A greater amount of research exists for managing the psychological symptoms of erectile dysfunction than the physiological ones. In particular, CBD oil has shown to be effective in decreasing anxiety in a number of studies. While most studies utilized CBD oil that was either broad-spectrum or full-spectrum, CBD isolates (products that lack THC and other compounds), may also provide beneficial effects. Because CBD is such a significant part of the cannabis plant, cannabis itself could play an important role in alleviating ED.
Similarly, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis lowered anxiety levels, stress, and depression in the short-term. The potential benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids could be ideal for men who do not want to take medications long term but would prefer to treat their ED situationally.
Obesity is one physical cause of erectile dysfunction that CBD could potentially treat, although CBD on its own was nowhere near as effective as CBD paired with tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) in the supporting study. In 2012, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article titled, “Cannabis Could Be Used to Treat Obesity-Related Diseases.” Science correspondent Richard Gray wrote about the revealing study conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals: “When the scientists examined two compounds, called THCV and cannabidiol, they were found to have an appetite-suppressing effect.”
From the perspective of treating ED-related anxiety, CBD-rich oil may be helpful, according to some experts.
Performance anxiety may be a factor for men whose ED has a psychological origin. Susan A. Stoner’s 2017 scientific review for the University of Washington discussed how cannabis in small amounts lowered anxiety. Stoner, a licensed clinical psychologist who is a research consultant for the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, noted that higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had the opposite effect and increased anxiety, while CBD provided more consistency. This is a prime example of successfully using CBD-rich cannabis oil as opposed to THC-rich cannabis oil.
Because CBD products aren’t generally regulated by the FDA, it can be difficult to determine the quality of the products you’re getting. It can also be difficult to know what form of CBD (i.e., CBD oil, gummies, CBD capsules, etc.) may work best for you. Using any drug without this knowledge can cause a host of unwanted side effects that are difficult to predict without guidance or regulation.
CBD is a natural substance called a cannabinoid. It comes from the cannabis plant, which is part of the Cannabaceae family. CBD is one of two main cannabinoids; the other one is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis plants with higher levels of THC are classified as marijuana and are controlled substances (FDA, 2020). Cannabis plants with very low THC are classified as hemp. CBD can be found in both marijuana and hemp. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t appear to alter consciousness or cause a person to feel “high.” In fact, some research has shown antipsychotic effects and may benefit people with anxiety disorders (Shannon 2019; Zuardi, 2012). Cannabinoids work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a system in the body that plays a role in the nervous system and other physical and psychological issues (Lu, 2016).
Whether you’ve heard commercials about it on the radio or seen ads on TV, chances are you’ve heard a thing or two about erectile dysfunction (ED). But while the phrase is a hot topic, many people are confused about what the condition actually entails and which remedies—if any—actually work. One popular, albeit controversial, treatment strategy involves the use of cannabidiol, aka CBD, a non-psychoactive molecule found in hemp and marijuana.
Potential risks and side effects of taking CBD
Before diving into if and how CBD may impact ED, it’s important to understand what ED really is. ED is a common type of male sexual dysfunction that involves the inability to get or keep an erection that is satisfying enough for sex. Although ED does become more common in men as they age, it’s not considered a natural part of aging, and it can have a negative effect on a person’s confidence and sex life. In fact, ED can be a sign that something is wrong with a man’s health. While it’s not always an indication of something serious, ED can sometimes signal other health problems like clogged blood vessels or nerve damage. That’s why it’s always important to discuss ED with a doctor, even if sexual topics can be difficult to talk about. (NIH, n.d.).
While there is no current research that demonstrates CBD, a natural (non-psychoactive) substance from the cannabis plant, may help treat ED, but it may help address anxiety, which can play a role in ED.
If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Certain lifestyle changes and improvements can also have a positive effect on ED. Lack of physical activity, obesity, an unhealthy diet, and cigarette smoking have all been shown to contribute to ED, so taking actions to modify these behaviors and health conditions may have a major impact. Health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, as well as certain psychiatric and mental disorders can also contribute to ED, so working with a health professional to manage these conditions may be helpful (Krzastek, 2019).