American capitalism has fueled some of the greatest innovations humanity has ever seen. More recently, entrepreneurs in both the rapidly evolving technology and cannabis industries have been turning out inventive new must-have products—essentials like vaporizers, vibrators and cell phones. And, like self-driving cars and Google glasses in Silicon Valley, legal regional markets are starting to see an influx of cannabis-infused everything. The magical thing about marijuana is that it can pretty much be infused into everything and shoved up anything. Land of the free and home of the brave!
The latest market craze in the cannabis world comes with the lofty promise of stoned genitalia. The first prototypes of cannabis-infused sexual salves started landing on shelves a little over a year ago, and since that time a slough of similar products have popped up in multiple states.
Getting high up the nether-holes isn’t new or novel. Both sterile professionals and lascivious lewds have been getting their rectal fix for ages. Rumor even has it aging Fleetwood Mac front woman Stevie Nicks preserved her beautiful face and septum by exclusively bootie bumping all her cocaine in the seventies. The walls of both the colon and vagina wick drugs into the system quicker than via oral administration, meaning a smaller amount gets the user much higher much quicker. The effect is well-known by pleasure seekers everywhere, especially the enterprising Phoenix teenagers who were outed by their local news a couple years back for getting discreetly drunk during classes via vodka-soaked tampons. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
When I was sent a product sample a year ago that promised a burner blast for my beaver, naturally I was thrilled. Who wouldn’t want to experience that? Even better, mind-bending blogs were swirling the web eschewing the mystical 15-minute orgasm.
But this sample didn’t work. If cannabis was absorbed into my bloodstream though the vagina, the effects weren’t noticeable and there was no increase in regional sensitivity. Further, the only ingredients listed on the $45 10ml bottle were “cannabis, coconut oil and love.” Hypothetically, if infused coconut oil could actually get genitals stoned, a crockpot full of the magical gasm goo could be quickly and easily made for about the same price, no doctor’s recommendation necessary.
This specific product was marketed directly to women with a campaign centered around female empowerment, an unfortunate move considering the product didn’t work for most users and, according to estimates from the National Health and Social Life Survey, 40 million American women suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.
Unlike most other global life, humans have sex for a more complex web of reasons than simple procreation or even physical gratification. According to sociologist Randall Collins, the primary reason humans have sex is to make or secure connections with other humans. In order for any human, especially the traditionally societally repressed female, to feel empowered in their lives they need to feel they have control and security, and a gratifying sex life leads to stronger self esteem and even better physical immunity and health.
When I followed up with the company’s founder (who, by the way, was a man) for the studies he promised me evidencing the science behind the product’s research and development proving the science behind the toasted twat, I never got a response. I guess I wasn’t too surprised to find out there wasn’t some prestigious university somewhere funding revolutionary OG orgasm experiments. Despite my disappointment I knew there had to be a way to make it work. The concept was marketed so well directly to my demographic and I had to have it. I had to get my vagina high.
Technically, getting your vagina high can mean one of two things. First, there is the pussy toke, but it’s not for the faint of heart nor is it easy. Legendary sex and cannabis columnist Mamakind chronicled her attempts to inhale a puff through a bong using her vagina in Sex Pot: The Marijuana Lover’s Guide to Getting’ it On. In the three-part saga she eventually is able to take a little pussy puff using a custom-made bong designed by a devoted fan dedicated to her success.
I was seeking out the second type of vaginal victory; the sort of high I was expecting was more of a physical sensation; a specific regional deep tingling directly in the genitals, a heightened awareness that focuses both blood flow and thought directly towards sex and gratification. For those like me with problems paying attention, increased sensitivity delivers an instantly more efficiently satisfying experience by way of ADD distraction.
And then I had the opportunity to try a product that finally actually got my vagina high and it was exactly as blissful and exhilarating as I had imagined it would be. After just my first application of Empower 4PLAY, which smells intoxicating enough in its own right, I had achieved the mythical masturbatory feat and even got a little high behind my face too.
“It is just an awesome feeling. If you spread it around all down there it is just a magical creeping up effect up your spine to the back of your head and then the front of your face. It’s just the beautiful giddy—I just start giggling and, oh my gosh holy cow, I haven’t smoked anything and I am ready to rock and relaxing, really high and ready to have fun,” says Sarah H., a 37-year-old PR and Sales Manager at Titrate, an Oregon-based cannabis vaporizing company.
Sarah has been married for 10 years and has two children. She has suffered from endometriosis throughout her entire adult life and has had multiple surgeries, including a complete hysterectomy, to address the pain and painful sex and periods it caused.
“I want to have a relationship with my husband but I couldn’t because it hurt. ….I have always had pain with sex. That’s a thing in the back of my head, that it might be painful, but with [cannabis infused salves] it helps relax my body and mind so I can have a wonderful experience,” Sarah says.
Her doctors have prescribed muscle relaxants in addition to anti-anxiety drugs and painkillers to help her achieve normal sexual function. She didn’t find them effective and prefers natural treatments. She has used cannabis administered internally to relieve the pain and relax for sex for years before trying it infused in a sexual stimulant. She says she loves using an infused salve on her genitals because it has allowed her to have a thriving and fulfilling sex life with her husband.
“My girly parts are very happy when I have it on, it is a cloud-like feeling. I would definitely say that it makes my vagina feel high. It's a tingly light sensation,” says Cortney R., a 32-year-old business manager and yoga instructor.
Cortney is in a relationship and smokes cannabis every day, so she is frequently already stoned already when she has sex, but she says she also uses cannabis to help alleviate the complications and nerve pain associated with genital herpes as well. She has found multiple uses for cannabis-infused oil on her vagina. She uses it with her vibrator, to take the edge off during anal sex and sometimes just puts in on because she likes the feeling.
“For me, the vagina high is a body high feeling that goes from my hip-bone to my mid-thigh,” says Trista Okel, owner and founder of Portland-based Empower Oil, maker of Empower 4PLAY.
Empower 4PLAY is a cannabis-infused fractionated coconut oil combined with a proprietary blend of essential oils and other natural plant-sourced aphrodisiacs. After a year of also seeking out the vagina high, she was able to do it on herself first before recruiting guinea pigs to experiment with it anally, vaginally, in masturbation and in treating sexual dysfunction caused by menopause or other conditions.
Okel is a researcher who works out of her home and small test garden. She can usually be found behind her signature rose-colored prescription glasses tinkering with new blends of ointments, oils and ingestibles. The title on her business cards formally reads “aromatic alchemist”.
“My nose, my sense of smell has been a big part of everything I have ever done or loved,” Okel says, recalling years spent working as a wine steward in her twenties. “With my love of cannabis I did the same thing. It has always been about flavor and smell. I use my nose first and then I find the science. My nose knows.”
She has been studying aromatherapy and essential oils for over 20 years, which lends to expertise in choosing strains and terpene blends when preparing the personal lubricants. Her line of products includes her popular Empower Oil topical blends and a triple-infused cannabis soaking salt blend for the bath. All of her products—like everything in Portland—are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, locally and sustainably produced and available in medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries in Washington and Oregon.
Okel says the inspiration for the product wasn’t necessarily the arrival of similar products on shelves. Instead, a handful of regular Empower Oil users (all but one were male) had disclosed to her that they have been experimenting with the oil on their genitals and through their anuses—and loving the results. She set out to make a pH-friendly version that was non-toxic, safe to eat and would actually get the users high. She says she, too, was taken aback by the 15-minute orgasm, but also intrigued.
“I said, I am going to figure out what kind of product I can get cannabinoids in and see if this is possible,” she said.
Okel experimented with at least half a dozen different companies’ formulations to determine their efficacy and to perfect them for herself. She says the effects of vaginally absorbed cannabis are strain-specific and she most definitely can tell the difference between a high-THC or high-CBD blend and whether or not the strain is indica or sativa. Indicas, she says, induce the strongest physical reaction, so she has leaned towards that end of the spectrum. Each milliliter of Empower 4PLAY contains 22mg of activated THC and 1.2mg of CBD. Okel says future iterations will have nearly twice the level of CBD, to help alleviate anxiety and improve mood.
“I definitely think partaking in cannabis consumption prior to sex creates an extremely different effect and can be used to alleviate tension and anxiety and promote a more elevated experience for both partners,” says Ashley Preece-Sacket.
Preece-Sacket is a 36-year-old horticultural scientist and co-founder of Cascadia Labs, which tests cannabis products for legal retail sale. She is a regular user who alternates between methods of ingestion and dosages.
“Cannabis infused lubricants have revolutionized the physical and mental aspects of intercourse by removing the traditional synthetic infusions and implementing a more sustainable ‘whole-plant’ concept,” she says.
Although the topic of sex and cannabis feels doubly dirty, getting genitals high and brains lifted is just the medicine needed to counteract thousands of years of international sexual repression and nearly a century of anti-pot propaganda. Really, getting a penis or vagina high is about the pursuit of health, happiness and general wellness. I know getting mine “high” brought me a lot of happiness.
“People that are in pain need to feel empowered. Say we get their pain under control… don’t they deserve to have some fun too?” asks Okel. “The idea of relaxing [patients] enough to have an orgasm is actually the main reason I started working on this product.”
[IN BOX: THESE ARE NOT LUBES! It should be noted that none of these products can be referred to as “lubricants” although they do provide a lubrication where there is friction. The natural botanical oils used (hemp, cannabis, coconut and others) will break down condoms and may render them them ineffective. Unless in trusting, committed relationships it is probably best to use all cannabis-infused lubricants solo.]