Erectile dysfunction refers to an inability to have and maintain an erection firm enough for sex.
A variety of medical and mental health conditions can trigger erectile dysfunction (ED), as can certain lifestyle choices, including the use of some recreational drugs.
The medical community has not found conclusive evidence that using cannabis, or marijuana, leads to ED.
However, specific effects of the drug may result in ED, and a person who smokes a mixture of marijuana and tobacco may have an increased risk.
People use cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in the United States, more than 11 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 used marijuana in 2014.
People in the U.S. are more likely to use marijuana than any other recreational drug.
Marijuana consists of the dried leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.
The plant contains a variety of chemicals, including a group called cannabinoids. The best-known of these chemicals is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC has a psychoactive effect, which means that it affects a person’s thinking.
The chemical may also have other effects, and some prescription drugs with approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration contain synthetic forms of THC.
Marinol and Syndros, for example, are treatments for some types of anorexia. Cesaret, which was developed to treat nausea and vomiting that results from chemotherapy, contains nabilone, which has a similar structure to THC.
A person using marijuana recreationally may smoke it in a pipe, a water pipe, or a hand-rolled cigarette called a joint.
If a person does not want to inhale the smoke, they may use a vaporizer, though these devices are also linked to some health hazards. Others incorporate marijuana into foods, such as brownies or cookies, or brew it as a tea.
Many companies also market marijuana products that can be applied to the skin.