The global health and wellness market reached a reported $3.7 trillion in 2016 and is expected to grow by 17 percent over the next five years. Cannabis infused products have the potential to play a significant role in that growth.
Alongside medical marijuana and recreational adult-use, industry analysts have named health and wellness as a new growth sector in the overall cannabis market. This market is being shaped in large part by value-added cannabis product developers and consumers looking for new ways to integrate the plant’s many benefits into an active and healthy lifestyle.
The cannabis wellness market is more likely to attract consumers who may not be your typical weed smoker. And the strongest regions for growth are in newly legal marijuana markets like California where the focus on health and wellness pervades the culture as much as cannabis does. “Legalization always creates consumers who are new to cannabis, and their profiles and habits stand apart,” explained BDS Analytics in its report on the leading cannabis trends for 2018. “The newbie skews towards women between the ages of 25 and 44, and half say they are in the market to explore medical applications.”
The healing power of cannabis is making its way into all the major health and wellness categories, including food and beverage, nutraceuticals, cosmetics and personal care.
But what about cannabis-based products for sexual health? Both cannabis and sex have been treated as taboo subjects, but now millennials and boomers, and everyone in between, are beginning to see the benefits of cannabis for a healthy sex life.
Women, cannabis and sex — oh my!
The overall health and wellness market is driven largely by women and that is expected to be the case for this sector’s cannabis products as well. This also rings true when you take a step back and look at big picture for total consumer spending. “[Women] are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of consumer spending in the United States and play a major role in influencing the buying choices of their friends and family,” according to Kristian Astre, Editor at Cannabis Now Magazine. “With the cannabis market in legal states projected to grow 150 percent by 2021, female consumers are also playing a major role in shaping the industry through embracing cannabis as a wellness product.”
While conducting its Women’s Health Consumer Insights Survey, BDS Analytics found that 49 percent of women in legal marijuana US states see weed as medicine and 37 percent agreed that “consuming marijuana gives [them] a sense of personal control over [their] health.”
And what, perchance did these women list as one of the top reasons they are using cannabis? Sex! Twenty-seven percent of the women responded that they use cannabis to enhance their sex life. The demographic most likely to welcome cannabis into their bedroom activities: mothers with children at home.
While these statistics might sound surprising to some, the role of cannabis in sexual health and wellbeing makes sense if you know the science. The chemical compounds like CBD and THC found in the marijuana plant help treat issues such as anxiety and pain because of their ability to work with the body’s endocannabinoid system – which also happens to be responsible for regulating pleasure, pain and relaxation.
But how does sexual pleasure relate to health and wellbeing?
There may not be many studies on sex and marijuana, but there is plenty of research showing that a healthy sex life can relieve stress; boost your mood, immune system and brain function; improve your sleep and heart health; and most importantly, build stronger relationships.
The research that does exist on the relationship between cannabis and sex plays upon what many women (and men) already understand: the ability to relax is key to better arousal. And cannabis use has always been associated with a more relaxed vibe.
A 2016 study conducted at Stanford University and published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that the respondents who reported more frequent cannabis use over a four week period were also more sexually active. Another study published in the same journal in 2017 found the endocannabinoid system is indeed involved in human sexual response and researchers hypothesize this may play a role in the reward process of sexual arousal and orgasm.
The RISE Report on Cannabis and Sexual Health and Wellness
As cannabis legalization continues to sweep North America and the world, we’re bound to see more studies on the sexual health benefits of cannabis use. And the results may provide further motivation for new users to embrace cannabis as part of a healthy sex life.
“The advantage of legalization is that it enables scientific study that can provide important data and information that may benefit those who didn’t want to use cannabis before because it might be illegal,” said Dr. Regina Nelson. A behavioral scientist who studies the endocannabinoid system and one of America’s leading cannabis educators, Nelson herself is heading a global study to investigate the physiological connection between cannabis infused products and sexual health called the RISE Report on Cannabis and Sexual Health and Wellness.
“Through this study we expect that we will be able to more clearly understand the various factors that affect healthy sexual function and experiences of men and women. This study is designed to help us learn how the introduction of innovative and emerging cannabis products affect sexual experiences, function, and health,” explained Nelson, who founded the eCS Therapy Center, a non-profit organization building awareness of the endocannabinoid system.
The online survey-based study is the largest of its kind ever and is intended to be a long-term, multidimensional investigation of how participants use and respond to cannabis products. The study is being sponsored by RISE Life Science (CSE:RLSC), a maker of cannabis-based health and wellness products.
Sexual health and wellness products on shelves now
Because there is a trend towards taking greater control over health matters and interest in the therapeutic effects of cannabis is growing, the market is starting to hum with cannabis-based health and wellness products.
As a player in this market, RISE is poised to tap into the large and growing health and wellness category with its recently launched Karezza brand. The Karezza line of CBD-based sexual wellness products includes three oral sprays to support sexual performance for both men and women. Sublingual tablets and a topical lubrication are in the works. Karezza will be available on the e-commerce website, karezza.love and in retail locations across California.
To convert interest into consumer purchase they are taking the time to eliminate the mystery for how their products work.
According to the company, cannabis helps people relax, makes them more aware of and sensitive to the reactions of their bodies, and enables people to really immerse themselves in the enjoyment of the moment.
Research links the main root causes of low libido to high stress. Reduce the stress in the body and all of the related systems needed for healthy sexual performance work better. Once the body has been de-stressed it is better able to absorb, utilize, and react to other active components that promote sexual health. RISE sees this as a two-step process where one must first reduce stress and then introduce botanical components known for increasing libido, and they have addressed this with their Karezza products, which utilizes a process of CBD micro-dosing that creates a noticeable shift in the body, so it is more capable of reacting positively to the stimulus of sexual arousal. Once the body recognizes this trigger, a specific formulation of botanicals will further stimulate the body to complete the “mood shift” and encourage the psycho-physiological connection that leads to improved sexual experience.
Healthy is sexy
The health and wellness product sector is evolving into a more holistic approach to treating overall well-being with one’s physical, emotional, mental, and now sexual, health all in sync. With more widespread legalization, an increased breadth of scientific understanding and an opening up of social acceptance, we are bound to see cannabis-based sexual health products become a lucrative sector of this trillion-dollar market.