Can CBD Affect Oral Contraceptives?VickyT
If you’re currently on oral contraception, chances are you’re not planning on having a baby anytime soon. The thought alone could have you running for the hills. Unfortunately, no form of contraception is 100% safe, though some come close if used correctly. This means you need to be extra careful when trying anything new which could potentially mess with your birth control, even if it’s something as simple as a natural supplement. Of all the supplements out there, you may be especially cautious of CBD, but can CBD affect oral contraceptives?
Does CBD Affect Oral Contraceptives?
If you’ve been too scared to use CBD in case it affects your contraception, you’re not alone. CBD has only been legal for a short time, so there may not be enough studies to prove that CBD does not affect contraceptives. However, some doctors and pharmacists have given their opinions on the matter.
Here are some factors you need to consider:
- Everyone is different
- The type of oral contraceptive you use
- The Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System (CYP enzyme system)
Everyone Is Different
While studies are done on a number of different people, you always need to keep in mind that everyone is different. How one person is affected by something doesn’t necessarily mean you will experience the same effects. The way you exercise, what you eat, and the specific medications you take can change how your body reacts or metabolises certain substances, leading to different reactions in different people.
Type of Oral Contraceptive
The type of oral contraceptive you use will also need to be taken into account. There are two oral contraceptive pills: the mini pill (progesterone-only pill) and the combination pill.
Mini (Progesterone-Only) Pill
The mini pill is an oral contraceptive pill that doesn’t contain any oestrogen, only progesterone. This pill works by thickening the mucus in the uterus and making it sticky, so that sperm cannot reach and fertilise an egg.
The mini pill is usually prescribed to women over thirty-five or women susceptible to blood clots, those who are obese or those who have diabetes.
The combination pill is a contraceptive pill that contains both progesterone and oestrogen. These birth control pills stop your ovaries from releasing an egg and affect the lining of the uterus so that sperm cannot reach the egg.
The mini pill and the combination pill contain different hormones, so they need to be looked at individually. According to a study from 2020, the combination pill has more risk of not working properly when interacting with CBD than the mini pill, thanks to the oestrogen in the combination pill. In other words, there is less of a risk of CBD inhibiting the mini pill.
Furthermore, the contraindication between CBD and oestrogen could lead to other unpleasant effects, such as fatigue, breakthrough bleeding and drowsiness as the oestrogen in the pill will hinder the CBD from leaving the body completely. In other words, using CBD when on the mini pill is safer than using it while on the combination pill.
Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System (CYP Enzyme System)
The Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System (CYP enzyme system) is a system in the liver that metabolises any medication you take. This includes your oral contraceptive.
A study done in 2016 shows that CBD can affect the CYP enzyme system, causing your body to receive less or more of the hormones from the contraceptive. This means that CBD has the potential to inhibit your oral contraceptive, which could potentially make it less effective.
However, these studies are in the early stages, and more research is needed for conclusive proof.
Are There Any Benefits to Taking CBD When on Oral Contraception?
As you most likely know by now, studies have shown CBD has the potential to help with a number of things, from relieving pain to improving sleep. However, is there any benefit to taking CBD while on the pill?
As it turns out, there actually could be, as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is linked to hormone production and the connection between CBD and the ECS helps balance hormones which can wreak havoc on the body. While more evidence is needed to confirm this, current results look promising.
What Else Can Affect Oral Contraceptives?
CBD is not the only supplement that can affect your birth control pill. You should discuss it with your doctor before starting any new supplement or medication.
Any number of the following can affect your birth control pills:
- Skipping/forgetting to take the pill
- Medications such as antibiotics (this is especially dangerous)
- Grapefruit (yes, you read that right)
- Detox drinks
- Natural supplements such a St. John’s wort
- Being overweight
- Activated charcoal
Once again, it is important to note that there is no concrete proof yet that any of the above will cause your contraceptive to bug out, but keep it in mind.
So, Can I Safely Use CBD While on Oral Contraception?
There is currently not enough evidence that CBD will adversely affect your birth control, leading to pregnancy. There is also no evidence that the decrease in its effectiveness is any cause for alarm. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking CBD. It’s better to be safe than have an unwanted pregnancy