Does CBD Affect Fertility?Aamna Wasim
When you’re trying for a baby for a while with no success, there is no shortage of holistic treatments that you’d look into. People around you would advise you to try things like diet cleanses, acupuncture, meditation, hypnosis, and essential oils to ‘boost’ your fertility and increase your chances of conceiving. The list is long, with sometimes sketchy research to back up the claims.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is another natural product that has become hugely popular lately. Many people are now increasingly interested in it for fertility purposes. While it is being lauded for its potential health benefits in helping with various acute health conditions, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Does it really have any effects on male and female fertility? Let’s try and address this question today.
It is helpful to first briefly define what CBD is and how it works before we delve into whether it has any effects on male and female fertility.
CBD: What Is It?
CBD is a non-intoxicating active cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive and intoxicating cannabinoid found in marijuana, CBD does not cause ‘high’ or euphoric sensations. Moreover, there is no evidence as yet that CBD has an injurious effect on health. A recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that ‘In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.’
CBD is currently termed a health and wellness supplement. It is quite easy to obtain in a variety of different forms such as oils, tinctures, capsules, edibles, balms and so on. CBD has been touted to have a range of therapeutic uses and potential health benefits. Anecdotal evidence, as well as some animals studies, suggest that it helps alleviate symptoms of:
- Redness and irritation
- Minor aches and pains
- Skin conditions like acne
However, there are no medical studies yet to definitively state whether CBD has any effect on human fertility. In saying that, the way CBD affects the human body may offer some explanation of how CBD might impact fertility.
Endocannabinoids, CBD, and Fertility
One of the reasons why people might presume CBD to be a good product for fertility is because its chemical structure looks similar to some of the hormones that the body produces. These hormones are called endocannabinoids.
Since it’s a relatively recent discovery, there is still a lot to learn about the complex endocannabinoid system (ECS). Researchers have found that the ECS helps regulate important processes in the body such as immune system response, pain, sleep, and the reproductive system. It is the ECS receptors that allow cannabinoids like THC and CBD to interact with the body and help alleviate pain, stress, irritation and so on.
CBD and Anandamide Levels
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that participates in the body’s ECS by binding to the cannabinoid receptors. It is also called the ‘bliss molecule’ and is responsible for mood elevation and feelings of happiness, joy, and motivation. CBD may boost the anandamide levels in the brain. This may help support successful ovulation in females. Ovulation is a critical time during the monthly cycle when high levels of anandamide are required.
However, it is noteworthy that low levels of anandamide are required during embryo implantation. The use of CBD at this juncture may actually interfere with the process and potentially cause a failed pregnancy. It is important to remember that timing is everything if you want to try CBD for boosting your chances of conception.
Endocannabinoid receptors are not just found in the female reproductive tract, but in the sperm of males as well. While in females they may potentially help to boost ovarian function and follicle maturation, their presence in males is thought to improve the sperm’s ability to fertilise the egg. Due to CBD’s similarity to our endocannabinoid hormones, it is theorised that CBD can help achieve similar results. However, this is just a theory and credible research is needed to determine if they hold any ground. Currently, there is no scientific evidence that CBD can help boost fertility in either men or women or help with fertility issues.
CBD Oil and Its Impact on Non-Physical Issues Affecting Fertility
Advocates of CBD believe that it may indirectly help with conception related issues that are non-physical in nature, such as mood and sleep. For some couples, conceiving is difficult for reasons that are non-medical. Sometimes, particular lifestyle factors can get in the way of successful conception. In such cases, CBD may be able to indirectly help.
1. CBD May Boost Fertility Through Mood
It is common to hear stories of couples going through fertility struggles, and then suddenly conceiving successfully without any medical intervention.
Many forget that your mood and overall physical and mental wellness can play a huge role in pregnancy and fertility. Various studies on both female and male test subjects have found links between poor mental health and reduced fertility rates. These studies suggest a potential correlation between anxiety, stress, and depression’s effect on various hormones that regulate sperm production in men and ovulation in women.
CBD can potentially elevate a person’s mood by impacting a range of neurotransmitters such as adenosine and anandamide. CBD inhibits the adenosine A2A receptor (which plays a role in depression and anxiety), resulting in elevated mood and reduced stress symptoms.
The process of conceiving can be quite challenging for some couples. CBD may also help you deal with the pressures that surround it. This is especially true for women who experience hormonal imbalances during this particularly stressful time, leading to mood swings and feelings of stress and anxiety. Some studies suggest that CBD activates serotonin receptors, helping improve mood and alleviate stress. This may ultimately help fertility.
However, it is important to understand that CBD may just provide a part of the solution to any mood-related fertility issues. There are many other factors that need to be considered that affect a person’s ability to get pregnant.
2. CBD May Boost Fertility Through Good Sleep
Several research studies have found a correlation between insomnia and reduced fertility rates. CBD products such as CBD oil could help improve sleep quality, by regulating the production of hormones such as cortisol in the body. Cortisol is popularly referred to as the ‘stress hormone’. It can prevent the onset of sleep or limit the REM sleep that is essential for our body to function well.
A recent Brazilian study suggests that CBD oil hinders the secretion of cortisol, allowing for deeper and more restful sleep. Keeping this in mind, it can be theorised that CBD use could improve a person’s sleep. Thereby improving their chances of conception.
CBD: Effects on Common Causes of Infertility
Besides potentially boosting fertility through improved mood and good sleep, CBD may also help tackle two common contributing factors of infertility- smoking and obesity. CBD can potentially help people quit smoking and reduce other addictive behaviours. CBD can help with low mood, restless sleep, stress as well common aches and pains associated with working out. All these are risk factors for weight gain. Improvement in these factors can lead to an overall improvement in your fertility.
CBD and Fertility: The Verdict
The jury’s still out on whether CBD consumption positively or negatively affects male and female fertility. There isn’t enough medical research to decisively conclude whether CBD can enhance fertility or resolve infertility. Moreover, there isn’t enough research available currently on its impact during pregnancy. Therefore, the decision to use or not to use CBD when trying to conceive is quite complicated.
The best thing you can do is consult your doctor and discuss all your options with regard to boosting your fertility. Your doctor can advise you whether CBD is right for you and your family planning goals.
However, if you do decide to use CBD, make sure that you only buy high-quality, authentic CBD products from renowned brands on CBD Village, which do third-party lab testing.
CBD may have some potential health benefits like reducing stress, improving sleep, and easing minor aches and pains. However, there is currently no research that suggests that it may positively or negatively affect fertility. There is a need for extensive medical research to conclusively establish a relationship between the endocannabinoid system and fertility.
Before planning on using CBD, you should consult your doctor. They will advise you whether CBD is suitable for your family planning goals or not.