Rany Shamloul's recent review of the medical literature on cannabis use and sexual health has revealed that cannabis use may negatively impact male sexual performance.
"Cannabis is the most widely-used illicit drug globally," says Dr. Shamloul, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. "It is also often used by young, sexually active people who are unaware of the hazardous effects it may be having on their sexual health and performance."
Recent animal and in vitro studies have identified new negative connections between cannabis use and sexual dysfunction that may put an end to previous controversy.
While it was previously known that cannabis could affect certain receptors in the brain, it's now believed that these receptors also exist in the penis. Cannabis use may have an antagonizing effect on these receptors in the penis, making it more difficult for a man to achieve and maintain an erection.
"These findings will change the current understanding of the magnitude of the impact of cannabis use on sexual health," says Dr. Shamloul.
Previous studies examining the effects of cannabis use on male sexual function have been limited and many of these studies have produced contradictory results. While some studies have indicated cannabis could have beneficial effects in enhancing erectile function, other studies have found the opposite.
Dr. Shamloul's research will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.