<< Back

Can Marijuana Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

February 06, 2023

Candles and soft music set a romantic scene, but does smoking marijuana bring down the overall mood?

It might, says Jared Bieniek, MD, medical director of Tallwood Urology & Kidney Institute Men’s Health.

“Use of marijuana, or more specifically the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has a variety of effects on male sexual function, though these relationships aren’t fully understood,” says Dr. Bieniek.

So what do we know about marijuana and male sexual function? Dr. Bieniek explains.

> Connect with a men’s health specialist

Studies have linked marijuana and erectile dysfunction.

Cannabis has a broad range of effects on everything from a man’s sexual interest to erections and even orgasms.

On one hand, THC is known to cause euphoria, which translates to heightened sexual interest in some. On a more concerning note, there have been several studies linking marijuana use with erectile dysfunction (ED).

“Cannabinoid receptors at the level of both the brain and penis may negatively impact erectile function, possibly leading to difficulties achieving and maintaining an erection,” Dr. Bieniek says.

One 2019 analysis of four studies found that marijuana users were twice as likely to suffer from ED as non-users, says Dr. Bieniek.

There’s a slew of other factors that have an impact, including method of consumption (smoke, vape, edibles, etc.), dose and overall health. THC’s impact can also vary between men.

> Want more health news? Text StartHere to 85209 to sign up for text alerts

A complex issue

Erectile dysfunction is a “complex issue” with multiple contributing factors, even without considering cannabis use, explains Dr. Bieniek.

“Chronic smoking, whether tobacco or marijuana, for example, introduces other chemicals which could negatively affect small blood vessel flow, leading to weakening of erections,” he says.

In addition to ED, data suggests marijuana use may result in decreased sperm quality. Users, he adds, should refrain from use if possible while trying to conceive.

On the other hand, some men might find that marijuana use helps ease performance anxiety in the bedroom, which can actually improve sexual performance, he says.

“More research is needed as we continue to explore the effects of cannabis on male sexual function. For now, men should proceed with caution and talk with a healthcare professional if they have concerns about how marijuana use is affecting their sexual health or if they experience difficulties with erections,” Dr. Bieniek says.

Connect with a men's health specialist

Tallwood Men’s Health experts are here to help you with a wide range of issues including urinary control, sexual function and vasectomies.

Visit website Call Call 860.678.5700