Legal cannabis is correlating to increased sex, resulting in some very pleasant and also some very unpleasant effects.
A new study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that residents of states with legal medical marijuana were more likely to have sex.
They also found that they were more likely to do it without using condoms, and thus more likely to make babies and contract a venereal disease.
“We find that [medical marijuana laws] cause an increase in sexual activity, a reduction in contraceptive use conditional on having sex, and an increase in number of births,” the study reads. “There is also suggestive evidence on temporary increases in the state-year gonorrhea rate.”
Because cannabis “treats chronic pain, improves life satisfaction, and decreases opioid abuse, it could result in heightened libidos/improved sex life,” David Simon, PhD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of economics at the University of Connecticut, told Yahoo.
“To the degree that marijuana impairs judgement or limits communication between partners, marijuana use could cause a decrease in contraceptives that might result in unplanned pregnancies or the spread of STDs.”
So, people have been feeling so good that they been making arguably bad decisions. That’s resulted in a mean increase in births of 2% and an uptick in gonorrhea. Is that good or bad? Who’s to say?
“This could have beneficial effects — fertility is below the replacement rate in the U.S. — or negative effects — increases STDs and more young children in need of social services,” Simon added.
“Regardless, we believe it should be something society/policy makers consider as part of the conversation on legalization.”
Photo via Flickr/Don Goofy