Cannabis, Senses, and Sensuality
by Elana Cydney Vollen
A Tantalizing Tickle…A Sensuous Ripple…A succulent savoring…There is much to be said about how different cannabinoids affect your senses. THC is the obvious stand-out here, as part of its perception-shifting profile is how intensely it can affect the senses.
There tends to be an enhancement of nearly every sense door with the ingestion of THC; the most infamous example being the impetus behind the marijuana ‘munchies’ – reasonable-tasting food can taste soooo much better with the activation of THC behind it, and fine cuisine can taste, well, out-of-this-world good. This clearly has both its benefits and detriments – the detriment being that people can tend to overeat because of that particular sensory enhancement and can subsequently experience a ‘food-coma’-type hangover and/or an unwanted weight gain.
The benefit however is that, well, food tastes so much better, but also that people who are suffering from lack of appetite due to a medical reason, might experience an increase of appetite but also more enjoyment of their food which will prompt them to eat more than they would in their current state. This has particular relevance when dealing with the cachexia that can often come with cancer and associated cancer treatment.
THC also affects the aural realms, which any pot-smoking musician or concert attendee can attest to. Again, this has its benefits and detriments in that your sense of hearing becomes much more sensitive so loud noises can be more startling and grating noises can be, well, more grating, but the sounds of sweet music can be positively transporting and can also link more acutely to one’s emotional body – bringing about visceral emotional reactions. It’s not that this can’t happen without the influence of THC, but it happens quite readily where THC and music are involved simultaneously.
Then there is the olfactory sense – yes also enhanced and also with its obvious determinants and benefits. Ever walked through a stand of lavender in bloom with a little cannabis buzz in tow? It’s heavenly, and you might find that effect even more heightened if the herb you have imbibed had a profile dominated by Linalool (lavender’s key ‘terpene’ – essential oil – for more information on terpenes, see my article from Synergy’s November ‘19 newsletter about terpenes HERE.
And the detriments? Well, you can imagine. I have suffered through many a noxious emission on a packed dance floor at a concert while under the influence of THC and had to endure a brief but brutal moment of olfactory overload.
Then there is the visual – most certainly enhanced by THC and mostly without detriment, except that surveying a negative scene, such as violence on the media and certainly in person, can be potentially more triggering than it would be without the THC. This is, however, more a function of how THC interweaves and intensifies the connections between the stimuli coming through your sense doors and your emotional body. Oh, but the benefits! The hues of a beautiful sunset, the radiance of a redwood forest, the glistening of sunlight on saltwater – nature scenes are most definitely enhanced with THC but even more common sights, like the angular geometry of skyscrapers in an urban center, might seem much more interesting through the lens of a THC tint.
That leaves the sense of touch, which is also of course remarkably enhanced by the presence of THC. I will be covering two different aspects here: in keeping with how THC ingestion affects the senses as described above and also how topical and sub-topical use of cannabis can have a net-positive impact on wellbeing and pain management.
Again, the sense of touch can be greatly enhanced where THC is present – for better or worse. I have had both the best – and the worst – massage ever while high on THC so I recommend that if you choose to be a little high and go get a massage that you have a track record with who you are choosing to work with. A qualified bodyworker or energy worker in combination with THC can put you in a state of Nirvana.
It is also well-documented that sexual desire and sensations can be greatly intensified with THC ingestion although, because cannabis still remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level, proper medical studies are in short supply. What is in good supply is self-reported surveys which seem to show that for those who use cannabis, especially women, they reported more sexual desire, more frequent sexual encounters in their partnership due to cannabis, and stronger orgasms. There was a recent study published by the National Institute of Health from March of 2019 which you can read about HERE, as well as many links regarding cannabis in relation to enhanced sexuality at the bottom of this article.
And now let’s explore topical and sub-topical use of cannabis for sexual enhancement as well as for pain relief: There have been whole product lines devoted to this particular manifestation of both THC and CBD. A new line of products mostly geared towards women has gained great attention in the thriving Cannabis marketplace. It focuses on both the topical and sub-topical pain relief aspects of THC/CBD and on cannabis-enhanced sexual lubricants. Not to get too personal but I can speak from experience that this concept has merit – especially the THC products. And a great advantage is that while great effects can be realized with THC at the skin level, and also when applied intra-vaginally and intra-anally, they will not produce psychoactive effects. I have used THC suppositories containing 50 mg. of THC intra-vaginally to help with menstrual cramps (a God-send, by the way, and yes, Synergy Wellness can custom make these as well) and this amount would normally likely produce a catatonic state in the average person and I didn’t notice anything except for pain relief in the surrounding area.
CBD-infused massage oils are also making a big splash on the market right now for the analgesic affects they can have on fascia and muscles. It is thought that a topical application of cannabis in the right medium can penetrate the first few inches into the fascial layer for pain relief when meeting with the cannabinoid receptors that reside there locally but will not get into the bloodstream (thus no psycho-active affects and no issues with it showing up on a drug screening test). For information on our phenomenal 50/50 THC:CBD salve and our alcohol-based 50/50 roll-ons, click HERE.
For issues that exist deeper in the body, topical applications may not produce results but they may respond dramatically to internal application.
Obviously this article is more slanted towards THC use because that is the author’s principal frame of reference for how cannabis affects the senses.
Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge advocate for and daily user of CBD for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antioxidant properties. I believe it supports the human organism on every level and I appreciate the fact that it does not alter my senses and that I can do it any time, any place, in large amounts and not feel psychoactive effects.
But I am also an advocate and great admirer of THC and mostly for the reasons I explained above. I love the sensual enhancement of it. And perhaps CBD is capable of causing great sense enhancement as well, but I am just a bit de-sensitized to it based on my long history being a THC enthusiast. I would be very curious to hear from any readers who only do CBD-dominant products and steer away from THC for whatever reason, to hear if they also notice any sense impacts from the influence of CBD. I certainly have talked to people who do seem to feel ‘altered’ from it – just not in the way we classically associate with THC use. Please feel free to share your stories with us using our Synergy CBD contact form HERE..
Enjoy the benefits of this medicine – in whichever variants and potencies you try – whether internal/external, mental/physical, or tactile/ethereal. There is usually something for almost anyone within its treasure trove.