Much ink has been spilled on the diverse uses of cannabis down the years, including its medicinal properties, pain management, the treatment of epilepsy, and so on. But what has pot done for your sex life lately? Have you used it to experience Tantric transcendence or rubbed it on your breasts?
If so, you’re in good company. Below are some of the more innovative ways people have used weed for sexual (and occasionally malicious) reasons throughout history. You’ll never look at lamb’s fat the same way again.
Not that you’re likely to be staring dreamily at lamb innards. Unless you’re very stoned.
1. Reducing the “pain of defloration”
Despite Soviet prohibition, Russian women in the 1930s used cannabis mixed with lamb’s fat, or nasha, on their wedding night “to reduce the pain of defloration.” Can you just picture a bevy of supple young virgins being sat down and told: “Listen, we’ve tried to make the men suck less at sex, but they’re going to keep barreling into you like drunken bowling balls. So put this weed gristle in your vagina, okay? And think of Mother Russia.”
Russian women also employed marijuana to shrink their vaginas with “an ointment made by mixing hashish with tobacco,” so the world of vagina marinades was obviously thriving in the north. And a cannabis tonic called guckand was used not only as an aphrodisiac, but also as an anesthetic for boys who were on the chopping block to be circumcised.
Meanwhile men in Serbia were known to consume a “happy porridge” aphrodisiac made from hashish, almond butter, flower petals and leaves, spices, and Anacyclus pyrethrum root.
2. Breast in show
In what sounds like something out of a 13-year-old boy’s porn fantasy, women have been rubbing weed all over their breasts as far back as the 11th century, probably while listening to sexy slow jam lute music.
According to the Medieval Herbal Remedies, women with swollen breasts were instructed to (again) combine weed with fat and rub it on the breast to ”disperse the swelling.” This same pot-boob marinade was also used in Germany and Austria in the 19th century to reduce pain.
3. You can’t spell weed without ED
Lest you think women are having all the fun, weed is a much-documented treatment for men with impotence, aka erectile dysfunction. In Uganda, where traditional healers abound and medicinal herbs are widely utilized, cannabis has been a go-to cure for ED for many years. It’s either chewed, smoked, or consumed in a tea, beer, or fermented porridge drink (the latter of which is popular due to the drunk-and-stoned combo).
While reports of the effects of weed on one’s penis are wildly contradictory, one of the weirder historical tidbits in relation to weed and sex comes from the 1930s. Henry Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and one of weed’s biggest detractors, spent years spreading zany lies about “hemp intoxication” and its effects on one’s libido and propensity to rape and murder everyone’s grandmother. One of his more fanciful quotes:
“Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana ‘reefers.’”
4. Tantric toke
As far back as the seventh century, practitioners of Tantra—the ancient Hindu meditation that aims to “channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the human microcosm”—have used weed to, well, channel the energy of a different godhead, too.
According to the journal Psychedelic Drugs, which documented the extensive use of cannabis in Tantra: “The Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga eloquently detail Hindu sexual techniques, and the Tantras transform such sexual practices into a means of meditational yoga.” This really begs the question of whether we’re getting our money’s worth in that Hatha flow yoga class with Prism.
Weed was thought to prolong one’s arousal to herculean lengths, and some texts describe cannabis sex rituals lasting up to eight hours, not stopping until “a glow of fire envelops the lovers in total-body orgasms, which result in erasure of mental ideations and ego, the timeless freedom from self which equals Nirvana.”
That all sounds fine, I guess, if there’s nothing good on Adult Swim.
5. Getting lit
It has been speculated that Shakespeare smoked weed in his day to fuel creative and romantic inspiration. His Sonnet 76 reference a “noted weed” and “compounds strange,” and pipe fragments found on his property contained trace fragments of cannabis, hallucinogenic nutmeg, and cocaine. He makes a pretty good case for pot helping writer’s block, too:
“Why is my verse so barren of new pride,
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with the time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth and where they did proceed?”
In the 13th century, the epic Arabian work 1,001 Nights detailed the intoxicating and aphrodisiac properties of hashish: “Art thou not ashamed, O Hashish-eater, to be sleeping stark naked with stiff standing tool?”
Thou art not, kind sir.
6. Weed smoothies
In India, the appropriately named bhang (a kind of weed smoothie made of yogurt or milk, nuts, spices, and ground cannabis) is commonly used during religious festivals like Holi and Shivaratri, as well as in Ayurvedic practices and, you know, plain ol’ bhanging. In addition to reducing anxiety and indigestion, bhang is thought to prolong erections and aid sexual arousal.
In Morocco, Egypt, and Lebanon, people consumed kif, which refers to the cannabis itself, but is also the name of another kind of blended pot drink that reduces inhibitions and impotence, and increases “transcendental experiences.” Medicinal kif is made with opium; sexytime kif is made with cloves, ginger, “paradise grains,” nutmeg, snakeroot and lavender.
7. Applause! Applause!
If all that weed-induced banging has led to some unexpected consequences, fear not! For weed is also the cure for what ails ye — at least when it comes to certain sexually transmitted infections. According to The Science of Marijuana, in Arab and Muslim India, cannabis has long been used as a treatment for gonorrhea. In 17th-century Germany, a physician also concocted a weedy nutmeg drink as a remedy for the clap. In the 1930s in the United States, we were like, “Enough of this beverage nonsense! Let’s insert pot right into our urethras.”
And that’s what they did. Cannabis was marketed and sold as a tincture, and even came with its own “urethral pipes,” which you had to insert up to three times a day.
Speaking of urethras, according to Women and Cannabis again, 19th-century Persian sex workers were known to use indica leaves to combat urethritis, and to, you know, make having sex with random dudes for money more tolerable.
8. Weed lube
Lastly, lest you think our modern times are any less crazy than those of past cultures, witness the boom of marijuana lubricants, meaning, if you don’t know, weed you can put in your rectum. Probably the most well-known weed lube is Foria, which is sprayed on your nether bits with the goal of giving you a localized, sensory-based high with no psychoactive effects. Apparently it will also “bring to your fingertips the power of ancient plant medicine to inspire deep healing and unlock profound pleasures.” (Here’s a video if you want to see women talking about the “beautiful waves” of Foria-induced pleasure.)
Comedian Margaret Cho fully endorses marijuana lube, as she told High Times: “Pot puts me in touch with my body. … You can just really feel and enjoy what’s happening to you; it’s a great enhancement and a great aphrodisiac. … I think that people don’t connect sexuality and pot as much as they should. And the best thing: marijuana lube!”
If getting your vagina stoned is too passé, you can also treat yourself to a spa day that includes a marijuana-infused massage. The rub is that you have to live in Denver.
Anna Pulley is a writer based in San Francisco. Her debut book, The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!) comes out April 2016 through Flatiron Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter: @annapulley