Carl Sagan thought marijuana led to better sex. And many who frequently uses marijuana will tell you they completely agree with the late astrophysicist. Of course, better sex is one thing. But can cannabis use actually lead to more sex?

The answer, according to a new study, is “yes.” Although it’s a qualified “yes.” More study, as researchers often say, is needed. 

Andrew J. Sun and Michael L. Eisenberg, both doctors affiliated with the Department of Urology at Stanford University, conducted the new study. They used data on 28,156 women and 22,943 men taken from the National Survey of Family Growth.

That survey has information both on frequency of sex and marijuana use. The two doctors found a clear trend: “A positive association between marijuana use and sexual frequency is seen in men and women across all demographic groups.” In other words – more marijuana use, more sex.

Related: As American Attitudes Become More Liberal, Even Republicans Favor Pot Legalization

Frequency of sex

Generally speaking, the doctors found those who had used marijuana had about 20 percent more sex than those who did not use marijuana. But where’s the fun in that? The following are the actual numbers on the frequency of sex, as reported by the study participants.

  • Women who don’t use marijuana – 6 times per month
  • Women who do use marijuana – 7.1 times per month
  • Men who don’t use marijuana – 5.6 times per month
  • Men who do use marijuana – 6.9 times per month.

So, those who used marijuana reported having sex one more times per month than those who didn’t. That’s 12 times per year, obviously. Or 480 times over 40 years of adulthood, if you really want to extrapolate that far.

But hold on

Before cannabis companies start working up that “more marijuana means more sex” marketing campaign, everyone needs to be aware that the doctors reported limitations to the study. For example, it was entirely self-reported. Self-reporting in studies, much like in polls or surveys, can sometimes lead to skewed numbers. Also, the test was over a very limited time frame, just one month.

On top of that, those who did not answer questions on the National Survey of Family Growth about marijuana use or frequency of sex were simply omitted from the study. Who knows what their numbers would have shown?

Related: It’s Lit! Cannabis Trends and the Pitfalls of ‘Potrepreneurship.’

The study also focused exclusively on heterosexual sex, according to the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH). For some context, the numbers from the study on frequency of sex correlate with numbers for younger people from the Kinsey Institute, which researches all topics related to sexuality. They report the following, broken down by age:

  • Those 18 to 29 have sex about twice a week
  • Those 30 to 39 have sex about 1.6 times per week
  • Those 40 to 49 have sex about 1.3 times per week

The Stanford study already has caused disagreement among scientists and doctors, with one telling NPR “it’s a lot of stretch here” with the study results. He noted that other studies have shown marijuana may impact the ability for men to achieve an erection. The ACSH pointed to studies showing marijuana can prevent men from achieving orgasm.

Sex, as usual, is a difficult topic. Expect more research into sex and marijuana in the coming years. Even the Stanford doctors say the effect of cannabis on sex “warrants further study.”

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