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Using CBD for Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Libido

While no clinical research indicates CBD oil can help improve erectile dysfunction or low libido, CBD may help with anxiety, stress, mood, sleep issues, and even high blood pressure. This, in turn, could potentially support healthy sexual function in men.

Key takeaways:

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the hundreds of naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another well-known cannabinoid.

CBD differs from THC because CBD does not produce a “high” or altered state of consciousness. As a result, CBD has become popular as an alternative treatment for various health issues recently, although more research is needed to prove its efficacy.

Cannabidiol products are available in many forms, including oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies, and topical products.

How can CBD be used to enhance libido?

Currently, it is not legal for companies to make health claims about CBD. Nevertheless, limited evidence suggests that CBD may have some potential benefits for libido and sexual health, although more research is needed to understand its effects fully.

One way that CBD may support sexual health is by reducing anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress can negatively impact libido, making it more challenging to get in the mood or enjoy sexual experiences. CBD has been shown to have anxiolytic (antianxiety) and stress-reducing effects. These effects may help to improve mood and promote relaxation, potentially leading to increased sexual desire and pleasure.

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Furthermore, CBD may also directly affect sexual health through its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is involved in regulating a variety of physiological processes, including pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and sexual function. The ECS plays a role in regulating cerebral blood flow and hormonal balance, which are both important factors for sexual health.

Additionally, CBD may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, which may be helpful for conditions that can affect sexual health. However, the research on topical CBD for pain relief comes from rat studies. So, it isn't fully known if these findings apply to humans.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. ED may occur at any age but becomes more common with age, affecting around 40% of 40-year-old men and nearly 70% of 70-year-olds.

Unfortunately, ED can have physical, psychological, and lifestyle causes. Common physical causes of ED include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. Psychological factors contributing to ED include anxiety, depression, and stress. Lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol use, and drug abuse can also contribute to ED.

The pathophysiology of ED involves a complex interplay of various physiological processes, including vascular, neural, and hormonal factors. Therefore, ED can occur when any of these processes are disrupted, resulting in inadequate blood flow to the penis and the inability to achieve or maintain an erection.

Can CBD help with erectile dysfunction?

There is limited research on using any form of CBD for erectile dysfunction. One study suggested that CBD may have potential therapeutic effects, but it involved less reliable methods, such as self-reporting and an inventory of testimonials on Reddit. Most claims about CBD for erectile dysfunction rely on such anecdotal evidence. However, many testimonial claims state that CBD improved sexual function for men who experimented with these products.

The lack of quality scientific evidence is one of the reasons CBD is not yet regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The lack of regulation and absence of a standard approval process means it is currently illegal to market CBD as a supplement or for companies to make any health claims about the use of CBD, including marketing it as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

While there are endocannabinoid receptors in the testes, this discovery has implications for reproduction — specifically, potential detrimental effects on sperm — rather than sexual function. Research in animals found that dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system by CBD can reduce sperm quality in mice. Further, there is no indication that the topical application of products like CBD oil on the penis or testicles has any effect on erections.

Topical CBD products designed to be applied directly to the skin may provide localized relief for pain or inflammation. So far, no reliable human trials have made a connection between topical CBD application and a reduction in ED or enhanced arousal.

Hemp oil vs. CBD oil: Can both help with ED?

Currently, no scientific research indicates the legitimacy of CBD oil or hemp oil for sexual function.

While these products may affect stress, anxiety, or pain associated with underlying causes of ED, we do not know if they can be used reliably or safely for sexual dysfunction. In light of this, we also do not know what constitutes an ideal or safe dosage.

How to use CBD for erectile dysfunction?

If you choose to experiment with CBD-based treatment options for managing ED during sex, keep in mind there is no government oversight of products like CBD oil. It's also important to remember that THC studies are not immediately applicable to CBD products. While both compounds are found in cannabis plants, they have different interactions with the human brain.

Personal experimentation with cannabis-derived compounds for ED often involves CBD-infused oils or creams that are applied topically by rubbing them onto the penis in the hopes of improving blood flow. Other forms of CBD, such as vape pens or capsules, are used in the hopes of lowering blood pressure, stress, and performance anxiety. However, results will vary from person to person and may be no more than a placebo effect.

Experts generally agree that if you are going to experiment with CBD for sex, it's best to start at a low dose.

What are the risks of using CBD?

The effects of CBD can vary depending on individual factors, such as the dose, frequency of use, and the individual's unique physiology. Therefore, CBD may interact with common medications such as pain medications, psychiatric medications, antihistamines, and blood thinners.

The quality and purity of CBD products can vary widely, making it crucial to choose high-quality CBD products from reputable companies that can provide third-party lab test results to verify the contents and purity of their products. However, keep in mind that selling CBD oils with medical claims about treating erectile dysfunction is illegal in the U.S.

A study published in 2018 showed that chronic CBD use appeared to impair the reproductive systems of male mice, having a detrimental effect on their fertility. In addition, a 2022 mouse study showed that the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system by CBD reduced sperm quality. It's still unclear if this is also the case for humans. However, research shows that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating male reproduction through the endogenous release of endocannabinoids, and cannabinoids like CBD and THC may upset this balance.

If you are experiencing ED, it's important to speak to a doctor and get a diagnosis of erectile dysfunction, so you can start exploring legitimate treatment options. The causes of ED vary from person to person, and therefore potential treatments can involve treating anxiety disorders, inflammation treatment, or other interventions recommended by a healthcare professional.

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