People are turning to CBD for many different health ailments—from chronic pain, to sleep, to anxiety, to inflammation. At times, it seems like there is nothing CBD can’t help! One question you may have but perhaps are too shy to ask is: What about CBD and sex? Is it possible that CBD could help with your sex life? Or could CBD hurt your sex life? What about fertility? Can CBD impact a man’s or woman’s fertility and ability to conceive?
These are all important questions, especially if you are trying to get pregnant. In this post, we will dive into the impact of CBD on sex—from both a hormonal standpoint as well as the effect it may have on performance.
Can CBD Impact Libido?
When it comes to a healthy sex life, there are many factors at play. Libido is one of them. The ability to perform (for men) and the physiological response (for women) are the others.
Libido is a fancy term for sex drive. Your libido is influenced by several factors, among them your attraction to a partner, your hormone levels, and your mental/emotional state. CBD may have an effect on a few of these factors.
CBD works by stimulating the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is made up of receptors called CB1 and CB2 receptors. Research has found that there are CB1 receptors in the testes as well as the parts of the brain that control sex hormone production (the hypothalamus-pituitary axis) and libido (the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus).
The hypothalamus-pituitary axis is made up of two glands in the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones such as gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones are involved in signaling the body to make testosterone in men and estrogen and progesterone in women. These hormones influence libido as well as fertility.
Testosterone is known to influence libido positively. However, research into this is still in its infancy, and more in-depth study is necessary before it can be said with certainty whether using CBD could negatively impact the hypothalamus-pituitary axis.
There has been research on marijuana and its impact on a man’s sex hormone production. This research found that long-term use of marijuana may result in a decreased libido as well as a decrease in fertility. However, marijuana and CBD have significant differences: mainly, the THC concentration.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a component of the industrial hemp plant that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD stimulates this endocannabinoid system, which is a system in our body that modulates pain and inflammation as well as mood, stress, behaviors and more.
Industrial hemp and marijuana are both strains of the cannabis plant, however, the main difference is that the industrial hemp plant has very low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound associated with the plant. It is important to remember that CBD is different from THC (which is found in high levels in the marijuana plant) as it does not have the psychoactive properties. In other words, CBD will not make you high.
Right now, it is unknown if long-term CBD use could negatively affect libido like long-term marijuana use can.
Can CBD Impact the Fertility of Men?
Researchers have looked into the impact of the endocannabinoid system on fertility in animals and found that stimulation of CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus-pituitary axis causes a decrease in GnRH and LH. This could mean that CBD, which stimulates CB1 receptors, could have a negative impact on testosterone production as well as sperm production in males.
Studies have also found that regular marijuana use may lead to a decrease in sperm concentration in men as well as changes in the shape and functionality of sperm. Taken together, this could lead to a decrease in fertility in men. These findings have led people to wonder if using CBD can lead to fertility issues in men as well.
Based on the current research available, it does not appear that CBD has the same impact on sperm that marijuana does. This is because of marijuana’s high levels of THC in addition to CBD. CBD does not seem to impact the sperm shape, and numbers like THC does. However, CBN (cannabinol), which is a cannabinoid found in some broad-spectrum CBD oil products, may negatively affect sperm in the same way THC does.
Scientific studies in this area are just beginning, so, right now, we do not know enough to say for sure if CBD can hinder male fertility. If you are a regular user of CBD and struggling with fertility issues, you may want to consider decreasing or stopping your CBD use.
Can CBD Help with Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is the term used to describe difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection. There are quite a few components to erectile dysfunction, and it is possible that CBD oil may be able to help with some of them.
Two prevalent causes of erectile issues are performance anxiety and stress, which CBD may be able to alleviate. Studies have shown that CBD is effective in reducing social anxiety as well as stress levels. Although, it is important to recognize these studies did not look at anxiety and stress related to sexual performance specifically, so it cannot be said with certainty that CBD will help.
Another reason for erectile dysfunction is cardiovascular disease. If the blood vessels that supply the genitals are impaired due to plaque buildup (known as arteriosclerosis), it can make erections more difficult to achieve. There has been some research in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology that suggests CBD can help to relax blood vessels and promote proper blood flow. Although this research is promising, human clinical trials are still necessary.
Can CBD Impact the Fertility of Women?
When it comes to CBD and female fertility, currently there isn’t a lot of information available. What we do know is CBD helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, which are major players in female infertility. Therefore, it is possible that using CBD could be beneficial in helping a woman to conceive.
Research has shown a relationship between anandamide, a cannabinoid found in hemp that interacts with cannabinoid receptors, and different stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle. CBD increases anandamide levels, which means the endocannabinoid system is likely involved in a woman’s cycle and reproductive system. How exactly? Researchers are not quite sure.
It is important to note that CBD use during pregnancy has not been studied. So, a woman should speak with her health care provider before using CBD if she is trying to get pregnant or during her pregnancy.
A healthy sex life is essential for all couples. Whether or not CBD oil can benefit sex and fertility is an important consideration. Currently, there is not enough research on CBD, sex, and fertility. There is evidence that suggests chronic marijuana use may negatively impact sperm function as well as libido in men, but this is likely due to its THC content.
Today, it is hard to say for sure if using CBD long term could impact a couple’s ability to conceive or decrease a person’s libido. If you are struggling with erectile dysfunction, there is some preliminary evidence that CBD may help! Long story short, we will have to wait until there is more evidence about this topic to know for sure how CBD affects sex.