Originally published February 21, 2019; updated March 5, 2021
“It was amazing,” Rachel S. (who, understandably, requested that her last name not be used here) told me over email about her foray into the wild world of cannabis lubricant. “I would describe the feeling as if just your vagina was high without your mind being high. Everything felt intensified compared to normal.” In the words of Cardi B., okurrrrr. One thing worth noting, though: The lube Rachel tried was a mix of CBD and THC, so don’t expect as many fireworks with a CBD-only iteration.
“CBD lube can lead to increased sensitivity for some, and most experience relaxation which creates more willingness to receive pleasurable touch which in turn may lead to better and stronger orgasms,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a board certified sexologist and the author of Getting the Sex You Want. ” Using CBD lube can help with vaginal pain, with penetration, and can decrease and even prevent irritation.” She notes that some manufacturers claim that CBD lube can moisturize and regenerate skin, but says that hasn’t seen any studies that can confirm that.
4. GoLove CBD Intimate Lubricant, $68
Another important thing to keep in mind is that many CBD lubes are oil based, so they aren’t safe to use with condoms because oil can cause latex to tear (which, ya know, kind of defeats the purpose of a condom). And apparently, there is a such thing as “too much of a good thing.” “If you use too much or the CBD lube is too potent, you run the risk of dulling sensation,” says Nystrom. Duly noted.
Photo: Privy Peach
CBD lube can also be beneficial for people who might experience pain during sex, which can be caused by a number of different things including vaginismus, vaginitis, PCOS, or vaginal tearing from birth. “CBD can help reduce tension in the pelvic floor so it can decrease pain with penetration and inflammation,” says Cyo Nystrom, CEO and co-founder of Quim. She also points to studies that show CBD to be very beneficial for people experiencing PTSD from sexual trauma.
Photo: Kush Queen
When you find “the one” you can just feel it—and you breathe a giant sigh of relief, because let’s face it: It’s hard to find a keeper. We’re talking here not about the perfect partner (ain’t no such thing!) but a go-to lubricant that makes sex, no matter how you have it or with whom, reliably more enjoyable.
The other big unknown is CBD dosing—we don’t know much about how much people should take or even, Woodcock says, how or how much gets absorbed through mucous membranes like the vagina and the mouth. For that reason, you want to “start low and go slow,” the same advice you’d follow if you were taking CBD orally. CBD is thought to be safe; typically, “The biggest thing is that it can make you super drowsy and tired, and that will take a few hours go away,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat. You’ll want to do a patch test on your arm to make sure you’re not allergic to any ingredient, and bear in mind that a lube may contain ingredients (such as capsaicin or peppermint) that can make things a too tingly or irritate your skin. (You’re advised to check with your doc before using CBD, as it can change your blood levels of certain medications, says Dr. Wilson-Manigat.)
So how might CBD—short for cannabidiol, a compound found primarily in the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant that does not make you high — help make sex more comfortable and even give you better orgasms, as many women say they’ve found with some of these products? “CBD may increase the level of sensation, because it’s it causes vasodilation,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat, meaning it widens the veins to bring more blood to the area. But CBD may also have antianxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, she says. “For women who are having trouble with things like vestibulitis and vaginismus, they might benefit from using that type of lube because it decreases sensation of pain,” she says.
Your vagina won’t feel high, but it may get very, very happy.
Note the use of the word “may” in all of the above. That’s because “there really is no scientific research on CBD on being used in the vagina or as a personal lubricant,” says Stacia Woodcock, Pharm.D., a dispensary manger for Curaleaf, who is steeped in the science. In fact, there hasn’t been much firm data on CBD for most almost any use, and people’s responses are highly individual. Woodcock says that women’s sexual pain issues don’t get nearly as much attention as they should, but while she’s glad women are seeing relief, it’s hard to separate the placebo effect from the effect of the CBD itself. “I would love to see real research behind it. If it is what people are saying, and we can know more about it, we can put it to use to better help women,” she says.
However, remember that vaginal flora can be sensitive. Always check the full ingredients of a product before applying, and if need be, consult with a health care provider.
The best CBD lubes will be free from irritating chemicals and should have a gel-like texture. That means it will be more viscous than traditional lube, which can be too runny at times. A common issue with many CBD lubes on the market is that they don’t last long enough. Reapplication during sex is a real buzzkill, so get a CBD lube capable of lasting long enough for both partners to be satisfied.
One reason for this is that it may impact vaginal balance. Healthy vaginal flora are largely maintained by bacteria like lactobacilli. It keeps the environment clean and balanced through secretion or discharge. Using poorly-made or inappropriate products for the vagina can disrupt this balance. It may change natural pH levels, making the area feel dry, itchy, and could even lead to thrush.
Where to Buy CBD Sex Lube
For those interested in buying the best CBD lube, choosing a high-quality product should always be the first priority. Thankfully, many companies now specialize in sex-focused cannabis products.
The vagina is highly absorbent so, when cannabis lube is applied, the THC easily travels through the mucous membranes and into the muscle tissue. It then interacts with localized cell receptors in the ECS.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as many as 75% of women experience pain during sex at some stage, with penetration pain the main issue. Using CBD to create lube makes sense. It is anti-inflammatory and can prevent irritation as long as it is made with a natural coconut oil or water base.
Luckily, some companies provide water-based CBD lubricant.