Get access

Cannabis Use and Sexual Health

Authors

  • Anthony M.A. Smith PhD,

    1. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jason A. Ferris MbioStats,

    1. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Judy M Simpson PhD,

    1. Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Julia Shelley PhD,

    1. School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia;
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marian K Pitts PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia;
      Marian Pitts, PhD, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Level 1, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia. Tel: +61-3-9285-5103; Fax: +61-3-9285-5220; E-mail: arcshspa@latrobe.edu.au, m.pitts@latrobe.edu.au
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Juliet Richters PhD

    1. School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

Marian Pitts, PhD, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Level 1, 215 Franklin Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia. Tel: +61-3-9285-5103; Fax: +61-3-9285-5220; E-mail: arcshspa@latrobe.edu.au, m.pitts@latrobe.edu.au

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance worldwide. Despite this, its impact on sexual health is largely unknown.

Aim.  The aim of this article is to examine the association between cannabis use and a range of sexual health outcomes.

Main Outcome Measures.  The main outcome measures include the number of sexual partners in the past year, condom use at most recent vaginal or anal intercourse, diagnosis with a sexually transmissible infection in the previous year, and the occurrence of sexual problems.

Methods.  Method used in this article includes a computer-assisted telephone survey of 8,656 Australians aged 16–64 years resident in Australian households with a fixed telephone line.

Results.  Of the 8,650 who answered the questions about cannabis use, 754 (8.7%) reported cannabis use in the previous year with 126 (1.5%) reporting daily use, 126 reported (1.5%) weekly use, and 502 (5.8%) reported use less often than weekly. After adjusting for demographic factors, daily cannabis use compared with no use was associated with an increased likelihood of reporting two or more sexual partners in the previous year in both men (adjusted odds ratio 2.08, 95% confidence interval 1.11–3.89; P = 0.02) and women (2.58, 1.08–6.18; P = 0.03). Daily cannabis use was associated with reporting a diagnosis of a sexually transmissible infection in women but not men (7.19, 1.28–40.31; P = 0.02 and 1.45, 0.17–12.42; P = 0.74, respectively). Frequency of cannabis use was unrelated to sexual problems in women but daily use vs. no use was associated with increased reporting among men of an inability to reach orgasm (3.94, 1.71–9.07; P < 0.01), reaching orgasm too quickly (2.68, 1.41–5.08; P < 0.01), and too slowly (2.05, 1.02–4.12; P = 0.04).

Conclusions.  Frequent cannabis use is associated with higher numbers of sexual partners for both men and women, and difficulties in men's ability to orgasm as desired. Smith AMA, Ferris JA, Simpson JM, Shelley J, Pitts M, and Richters J. Cannabis use and sexual health. J Sex Med 2010;7:787–793.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary