5 Best CBD Lubes
When you find “the one” you can just feel it—and you breathe a giant sigh of relief, because let’s face it: It’s hard to find a keeper. We’re talking here not about the perfect partner (ain’t no such thing!) but a go-to lubricant that makes sex, no matter how you have it or with whom, reliably more enjoyable.
And because CBD is in everything from dog treats to bath bombs, it was only a matter of time before it wound up in your privates. The question is, what do lubes containing CBD do and should you try one?
Let’s start with personal lubricants in general: Even if you don’t have a problem with vaginal dryness (hormonal changes as with breastfeeding or menopause can make things less-than-moist) or pain during sex (caused by various conditions), extra moisture can make sex more fun. Among other more romantic and esoteric things, “Sex is basically applied friction for pleasure, and lubrication can facilitate smoother interaction,” says Brandye Wilson-Manigat, M.D., an OB GYN in Pasadena, CA. You may generate your own wetness just fine, but “using a lube can change the sensation and will usually up the pleasure factor,” she says.
So how might CBD—short for cannabidiol, a compound found primarily in the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant that does not make you high — help make sex more comfortable and even give you better orgasms, as many women say they’ve found with some of these products? “CBD may increase the level of sensation, because it’s it causes vasodilation,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat, meaning it widens the veins to bring more blood to the area. But CBD may also have antianxiety and anti-inflammatory properties, she says. “For women who are having trouble with things like vestibulitis and vaginismus, they might benefit from using that type of lube because it decreases sensation of pain,” she says.
Note the use of the word “may” in all of the above. That’s because “there really is no scientific research on CBD on being used in the vagina or as a personal lubricant,” says Stacia Woodcock, Pharm.D., a dispensary manger for Curaleaf, who is steeped in the science. In fact, there hasn’t been much firm data on CBD for most almost any use, and people’s responses are highly individual. Woodcock says that women’s sexual pain issues don’t get nearly as much attention as they should, but while she’s glad women are seeing relief, it’s hard to separate the placebo effect from the effect of the CBD itself. “I would love to see real research behind it. If it is what people are saying, and we can know more about it, we can put it to use to better help women,” she says.
The other big unknown is CBD dosing—we don’t know much about how much people should take or even, Woodcock says, how or how much gets absorbed through mucous membranes like the vagina and the mouth. For that reason, you want to “start low and go slow,” the same advice you’d follow if you were taking CBD orally. CBD is thought to be safe; typically, “The biggest thing is that it can make you super drowsy and tired, and that will take a few hours go away,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat. You’ll want to do a patch test on your arm to make sure you’re not allergic to any ingredient, and bear in mind that a lube may contain ingredients (such as capsaicin or peppermint) that can make things a too tingly or irritate your skin. (You’re advised to check with your doc before using CBD, as it can change your blood levels of certain medications, says Dr. Wilson-Manigat.)
Lastly, look for a brand that is transparent about ingredients and does third party testing, adds Woodcock. “It’s a sensitive area, and you don’t want to use a product that might have heavy metals or pesticides,” she says. “And just because it says “CBD lube” doesn’t mean there’s any CBD in there.” (All recs in this story are independently tested by a third party.)
Ready to dip in? Here are some brands to try.
The word “quim” was used 100 years ago to insult women before the C-word became the absolute rudest, but with products like Smooth Operator (with 100mg of CBD per bottle) this company is reclaiming the word and imbuing it with positive connotations. Smooth Operator is a toy- and latex-safe water-based serum containing aloe vera and other plant extracts, designed to increase blood flow, promote pelvic relaxation, and decrease inflammation and pain, and is safe to use in the anus. It has a pleasant taste that’s hard to describe. One user says, “Holy shit that stuff is AMAZING!!”
Kush Queen Water Based CBD Lube is a latex- and toy-safe formulation. “Works great, not messy to use and no taste,” one man testified on the company’s site. “I deal with vulvodynia and this has helped lessen my pain significantly. … It doesn’t mess up my pH balance either!” a woman raved. The company says the secret is the nanotechnology, meaning the CBD particles are tiny, which is supposed to speed up absorption. Several users said that while it works well, it dries quickly, which means you may need to reapply it.
Dani Pepper’s O uses nano (a.k.a. tiny) CBD particles “to increase tissue penetration leading to increased blood flow to erogenous zones which heightens orgasmic potential,” according to the company. It’s vegan and water-based, so is useable with sex toys and condoms, and has a slightly sweet-spicy taste, due to the cardamon, cinnamon and other spices that are said to have aphrodisiac effects. It’s a bit stickier than most, but users say it does the job and is a bargain for the price.
In states where recreational marijuana is legal, you can also try lubricants with both CBD and THC, the compound in cannabis that does get you high—quality ones include Hello Again (in suppository form) and several of Foria’s line. THC-containing lubes are said to be especially helpful if you suffer pain and menopausal symptoms. Hello Again’s literature explains that the product does not give you that stoned feeling, and Foria’s says that a majority of vaginal users do not feel high. But just as smoking or eating THC can get you high, Dr. Brandye wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of THC having more than merely a local effect, depending on the dose and the individual. Meaning, you might experience an all-over high, not just in your private parts, she says.