Cannabis and Sex: Meet Ashley Manta, CannaSexual

Professional sex educator, writer, coach, and facilitator, Ashley Manta is a woman on a mission: to help people mindfully combine cannabis and sex.

As The CannaSexual® sex educator and coach, Ashley hosts workshops, speaks to groups, and offers individual coaching on cannabis and sex. She answered some of our questions about how cannabis can play a role in a healthy and happy sex life.

ELLEMENTA: To get started, we’re curious about how you wound up being an expert at the intersection of cannabis and sex. Of all the potential benefits of using cannabis, we’re not sure a better sex life is the first thing that occurs to us when we think of “cannabis wellness.” Could you tell us a little bit about how CannaSexual came to be?

ASHLEY: CannaSexual was the product of a few things coming together simultaneously. I grew up on the East Coast, and I’ve been doing sexuality education since 2007. My focus was originally on sexual violence prevention and awareness and healing trauma – I worked as a rape crisis counselor, victim advocate, and mental health crisis worker –  then shifted to sexual health, pleasure, and body confidence.

In 2013, I moved to Los Angeles and started working full time as a sexuality professional, first as a phone sex operator, then at a pleasure products retailer, and finally going into business for myself in the summer of 2015. Moving to California also meant access to cannabis, so I got my medical card right away and started visiting dispensaries.

Two things quickly became clear to me: First, most budtenders don’t know how to talk to their patients about sex, and second, most sex educators don’t know how to talk to their students/clients about cannabis. I found my niche!

I vowed to learn as much as I could about cannabis and use that knowledge to help people combine sex and cannabis mindfully in their own lives, and to share my knowledge with cannabis professionals and sexuality professionals so that they could have these conversations with their respective audiences.

On a more personal note, as a trauma survivor, I found that cannabis had a powerfully positive impact on my sex life. After I had a pretty hardcore PTSD resurgence in March of 2015, cannabis helped me with my panic attacks and constant anxiety and allowed me to get into my body and enjoy pleasure again during a time of pretty severe sexual despondency. I saw that there were a myriad of ways that cannabis and sex could be combined, and I made it my mission to find and explicate them.

ELLEMENTA: When you work with clients, what do they tend to find most surprising about the combination of cannabis and sex?

The thing my clients tend to find most surprising about combining sex and cannabis is that using cannabis does not have to mean getting high. There are multiple non-psychoactive methods of consumption and many options for products to consume, but most people are unfamiliar with them.

A lot of pushback I receive from folks about sex and cannabis involves something along the lines of “I don’t like the feeling of being high” or “I have kids and I can’t commit to being high for three hours” — both understandable concerns that can be assuaged when I explain that topicals, bath soaks, and CBD products are excellent ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.

I always encourage folks to think outside the stereotype – using cannabis doesn’t have to mean taking massive bong rips or eating that brownie that your friend made that left you high for 12 hours.

ELLEMENTA: It seems like there’s also a role for cannabis in body positivity/confidence when it comes to sex. Could you talk a little bit about that?

I find that cannabis has a profoundly positive impact on the way that I feel about my body. I’m less likely to get caught in the nonstop “you’re not pretty/flexible/etc. enough” stories in my head when I’ve used cannabis to quiet those voices.

I also use cannabis intentionally to help me reframe those types of limiting beliefs that encourage me to hate my body. I will choose a cannabis product that’s going to help me relax and make my body feel good then do an exercise where I look in the mirror and say neutral or nice things about my body. Or I’ll do a gratitude journal about all of the ways I’m thankful for my body.

The idea here is not to get so stoned that you “forget” the things you dislike about your body. This is about mindfully choosing cannabinoid and terpene profiles that will augment the positive changes that you’re setting in motion.

ELLEMENTA: What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about cannabis, or sex, or cannabis and sex together? If there were one idea you could plant in everyone’s head, what would it be?

My golden rules of sex and cannabis are “negotiate before you medicate” and “try it on your own first.” Negotiating before medicating is especially applicable to new partners. Have a conversation about safer sex needs and STI testing, what’s on the menu for sexy fun time activities – do you only want to make out and cuddle or do you want penetration or do you want oral or do you want…?. The goal with mindful cannabis use is to check in with yourself and figure out where you are presently, where you’d like to be, and then choosing an appropriate cannabis product to help you get there.

For instance, if something stressful happened during the day and my body is tense and I’m feeling anxious, but I want to be in the mood for sexy times, I might choose something with high CBD to help my body relax and to counteract some of my anxiety. If I’m feeling sluggish but want to have really frenzied lustful sex, I might choose something that’s more creative and energetic.

Which brings me to my second rule–try it on your own first. You don’t know what effects a product or strain will have on your body before trying it since everyone is different, so it’s important to test things out on your own so you know the effects in advance.

I suggest taking the time with a new product or strain to enjoy it, notice the effects it has on your body, then masturbate and notice those effects too. That way when you use it with a partner, you can isolate variables more readily if something isn’t feeling quite right.

You can find Ashley Manta on her website, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Average Rating:

The Ins and Outs of Weed Lube

I’d heard there was such a thing as “weed lube,” so my partner and I decided to give it a try.

The first thing I learned about weed lube is this: Don’t let your boyfriend lead. He’ll learn all he can from sites like Reddit, but most of the posts about weed lube he finds will not be written by women. Or he will read the packaging and extrapolate based on his own experiences, which will not be close enough to yours to be relevant. I should have known this already as my first experiences smoking and eating cannabis with his guidance were equally as fraught. He may have more experience with cannabis than I do, but he has zero experience being a woman in her 40s.

What I really should have done was to check in with other women.

From his perspective, Foria Pleasure definitely made sex seem better for me. According to him, I was more vocal and appeared to enjoy everything more exuberantly. But from my perspective, sex with my partner is usually pretty wonderful. Plus this sex had a lot of foreplay as we had to wait nearly an hour for the Foria Pleasure brand of lubricant to work. So I can’t say for certain that I noticed a big difference from our other sessions where foreplay was plentiful.

He says we need to try again.

I say maybe I just need to go out and have bad sex with and without Foria and get back to him.

He doesn’t get my humor.

I gave the bottle to a friend of mine – let’s call her Anne – who used it solo. She swears using it gave her mind blowing orgasms that lasted and lasted. I was happy for her. Dang if I should have consulted my local girl gang about how to use Foria instead of my boyfriend because it sounds like I missed out on some next level sexy time.

I don’t want you, dear reader, to miss out. So here is the skinny on Foria:

1. Foria isn’t actually a lube.

If you normally use a lubricant, you should probably have a bottle of your favorite handy for actual lubing.

Foria comes in a tiny spray bottle and is meant to be used as a “pre-lube.” It’s about the size and shape of a breath spray.

The effect is supposed to be relaxing while also acting as an aphrodisiac. Each spritz contains about 2.5mg of THC so you don’t need a lot. The website instructs you to use four or five sprays on your clitoris, labia, and vaginal opening. I used five just on my vaginal opening as instructed by my boyfriend. Anne says she uses about eight all over her lady parts because she’s a pro.

2. The effects of Foria Pleasure can take up to an hour to start working.

Don’t feel as if you have to rush into the action after application. Put your feet up, light some candles, think about how you just sprayed your hooha with an aphrodisiac that resembles a bottle of breath spray, laugh uncomfortably then riotously… relax, good things come to those who wait.

3. Foria Pleasure is coconut oil based.

The website cautions that you should not use the product with latex-based toys or condoms because coconut oil degrades latex. If you have waited 40 minutes to one hour for it to work, are already feeling that frisky disco in your underpants, and are also using your regular lubricant, I can’t imagine a few sprays of Foria actually matter that much in terms of latex degradation. But you never know, so safety first.

4. Because Foria Pleasure has THC in it, it’s not available everywhere.

You can only buy Foria at dispensaries in California and Colorado. I hear they are coming out with a THC-free variety of Foria this June so that should be good news for adventurous women everywhere.

Bottom Line: Trying out Foria that one time was really fun for my boyfriend and for me, but since Anne isn’t giving back my bottle of Foria anytime soon, I’ll have to either buy some more next time I’m in a state where it’s sold or make my own.

If you don’t happen to live in California or Colorado and can’t wait for Foria to get to your area, you can always make your own cannabis infused coconut oil. Here is a handy recipe.

Happy Experimenting!


Ganja Yoga: Yes, It’s Really a Thing

We are all divine souls navigating our own personal journeys.

Yoga is a much-touted route to self-care and self-discovery. According to the 2016 Yoga in America study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance, women represent 72 percent of US practitioners of yoga. Of US practitioners of yoga, 30–49 year olds make up 43 percent followed by the 50+ set (38 percent). A more recent trend in popular yoga – but a practice dating back to ancient times – is yoga with the enhancement of cannabis.

We asked Joy, founder of Mahogany Mary (and one of Ellementa’s advisors) to talk about what brought her to her own cannabis-enhanced yoga practice. Here’s what she shared with us.

Cannabis Enhanced Yoga

After relocating to Los Angeles in 2015, I found that I was neglecting myself. I used my long work hours and extensive travel schedule as an excuse for not making myself a priority. My health declined, insomnia took the place of sleep, and I began to feel depressed.

My lack of self-care started to affect my work, social life, and relationship. I turned to medical marijuana for my insomnia, which worked magnificently, but I still felt that an element was missing. As I shared my struggles with a close friend, she suggested I practice yoga, not only as a physical routine, but as a mental health regimen.

When I first considered incorporating yoga into my weekly routine, I had many subconscious biases as to what yoga was and whom it was for. It took my first class at a local studio to completely shift my paradigm. The instructor walked the class through each pose and directly correlated the practice to what we all experience in daily life: Challenges, obstacles, situations that constantly stretch us outside of our comfort zone.

With each position that challenged our bodies, he instructed us to not lose our breath, that breathing is what is most important.

After class, I thought about the many reasons I began to medicate with marijuana and the countless ways it benefitted me. The benefits paralleled with my recent yoga experience.

When I smoke weed, it calms my mind and my body. The daily anxiety eases away, and my mind becomes clearer.

Cannabis enhanced yoga has become a passion of mine over the past year. Through it, I have witnessed significant changes in my daily life. I am able to manage the stress that comes with being an entrepreneur, and I have experienced first-hand how a calm mind is immeasurably more creative than a chaotic one.

The true practice of yoga teaches one to look past human-created definitions of race, sexuality, social-economic status, etc. and instead to focus on the fact that we are all divine souls navigating our own personal journeys. Marijuana exposes us to the same higher-dimensional thinking and provides us the opportunity to pull back the layers of life, not merely witnessing it at face value. Understanding this creates a safe, judgment-free space for ourselves and for those around us.

When we practice yoga or sit in meditation, we face ourselves and discover how we can affect change within the world and within ourselves. For each person, the answers will be different, but the combination of yoga and marijuana can be a catalyst.


Joy is founder of Mahogany Mary, an event curation service with a mission to create memorable cannabis events.

Spiritual Cannabis with Becca Williams

Becca Williams is a long-time cannabis advocate “advancing states of higher consciousness.”

In her own words, she is a “ceremonialist” or a “plant spirit guide, creating communal experiences that support transformational healing and awakenings with the support of cannabis as a spirit plant.”

Ellementa was honored to have a conversation with Becca recently.


ELLEMENTA: You started using cannabis in your 20s to help you address issues like anxiety, but in the years since you’ve evolved in your relationship with it. Can you talk about your journey to where you are today, guiding others to use cannabis as a spiritual medicine?

Yes I discovered very quickly in college that besides communing with my friends over a jay, partaking alone by myself was something I was drawn to. In fact, because cannabis often amplified my social anxiety when I was with others, I came to prefer solitary communing with the plant as it went the opposite direction and eased the symptoms of my anxiety and low self-esteem.

However, cannabis in this instance, was only palliative. That is, once the active effects of cannabis waned, the anxiety, etc would return.

For years – actually for decades – I smoked it to achieve well being but once I was no longer high, I slid back into wrestling with difficult emotions.

I had been intent on finding a way where these out-of-control emotions no longer ran my life. You know, something comes out of left field – either somebody doing or saying something or simply some errant thought throwing me into an emotional whirlwind. I was so tired of the suffering but couldn’t find answers.

After a couple of years of experimenting with other mind-altering substances – ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, acid, molly and the like – I encountered a shaman at a plant teacher conference who really let into a guy who was obviously taking hallucinogens pretty indiscriminately. You know, seemingly more for entertainment value than a part of a personal growth path. The shaman, who leads ayahuasca journeys and had never used another hallucinogen, said something like, “If you value the spirit of a particular plant you will work with it and know everything about its energetic powers. You will have no need for others.”

Wow, that really struck me because at the time I had been working with cannabis in various experiential self-styled protocols during meditation. It was right then and there, about two-and-a-half years ago, I made a pact with the spirit of cannabis to work solely with her and asked her to guide me to next steps.

Soon after, I was introduced to the “emotional liberation” work of a master of ancient Eastern kundalini lineage who lives in LA. I began studying with him. He’s created a remarkable codified system for healing from difficult emotions by employing kriyas (ancient Indian body and breath movements) to engage the nervous system and activate the flow of vital energy through the chakras and nadis.

Although the tradition forbids the use of drugs, true to form, I was experientially including very small doses, micro-doses, of cannabis and realizing stunning emotional shifts. What I found was really quite intriguing and speaks to the potential of the combination of plant medicine and these ancient traditions.

I experienced profound permanent healing in doing this work. Once I came out the other end – emerging into this balanced clarity that I hadn’t experienced before – all I wanted to do was share these approaches with others to support them in re-setting their emotional guidance system.

I then began creating a ceremony “container” in which to introduce these healing approaches to others in group gatherings and provide an inviting atmosphere for those who want to work with the plant in a conscious way.

My goal is to create a safe, welcoming and sacred environment for people either taking their first steps or those drawn to taking next steps in their personal development.

ELLEMENTA: For those who are new to what you do, can you explain what a Spirit Plant is and what it does? How is its use integral to the ceremonies you do?

The plant kingdom cares for us in innumerable ways and is dedicated to our wellbeing. There are plants that nourish us, revitalize us, protect us, heal us. Our beloved Spirit Plants work at a metaphysical level to support a person in opening to self awareness and higher consciousness, which can lead to emotional healing.

Having said that, you can imagine how useful cannabis is in our ceremonial work. However, my ceremonies are completely plant medicine-optional. The body and breath practices called kriyas are the core of my approach. They are sophisticated technologies handed down from ancient lineages of holy men who used them to “commune with the Divine.” We do the same thing but the Divine is our “Higher Self” or our intuition.

We create an environment for insight, for self-knowledge, which leads to healing.

ELLEMENTA: Who is (or should be) a Cannanaut? Who are the people who are taking and benefiting from these spiritual experiences?

In my ceremony invitations, I say “all edge walkers are welcome.” It’s sort of code for those ready and willing to do self-exploration. I playfully call those of us pursuing these journeys cannanauts (a la psychonauts or astronauts). In fact, it’s what I named my work: Cannanaut: Exploring the deep inner reaches of consciousness with the support of cannabis.

Those who are drawn to my Elevation Ceremonies usually feel some kind of expansion coming. Participants often arrive knowing they want more but they may not be clear about what they’re seeking. That’s perfect because my ceremonies create a nurturing and welcoming space for accessing a depth of self-exploration that you can achieve in your first experience.

My fondest desire is for people to learn these approaches themselves so they can cultivate an emotional resilience when something out of left field throws them into upset. They can do the practices in the privacy of their home and then join us for ceremonies live and online to collectively commune with like-minded others.

And just a word about ceremony – as human beings, our call for ceremony goes very deep – it’s primal, it’s tribal.

We’re missing this sense of deep connectedness in our modern culture. That’s why we need to be creating our own rituals and our own ceremonies to re-connect with ourselves and with others in an intentional and powerful way. This is the focus of my work.

ELLEMENTA: You endorse microdosing of marijuana in the encounters you host. Can you talk a little bit about the mechanics of that? How is cannabis consumed during your ceremonies, and why is microdosing most effective?

During my ceremonies if a participant is going to include cannabis I do encourage microdosing – regardless of whether they’re newbies to the plant or they partake of marijuana regularly and have a high tolerance. Using cannabis for exploring higher consciousness is a gigantic jump from dosing for everyday activities and physical health.

In approaching it like this, cannabis is a gentle boundary dissolver that supports us in stimulating going inward. It nurtures intentional focus … this is a big deal for most of us and especially if you’re wrestling with social anxiety or dissociation. It allows you to settle down and settle in to release, reset and renew.

Make no mistake about it, this is Soul play. And how we invite our Soul to the party is vital.

You ask how we consume cannabis during our ceremonies. I personally like the old fashioned smoke as it’s ceremonial. But I’ve updated it so that each participant has their own joint and we take turns lighting each other’s while bestowing a blessing. Some of our participants unwrap the joint and vape it.

We’re also experimenting with tinctures and teas. We have some wonderful conscious cannabis companies that have stepped up to introduce their products to our participants and I’m grateful for that.

ELLEMENTA: Are there any stories you’d be willing to share about what some of your Cannanauts have experienced? Do you find that there are benefits even for folks who maybe aren’t as inclined to be open to spiritual experiences, or do they have to come to the ceremony ready to embrace every part of it?

As I mentioned earlier, all that’s necessary to participate in one of my ceremonies is an open mind and willingness to embark on a fantastic inner journey.

I can say a few things about people’s experiences but respecting participants’ privacy is all important. In the ceremony, I emphasize that we come together in a field of trust and confidentiality – and everybody in the gathering commits to that.

There’s a spectrum of how participants respond. I send out a short survey after every gathering. Most participants are impressed by how clear, centered and calm they feel at the conclusion of the gatherings. That’s a great beginning from one ceremonial experience but for on-going emotional healing and profound transformational shifts I encourage them to continue the practices.

Even in one ceremony experience, participants, especially seasoned meditators, have reported dramatic shifts – like calling up and clearing out old memories that have weighed them down in their lives and created a lot of self-doubt. One participant said that following her experience with the Elevation Ceremonies, she realized the connection between childhood trauma and her anorexia and, as a result checked herself into the hospital.

“The object of the contemplations were familiar to me from my studies but the ceremony pushed deeper and helped me be more direct in confronting the central issues that I’m dealing with.” JH, Elevation Ceremony participant

It’s not for everybody though, I’ve had a couple of people who’ve experienced a ceremony, and in the anonymous surveys they said they have their own approaches and they’re going to stick with what they know. I respect that. I respect where everybody’s at on their path.

Above all, make no mistake about what goes on in our gatherings – it’s not about me, it’s about the remarkably sophisticated practices handed down by ancient wise ones and the benefits that our Spirit Plant can bring to support them. I merely act as a guide into the experience.

ELLEMENTA: You conduct ceremonies in person, but you also do them over YouTube! How did you start offering online ceremonies, and how do they work?

Thanks for mentioning that! To be clear, online ceremonies or individual private on-line ceremonies are in the offing. It’s been vital to introduce and polish the ceremonial framework through our in-person gatherings. I began introducing the ceremonies the middle of last year on a private one-to-one basis as betas in order to get constructive feedback on what participants would like to see more of, less of or what they might be desiring that they’re not getting. There wasn’t a lot of the latter, which told me I was on the right path in my ceremonial work. I then began offering group Elevation Ceremonies last November in the Denver area.

People ask me how I got to the point of doing this work. You know, it was an organic unfolding. I’ve been a group facilitator and mentor for personal and collective transformation for more than 20 years. As a serious student of emotions, I am deeply blessed to train extensively in emotional liberation with a master of ancient Eastern kundalini and kriya lineage. My skills and passion emerge from a synthesis of these ancient yogic practices that include plant medicine, cutting-edge brain science and a mastery of intuition.

Find Becca Williams at Cannanaut.