What Does Research Say About CBD and Erectile Dysfunction?

Published July 18, 2020
What Does Research Say About CBD and Erectile Dysfunction? - Secret Nature

Definitions of erectile dysfunction vary, but experts estimate that erectile dysfunction (ED) may affect as many as 30 million men around the world. In addition to taking away sexual pleasure, erectile dysfunction can also cause serious psychological issues that many men never truly heal from.

As time goes by, we’re starting to learn more about the underlying causes of ED, and we’re also discovering that the side effects of conventional treatments for this condition may not justify the benefits. In the hope that this non-intoxicating cannabinoid will improve their sex lives without posing any serious dangers, thousands of men have decided to use CBD for erectile dysfunction.

In this guide, we’ll explore whether this choice is justified by the evidence, and we’ll contrast the benefits and risks of CBD against other cannabinoids and prescription medications. What does research say about CBD and erectile dysfunction? Find out as we continue.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

While scientific research into this subject has advanced at a rapid pace in recent years, there remains a significant degree of misinformation regarding the causes of erectile dysfunction. In addition, certain potential causes of this condition haven’t received much attention yet regardless of the available evidence.

It’s a myth, for instance, that erectile dysfunction is a natural result of getting older. While incidences of erectile dysfunction do seem to be correlated with age, the underlying physiological conditions that cause ED also become more common as you get older. On a different note, very little focus has been placed on the connection between viewing pornography and reduced sexual desire in men even though scientific research indicates that pornography may be a significant psychological driver of erectile dysfunction. 

More research will need to be done before we fully understand the underlying causes of ED, but at present, medical science has identified a few different physiological and psychological conditions that may contribute to this condition. As it just so happens, research has also been conducted into the relationship between CBD and some of these potential contributors to erectile dysfunction:

CBD for anxiety

While researchers remain divided regarding the role that pornography may play in erectile dysfunction, there’s a general consensus that anxiety is one of the major contributing factors to this condition. When men experience anxiety regarding their ability to perform sexually, they may experience erectile dysfunction, and this condition also appears to be more common in men who are depressed.

The relationship between CBD and anxiety has been researched more than practically any other potential application of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. In addition to researching the effects of cannabidiol on social anxiety and generalized anxiety, scientists have even sought answers regarding the relationship between CBD, anxiety, and sleep quality.

CBD for cardiovascular health

It’s believed that psychological factors are more likely to cause erectile dysfunction in younger men, but as you get older, physiological factors may also increase your risks of developing this condition. To become erect, your penis needs access to sustained, robust blood flow, so erectile dysfunction can occur when your cardiovascular system is compromised. Poor blood flow and erectile dysfunction are so closely correlated, in fact, that erectile dysfunction is often viewed as an indicator of underlying cardiovascular conditions.

Research has been conducted into the relationship between CBD and the cardiovascular system on the whole, and studies have also been performed into CBD and vasodilation, which is a widening of the blood vessels that leads to better blood flow and reduced blood pressure. While THC has also been researched for its potential vasodilatory properties, this intoxicating cannabinoid causes undesirable effects that may worsen erectile dysfunction. 

CBD for obesity

In addition to reduced cardiovascular health, obesity can also play a role in erectile dysfunction. Obesity is often comorbid with cardiovascular disease as well, which means that these two common causes of erectile dysfunction often go hand in hand.

Research has been conducted into the relationship between CBD and various factors that can support obesity. For instance, CBD has been researched for its potential correlation with appetite changes, and this non-intoxicating cannabinoid has also been researched in conjunction with THCV for its potential relationship with diabetes, a condition that is often comorbid with obesity.

Symptoms and effects of erectile dysfunction

The primary symptom of erectile dysfunction is the failure to gain an erection in response to sexual stimuli. The additional effects caused by this central symptom are as serious as they are numerous.

Erectile dysfunction often causes, for instance, extreme reductions of self-esteem in affected men, and some men even report feeling suicidal as a result of their ED. Many couples seek divorce as a result of erectile dysfunction, which can further contribute to depressive or suicidal tendencies in men.

Many men who are unable to gain or maintain erections during sexual intercouse are nonetheless able to become erect when viewing pornography, which could increase the severity of pornography addiction in affected males. In summation, men with erectile dysfunction commonly experience deteriorating intimate relationships, increased mental health issues, and a continued decrease in sexual health that reduces the viability of future intimate relationships.

Differences between THC and CBD for erectile dysfunction

Even though there are stark differences between the various substances present in mature Cannabis sativa flower, “cannabis” is often promoted as a potential treatment for erectile dysfunction. In almost every case, this term refers to Cannabis sativa products that are high in THC and low in CBD, and there is reason to believe that THC use may worsen or fail to relieve certain symptoms and underlying causes of erectile dysfunction.

When used in large doses, for instance, THC can increase anxiety, which is one of the major causative factors of erectile dysfunction. THC is also a highly addictive drug, and using this substance repeatedly can lead to substance abuse disorders, which obliterate self-confidence and exacerbate depression and other psychiatric conditions.

In general, the use of addictive drugs is not useful for the treatment of any condition. While addictive substances like THC may provide temporary relief from some of the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction, they appear to make this condition worse over time. In sharp contrast with THC, CBD is not habit-forming, and it has been heavily researched for its potential connection with both the underlying causes and common symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

CBD is tolerated significantly better than THC in the human body, and using CBD in high doses does not cause the sudden reversal of effects that is commonly associated with THC. Compared to THC, CBD targets an entirely different set of neuroreceptors in the brain, which could partially explain this cannabinoid’s variance with THC in critical categories like dependency risk and overall psychological impact.

Differences between CBD and mainstream erectile dysfunction treatments

Many men who suffer from erectile dysfunction turn to CBD partially due to the popular conception that this cannabinoid is a safe, natural treatment with negligible side effects. Considering the profound negative effects caused by mainline erectile dysfunction treatments, it’s easy to see why men want an alternative.

Sildenafil, the generic drug used to create pharmaceutical products like Viagra, commonly causes mild-to-moderate side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and rashes. There even appears to be a connection between sildenafil and vision problems since this drug can cause problems with eyesight even in low doses and has led to permanent vision loss when used in high doses.

While this particular unintended result of using ED drugs has become something of a joke within popular culture, there’s nothing funny about sustaining an erection for more than four hours when this side effect of common erectile dysfunction drugs leads to permanent penile damage. Drugs like sildenafil can cause a serious condition called penis fracture, and surgery causing permanent impotence may be needed to treat this condition.

Does using CBD for erectile dysfunction have any side effects?

There’s a lot we still don’t know about CBD, but it’s a fact that this non-intoxicating cannabinoid will not cause you to sustain an erection for more than four hours or suffer penis fracture. CBD will also not make you lose your vision, and in fact, this cannabinoid does not appear to have any serious side effects whatsoever.

The most commonly reported side effects of cannabidiol include mild nausea, sleepiness, and dry mouth. One animal study has also shown that CBD may harm your liver, but these results have not been replicated in any other studies. In short, common prescription ED drugs so thoroughly exceed CBD in toxicity that these substances aren’t even in the same ballpark when it comes to safety.

Can you use CBD with prescription ED medications?

Using CBD could become harmful if you ingest this substance at the same time as prescription ED drugs like sildenafil. CBD is reliant on the CYP3A4 enzyme, which is produced by your liver, for proper metabolism into your tissues, and cannabidiol is known to inhibit the activity of this critical enzyme.

This wouldn’t be a serious issue if CYP3A4 wasn’t also used to metabolize the majority of prescription drugs on the market. Like CBD, sildenafil is reliant on this enzyme for metabolism, and taking CBD at the same time as Viagra or other sildenafil drugs could cause these mainline ED prescription treatments to build up in your system.

While CBD is non-toxic, the same can’t be said for sildenafil, tadalafil (Cialis), vardenafil (Levitra), or other CYP3A4-reliant ED drugs. Even when they are metabolized slightly more slowly than normal, these drugs can become toxic and seriously harm your organs and other tissues.

If you decide to try CBD for erectile dysfunction, avoid using any prescription ED drugs at the same time. Consult your doctor to find out if CBD contraindicates any other medications you may be taking.

Popular opinion regarding CBD for erectile dysfunction

Among experts, the opinion is widely shared that CBD may have some degree of impact on sexual health. From gynecologists in Irvine, California to plastic surgeons in New York, experts everywhere encourage their patients and customers to try CBD as a method for overcoming performance anxiety and other factors that may contribute to erectile dysfunction.

Even average Reddit users seem enthusiastic about the potential relationship between CBD and erectile dysfunction, which goes to show how widely respected this cannabinoid’s effects have become. Most importantly, we have not come across any instances of individuals reporting that CBD made their ED worse, speaking to the relative safety and mildness of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid.

Should I try CBD for erectile dysfunction?

At the end of the day, what does research say about CBD and erectile dysfunction? Studies have been conducted into the effects of CBD on practically every factor that contributes to ED, and more research makes its way into the public forum every month.

It’s still too soon to make any conclusions, but thousands of people have already decided to use CBD for erectile dysfunction. After all, CBD doesn’t have any major side effects, so you have nothing to lose from giving this non-intoxicating cannabinoid a shot. Just remember to consult with your doctor before using CBD for any condition, and feel free to contact us or review our other blog posts if you have any questions.
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