How Does CBD Affect Your Libido, and Does It Have a Place in Your Sex Life?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It doesn’t cause the “high” associated with marijuana use. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the compound in cannabis that induces that feeling. However, CBD may have other benefits for the body.
Because of this, manufacturers have isolated CBD and added it to many products, including those to help you in the bedroom. Purported benefits include boosting libido and increasing lubrication.
Is CBD only a buzzword or can it actually help your sex life? Read on to find out what research tells us so far.
To understand how CBD might help your sex life, let’s take it back to how researchers think CBD works on the body.
Inside your body are tiny receptors that are part of a whole system scientists call the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Think of these receptors as the locks that the key — in this case, CBD — can activate.
While CBD doesn’t “unlock” them directly, it can set off a series of reactions in the body that stimulate the system. Through CBD’s indirect activation, the body responds in a variety of ways, including as an anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant.
According to a 2009 article published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, researchers have found ECS receptors in the sexual reproductive organs, such as the testicles. They’re also present in the brain.
What happens next is controversial. Some research studies have found that cannabinoids such as CBD and THC boost libido, while others have found they decrease it.
One article in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics reported that chronic cannabis use in males lowered sex drive. The more they use, the lower their sex drive is.
Other research suggests CBD products may improve libido by reducing anxiety. Some people have anxiety about sexual performance, which decreases their libido. Relieve anxiety, and the desire for sex may go up.
A review of currently available literature about CBD and anxiety published in the journal Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may reduce anxiety, including social anxiety disorder. However, there aren’t many human trials on this issue, so it’s hard to recommend CBD dosages or say for sure it works.
For this reason, a lot of reports about CBD helping sex drive are anecdotal. Maybe your friend tried it and raves about it. But then your other friend didn’t feel any different at all. Since there aren’t a lot of research studies specific to CBD and libido, it’s tough to say right now that it helps.
There isn’t a lot of research out there about CBD and sexual benefits, but there are emerging products on the market designed to help with the following sexual concerns.
Erectile dysfunction (ED)
According to an article in the journal BioMed Research International , Ayurveda practitioners have used Cannabis sativa, the plant from which marijuana and CBD are derived, for many years to improve ejaculatory function and sexual performance.
The exact way that CBD may help ED isn’t fully understood. One theory is that CBD could help relax the blood vessels and promote blood flow. Better blood flow to the penis can relieve ED and promote longer-lasting sex.
The problem is that doctors haven’t specifically tested the effects of CBD on the penis. A small study published in the journal JCI Insight found that a single dose of CBD helped to reduce blood pressure. But the researchers in this study were looking at arteries that led to the heart and not ones that went to the groin.
For those who struggle with dryness and painful sex, adding a lubricant can improve sexual performance and relieve pain. Many CBD manufacturers are making lubricants that incorporate CBD as a means to enhance sexual pleasure.
Researchers have studied the effects of topical CBD as a dermatology treatment. According to a 2010 article in the journal Fitoterapia, topical CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect, which could theoretically make sex more comfortable. However, there aren’t any studies specific on CBD and lubrication.
Low sex drive
Another theory is that cannabis affects sexual desire directly in the brain. A 2017 study of cannabis users found that cannabis activated the part of people’s brains that controls sexual arousal. The authors concluded that using cannabis may be helpful for people with a low sex drive.
It’s certainly possible CBD could reduce ED, enhance sexual pleasure, and boost libido, but there’s not enough current research to prove these theories.
CBD products that claim to boost libido and increase lubrication are popping up everywhere. Research shows that CBD may help, but more studies are necessary.
CBD oil and erectile dysfunction
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- Research overview
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
Commonly referred to as ED, erectile dysfunction affects 30 million American men of all ages. The causes of erectile dysfunction may be physiological, psychological, or a combination of both. Certain men may be at greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction, such as those who are older than 50, are overweight, or have heart disease.
For these men, there is hope in the form of prescription medications or psychotherapy, depending on the root cause. Weedmaps News recently reported that cannabidiol (CBD) may enhance sex, making it more satisfying and less painful for both partners. Could CBD oil, specifically CBD-rich cannabis oil, which retains other cannabinoids and terpenes, offer similar benefits for men with ED?
A greater amount of research exists for managing the psychological symptoms of erectile dysfunction than the physiological ones. In particular, CBD oil has shown to be effective in decreasing anxiety in a number of studies. While most studies utilized CBD oil that was either broad-spectrum or full-spectrum, CBD isolates (products that lack THC and other compounds), may also provide beneficial effects. Because CBD is such a significant part of the cannabis plant, cannabis itself could play an important role in alleviating ED.
Performance anxiety may be a factor for men whose ED has a psychological origin. Susan A. Stoner’s 2017 scientific review for the University of Washington discussed how cannabis in small amounts lowered anxiety. Stoner, a licensed clinical psychologist who is a research consultant for the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, noted that higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had the opposite effect and increased anxiety, while CBD provided more consistency. This is a prime example of successfully using CBD-rich cannabis oil as opposed to THC-rich cannabis oil.
The potential benefits of CBD could be ideal for men who do not want to take medications long term but would prefer to treat their ED situationally. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Similarly, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis lowered anxiety levels, stress, and depression in the short-term. The potential benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids could be ideal for men who do not want to take medications long term but would prefer to treat their ED situationally.
Obesity is one physical cause of erectile dysfunction that CBD could potentially treat, although CBD on its own was nowhere near as effective as CBD paired with tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) in the supporting study. In 2012, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article titled, “Cannabis Could Be Used to Treat Obesity-Related Diseases.” Science correspondent Richard Gray wrote about the revealing study conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals: “When the scientists examined two compounds, called THCV and cannabidiol, they were found to have an appetite-suppressing effect.”
The CBD/THCV combination could indirectly help men with ED by decreasing appetite and, potentially, contributing to weight loss. Based on this evidence, a broad-spectrum product which contains both of these beneficial cannabinoids could be useful. Cannabis product labels should list which cannabinoids are included and in what concentrations. Only lab-verified products are guaranteed to be pure.
Cannabis use has repeatedly been linked to lower body mass index (BMI), rates of diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. Because CBD is either the primary or secondary ingredient in most varieties of whole-plant cannabis, it could play a very important role in managing BMI, which would support healthy sexual function for men. The specific role of CBD in these conditions is still being investigated.
What the experts say
From the perspective of treating ED-related anxiety, CBD-rich oil may be helpful, according to some experts.
From the perspective of treating ED-related anxiety, CBD-rich oil may be helpful. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Diana Urman, a certified sex educator with a practice in San Francisco, believes that CBD can help reduce sexual anxiety. In a 2018 interview with HuffPost, Urman said, “Many people say they feel more spontaneous and adventurous [after using CBD]. There is also sometimes an increased sensitivity to touch and increased willingness to be more engaged and sensual which, in turn, enhances sexual pleasure and deepens orgasmic abilities.”
While the results are not guaranteed, CBD-rich oil may be worth trying for men who want to be less inhibited in bed and treat their ED without the side effects of prescription medications. As Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, said in a Men’s Journal article in 2016, “The way I see it, why not try cannabis? There are side effects to Viagra and zero side effects to cannabis when dosed properly. Maybe it’s just making them feel better and relaxed, and that’s making it easier for them to enjoy sex, but it’s still working.”
However, moderation is key, as some research has indicated that too much cannabis can actually cause ED, even while it increases sexual desire.
While the role of cannabis and CBD in erectile dysfunction is not clear, it’s possible that these interventions, alongside other healthful lifestyle choices, could affect ED by improving mood and metabolic function.
CBD oil and erectile dysfunction Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview What the experts say Bottom line Commonly