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Cannabis use may worsen sexual dysfunction, rat study suggests

February 23, 2011
Queen's University
New evidence suggests that cannabis may have an even greater negative effect on sexual health than previously thought.

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.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Rany Shamloul, Anthony J. Bella. Impact of Cannabis Use on Male Sexual Health. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02198.x

Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Cannabis use may worsen sexual dysfunction, rat study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <>.
Queen's University. (2011, February 23). Cannabis use may worsen sexual dysfunction, rat study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 4, 2023 from
Queen's University. "Cannabis use may worsen sexual dysfunction, rat study suggests." ScienceDaily. (accessed December 4, 2023).

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