Feb 14 - Marijuana Use Linked To $exual Dysfunction In Men

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Feb 14 - Marijuana Use Linked To $exual Dysfunction In Men


Marijuana users sometimes report that pot enhances their desire for s*x. But a new review of research on marijuana and s*xual health suggests that male smokers could be courting s*xual dysfunction.

Research on the topic is contradictory and few studies are high-quality, said study researcher Rany Shamloul, a physician with appointments at the University of Ottawa and Queen's University in Canada as well as the University of Cairo. But recent research – including the finding that the p*nis contains receptors for marijuana's active ingredient – suggests that young men may want to think about long-term effects before rolling a joint, Shamloul told LiveScience.

"It's a strong message to our younger generations and younger men," Shamloul said.

Shamloul reported his findings online Jan. 26 in the Journal of s*xual Medicine.

s*x and drugs

Scientists first began to study marijuana and s*x in the 1970s. Some researchers found that cannabis seemed to have the effect of a love drug; in one 1982 study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 75 percent of male pot smokers said the drug enhanced their s*x lives. Meanwhile, another study published in the same journal the same year found that erectile dysfunction was twice as common in marijuana users – not such good news for lit lotharios. Other research suggests a dose effect, in which small amounts of marijuana have little impact on s*xual dysfunction, but more marijuana makes for fewer erections.

But problems are rife with this research, Shamloul said, because none of the studies used validated measurement techniques when surveying men about their s*xual function. The different questions used could skew the responses, as could the drug itself, he noted in the review. The 39 percent of men in the original 1982 study who said marijuana extended the duration of s*x may just have been experiencing the drug's altering effects on the perception of time.

What most concerns Shamloul is a study published in 2010 in the journal European Urology. In that study, researchers found receptors for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, in p*nis tissue from five male patients and six rhesus monkeys. These receptors were mainly in the smooth muscle of the p*nis, Shamloul said. Additional lab studies suggest that THC has an inhibitory effect on the muscle.

"This is a more serious effect on the erectile function because the smooth muscle makes up 70 percent to 80 percent of the p*nis itself," Shamloul said.

Men and marijuana

Marijuana use is widespread, especially among men at their s*xual peak in life, Shamloul said. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that 162 million people worldwide use marijuana each year. More than 22 million use it daily. That makes understanding long-term effects important, Shamloul said.

People tend to focus on the possible upsides of marijuana more than the possible downsides, said Sharon Johnson, a professor of social work at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, who has studied marijuana use and s*xual health in the past. Her study, published in 2004 in the journal Archives of s*xual Behavior, found that marijuana users have a slightly elevated risk of inhibited orgasms and pain during s*x. (Johnson was not involved in Shamloul's review study.)

Research on s*xual health and marijuana use in women is even less common than studies in men, Shamloul said.

"What we are really missing are clinical studies," Shamloul said. "We are stuck with only animal studies and molecular studies, and some clinical studies done in the '60s and '70s, most on a very small number of men… We need well-designed, placebo-control studies examining marijuana's effect in both the short-term and long-term."

 Pot Use May Mellow Out Men's s*xual Function - Yahoo! News



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