How CBD Oil Can Be Used for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (impotence) or ED is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, ED may be a warning sign of heart disease, indicating that blockages are building in a man’s vascular system.
Some studies have shown that men with ED are at a significant risk of a heart attack, stroke, or circulatory problems in the legs(1).
As a man ages, erections might take longer to develop and might not be as firm. One might need more direct touch to his penis to get and maintain an erection.
Other risk factors can contribute to erectile dysfunction, including(2):
- Tobacco use, which over time can cause chronic health conditions, leading to erectile dysfunction
- Being overweight or obese
- Antihistamines, antidepressants, and medications for blood pressure, pain, or prostate conditions
- Stress, anxiety, or depression
- Chronic and heavy use of alcohol and drugs
Treating an underlying condition is often enough to reverse erectile dysfunction. In other cases, medications or other direct treatments might be needed.
CBD Oil and Erectile Dysfunction: What The Science Says
CBD may be used to help with some symptoms associated with erectile dysfunction, as well as address some risk factors for the disorder.
CBD for Anxiety
Performance anxiety can be a factor for men whose ED has a psychological origin. Meanwhile, studies have shown that CBD oil is effective for reducing anxiety and stress.
CBD may help reduce sexual anxiety and make one feel spontaneous and adventurous during a time of intimacy.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that CBD decreases anxiety levels in individuals with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) with results indicating that, relative to placebo, CBD was associated with significantly decreased subjective anxiety(3).
In the said study, the brain scans showed that CBD regulates chemical uptake and blood flow in the brain.
CBD can help people with anxiety disorders by impacting the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain and modifying the signaling process of serotonin (the “feel-good” chemical) receptors.
In another study, which was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2019, CBD was shown to help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)(5).
CBD for Depression
For some men, depression can accompany the condition of erectile dysfunction(6). They tend to feel angry, frustrated, sad, and unsure of themselves. Such feelings may lead to a lack of self-esteem and, in severe cases, to depression.
Depression that accompanies ED is treatable. Meanwhile, CBD has been shown to help combat depression.
CBD is a Cannabis sativa constituent with great psychiatric potential, including uses as an anxiolytic-like and an antidepressant-like compound, as a 2014 study which was published in CNS and Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets suggest(7).
In one study, results showed that CBD could induce rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhance neurotransmission(8). Neurotransmission is the process of communication between nerve cells.
CBD for Heart Health
Erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of current or future heart disease or other circulatory problems.
In addition, if one has heart disease, getting the right treatment might help with erectile dysfunction(9).
For an erection to happen, extra blood must be delivered to the penis, kept there for a while, and then drained away.
This hydraulic event may not happen if something interferes with blood flow to the penis(10).
Research results on CBD’s potential to help with blood flow and cardiovascular health are promising.
In a 2015 study conducted by researchers from the University of Nottingham Royal Derby Hospital in the UK, CBD was shown to be a potent vascular relaxant to human arteries, suggesting its potential benefits to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow(11).
A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 has shown how CBD allows blood flow in the vessels to maintain healthy blood pressure(12).
The review has also presented evidence of the positive effects of CBD in the cardiovascular system.
CBD for Diabetes and Obesity
In the United States alone, diabetes and obesity are responsible for 8 million cases of erectile dysfunction, according to a 2014 Polish review.
Obesity leads to erectile dysfunction to a greater extent than aging. Scientific evidence indicates that excessive body weight should be considered as an independent risk factor for erectile dysfunction(13).
CBD has been shown to be useful in dealing with weight management and symptoms linked to diabetes.
One risk factor for diabetes is obesity, and research published in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013 has shown that CBD has been associated with low levels of fasting insulin and reduced waist circumference(14).
Results of a study in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism suggested that the stimulus of cannabinoid receptors CB-1 in the islet (cluster) cells might be linked to insulin production(15).
Meanwhile, in another study published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation in 2016, CBD was shown to reduce the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic animal models(16).
In another 2016 study, researchers from the University of Nottingham found that when CBD was used in conjunction with cannabis compound THCV, it helped increase insulin production and lower blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes(17).
THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin), as the name suggests, is a cannabinoid similar to THC in molecular structure. Both of these cannabinoids possess psychoactive properties.
Results from the study also showed that CBD, when used alone, did not show any detectable metabolic effects.
CBD can also be useful to people who are trying to lose weight. In a 2008 animal study published in the PLOS One Journal, it was shown that CBD inhibits a receptor in the brain so that ghrelin, which stimulates the appetite, is unable to act(18).
A study published in Nature Journal has shown that CBD could increase the levels of leptin in the brain(19).
Leptin is the hormone that makes an individual feel full or satiated. The reduced cravings for unhealthy, calorie-dense foods may help individuals achieve their weight loss goals fast.
In another study, researchers found that CBD might interfere with the secretion of cortisol, reducing blood levels significantly(20).
Chronic stress and persistently high cortisol levels may be associated with increased appetite and weight gain(21).
A study published in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009 noted that ECS receptors are found in the sexual reproductive organs, such as the testicles, and they are also present in the brain(22).
Some research studies have found that cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, boost libido (sex drive), while other studies have found cannabinoids decrease it.
One study in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics reported that chronic cannabis use in males lowered sex drive(23). The more they used cannabis, the lower their sex drive was.
Other research suggests CBD products may help improve libido by reducing anxiety, better weight management, and addressing symptoms linked to diabetes, heart problems, and depression.
The nonpsychoactive compound may also be useful in promoting better blood flow to the penis and reducing anxiety levels during a period of sexual intimacy.
However, before using CBD to help with erectile dysfunction, consult a doctor experienced in cannabis use for advice.
- Urology Care Foundation. (2018, June). What is Erectile Dysfunction? Retrieved from https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/erectile-dysfunction(ed).
- Mayo Clinic. (2020, March 27). Erectile dysfunction. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/symptoms-causes/syc-20355776
- Crippa JA et al.Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report.J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Jan;25(1):121-30. DOI: 10.1177/0269881110379283. Epub 2010 Sep 9. DOI: 10.1177/0269881110379283.
- 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.
- Elms L, Shannon S, Hughes S, Lewis N. Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Series. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(4):392–397. DOI:10.1089/acm.2018.0437.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2015, Mar 23). Depression and Erectile Dysfunction. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11832-depression-and-erectile-dysfunction.
- de Mello A et al. “Antidepressant-Like and Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Cannabidiol: A Chemical Compound of Cannabis sativa”, CNS & Neurological Disorders – Drug Targets (2014) 13: 953. https://doi.org/10.2174/1871527313666140612114838.
- Linge R et al. Cannabidiol induces rapid-acting antidepressant-like effects and enhances cortical 5-HT/glutamate neurotransmission: role of 5-HT1A receptors. Neuropharmacology. 2016 Apr;103:16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.12.017. Epub 2015 Dec 19.DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.12.017.
- Mayo Clinic. (2018, July 11). Erectile dysfunction: A sign of heart disease? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/erectile-dysfunction/in-depth/erectile-dysfunction/art-20045141.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, Feb 26). Erectile dysfunction: often a warning sign of heart disease. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/erectile-dysfunction-often-a-warning-sign-of-heart-disease-201110243648.
- Stanley CP, Hind WH, Tufarelli C, O’Sullivan SE. Cannabidiol causes endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation of human mesenteric arteries via CB1 activation. Cardiovasc Res. 2015;107(4):568–578. DOI:10.1093/cvr/cvv179.
- 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.
- Skrypnik D, Bogdański P, Musialik K. Otyłość–istotny czynnik ryzyka zaburzeń potencji u mezczyzn [Obesity–significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men]. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2014;36(212):137–141.
- Penner EA, Buettner H, Mittleman MA. The impact of marijuana use on glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance among US adults. Am J Med. 2013;126(7):583–589. DOI:10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002.
- Jourdan T, Godlewski G, Kunos G. Endocannabinoid regulation of β-cell functions: implications for glycaemic control and diabetes. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2016;18(6):549–557. DOI:10.1111/dom.12646.
- Lehmann C, Fisher NB, Tugwell B, Szczesniak A, Kelly M, Zhou J. Experimental cannabidiol treatment reduces early pancreatic inflammation in type 1 diabetes. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2016;64(4):655–662. DOI:10.3233/CH-168021.
- Jadoon K et al. Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabivarin on Glycemic and Lipid Parameters in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel Group Pilot Study. Diabetes Care Oct 2016, 39 (10) 1777-1786; DOI: 10.2337/dc16-0650.
- Kola B, Farkas I, Christ-Crain M, Wittmann G, Lolli F, Amin F, et al. (2008) The Orexigenic Effect of Ghrelin Is Mediated through Central Activation of the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1797. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001797.
- Di Marzo, V., Goparaju, […], and Kunos G. Leptin-regulated endocannabinoids are involved in maintaining food intake. Nature 410, 822–825 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35071088.
- Zuardi AW, Guimarães FS, Moreira AC. Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers. Braz J Med Biol Res. 1993;26(2):213–217.
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- Fasano S, Meccariello R, Cobellis G, et al. The endocannabinoid system: an ancient signaling involved in the control of male fertility. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009;1163:112–124. DOI:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04437.x.
- du Plessis SS, Agarwal A, Syriac A. Marijuana, phytocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and male fertility. J Assist Reprod Genet. 2015;32(11):1575–1588. DOI:10.1007/s10815-015-0553-8.