CBD and Fertility: A Guide to the Latest Research
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As the use of cannabidiol (CBD) becomes more mainstream, questions have arisen about its potential effects on fertility. CBD, a non-intoxicating compound found in the cannabis plant, has been touted for its many health benefits, from reducing pain and inflammation to improving sleep and reducing anxiety.
But what about its impact on fertility? Can CBD affect sperm count or stimulate female hormones and egg maturation? Are there any risks associated with using CBD for fertility? These are important questions to consider for anyone who is trying to conceive or maintain optimal reproductive health.
Please note that while we believe the following article contains valuable information, it is ultimately up to each person to make an informed decision about whether or not to use CBD during their fertility journey. We encourage all readers to do their own research and make an informed decision that is best for their individual needs and circumstances.
It is important to note that we are not medical professionals and this article is not intended to provide medical advice. We strongly advise consulting with a qualified healthcare provider before using CBD products.
We know that CBD is important for the healthy function of the endocannabinoid system —which plays a role in regulating reproductive function and that perhaps through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, could improve overall reproductive health.
But research is still in its early stages, so it is best to proceed with caution. Some studies suggest that CBD could improve sperm quality and quantity. But there are also concerns that CBD could negatively affect male fertility by reducing testosterone levels and altering sexual function.
There is a belief that CBD may have a positive effect on sperm count, but others have found no significant changes.
One small-scale study published in The Journal Fertility and Sterility in 2019 found that men who used cannabis had significantly higher sperm counts than those who did not use cannabis. The study, which included 662 men, found that those who used cannabis had an average sperm count of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter, compared to 45.4 million sperm per milliliter for those who did not use cannabis.
Another study published in The Journal Epigenetics in 2018 found that cannabis use was associated with changes in DNA methylation, a process that can affect gene expression and may play a role in sperm production. The study authors suggested that these changes could potentially have a positive effect on sperm count and fertility.
One study published in The Journal Molecules in 2019 found that CBD increased testosterone levels in rats, potentially through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, it's important to note that this study was conducted on animals and not humans.
Another study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2013 found that acute administration of THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, reduced testosterone levels in healthy men. However, this study did not investigate the effects of CBD specifically.
Some studies and anecdotal reports suggest that CBD may have potential benefits for various aspects of male sexual function, including erectile dysfunction (ED), premature ejaculation, and libido.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED): CBD may help by improving blood flow and reducing anxiety, which are both common factors contributing to ED. A 2017 review article on cannabinoids and sexual dysfunction suggests that the endocannabinoid system may play a role in erectile function.
Premature Ejaculation: Some research suggests that CBD may help by reducing anxiety and stress, which can contribute to premature ejaculation. A 2019 review article on the therapeutic potential of CBD for anxiety disorders discusses the anxiolytic properties of CBD.
We do know that CBD could have potential benefits for female sexual health, such as improving menstrual regularity and reducing pain and inflammation associated with conditions like endometriosis.
But research is still in its early stages, so it is best to proceed with caution. There are also concerns that CBD could impact hormonal balance, potentially affecting ovulation.
A 2018 study published in The Journal of Ovarian Research investigated the effects of CBD on the ovaries of female mice. The study found that CBD increased the number of follicles in the ovaries and improved their overall health, suggesting that CBD may have a potential role in improving ovarian function.
Additionally, a 2020 review published in The Journal Reproductive Medicine and Biology noted that CBD may have anti-inflammatory effects, which could be beneficial for women with conditions like endometriosis that can affect fertility. The review also highlighted the potential role of the endocannabinoid system in regulating female fertility and suggested that CBD may have a role in this system.
*If you want to read more about how CBD could potentially help with endometriosis symptoms, read our in-depth article on the topic.
We know anecdotally and through research studies that CBD can help reduce PMS symptoms during your menstrual cycle. It is quite common to take CBD to relieve pain and cramping, improve sleep and mood, and ease muscle cramping. However, recent studies also suggest that CBD could help with menstrual regularity by balancing your body's hormones.
A study conducted in 2020 found that women who used a CBD-infused product experienced a significant reduction in pain and discomfort associated with menstruation.
In a 2015 review of preclinical studies, CBD was found to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. Although this review did not specifically focus on menstrual inflammation, it suggests that CBD could potentially be helpful in this context.
A study published in 2012 investigated the role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis in female rats. The HPO axis is responsible for controlling the production and release of reproductive hormones. This study found that activation of the ECS led to alterations in the release of reproductive hormones, suggesting that the ECS could play a role in regulating your period.
Another study conducted in 2009 examined the effects of endocannabinoids on the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in female rats. GnRH is essential for the production and release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are crucial for the menstrual cycle. The study found that endocannabinoids can modulate GnRH release, which could potentially regulate periods.
There are a few studies that suggest CBD might have some effects on the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in overall female reproductive health. One such study discusses the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive processes, including oocyte maturation, embryo implantation, and early pregnancy. However, these studies have not studied CBD specifically, and so do not provide direct evidence for CBD's impact on fertility or trying to conceive.
There is evidence to suggest that THC can have negative effects on both male and female fertility. However, it's important to note that individual responses may vary, and more research is needed to fully understand the impact of THC on fertility.
Male Fertility: Studies have shown that THC can negatively affect sperm quality, count, and motility, as well as hormone levels in men. A 2015 review article highlights the impact of cannabis on male reproductive health, including the adverse effects of THC on sperm function and testosterone levels.
Female Fertility: THC can also negatively impact female fertility by disrupting the menstrual cycle and interfering with ovulation. A 2019 study found that women who used cannabis had a longer time to conception compared to non-users.
If you are trying to conceive or are concerned about your fertility, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis or any THC-containing products. Cannabis use might have negative effects on fertility, and it's essential to discuss your individual circumstances and any potential risks with your healthcare provider.