Can CBD help with birth control, and if so, how?

There are several ways by which CBD may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control methods, primarily hormonal ones.

CBD has been shown to compete with estradiol, influence hormones, and interfere with how contraceptives are broken down in the body.

CBD Competes with Estradiol

Estradiol is one of three estrogen hormones naturally produced in the body. Increased estradiol levels cause the maturation and release of the egg from the ovary and the thickening of the uterus lining to implant a fertilized egg(1). 

A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics examined CBD’s interference with hormonal birth control(2). 

Of several other common cannabinoids tested, only cannabidiol competed with estradiol for estrogen receptor binding. This binding action was evident only at very high concentrations of cannabidiol.

The study found that CBD might compete with estradiol for estrogen receptors found in the female reproductive system. 

Scientists believe this action is how CBD prevents estrogen-based contraceptives from working properly, possibly leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.

CBD Influences Sex Hormones 

Hormonal contraceptives work by influencing hormone behavior. In a study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Reproductive Medicine, it was noted that the essential component for any hormonal contraceptive method is progestogen(3). 

Progestogens are synthetic forms of progesterone, a naturally occurring sex hormone. Progestogen’s primary role is to prevent ovulation through a negative feedback mechanism, resulting in a decrease in luteinizing hormone. 

Luteinizing hormone is associated with reproduction. Its stimulation of either ovary or testicles results in the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) in women or testosterone production in men(4).

A study found that carefully-controlled regulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is required for successful reproduction, and cannabinoids in cannabis may disrupt the delicate balance of the ECS in the female reproductive system(5).

A study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research in 2019 examined the role of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive tissues(6)

The authors found that chronic exposure to cannabinoids resulted in reduced sperm count and serum testosterone levels. 

In females, chronic exposure to cannabinoids delayed sexual maturation, caused menstrual cycle disruption, and reduced serum concentrations of sex hormones. 

CBD Interferes with Metabolism of Contraceptives 

Preclinical research shows that CBD is broken down by cytochrome P450 enzymes while functioning as a competitive inhibitor of the same liver enzymes(7). 

The cytochrome P450 enzyme system is responsible for breaking down over 60% percent of any drugs, including contraceptives(8).

CBD can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times(9).

When hormone-based contraceptives are taken with CBD, CBD can decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these oral contraceptives. 

This enzyme-inhibiting action of CBD is suspected to increase breakthrough bleeding, which could decrease the effectiveness of estrogen-based contraceptives and lead to high risks of unwanted pregnancies(10).

Conclusion

Given that CBD competes with contraceptives for estradiol as studies showed, estrogen-containing pills, injections, patches, and rings may be rendered weak or even ineffective when used with CBD. 

Thus, women may want to move away from estrogen-based contraceptives when taking CBD together with these contraceptives. 

Further research is needed to determine what level of CBD impacts estrogen. Currently, there is no guideline as to the safe levels of CBD for women on birth control.

Before deciding to use CBD as a supplemental birth control method, consult with a doctor, preferably an obstetrician-gynecologist, who is experienced in cannabis use.


  1. Hormone Health Network. (2017, June). Estradiol. Retrieved from https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/estradiol.
  2. Sauer MA, Rifka SM, Hawks RL, Cutler GB Jr, Loriaux DL. Marijuana: interaction with the estrogen receptor. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1983;224(2):404–407.
  3. De Castro Coelho F, Barros C. The Potential of Hormonal Contraception to Influence Female Sexuality. Int J Reprod Med. 2019;2019:9701384. Published 2019 Mar 3. DOI:10.1155/2019/9701384.
  4. AACC. (2019, Dec. 5). Luteinizing Hormone. Retrieved from https://labtestsonline.org/tests/luteinizing-hormone-lh.
  5. Brents, Lisa. (2016). Marijuana, the Endocannabinoid System and the Female Reproductive System. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 89. 175-191.
  6. Walker, O.S., Holloway, A.C. & Raha, S. The role of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive tissues. J Ovarian Res 12, 3 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13048-018-0478-9
  7. Jiang R, Yamaori S, Takeda S, Yamamoto I, Watanabe K. Identification of cytochrome P450 enzymes responsible for metabolism of cannabidiol by human liver microsomes. Life Sci. 2011;89(5-6):165–170. DOI:10.1016/j.lfs.2011.05.018.
  8. Zendulka O, Dovrtělová G, Nosková K, et al. Cannabinoids and Cytochrome P450 Interactions. Curr Drug Metab. 2016;17(3):206–226. DOI:10.2174/1389200217666151210142051;Back DJ, Orme ML. Pharmacokinetic drug interactions with oral contraceptives. Clin Pharmacokinet. 1990;18(6):472–484. DOI:10.2165/00003088-199018060-00004.
  9. Pharmotech SA. CBD Drug Interactions. Retrieved from https://pharmotech.ch/cbd-drug-interactions/.
  10. Zylenko S. (2017, June 22). Cannabis and Birth Control: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://naturalhealthservices.ca/cannabis-and-birth-control-what-you-need-to-know/#.
CBD Clinicals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Featured Posts


SabaiDee Review

46 views

SabaiDee CBD products are tested both in-house and by independent laboratories to verify the quality of every batch. Their products all come with SabaiDee’s Happiness Guarantee. 

Read more

Best CBD Oil for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

23700 views

Why People Are Taking CBD for High Blood Pressure? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure can harden the arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, leading to heart disease(5). In a 2015 study conducted by researchers from the...

Read more

CBD Oil for Kids with Anxiety

6364 views

Why People are Turning to CBD for Children with Anxiety? CBD has become a popular OTC treatment that parents give their children, says Doris Trauner, M.D., professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital....

Read more

CBD Oil for Cancer in Dogs

5218 views

Why Some People are Using CBD for Dogs with Cancer? An article posted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) says that there is no conclusive scientific data on using cannabidiol (CBD) to treat dogs specifically. However, there is anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting that CBD can help with neuropathic...

Read more

Best CBD for Neuropathy (Nerve Pain)

2998 views

As medical cannabis products have become more popular, people are turning to them to treat everything from anxiety to depression to chronic pain. Individuals who are suffering from neuropathy may show interest in trying CBD oil. What Is CBD? CBD comes from a plant that is part of the Cannabaceae...

Read more

CBD for Thyroid Health

4144 views

Why Some People Are Using CBD for Thyroid Disorders? Although the studies on cannabinoids and thyroid are limited, so far, findings suggest that CBD (cannabidiol) may be beneficial for promoting healthy thyroid conditions

Read more

CBD for the Immune System

2734 views

CBD has several indirect anti-inflammatory effects on the central nervous system, which amplify its therapeutic effects. Research has demonstrated that cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, can interfere with the release of cytokines(7). Cytokines are the proteins released by immune cells when the body experiences stress or trauma. Cytokines are involved in acute...

Read more

Spruce CBD Oil Review

2309 views

Spruce is a family-owned business based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. The company was founded in 2018 in the belief that modern medicine is broken and that there is a need for alternatives to dangerous pharmaceuticals. Spruce’s lab-grade CBD oil is 100% natural and tested by a third-party lab in...

Read more