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The Correlation of Women's Sexual Health and Marijuana Use

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ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02865096
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : August 12, 2016
Last Update Posted : December 7, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Becky Lynn, MD, St. Louis University

Brief Summary:
This study is attempting to determine whether there is any effect (worsening or improvement of sexual function) after marijuana consumption. Both users and non users of marijuana will be given the opportunity to participate by completing a questionnaire.

Condition or disease
Women's Sexual Health

Detailed Description:

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug (19.8 million past-month users) according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).

There is a current movement towards the legalization of marijuana in various states and there are numerous claims of potential uses in medicine.

The internet is rich with nonscientific, non-evidence based information regarding the effects of marijuana on the sex lives of women. However, surprisingly little scientific research has been done on it.

Cannabis use and sexual function Endocannabinoids, which are structurally similar to cannabis (marijuana) help regulate a number of motivated behaviors and emotional states, including sexual function. There are a variety of ways that cannabinoids interact with the hormones and neurotransmitters that affect sexual behavior. This interaction has not been clearly elucidated but studies in rats have helped to clarify the relationship between cannabinoids and the hormones and neurotransmitters that affect sexual behavior.

In male rats, administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana) reduced sexual motivation. In female rats, the relationship between THC and sexual behavior is less clear. found that giving female rats a low dose of THC increased their receptivity to copulation. However a high dose interfered with receptivity, also found that THC stimulated receptivity and increased proceptivity ("courting behavior") in female hamsters.

Lopez et al found that in rats, giving a cannabinoid receptor blocker, increased sexual motivation during the estrous cycle. They then found that ovariectomized rats given a cannabinoid receptor agonist, had reduced sexual motivation. When exogenous estrogen and progesterone were given, this effect was attenuated.

The exact mechanism by which THC affects sexual function in women is unknown. It is known that THC and the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, which controls the sex hormones, interact with eachother. Acute administration of THC has been shown to inhibit LH and PRL secretion from the anterior pituitary in males and females. In females, high dose of THC can interfere with estrous and menstrual cycle timing and can delay or prevent ovulation. Cannabinoids inhibit or interfere with activity of the HPG axis and reduce secretion of several hormones which tend to have an inhibitory impact on sexual behavior.

It is known that dopamine is a key prosexual modulator in normal excitatory female sexual function. It is also known that the major effects of THC in the central nervous system are mediated by cannabinoid receptors. These receptors have been shown to enhance dopamine (Lazenka et al, 2015), which may be another pathway by which marijuana affects sexual function.

Human studies are limited. Questioned regular male and female marijuana users about their opinions regarding changes in the sexual experience when using marijuana. They found that when marijuana affects the sexual experience, it affects it positively. Marijuana did appear to increase desire mildly and enhances the quality of orgasm.

There are several links between THC and hormonal and neurotransmitter pathways that play a role in sexual function and dysfunction, providing a theoretical way that THC may alter sexual functioning. These links need to be more clearly studied and elucidated.

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Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 373 participants
Observational Model: Ecologic or Community
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: The Correlation of Women's Sexual Health and Marijuana Use
Actual Study Start Date : March 1, 2016
Actual Primary Completion Date : February 1, 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : February 1, 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Evaluate the relationship between marijuana consumption and sexual function [ Time Frame: 1 day ]
    Study participants will fill out one anonymous questionnaire and deposit the completed questionnaire themselves in a locked box.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 90 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Probability Sample
Study Population
Patient participants will be asked upon check-in at their ob/gyn office whether they would like to participate in the questionnaire study. Patients will be asked to complete their questionnaire in the exam room of the ob/gyn practice. Patients who choose to voluntarily participate in the study, will be instructed to place their anonymous questionnaire in a provided blank envelope and seal it as to ensure confidentiality, then return their completed questionnaire to the front desk and place the sealed envelope in a lock box themselves.

Inclusion Criteria:

Female ages 18 to 90 years old, agree to fill out questionnaire

Exclusion Criteria:

Male, Female age less than 18 or over 90 years old, decline to fill out questionnaire

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT02865096

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United States, Missouri
St. Mary's Health Center
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States, 63117
Sponsors and Collaborators
St. Louis University
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Principal Investigator: Becky Lynn, MD St. Louis University
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Responsible Party: Becky Lynn, MD, MD, St. Louis University
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02865096    
Other Study ID Numbers: 26860
First Posted: August 12, 2016    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: December 7, 2017
Last Verified: December 2017
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Marijuana Use
Substance-Related Disorders
Mental Disorders