This article originally appeared on The Fresh Toast
Man and the erection! It’s a lifelong adventure. There is no object in creation that some man will not venture to bring into juxtaposition with his penis. Trust us on this one.
This is particularly true with things men enjoy, like getting high. The primordial Oreo crumbs had barely fallen from the beard of the first caveman weed-smoker when he inevitably mused, “I wonder if this is good for my erection
For all the eons of diligent amateur research into this question, a clinical verdict has not yet been drawn. But a firmer scientific grasp of the issue may be taking hold.
First what’s still in dispute: According to a National Institute on Drug Abuse monograph (with an intensely ‘80s layout), heavy use of marijuana lowers testosterone levels. But Harvard counters that the effect is not significant.
A 2009 survey of more than 8,000 Australians found that marijuana use can make men climax too soon, too late, or not at all. On the other hand, other evidence shows that cannabis slows the metabolizing of Viagra, so at least indirectly, it can have a pro-boner effect. However, by protracting vasodilation, a paper from 2002 admonishes, cannabis can also have an undesirable pro-heart attack effect.
But at last we may have a clearer path forward. Scientists have recently discovered the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the smooth muscle (that’s not an aesthetic judgment but a technical term for a sort of floppy, involuntary muscle) of the penis, suggesting that cannabis does have a physiological role in erection. According to 2011 study, cannabis may have an “antagonizing effect” on the cannabinoid receptors in the penis, making it more difficult for a man to achieve and maintain an erection. “This is a more serious effect on the erectile function,” said lead researcher Rany Shamloul, “because the smooth muscle makes up 70 percent to 80 percent of the penis itself.”
We’ll just let that last sentence stand.