MAR 04, 2020 6:47 AM PST

Smoking Marijuana Could Cause 12 Hour Erections

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Smoking marijuana is known to have multiple side effects. From getting the munchies to paranoia and memory problems, it is also usually thought to cause erectile dysfunction, despite increasing desire for sex. Priapism however, also known as a stubborn erection, may soon be added as a possible side effect, following the appearance of a 32 year old man in a Georgia emergency room sporting a 12-hour long erection.  

Although an unusual issue, priapism is no laughing matter. Occurring regardless of sexual intent, it can have some serious and permanent health consequences. Seriously damaging penile tissue when sustained for more than 12 hours, studies have shown that over 90% of those who remain erect for more than 24 hours lose sexual function. 

In total, the 32 year old man visited hospital twice for sustained erections after smoking marijuana; the first lasting 12 hours and the second just 6 hours thanks to an injection of phenylephrine to relieve the swelling. He also reported four other separate occasions of having had a persistent erection after smoking the substance, although these cases managed to settle down without medical help. 

The first known case of cannabis-associated priapism, it’s worth noting that the man, an African American, was tested for the four known possible causes of priapism, with none having tested positive. In particular, he was tested for sickle cell anemia, a relatively common condition to people of African descent has been linked previously to sustained erections. 

This means that, ruling out all other possible conditions, it is highly likely that the patient’s cannabis-use was linked to his priapism, although exactly how this came about remains unknown. 

Logged in the Journal of Cannabis Research, researchers investigating the issue said, “While cannabis use has already been noted in educational sources and textbooks as a potential cause of priapism, an electronic literature review was only able to identify four distinct cases of cannabis use coinciding with priapism, none of which were convincingly able to prove cannabis was the sole cause."

They continued, “Because cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance, its link to priapism suggests it may soon become more prominent within the emergency department.”


Sources: BMC, Interesting Engineering and Science Alert

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 08, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
$2 Million in NIH Awards go to Study Adolescent Cannabis Use
JUL 08, 2022
$2 Million in NIH Awards go to Study Adolescent Cannabis Use
The NIH's National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded more than $2 million to Indiana University’s Gill Center fo ...
JUL 26, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Formation of toxic ketene likely caused by vaping cannabinoid acetates
JUL 26, 2022
Formation of toxic ketene likely caused by vaping cannabinoid acetates
A recent peer-reviewed study conducted at Portland State University and slated to be published in Chemical Research and ...
SEP 07, 2022
Health & Medicine
Patient Preferences Include a Diverse Range of Cannabis Products
SEP 07, 2022
Patient Preferences Include a Diverse Range of Cannabis Products
An analysis of point-of-sale data from nearly 17,000 New York medical cannabis patients revealed significant product var ...
SEP 29, 2022
Health & Medicine
CBD's Therapeutic Potential to Alleviate Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
SEP 29, 2022
CBD's Therapeutic Potential to Alleviate Symptoms of Estrogen Deficiency
A study found that cannabidiol (CBD) improved the overall health of estrogen-deficient mice. The findings published in F ...
OCT 04, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
What Is THCP?
OCT 04, 2022
What Is THCP?
THCP is the latest cannabinoid discovered - what's it about? Is it worth the hype?
OCT 14, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Why Bees Love Cannabis
OCT 14, 2022
Why Bees Love Cannabis
Bees love cannabis, and cannabis loves bees - why?
Loading Comments...