Does Marijuana Make Sexual Assault More Likely?

We wanted to create even more awareness about the legalities of marijuana after publishing two posts on workers comp and personal injury laws related to medical marijuana. This time, we’ll explore what marijuana means during sex. You’ve already heard the rumors that pot makes sexual intercourse far more enjoyable. For some, it does. And a new study seems to suggest that having sex under the influence of marijuana even makes you regret it less in the morning!

But does marijuana increase instances of sexual assault? You can ask yourself the same question except after replacing “marijuana” with “alcohol” and know the answer off the top of your head: yes. But each drug is different.

The main thing to keep in mind with marijuana is that each person’s reaction to the drug is unique. You might have heard of a sleepy drunk, or a relaxed drunk, or an angry drunk — but at the end of the day we all experience much the same thing when we imbibe alcoholic beverages. 

We don’t really know whether or not marijuana affects people similarly to alcohol when it comes to decision-making.

Dr. Mark Green is an addiction psychiatrist in Belmont, Massachusetts and agrees with this assessment. He said, “[Alcohol] makes people impulsive. But it also allows people to get over their performance anxiety and explore sex. A lot of people might not have sex without alcohol.”

The problem is that alcohol also makes people make bad decisions that can have permanent legal consequences. Green explained, “People think they are being suave, sophisticated and sexual and their partner is into it as well. But they ignore the fact that they’re impaired, and their partner may be highly ambivalent, and not giving fully informed consent. On alcohol, you can really misread the signs. Even worse, alcohol increases violence and forced sex can occur.”

Although the research hasn’t really pointed the finger at marijuana when it comes to assault cases, the courts can sometimes be swayed by evidence on hand — even though there usually isn’t any. And Green speculated on what it could mean. He said, “Think of paranoia. What paranoia means is that you over-read the negative signs. In those cases when there’s not fully informed consent, the paranoia-enhancing aspect of pot makes people pick this out — this is not cool, the person is not comfortable. In this way alcohol and pot work on opposite ends of the continuum.”

Keep in mind that an addiction psychiatrist in Massachusetts might see it very differently than some random California sexual abuser lawyer who wants to use marijuana to build his case that you assaulted someone during sex.

But if Green is right, then that means that marijuana could become the “good sex” drug in more than just anecdotal stories. Future studies could prove that users are actually less likely to commit sexualized crimes with their partners. But it’s important to recognize that the actual data simply doesn’t exist yet, and that this is all speculation and conjecture until it does. Therefore, we would strongly recommend that marijuana users take care not to use too much of the drug before having sex — especially because it does affect every user differently.