Understanding the Effects of CBD on Fertility
Posted on August 21st, 2020
Infertility is a prevalent concern in the United States, even though many people don’t know they’re infertile because you typically don’t exhibit any physical symptoms with this condition. Still, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that close to 10% of the female population aged (15-44) has difficulties getting pregnant. To put this into perspective, that means more than 6.1 million women face fertility issues.
And women aren’t the only ones who experience infertility. Research shows that approximately 40% of couples’ conception challenges are a result of men, and another 40% are a result of women. About 20% goes to a combination of factors that are seen in both males and females.
Fortunately, we’ve seen promising infertility solutions develop over the years. Therefore, men and women have a variety of options available to help with fertility challenges. After talking with your doctor about your best path forward, CBD may come up in the conversation. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is a supplement, derived from the cannabis plant, that is recognized for its many potential benefits including pain, anxiety, and inflammation relief. But what about the effects of CBD on fertility? That’s one question we’ll try to answer today!
What Is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. There are hundreds of cannabinoids, but the two most prominent are CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both these compounds interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) to trigger a wide variety of effects in your body. The ECS is mainly tasked with regulating your bodily functions through a complex set of receptors located throughout the body.
Mostly, THC and CBD work with two main receptors, called CB1 and CB2. When your body works properly, these receptors are activated naturally through a system of internally-produced cannabinoids that help maintain or restore normal body conditions. However, sometimes these bodily processes stray off course, which makes it hard for your natural endocannabinoids to keep your body balanced. For instance, if you are feeling anxious or depressed, your natural endocannabinoids take a longer time to restore your normal moods. If you introduce an external cannabinoid such as CBD, you may restore balance earlier.
Now, while CBD and THC both produce similar potential benefits, you must distinguish them by their legality. That’s because THC triggers mind-altering effects that make you feel “high,” making it a controlled substance in the United States. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive. So scientists pushed for its legality, to let people leverage the health benefits of cannabinoids without any mind-altering effects. Just be careful when you buy CBD: look for high-quality products from a reputable source. The best way to know you’re buying a quality product? Look for a certificate of analysis that shows your product was tested by a third-party lab. This ensures that your product is safe and contains its stated ingredients and concentrations.
What Is the Effect of CBD on Fertility?
The impact of CBD on fertility relates to how it interacts with your ECS. Since this is a regulatory system that tries to restore optimal body functioning, it may affect hormones in your reproductive system. To help you better understand, we’ll first explore how CBD affects female and male fertility.
CBD Effects on Female Fertility
While we do not know exactly how CBD impacts fertility, this potent cannabinoid may be able to help in several ways. This could be due to its relationship with anandamide. Anandamide is a messenger in your body that may help with your journey to pregnancy. For women, high anandamide levels may be found during ovulation, so they are often tied to successful pregnancy rates. Low levels of anandamide or endocannabinoid deficiency can affect your ovulation process, so they may also reduce your ability to get pregnant.
CBD may help boost anandamide levels by reducing the breakdown of an enzyme called FAAH. This is important during the ovulation process when you need high anandamide levels. However, your body prefers low levels of anandamide when the egg meets the sperm and tries to nestle into your uterus. High levels of anandamide at this stage may interfere with the process and cause a failed pregnancy. Timing is critical here, so think carefully about your CBD use while you try to conceive.
Aside from the fertilization process, CBD may help you deal with the pressures of trying to become pregnant. This is particularly important for women who experience hormonal imbalances during this stressful time, leading to feelings of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. CBD may activate your serotonin receptors, helping to restore your mood. High stress may impact your health in several ways. But, in particular, it may impact fertility in both men and women since it reduces the hormones required for producing sperm and eggs. Alleviating stress may, therefore, help fertility.
CBD Effects on Male Fertility
Currently, there is not a lot of research on the effects of CBD on male fertility for several reasons. First, CBD research is in its infancy. Another consideration is that there are several factors that may affect female fertility, whereas men rely more solely on sperm cells.
However, one study suggests that a receptor connected to the ECS system called GPR18 was found in sperm cells. This led to the proposal that CBD plays a role in a reproductive biological process called the acrosome reaction. It showed that when the GPR18 receptor is activated, it triggers the acrosome reaction. Then, various digestive enzymes are ejected as the sperm cell swims towards the egg, enabling the sperm to lose their protective caps so they can properly penetrate eggs. In this way, this receptor plays a crucial role in the reproductive system as it facilitates the fertilization process.
What Is the Best Way to Take CBD?
CBD is available in various forms, and much of the decisions come down to your preference. A popular form is the CBD tincture, where the CBD extract is mixed with carrier oils. When using CBD in this form, make a note of the carrier oil being used, as well as other ingredients within the product. This is one of the most potent forms of CBD, but it can be hard to measure an accurate dose. Another concern for some is that oils may be messy and indiscreet. Still, it’s very popular because your capillaries absorb the CBD under your tongue, and the results kick in quickly.
CBD capsules simplify the work as each one contains a defined amount of CBD. You can pop them in your mouth on the go. However, capsules take a little bit longer than tinctures to be absorbed by your body, as they first have to be digested and broken down in your liver.
Topical and cremes are not very useful for fertility as they deliver targeted effects, but they may be very helpful if you have conditions such as eczema or joint pain.
Smoking or vaping is not encouraged when taking CBD for fertility since burning cannabis produces ammonia and other toxins that can affect your fertility negatively.
In a nutshell, taking CBD in the form of tinctures, edibles of capsules should be your preferred way if you are using it for fertility.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD for Fertility?
CBD is a natural product with minimal side effects. However, it interacts with a vital body system, and you may experience mild headaches, nausea, and drowsiness. Usually, your body acclimates to CBD, and the side effects should go away naturally. It is important to seek the guidance of your doctor before taking CBD, especially for fertility.
Medical studies and research are yielding more evidence to support claims about CBD’s potential properties. There is a lot that is yet to be established on the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and fertility. Still, early results are promising, so CBD may be able to help you on your fertility journey.