Can CBD Oil Affect Your Testosterone Levels?
Posted on September 9th, 2020
Since CBD is now legal in the United States, researchers have been looking into the potential health benefits of this cannabinoid. As we acquire more information regarding CBD, the more we will understand all the capabilities of this hemp plant extract. People are becoming increasingly delighted about using CBD for various issues such as inflammatory conditions, seizures, pain, and symptoms of anxiety – with excellent results. However, the real question here is, “can CBD oil be used for testosterone?”
Undoubtedly, CBD and testosterone is one area of particular interest to men. Generally speaking, testosterone plays a vital role in body composition, sexual function, sex drive, and overall well-being. You may be curious whether the phytocannabinoid, CBD, might help to enhance testosterone levels, or whether CBD might potentially inhibit their body’s testosterone production.
Before we answer this question, we’ll have to understand how the body controls testosterone, what health conditions and factors can bring testosterone, and how CBD might influence these processes.
The Causes of Low Testosterone
In men, testosterone is created by the Leydig cells found in the testes. For starters, the hypothalamus (a tiny gland in the brain) releases a hormone known as (GnRH) gonadotropin-secreting hormone. Then, GnRH tells the pituitary (another tiny gland in the brain) to release two hormones: luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Next, these two hormones, LH and FSH, travel to the testes where the former triggers the Leydig cells to release testosterone, and then FHS triggers sperm production.
In general, there are many causes of low testosterone. As men age, they naturally make less testosterone. According to health experts, testosterone production reduces by 1% every year after the age of 40.
What’s more, the body can create estrogen from testosterone via the aromatase enzyme. Since this enzyme is made by fat cells, being overweight could cause males to turn a large portion of their testosterone into estrogen. In turn, this may decrease the overall testosterone levels.
Inflammation might also play a significant role in low testosterone. Since inflammation might increase the enzyme aromatase, it then may reduce testosterone by boosting its conversion to estrogen. Low testosterone could also enhance inflammation, thus, a vicious cycle.
Another cause of low testosterone production is high-stress levels. Several studies prove that high cortisol levels, stimulated by high-stress levels, could result in a reduction in testosterone production.
Below are other conditions that may reduce testosterone production:
- High prolactin
- Chronic disease
- Kidney or liver disease
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Medications such as corticosteroids and opioids
- Head injury
- Injury to the testicles
- Previous steroid use
The Symptoms of Low Testosterone
Generally speaking, low testosterone production can affect every male differently. What’s more, the symptoms a man experiences rely on what life stage he is in. For instance, low testosterone production in puberty might delay secondary sexual characteristic development, including voice changes, penile growth, and pubic hair.
If a man has low testosterone after puberty, in his adult life, common symptoms might include:
- Increased fat mass
- Low bone mass and muscle mass
- Problems concentrating and remembering
- Irritability and depression
- Reduced sex drive and function
Each person is different and might undergo some or all of the above symptoms. Most of these symptoms are also shared with other conditions, including chronic stress, depression, and hypothyroidism. As a result, low testosterone might be contributing to these symptoms. Nevertheless, there could be other factors at play than just a testosterone imbalance.
Identifying Low Testosterone
The ideal way to find out whether you have low testosterone is by running several lab tests. Your doctor might request a panel of hormone labs that look like testosterone and other hormones like thyroid, prolactin, estrogen, and sex-hormone binding globulin that could be affecting hormone balance. Furthermore, your doctor might want to examine other causes of testosterone imbalance, including blood sugar, liver and kidney function, your body mass index, and sources of inflammation.
After your doctor analyzes all of these factors, you will both have a better understanding of if you have low testosterone production and, if so, why.
CBD and Testosterone: The Research So Far
Since there are many causes of low testosterone production, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Generally, CBD might affect testosterone production through its influence on the endocannabinoid system. In general, the endocannabinoid system constitutes two cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 – scattered through the body and brain. Upon stimulation, these receptors affect pain perception, inflammation, behavior, etc.
In male reproductive organs, there are CB1 receptors, such as testes where testosterone is created, and the brain’s hypothalamus where testosterone production is regulated. Because CBD works with CB1 receptors, many researchers have started to find out how CBD might influence testosterone production and regulation.
According to these findings, CBD might affect testosterone production and regulation. But it is not evident whether it increases or reduces testosterone. More research is required in this particular area.
Rats were used in one animal study, which discovered that CBD affects testosterone’s breakdown in the liver. When testosterone is broken down at a relatively slower rate, it suggests that circulating testosterone levels will also be higher. We know so far that CBD may affect some causes of low testosterone, such as inflammation, high cortisol levels, and stress.
Research suggests that CBD may effectively decrease inflammatory cytokines by triggering the endocannabinoid system’s CBD receptors. And as aforementioned, inflammation could result in lower testosterone levels.
What’s more, there is strong evidence to suggest that CBD may help to reduce stress levels and symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety and stress are common triggers for cortisol production, which is also a cause of low testosterone.
Simply put, there is potential for CBD to help boost natural testosterone production. But we still need more research.
Marijuana and Testosterone Levels: What’s the Relation?
You might have heard that using marijuana could impair testosterone levels and fertility in men. Based on several studies, there’s some truth to this. You might be worried whether this applies to CBD products since both marijuana and CBD come from a similar plant family called Cannabis Sativa.
Most studies that have looked into marijuana application and its effect on male fertility have realized that there is a negative effect on male reproductive health. According to their report, the cannabinoids present in marijuana usually compete with the body’s natural cannabinoids. But, as opposed to CBD oil, marijuana consists of high levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is marijuana’s psychoactive component. Besides, these researchers realized that it is THC and not CBD, which brings a negative effect on male fertility.
It’s also worth noting that CBD oil is obtained from the industrial hemp plant, and not the marijuana plant. Typically, the industrial hemp plant consists of trace amounts of THC, to start with, and some CBD products are further processed to eliminate THC. Because CBD products in the U.S. must be comprised of less than 0.3% THC, those research findings would not apply to CBD oil.
According to several animal studies, there is much evidence that THC decreases testosterone creation in the testes. Other animal studies also discovered that both CBD and THC could boost, or reduce, testosterone production, based on the dose. Don’t forget that these studies were conducted on rats; therefore, human studies are required to confirm these particular findings.
It is evident that marijuana seems to affect testosterone levels negatively. However, CBD products are completely different in composition. Therefore, we can’t assume that CBD will have similar effects on male hormone production, like marijuana.
Should You Use CBD for Your Testosterone Levels?
Suppose you want to naturally boost your testosterone levels. In that case, health experts recommend that you focus on prioritizing sleep, finding ways to reduce stress, exercise regularly, shed excess weight, cultivating a healthy and balanced diet, and making use of testosterone boosting supplements when need be. CBD may be helpful in those areas. So, when combined with all of the above, and the use of a high-quality testosterone boosting supplement, you may realize that CBD oil could play a role in regulating or enhancing your testosterone levels.
CBD Oil and Testosterone: Conclusion
The CBD industry is thriving, and people are excited by the many uses that CBD presents with very few side effects. Undoubtedly, men are questioning if or not CBD might affect their testosterone production, whether negatively or positively.
All we know so far is that marijuana likely influences testosterone production. Primarily, this is because of the THC content, which not all CBD products contain. However, CBD might be useful in increasing testosterone through its stress-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects, which are two common reasons men might experience low testosterone. What’s more, CBD might slow the rate of the liver’s testosterone breakdown.
As of now, there hasn’t been enough research to be sure of CBD’s impacts on testosterone levels. However, more studies and tests concerning humans may help us gain a better understanding of how CBD affects testosterone.