The first Friday of February, a panel of sex experts and cannabis industry professionals gathered to talk to some of New York’s health and wellness enthusiasts about the potential of cannabis for sexual healing and exploration. Held at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, a “botanical dispensary and whole-plant coffee bar” in Manhattan’s East Village, sex & cannabis experts touched on a broad range of topics related to cannabis and intimacy.
Before the packed event, attendees eagerly discussed their personal relationships with cannabis, interacting with event and sales staff, and purchasing CBD products from the shop. The room was buzzing with the energy of cannabis enthusiasts welcoming a new industry to New York.
The panel, facilitated by Anna Duckworth (Editor-in-Chief, Miss Grass) and featuring Cyo Nystrom (Quim Rock), Kimberly Dillon (Papa & Barkley), Gabrielle Alexa (sex writer & content creator) and Mathew Gerson (Foria), focused on the varying ways in which cannabis can both improve a healthy sex life with a partner, facilitate solo sexual exploration, and help heal common issues in intimacy. The predominantly women-led panel approached intimate areas of women’s sexual health, such as vaginal dryness, tightness, and discomfort during sex.
Each panelist discussed their personal experience with the products frankly and openly. Ms. Nystrom shared the benefits of cannabis oil for vaginal health, expressing it as akin to a nightly skin care routine to prevent conditions such as yeast infections and UTIs. THC/CBD lubricants, anal suppositories, and topical cannabis products were presented for their ability to stimulate blood flow and heighten sensations. Ms. Duckworth then guided the conversation toward cannabis as potential anxiety relief for those who have suffered sexual trauma or PTSD.
Consent on cannabis is a grey area that merits further discussion; thankfully, the panelists approached it with a variety of viewpoints. Ms. Dillon, Ms. Duckworth, and Ms. Alexa led a thoughtful conversation that focused on the importance of establishing boundaries with a partner before consuming cannabis, especially when THC (the psychoactive component) is involved. They also stressed the importance of actively discussing consent with non-intoxicating cannabis products, such as topical or CBD-dominant products.
With the exception of Ms. Alexa, all panelists were based in the legalized state of California, leaving a noticeable gap in the conversation for New Yorkers. One audience member pointed out that while they spoke, thousands of people are still incarcerated for possession of cannabis due to its non-legal status in most US states. She then asked how cannabis industry leaders are actively inviting those who have been marginalized or criminalized into these high-income spaces and conversations. Ms. Dillon acknowledged this reality and pledged a commitment to include more diverse communities in the cannabis and wellness space through outreach. As these conversations become more mainstream in new markets, it is clear that the industry and thought leaders must include more nuanced conversations that address these realities and provide audiences with alternative suggestions for products legal to purchase in their state.
Overall, the panelists were thoughtful and insightful, and shared a variety of intriguing cannabis-based products for sexual health. When experimenting with any lubricant, cream or oil designed for the genitals, always try it first on your arm to ensure no allergies before applying to genitals or any more sensitive area. Engage in active consent conversations with a partner, and ensure you are in a safe and comfortable setting.
Below are some of the top products from Papa & Barkley, Foria, and Quim Rock. Linked here are THC versions of products, available in California, Colorado, and Canadian dispensaries; if you are in a non-legalized state, hemp-based CBD-only versions of some of these products are available to purchase online in all states.
Pleasure by Foria – natural arousal lube with THC (CBD available)
Releaf Balm by Papa & Barkley – targeted topical relief (CBD available)
Night Moves Intimate Oil by Quim Rock – cannabis oil designed to increase sensation and heighten arousal