At 24 years of age, Antuanette Gomez, CEO of Pleasure Peaks remains unfazed when asked some eyebrow-raising questions: Can cannabis save my marriage? Can cannabis help ease pain during sex? Or the most frequently asked query, how do you have the best sex with cannabis?
Medically and recreationally, cannabis has potential benefits for both men and women. “Considered a natural aphrodisiac, specific cannabis strains can be great for piquing arousal when used topically, or through smoking or inhalation,” explains Gomez, who heads the Toronto-based global medical cannabis company focusing on women’s sexual health. But when introducing cannabis in the bedroom, it all comes down to the sexual experience a person is seeking.
“If you want something that’s hot and steamy, then you are going to need some energy—I would stick with a sativa flower. If you want to have a sensual, very relaxing experience, then an edible can be your option,” suggests Gomez, an international speaker who in 2018 was included as a scholar at Forbes 30 under 30 conference in Michigan.
With a background in holistic nutrition, Gomez worked at Toronto-based Cannabis As Living Medicine (CALM), a chronic pain clinic that’s no longer operational, for over three years before starting her company in 2015. Explaining the launch behind her brand, she says, “From dystonia, which results in pain during intercourse due to muscles contracting uncontrollably, to endometriosis, that causes chronic pelvic pain, to cervical cancer and PTSD among rape survivors… I came across many female patients who were dealing with women sexual health issues that weren’t being addressed.”
Realizing how the main issue in most of the sexual health queries related to pain, adding cannabis to the equation became a no-brainer. Targeting mainly women, Pleasure Peaks is currently developing 16 different products. “The medical line, comprising suppositories and sublingual sprays, is geared towards patients that are diagnosed with endometriosis and cervical cancer. The recreational line, where the target audience is more unisex, is geared more towards the fun side of things with cannabis-infused condoms and whipped cream as some of the product offering,” she says.
Survey: Couples form a large cannabis consumer base
Whether lighting up a joint, indulging in oils or taking a cannabis softgel capsule, Valentine’s Day could just be the next best opportunity to be a little cannacurious. “Ask any regular cannabis consumer about ‘elevated intimacy’ and they will surely wax poetic on their loyalty to pairing the two together,” Amy Wasserman, vice president of brand marketing and innovation for Canopy Growth, notes in an email.
A survey conducted by Tweed, in partnership with Sklar Wilton, in 2017, found that couples form one of the largest, and most frequent, groups of cannabis consumers. “Twenty percent of occasions that cannabis is consumed, it is with a spouse or partner; and 38 percent of couples who consume cannabis say it helps them feel more confident–not a bad way to feel when you’re about to get intimate,” Wasserman says.
Since cannabis is not a one-size-fits-all solution, Tweed offers a wide selection of products in a variety of formats, from pre-rolled joints and whole flower to softgels and oral sprays. The products “are as diverse as our community of customers and can be naturally woven into a night (or morning, or any other time of the day) of intimacy,” she adds.
Women and cannabis: a complicated relationship
Organized recently in Toronto was ‘Mamabis’, an event for cannabis-curious mothers. “The attendees were mostly new mothers wondering about cannabis,” Tabitha Fritz, one of the speakers at the event, says in an email. “Most of the questions directed towards me at the session were about how the women present could use cannabis to improve their sex drive and overall sex life,” adds Fritz, a co-founder of Bast, a women-led cannabis brand that makes products designed for women’s reproductive and gynecological health.
Cannabis can be an exploratory tool for women, for whom the response to cannabis can be quite different than men. “The unique combination of cannabinoid receptors found in the female reproductive organs mean that women can effectively use those cannabinoids to maintain homeostasis within organs—particularly clitoris, vagina, and vulva, they respond quite favourably to cannabinoids. I know that I have stronger orgasms when I use cannabis before or during sex, and many of the women I speak to say the same thing—that they have stronger, more intense orgasms when they’re using cannabis—either ingesting it, or using it topically,” Fritz says.
When it comes to cannabis use among mothers, the biggest challenge often is the unchecked assumptions about a woman being a “stoner mom”. “Despite legalization, and the prevalence of the ‘mommy-wine culture’, where mothers are encouraged to drink to take the edge off, there is still a huge stigma surrounding cannabis use and mothers,” she says.
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