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marijuana and erectile dysfunction

marijuana and erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction refers to an inability to have and maintain an erection firm enough for sex.

A variety of medical and mental health conditions can trigger erectile dysfunction  (ED), as can certain lifestyle choices, including the use of some recreational drugs.

The medical community has not found conclusive evidence that using cannabis, or marijuana, leads to ED.

However, specific effects of the drug may result in ED, and a person who smokes a mixture of marijuana and tobacco may have an increased risk.


When a person smokes marijuana, THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream. The bloodstream carries it to the brain and other organs throughout the body.

THC affects the brain's pleasure and reward system. It signals the body to release more dopamine than usual, and the dopamine affects mood and sensation. This is why a person feels "high" after using the drug.

Other short-term effects of using marijuana may include:

  • changed sensory perception
  • euphoria followed by drowsiness and relaxation
  • changes in balance and coordination
  • increased heart rate
  • problems with learning and memory
  • anxiety

Possible long-term effects include:

  • mental health problems
  • frequent respiratory infections and a persistent cough
  • memory impairment


Marijuana comes from the leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana’s main chemical is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It also has over 100 related chemicals known as cannabinoids.

Short-term marijuana effects include altered senses, altered sense of time, mood changes, impaired movements, difficulty thinking, and memory issues. Taken over the long term, marijuana may affect brain development and learning.

Many states legalized marijuana for medical use. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for any medical condition. Conditions eligible for medical marijuana vary by state, and may include:

  • cancer
  • glaucoma
  • hepatitis C
  • pain
  • wasting diseases
  • nausea
  • seizures and epilepsy
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Medical marijuana is not approved for ED. Some states allow marijuana use for conditions not on the approved list, if your doctor identifies them as debilitating.

Marijuana is smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or inhaled through pipes (bongs). Some people make marijuana tea or mix it into baked goods such as cookies, brownies, and candy.

Marijuana is often associated with side effects that may affect sexual health.


Few large-scale, high-quality studies have explored the connection between marijuana and sexual health. Whether the drug enhances sex or ruins it depends on many factors. These may include the variety used, your overall health, and your views on sexual health.

If you have ED and are wondering if marijuana may help, talk to your doctor. They’ll help you weigh the benefits with potential risks and side effects, both sexual and otherwise.

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