Exploring Cannabis for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Ashley Priest

Posted by Ashley Priest on 01/02/2024 in Ailments and Conditions

cannabis and erectile dysfunction (ED)

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that can affect as many as 30 million men in the United States. One study by the Cleveland Center found that around 52% of men experience ED in their lifetimes, and it can begin as early as age 20.

The Mayo Clinic defines ED as the condition in which an individual is unable to achieve and maintain an erection firm enough for sexual activity. Imbalances in testosterone levels and other physiological functions often contribute to this prevalent issue, which does not necessarily have a single underlying cause. Imbalances within the vascular system, nervous system, or endocrine system can contribute to the impact of ED.

Cannabis, in particular, works with the body’s endocrine function on a cellular level via the mammalian endocannabinoid system. Due to this, it has recently become a more popular option as a potential ED treatment.

Naturally, people have a lot of questions regarding cannabis and ED. Information about cannabis, such as whether it can stunt your growth or cause a low sperm count, is a common concern, but is that true? Does cannabis really make it hard to get hard? Does it lower your chances of having a child? What if cannabis could help with ED? Together, we will explore the potential benefits or drawbacks of cannabis and ED.

What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?

Many different issues can cause ED. Medical conditions like atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and more may lead to this condition. Taking certain types of medication can also cause ED. Some commonly prescribed culprits of ED are antiandrogens, anti-depressants, appetite suppressants, blood pressure medicines, prescription sedatives, tranquilizers, and ulcer medicines.

Emotional and psychological issues can contribute to erectile dysfunction issues. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and stress are all known to be underlying issues that lead to ED. Smoking is another common cause of ED because it restricts blood flow throughout the body. Alcohol works in similar ways by reducing blood flow and inhibiting testosterone production.

Using illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, and other illicit substances can greatly disrupt the endocrine system, causing chaos in the body’s messaging center. Being overweight or not being physically active are a few other potential causes of ED problems.

Cannabis in 2023

37 states have legalized medical cannabis as of 2023. Recreational cannabis is legal in 23 states, including our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Recreational cannabis is legal in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and over 40 countries have implemented positive cannabis reform, legalizing medical or recreational cannabis. We are learning more about cannabis today than ever before in our past. Our understanding of cannabinoids and terpenes has advanced significantly. Although we have learned so much, there is still much we don’t know about cannabis and the roles the more than 100 cannabinoids play within our bodies.

Terpenes have been thoroughly researched and proven to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, and analgesic properties. Cannabinoids are a different story. Of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, we are only versed in about a dozen of them. Of these dozen, most people are only aware of three or four cannabinoids. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabigerol (CBG), and Cannabinol (CBN) are the most common.

The Pros and Cons of Cannabis Consumption and ED

Cannabis consumption has been associated with ED and low sperm counts for years, according to the medical community. But is it true? Government research claims cannabis isn’t good for you, and we now know through research that that’s a lie. In many cases, cannabis can be a smart addition to a healthy lifestyle. If cannabis lowers sperm counts, why do so many cannabis consumers have children, and usually several of them?

Cannabis can help improve conditions like anxiety, stress, chronic pain, and more that cause ED. It has multiple methods of consumption these days, and it’s not necessary to smoke it. Marijuana could help ED directly when used as a topical rub. Cannabinoids and common ingredients in cannabis topicals and transdermal creams, lotions, balms, and even sexual lube may help stimulate blood flow when it’s needed most.

Cannabis consumption has become a common part of bedroom banter as it helps couples relax before sex, and an improved mood can help make the experience more enjoyable. On the flip side, it’s vital to be mindful of cannabis consumption if you are on prescription drugs. Cannabis could potentially interact with medications, causing unwanted side effects such as ED.

What the Research Says About Cannabis for Erectile Dysfunction

Our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vast network that consists of receptors located throughout our body. The receptors interact with endocannabinoids produced by the body and phytocannabinoids originating from the cannabis plant.

According to research published in 2020, it has been “clearly shown that [the] ECS is involved in negative modulation of testosterone secretion by acting both at central and testicular levels in animal models,” which directly links the function of the ECS to the reproductive system. In layman’s terms, cannabis may not have any negative effects on reproductive or sexual functions.

Research conducted in 2017 on scientific literature pertaining to cannabis and sex found that 70% of cannabis consumers report an improvement in many sexual aspects after consumption. These include pleasure, satisfaction, and desire.

So, could cannabis help to bring back some of that spark and fire in the bedroom that has been snuffed out due to erectile dysfunction? Absolutely. Not only does research suggest this, but anecdotal testimonials also support its effectiveness. Many men have attested to the efficiency of cannabis in relieving erectile dysfunction and have also attributed their consumption to increased stamina, increased orgasms, increased intensity of orgasms, quicker onset of orgasms, and much more.

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