Can CBD oil help with erectile dysfunction?
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common disorders in men, where an individual fails to maintain sufficient erection for sexual intercourse. About 5% of men ages 40 years old suffer from ED, increasing to approximately 15% upon reaching the age of 70 (1).
- According to doctors, ED is caused by a range of physical and psychological factors such as depression, stress, heart diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure (2).
- Viagra is a popular medication in treating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, while alternative remedies and aphrodisiacs like ginseng and ginkgo are said to improve sexual performance.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is also considered as a potential treatment for ED since studies reveal that it is capable of treating anxiety while providing support for cardiovascular health. CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is said to bring about the body’s response in alleviating stress and improving blood circulation (3) – two aspects that can treat erectile dysfunction.
Why Some People Are Turning to CBD for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is the inability of a male to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Approximately 5% of men ages 40 years old have erectile dysfunction, increasing to about 15% upon reaching the age of 70 (4).
According to medical experts, various physical and psychological causes lead to erectile dysfunction. Depression, stress, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure are some of the main reasons for this condition (5).
The most common medication used nowadays to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction is Viagra. Although helpful in increasing the blood flow to the male sexual organ, the drug is of no use with regards to the emotional and mental causes of ED.
There are natural remedies that people say are effective in managing erectile dysfunction. Red ginseng, also known as herbal Viagra, contains ginsenosides that are supposed to take effect at the cellular level and can improve erection.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a known alternative, is also available as a dietary supplement that scientists obtain from yam and soy. DHEA is a natural hormone in the adrenal glands that experts believe are lacking in men suffering from ED (6).
Studies have shown that cannabidiol (CBD) is capable of alleviating two of the primary causes of erectile dysfunction. CBD, a non-psychoactive extract from the Cannabis sativa plant, has the potential to treat anxiety disorders (7) while providing support to cardiovascular health (8).
Performance anxiety is one of the most significant factors leading to erectile dysfunction in men, and it can be due to several reasons (9).
According to a study published by the Permanente Journal in 2019, much clinical evidence points to CBD as a possible treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety. Cannabidiol supposedly has a calming effect, particularly in the central nervous system, which may be beneficial to people with anxiety-related problems (10).
One of the clinical trials that the study investigated was on a group of sixty subjects that had CBD to see if it helped reduce anxiety for a simulated public speaking test. The research shows that CBD provides anxiolytic effects as the individuals were observed to have lower stress, heart rate, and blood pressure during the simulation (11).
Furthermore, cannabinoids such as CBD are said to have cardiovascular applications, specifically by targeting the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its receptors (12). The ECS is a comprehensive system in both humans and animals that play a crucial role in managing the central nervous system and the immune response of the body.
Studies on animals show that applying doses of CBD induced vasodilation or the widening of blood vessels in the subjects (13). Since proper blood flow is crucial in achieving and maintaining an erection, taking supplements, like CBD, could improve blood circulation and help with erectile dysfunction.
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Erectile Dysfunction
Knowing how the ECS works is vital in understanding CBD’s ability to help deal with anxiety.
CBD’s interaction with the ECS and its cannabinoid receptors is what brings about its therapeutic effects.
The ECS is essential to the physiology of mammals as it is responsible for regulating various bodily functions, including the management of anxiety, pain, immune response, sleep, memory, appetite, and metabolism.
Two of the primary neurotransmitters present in the human body are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Each of these receptors plays an essential part in how the ECS functions.
The CB1 receptors are often present in the brain as well as the central nervous system. However, it can also be found in the reproductive organs (particularly the testes), urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, lungs, liver, and retina (14).
CB1 receptors contribute to body functions such as sperm production, motor regulation, pain sensation, mood, and sleep. Scientists believe that activating these receptors using compatible cannabinoids could help improve various adverse conditions in the body.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are often situated in the immune system, prominently on cells that are present there. Triggering these receptors can stimulate responses that inhibit pain, inflammation, and tissue damage.
CBD has high potency in working against cannabinoid agonists of the CB1 and CB2 receptors (15). These agonists are the chemicals that bind to receptors to cause a similar action as that of natural substances in the body.
Studies have revealed that CBD interacts with these receptors to bring about positive reactions to the body, including anxiety relief and tension reduction that causes tightening of the blood vessel walls (16).
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Erectile Dysfunction
- Studies reveal that CBD’s interaction with the ECS leads to its therapeutic effects, such as alleviating stress and improving blood flow – two common causes of erectile dysfunction.
- CBD is a naturally occurring compound in the Cannabis sativa plant and is safe for humans, even in high doses (17).
- Based on a report from the World Health Organization, CBD shows no indication of potential abuse and addictiveness in users (18), making it an appealing treatment for anxiety and other conditions.
- Most of the information regarding CBD’s effectiveness in treating erectile dysfunction is based only on findings from other reports and studies. There is no direct proof that CBD can treat ED.
- There are many unregulated CBD products sold online that often result in labeling confusion.
- Although CBD has a favorable safety profile, it does have potential side effects like diarrhea, fatigue, and appetite changes.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction
One of the most common alternative treatments for ED is the use of dietary supplements containing dehydroepiandrosterone extracts. People also turn to aphrodisiacs such as maca (a sweet root vegetable), ginkgo, and red ginseng, which are said to boost libido.
Similarly, CBD oil for erectile dysfunction can be consumed in a number of ways. There are tinctures, edibles, creams, and even CBD lube products sold by various retailers.
Shops often advertise these items stating that they can improve one’s sexual function and well-being. Like most ED prescription medications and alternatives, CBD can potentially be a natural remedy for managing sexual dysfunction.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Erectile Dysfunction
Manufacturers sell three main types of CBD products today.
Full-spectrum CBD oil has all of the chemical compounds present in the Cannabis plant, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Broad-spectrum CBD also contains all of the elements except for THC, while isolates are purely CBD.
Regardless of the CBD type one chooses, it is essential always to purchase the best product available. The following are tips to ensure safety and quality when purchasing CBD:
- Buy only top-quality, organic hemp-derived CBD oil products from reliable and legit brands.
- Know the extraction methods that were used in making CBD oil. The supercritical-CO2 extraction process is considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the safest (19).
- Be aware of the federal and state laws regarding the purchase and consumption of CBD.
- Consider reading the reviews of an online CBD retailer to know what others experienced when dealing with the store.
CBD Dosage for Erectile Dysfunction
There are no guidelines regarding the correct dosage of CBD for erectile dysfunction, although factors like body weight are often considered. The reason for this is because the FDA has not yet approved CBD as a dietary supplement.
However, experts suggest that taking small doses of CBD (12 to 25 mg) once per day seems to provide relief for anxiety symptoms. Some also recommend starting low and gradually increase the dosing until the desired effects are felt.
Large scale studies and testing are necessary to create proper guidelines of CBD dosing for erectile dysfunction.
How to Take CBD Oil for Erectile Dysfunction
As mentioned earlier, CBD oil can be consumed by way of tinctures and edibles. These items can be taken before intercourse to promote more fulfilling sexual activity.
CBD lube products are also available as a means to improve sexual pleasure as they work to reduce dryness while enhancing satisfaction.
Vaping CBD oil is also a popular option in consuming the extract, while CBD in the form of capsules can be taken just like dietary supplements.
CBD massage oils can be used to stimulate sex drive and also to increase overall sensation.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a widespread condition in men that makes it difficult to maintain sufficient erection for sexual intercourse. About 5% of men ages 40 and above suffer from this disorder.
Medical experts believe that the primary causes of ED have to do with various physical and psychological factors. High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stress, and depression are some of the leading causes of the condition.
Natural remedies such as ginseng and dehydroepiandrosterone in the form of dietary supplements are often taken as alternatives to Viagra.
Cannabidiol is also considered as an effective solution to erectile dysfunction as studies show that it is capable of alleviating two of the primary causes of ED.
The interaction between CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the reason for the compound to provide relief for anxiety. It also works to promote ideal cardiovascular health by inhibiting vascular tension in blood vessels.
- UW Health. Erectile Dysfunction. Retrieved from: https://www.uwhealth.org/urology/erectile-dysfunction-ed/20537.
- Mayo Clinic. Erectile dysfunction. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes/syc-20355776.
- Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. Cardiovascular pharmacology of cannabinoids. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2005;(168):599‐625. doi:10.1007/3-540-26573-2_20
- UW Health. op. cit.
- Mayo Clinic. op. cit.
- El-Sakka AI. Dehydroepiandrosterone and Erectile Function: A Review. World J Mens Health. 2018;36(3):183‐191. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180005
- Skelley JW, Deas CM, Curren Z, Ennis J. Use of cannabidiol in anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020;60(1):253‐261. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2019.11.008
- Stanley CP, Hind WH, O’Sullivan SE. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013;75(2):313‐322. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04351.x
- Rajkumar RP, Kumaran AK. Depression and anxiety in men with sexual dysfunction: a retrospective study. Compr Psychiatry. 2015;60:114‐118. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2015.03.001
- Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. Perm J. 2019;23:18‐041. doi:10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Zuardi AW, Rodrigues NP, Silva AL, et al. Inverted U-Shaped Dose-Response Curve of the Anxiolytic Effect of Cannabidiol during Public Speaking in Real Life. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:259. Published 2017 May 11. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00259
- Pacher P. et al. op. cit.
- Richter JS, Quenardelle V, Rouyer O, et al. A Systematic Review of the Complex Effects of Cannabinoids on Cerebral and Peripheral Circulation in Animal Models. Front Physiol. 2018;9:622. Published 2018 May 29. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.00622
- Reggio PH. Endocannabinoid binding to the cannabinoid receptors: what is known and what remains unknown. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2010 ;17(14):1468-1486. DOI: 10.2174/092986710790980005.
- Pertwee RG. The diverse CB1 and CB2 receptor pharmacology of three plant cannabinoids: delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol and delta9-tetrahydrocannabivarin. Br J Pharmacol. 2008;153(2):199‐215. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0707442
- Stanley CP. et al. op. cit.
- Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Zuardi AW, Crippa JA. Safety and side effects of cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent. Curr Drug Saf. 2011;6(4):237‐249. doi:10.2174/157488611798280924
- World Health Organization. Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report Agenda Item 5.2. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_CBD.pdf.
- Kankala RK, Chen BQ, Liu CG, Tang HX, Wang SB, Chen AZ. Solution-enhanced dispersion by supercritical fluids: an ecofriendly nanonization approach for processing biomaterials and pharmaceutical compounds. Int J Nanomedicine. 2018;13:4227‐4245. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.2147/IJN.S166124