Menopause 101

Menopause 101: How to Spice Up Your Sex Life With Cannabis

Episode 218

Show Notes

Menopause, Sex, and Cannabis

Today’s episode dives deep into the often-ignored topic of sex in perimenopause and menopause. With insights from medical expert Dr. Lauren Streicher, cannabis advocate for seniors Joan Irvine, and real-life experiences from women like author Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey, the episode explores how cannabis can positively impact various aspects of sexual function affected by menopause. From libido to pain relief, this conversation covers it all. If you want to feel confident about cannabis and embrace your sexuality during menopause, this episode is a must-listen!

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Ellen Scanlon (00:00):

This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over. Support for How to Do the Pot comes from Camino. Camino makes premium cannabis edibles, setting the gold standard for the entire legal cannabis industry. Consistent dosing is at the core of every Camino product, which is why every gummy contains precise buildable doses of THC. So you can always find your sweet spot.

Joan Irvine (00:41):

If you’re going to have sex, you want to have a lubricant, cannabis and a vibrator. And if it takes a lubricant, it takes a lubricant. If it takes a vibrator, it takes a vibrator because when the purpose is about having sex with your partner or with yourself, have the most enjoyable experience you can. And if that takes lubricants and a vibrator, so be it.

Ellen Scanlon (01:04):

Welcome to How to Do the Pot, a podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis. I’m your host, Ellen Scanlon.


You just heard from California-based Joan Irvine, a cannabis advocate for seniors, empowering them to embrace this chapter of their life. This is the fourth episode in our series all about menopause. To catch you up, menopause is going to happen to every single woman. It can start a lot earlier than you think in your late 30s or early 40s, and it can last for up to 10 years. It really is a big deal in a woman’s life.


Today’s episode is all about sex and menopause. We’ll hear from experts and women all across the country about sex drive, pain with sex, and how menopause symptoms can affect women’s sexuality overall. If you haven’t yet, I do recommend listening to the whole menopause series. Episode 210 covers the basics, everything you need to know about menopause and perimenopause. In episode 211, we dug into hormone therapy and learned what a Harvard study on menopause and cannabis has taught us. Episode 217 was about the most common symptoms of menopause, sleep issues, hot flashes, and their connection to weight gain in women.


I have talked about cannabis and sex on the show kind of a lot, and if you’ve missed those episodes, we created a playlist on Spotify so you can listen to them all. I’ll link to it in the show notes or you can also visit our website,


Before we get into this week’s episode, I want to thank the people who’ve been asking how they can support the show. Please tell all your friends, clicking the share button on one of our episodes and sending it to a friend is a great way to help us grow. Another thing you can do is sign up for How to Do the Pot’s newsletter. It’s a twice a month resource that helps you feel confident about cannabis for health, wellbeing, and for fun. We have thousands of subscribers reading and replying with comments and tips and the more the merrier. We couldn’t do this without you. Please go to to sign up. Thank you, and I really appreciate your support for the show.


A study out of Johns Hopkins Medical School shows that more than a third of all women in perimenopause report having sexual difficulties. These difficulties range from a lack of interest in sex to trouble having an orgasm. If you’ve been listening to the series, Illinois based Dr. Lauren Streicher may need no introduction. She’s a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is an MD, a menopause expert, and the host of an excellent podcast, Dr. Streicher’s Inside Information. Dr. Streicher explained to me that there are four categories of sexual function. Women in perimenopause or menopause can have issues with just one or with some combination of them all. There’s not a one size fits all.

Dr. Lauren Streicher (04:46):

When we look at sexual function, there’s basically four categories. There’s libido. Are you thinking about sex? Do you want to have sex. Arousal. Is your body responding in the way that it should? Are you able to have an orgasm? Is number three. And then number four, are you having pain? So when we talk about sex post menopause, it may be 1, 2, 3, or all four of those parameters that need to be addressed. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. A woman comes to me and her only issue is her ability to have an orgasm, but she’s got great libido and she’s having no pain at all and she’s got a skillful, wonderful partner, but she just can’t have an orgasm. Well, she may benefit from a little CBD placed directly on the clitoris. That’s very different than someone who has low libido. That’s different than someone who has dryness. So you really have to address each symptom individually.


When a woman comes to me and is talking about her sexual function, we need to figure out not only what problem she’s having, but most important what happened first. Because if a woman says, “I have no libido,” and I ask, well, the last time you had sex, how did it go? It hurt like how? Well your vagina’s not stupid, and until you get rid of the pain, your brain is not going to want you to go there again.

Ellen Scanlon (06:11):

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 75% of women will experience painful sex at some point in their life. It’s very common. For Michelle Courtright, the Minnesota based founder of JANE, painful sex started after she was diagnosed with cancer, which brought on early onset menopause.

Michelle Courtright (06:35):

Another weird side effect, and I don’t know if this was the chemo or the early onset menopause, but I had the worst vaginal dryness. It literally felt like thousands of splinters inside me when I would have sex. It was super painful. What I learned is that you really need to have a CBD or a THC lube that can open up the blood flow and help facilitate natural lubrication. So even if you’re on a solo mission with your vibrator, I highly recommend cannabis or just cannabis infused lube and getting high before you have sex. It really is a game changer. It’s amazing.

Ellen Scanlon (07:13):

You’ve heard throughout this series how perimenopause and menopause symptoms can affect so many different parts of a woman’s life. Joan Irvine has made a career of helping seniors maintain their vitality and their sexuality. She knows all too well about the unsexy narratives around women getting older.

Joan Irvine (07:38):

First of all, our hormones are fluctuating all the time, and this can affect our desire and even how our bodies react to sex. Plus the sexual desire starts in our head and the fact that we may not be feeling like ourselves, we may gain weight. For me, as I mentioned, it was bleeding so often and so much. It really has an entire effect on our life, including the sex and especially the sex because if we’re not feeling good about ourselves, then we are not as apt to be wanting to have sex. We’ve just been kind of told, I hate to say, that once you reach menopause, you can’t have children. It’s all of a sudden it’s become a negative. And so we go through this thing in our head that, gee, if we can’t have children, then what are we good for? Because of course, our only purpose is to have children and to be sexy and this and that. So it just causes all these changes in how we’re feeling about ourselves, and then we believe that other people are going to be seeing us in that way as a nonsexual person.

Ellen Scanlon (08:51):

The idea that women who are menopausal are no longer sexy is exactly what Joan Irvine is fighting against. She shares how bringing cannabis into the bedroom has impacted the women she works with.

Joan Irvine (09:06):

In the bedroom, you always want to set up a really nice environment. Shut off the phones, remove the PCs unless you’re going to be sharing some adult entertainment with your partner as foreplay. My room is totally set up so there’s only sensual pictures of me. So it’s a real boudoir and you want to have music that you both like and you want to be able to totally focus on yourself and on your own pleasure.


Then it comes to the cannabis. I put together this information about a year ago and people who use cannabis and women who use cannabis self-reported that like 74.3% reported an increased sensitivity touch. By using cannabis, we are much more attuned to our physical. Also, 73.8% reported increased sexual satisfaction. I think women are able to focus more on what’s going on in their body and the pleasure that we’re receiving. And this is a big one, that 69.8% said they could relax more during sex because you really want to be relaxed. You don’t want to be thinking about the kids or that you have to have this appointment or you have to go to the store for this. You really want to focus on the moment and cannabis helps do that. And then 58.9% said cannabis increased their desire for sex. So it’s a way that it gets us into the mood. And then 65.7% said there was an increased intensity of orgasms.

Ellen Scanlon (10:40):

One of the top questions women ask is, “What should I buy?” Joan Irvine shares the cannabis products she recommends.

Joan Irvine (10:49):

I suggest that people start with a cannabis beverage and use it instead of alcohol because alcohol actually can cause ED in men. Cannabis beverages just help you relax and get into the mood and doesn’t have that negative effect on men. Personally, I use Kikoko sensuality tea because it does relax both the body and the mind, and I do that about 30 minutes before. When you’re just sitting around and talking and starting to prepare, it’s just a nice way to get everything out of your mind. You want to focus on the fact that you’re going to be having a great time.


And then a lubricant is very, very important. Our lubrication a lot of times decreases when we’re going through menopause or even as we mature, and so an infused lubricant. Now in California, we only have a few that are THC infused lubricants. One of them is Kush Queen and another one is Queen. There are some CBD products such as Foria, but I think the THC is more effective. And what it does is it stimulates all the nerves in your vagina and your clitoris. I always say it’s like having a mini orgasm. Down the road hopefully there’ll be more of a choice for women of which ones they want to use. But right now because of all the laws, you’re stuck to what’s available in your state.

Ellen Scanlon (12:22):

As women age, many experience a thinning of the vaginal walls, which can increase pain with sex. Joan shares her essentials for feeling your best in the bedroom.

Joan Irvine (12:34):

You want to have a lubricant cannabis and a vibrator because we’re going to be having sex, we might as well enjoy it as much as possible. And if it takes a lubricant, it takes a lubricant. If it takes a vibrator, it takes a vibrator because when the purpose is about having sex with your partner or with yourself, have the most enjoyable experience you can. And if that takes lubricants and a vibrator, so be it.


Also, what I recommend sometimes is that you take a hit of some flour that might get you into the mood quicker because with lubricants, they take about 20 minutes. Sometimes you may just want to take a little hit of some flour just to get into the mood quicker. Also, you may want to do some infused chocolate or gummies that will kick in about 30 minutes so that you get this nice little feeling as you’re starting to have sex. And then about 30 minutes when you are probably into the whole experience, all of a sudden you get a nice little kick. Plus chocolate itself is an aphrodisiac.

Ellen Scanlon (13:38):

As you’re thinking about ways to consume cannabis for better sex, I want to note that Dr. Streicher is not a fan of smoking, especially for older people.

Dr. Lauren Streicher (13:49):

I have a lot of concerns about vaping and smoking. I mean, the good thing of course is that the onset of action is very rapid so that you’re able to control the amount. But we are looking at older lungs. We are looking at lungs that don’t respond the same way. A lot of the data that looks at arrhythmias is specifically with vaping and smoking. I think gummies are okay. Edibles are okay with the caveat that you have to really, really, really be careful as far as dosage goes. But if a woman were to come to me and say, “My plan is to use cannabis every single day for the rest of my life, what do you think is the best root of consumption?” I would say start with the tinctures. And my second honestly would be edibles. I think vaping and smoking is highly, highly problematic in this population unless it’s truly once in a blue moon. You’re looking at the person that’s at a party and is doing recreational cannabis, fine, go for it. But what I’m looking at is the woman who’s doing this every single day as a way of life.

Ellen Scanlon (14:51):

I have a nickname for my favorite cannabis edible. I call it a warm hug. The edible is officially called Camino, and the flavor is sparkling pear. I love these edibles so much. They are a true staple in my house. I also give them to friends a lot, and that’s because they make everyone feel good. The sparkling pear Camino has two milligrams of THC and six milligrams of CBD. It’s a low-dose edible that will help you feel more relaxed, more connected, and still like yourself. A pretty good way to get in the mood for a sexy night, right? If you’re looking to experiment with edibles for sex, Camino Sparkling Pear is a great place to start. Look for Camino Sparkling Pear edibles in licensed dispensaries. Try a warm hug today and please reach out and let me know what you think.


Jackie Cahan, the Illinois based managing partner of Peregrade Ventures felt inspired and determined to maintain her sexuality.

Jackie Cahan (16:22):

You know what? I was terrified to suffer sexual libido symptoms. One of the things that we have and we choose to really hold deeply is our sexual desires and our sexual ability as women. And I think as women, we are ingrained to not speak about these issues and to go about life as everything is perfect, including suffering from painful sex. And I’m proud to speak about my journey with cannabis and how it’s improved my overall sex life. From vaginal serums, thank you Queen, to edibles and play things. What better way to improve your overall sexual desire and life?

Ellen Scanlon (16:54):

If you’re not exactly sure how to use a topical vaginal serum, a weed lube, or a suppository for sex, Dr. Streicher says that you’re not alone. She has some tips.

Dr. Lauren Streicher (17:07):

I mean, it’s so funny. One of my YouTube videos that I almost didn’t even put on YouTube, it is the most downloaded YouTube video I’ve ever done. And it is simply how to use a lubricant. Starting with you open the bottle, you squeeze it on your fingers, you put it on his penis, you put… I mean, nobody seems to know where to put it. They get the bottle and they’re just like, “Okay, what do I do with this?” And I think the same is true of a CBD lube or a CBD suppository. If you are using this for vaginal lubrication, then you should put that suppository in the vagina in the lower third, which is very different than if you’re using it to treat pelvic pain, in which case it should go in the upper third. So keep that suppository in the lower third of the vagina because that’s where most receptors are that are going to enhance lubrication.


And then if you’re going to use some CBD oil, put it directly on your clitoris and rub it in. The longer you rub it in, the better. Just saying rubbing the clitoris is always an excellent thing. You can either do it yourself or have your partner do it, but it’s always going to be helpful. And then don’t forget the vestibule. The vestibule’s the opening to the vagina. It doesn’t matter how nice the room is if you can’t get through the door. So be sure and put some CBD right around the opening right around the vestibule. But it does make a difference where you put it and what you use.

Ellen Scanlon (18:38):

A few years ago, I’m pretty sure I’d never said the word suppository out loud, and now I talk about them all the time. I have endometriosis, which also affects one in 10 women worldwide. CBD suppositories are the best pain relief for my really challenging monthly symptoms. Suppositories can also help with painful sex. Dr. Streicher explains what she teaches her patients about suppositories and how they’re helping women have better orgasms.

Dr. Lauren Streicher (19:15):

The patients that I’ve treated because I run a menopause clinic and a sexual medicine clinic are women who are coming in with very specific issues. Vaginal dryness and sexual pain in the post menopause clinic, and in younger women, sexual pain for other reasons. And a lot of women are also coming in having difficulty with orgasm. So if I suggest to someone that they use a cannabis suppository, it’s usually for a very specific purpose. And I always give the caveat that we don’t have the data, but perhaps this will work.


So as an example, if I see someone who has severe vaginal dryness and if they use a CBD vaginal suppository, theoretically it’s going to help because we know that CBD is a vasodilator. It increases the diameter of blood vessels. Why is that important? Because one of the most important aspects of vaginal lubrication is having a robust blood supply to the vaginal walls. The majority of vaginal lubrication, in addition to the slippery stuff that’s in there is water. It’s a transudate from blood vessels. And what happens postmenopausally is that you lose a lot of that vascularity. So just by putting a CBD suppository in the vagina, theoretically and anecdotally and observationally, that will increase vaginal lubrication. So that is something I suggest when it comes to women who are having difficulty with orgasm.


Orgasm of course is another difficult issue because there’s so many things that can cause a problem, but the one thing that you absolutely must have to have an orgasm is you have to have healthy nerve endings in the clitoris. How do you have healthy nerve endings? Well, you have to have a good blood supply, and so we know that by putting CBD on the clitoris, theoretically you’re going to get an increase of blood flow to the clitoris, which will in turn help those nerve endings be healthier and more responsive.

Ellen Scanlon (21:24):

The fastest growing group of cannabis consumers is baby boomers. Joan Irvine shares what women in this age group like about cannabis for sex.

Joan Irvine (21:35):

It helps them relax a little bit more and it helps them focus more. It’s not cannabis alone. It’s cannabis with these other behavior modification techniques. Men have had Viagra for years. We do not have a Viagra, and cannabis is the closest thing that women have to a Viagra to a sexual enhancement. What they find is that they just enjoy it more. They’re a little bit looser as far as the enjoyment is the process. It’s not just coming to orgasm, even though that’s great, but that they enjoy the play. They enjoy the time with their partner. They may laugh more. They just kind of can focus on things. I mean, to be able to focus and see a beautiful naked body that turns you on and just notice really, what about his body turns me on? Or could it be his smile and just the way he smiles at me just so to turn on. So you become more focused on your senses and cannabis really helps you do that.

Ellen Scanlon (22:42):

Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is a Mexico City based writer and longtime cannabis professional. Mennlay is embracing her sexuality as she enters her 40s. She credits cannabis with helping her feel her best.

Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey (22:58):

I will tell you this, this juicy insight is that for those of us who are 40 and on the fourth floor, those rumors about having a more active libido and having the best sex of your life when you’re 40 is so true, and I have to a hundred percent attribute that to both topical and ingested cannabis. I think it’s been my ally for so long when it comes to just having healthy sex and a healthy relationship with sex, both when I’m with partners or a partner, and when I’m alone.


For those who are struggling with sleep or sexual libido, like symptoms of lacking that desire, I would really recommend and consider seeking out some information about cannabis and how that can help, and if that’s something that’s right for you, you don’t have to feel super high. You don’t have to smoke a joint. You don’t have to ingest it, but you can have tools when it comes to topical applications, when it comes to suppositories, when it comes to being playful with your partners and exploring what that can do for your body.

Ellen Scanlon (24:03):

For decades, menopause symptoms have been considered quality of life issues. It’s one of the reasons that symptoms have often been ignored or disregarded. We now know, thanks to Dr. Streicher and many other menopause specialists, that how you navigate menopause can have real length of life implications. Learning about the symptoms and how to prevent and relieve them is an important part of being a healthy woman mentally, physically, and emotionally. Please take your menopause symptoms seriously. There is help out there. If you’re looking for a doctor, visit, and go to the Find a Doctor tab where you can find a menopause expert in your area or one who offers telemedicine.


If you haven’t yet, please consider participating in Dr. Streicher’s anonymous survey about cannabis and menopause. When women have good information, they make good choices. We all benefit from more data about how cannabis is helping with menopause. And Dr. Streicher is going to come back on the show and share her findings, which I’m really excited about. I’ll link to her survey in the show notes.


Finally, a quick recap of today’s episode. Remember, there are four types of sexual function. There’s libido or sex drive, arousal, orgasm, and pain. Please take the time to consider each one separately since perimenopause can bring on symptoms that may be interrelated. Listen to our earlier sex episodes for everything you need to know about how to feel safe and sexy when you’re ready to bring cannabis into the bedroom. I really recommend to start slowly and with a low dose of THC. And check out our Spotify playlist, which has all of our cannabis and sex episodes in one place so you can easily listen to them all.


Thank you for listening to our Menopause 101 series. If you liked this episode, please share it with a friend. We love new listeners and are here to help everyone feel confident about cannabis.


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