint menthol oil,” warned Brandye. “If you have any sensitivity to that you want to be careful with it.” Brandye and Parodneck recommend both partners testing out the lube on an area other than your genitals first.
CBD also keeps for a long time, according to Bone, so there’s no need for these lubes to have preservatives.
When it comes to scents and flavors, your first instinct may be to run away. According to Brandye, however, they add a different vibe and encourage you to engage with the five senses. This makes the experience more memorable, which helps with the .
Brandye works with women who struggle with getting aroused, partly because of the negative loop: they don’t enjoy sex, and then they have the memory of it that perpetuates this non-enjoyment. Engaging the senses and enjoying the experience can disrupt that loop.
“We can interrupt that [negative] cycle and give a positive experience and have the reinforcements of, ‘Oh, that smells good,’ ‘Oh, that tasted good,’ ‘Oh, that felt good,'” she explained, “And it helps to create a more positive effect and a more positive response to sex.”
And you don’t just have to use these lubes on your genitals. Especially if it’s oil based, you can use it for body massage, said Parodneck. She said, “All of this enhances sexuality.”
What CBD lube should I try?
This is by no means exhaustive, but here’s a list of CBD lubes I’ve tested and enjoyed:
GoLove stands out on this list by virtue of being water-based, not oil-based. This is a big deal because, as previously stated, only water-based lubes can be used with condoms and/or toys. It’s the only CBD lube I can use with my pelvic wand.
Sexologist Dr. Sadie Allison and CBD scientist and cannabis educator John Renko created GoLove with the goal of having a water-based CBD lube without possible irritants like parabens, glycerin, or stimulants.
While CBD is fat-soluble, using a breaks down the surface tension of the fat-soluble molecules so it can be used in a water-based lube. Renko explained this using the analogy of water and grease when you’re washing dishes: Water and grease (fat) don’t mix unless soap — the surfactant — is present, and that helps clean the dishes.
Another aspect of GoLove I enjoy is the ease of dosing. The bottle comes with a pump, and the label says one pump contains 2 mg of CBD. (The entire 40 mL bottle contains 200 mg of CBD.) None of the other lubes on this list break down the dosing this way. Now when I use GoLove, I can keep track of exactly how much CBD is best for me.
I already wrote a whole , but to reiterate: it’s a fun time. While I’m not a huge fan of their bottle design (and while Toca seems to have undergone a design rebrand since my review, the bottle appears the same), these lubes do pack a punch with 200 mg of CB mL bottle. This one’s oil based, so don’t use it with condoms or toys.
Compared to the other oils on this list, I’d say it’s a medium consistency.
isn’t a lubricant in name, but it’s included on this list as it came at Parodneck’s recommendation — and the website claims it can be used as lube, as well as a massage oil. Like GoLove, the bottle is a pump which is my favorite mode of lube administration; there’s no dosing on the label, however.
Parodneck described it as a light formulation, so gentle that she uses it as a moisturizer as well. I also found it to be light, so light that it absorbed easily into my skin. I had to use more than one pump during a session.
While light, this intimacy oil has the, but to reiterate: it’s a fun time. While I’m not a huge fan of their bottle design (and while Toca seems to have undergone a design rebrand since my review, the bottle appears the same), these lubes do pack a punch with 200 mg of CBD per 30 mL bottle. This one’s oil based, so don’t use it with condoms or toys.
Glissant has the lowest concentration of CBD on the list, at 100 mg per 30 mL bottle. Unfortunately, its bottle has the same problem as TOCA’s in that it’s a spray. It’s impossible to tell just how much of the product comes out in one spray, especially because it can change depending on how aggressively you press. Its consistency was similar to TOCA’s, as well.
Glissant isn’t made with parabens or glycerin, but its site claims it is not suitable for people allergic to nuts. The ingredient list is long on this one, so check for sensitivities. (Horny goat weed, for example, is in Glissant’s CBD lube.)
In addition to what’s on this list, I also tried , but decided not to include it here as I wasn’t a fan of its dropper or water-like consistency; both made for a messy experience. It’s also 200 mg per 120 mL, which is a lot lower concentration than the others.
CBD, like cannabis overall, still needs to be studied more closely. CBD lube also isn’t a cure-all, and while I’ve found it beneficial for pelvic pain, everyone’s body is different. Further, the FDA doesn’t currently regulate CBD lube, so a potential customer — you! — have to do your due diligence when choosing a product.
Ultimately, though, these lubes are just to enhance your experience with yourself or your partner. “It’s not the lube doing the job,” said Parodneck. “It’s the people who are together.”