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Cannabis and Erectile Dysfunction

In 2020, Seedsman posted a blog citing scientific studies that indicated cannabis users enjoyed enhanced sex lives concerning non-users. In that article, a study published by the journal Sexual Medicine was referenced, which found that cannabis users “more frequently tend to have better sexual function” and that daily user of cannabis performed better on the International Index of Erectile Function than men who used marijuana less frequently, or not at all.

In contrast, some small studies have suggested that recreational marijuana use may lead to erectile dysfunction. But a 2018 meta-analysis concluded that, at present, there is a lack of evidence available to confirm any link.

So can marijuana assist in erectile function – or better yet, help to conquer dysfunction?

It’s a possibility. To understand why, it’s important to know more about how erections occur, as well as what can stop them from occurring.

Erectile Function

A series of processes occur in the brain and body to facilitate an erection, beginning with the brain signalling through the spinal cord and parasympathetic nervous system to release nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that chemically relaxes the smooth muscles in the penis and one of the key necessities in allowing this is good blood flow.

The number of arteries inside the penis has to expand to accommodate the additional flow of blood to the area and to allow this, those arteries have to be in tip-top condition. Viagra was discovered to be useful in assisting erectile function by accident. At the time, Pfizer was developing a drug to treat angina and other cardiovascular problems when another benefit popped up out of the blue.

cannabis and erectile dysfunction

As cannabis is a known vasodilator – a substance that widens blood vessels – there is a high likelihood that this is the single most beneficial role cannabis could play in erectile function. Better yet, the corpora cavernosa – those expansion chambers inside the penis where the magic happens – are laden with endocannabinoid receptors. There is, in theory, a pathway for cannabis or extracted products to assist in some aspects of the erectile process. CBD oil’s role as a natural anti-inflammatory could effectively manage any inflammation which restricts the flow of the blood needed for maximum hardness – but if you’re thinking of using medical marijuana for its vasodilatory properties, be sure to talk with your doctor beforehand.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is thought to affect around 52% of males at some point, whether short or long-term, and upon investigation, studies typically find that most cases come from the same list of underlying problems. Interference in any of the following processes can cause ED:

· Emotional

· Blood Flow

· Nervous system

· Muscle function

With the stress of any kind, a known killer of mood and wood alike, cannabis can reduce internal disquiet and go a long way to eliminating performance anxiety or other types of mental stress that can impair sexual performance. A 2019 study at Washington State University showed that the use of cannabis high in CBD and THC produced large reductions in stress among study participants.

cannabis and erectile dysfunction

Sleep is another important factor in erectile function, as those vital nocturnal erections rejuvenate the penis during REM sleep. In this aspect of erectile well-being, CBD specifically may bring benefits to the table – a systematic review from 2012 found a potential link between higher doses of CBD (up to 600mg in some cases) and therapeutic effects for insomnia. This is another key factor in promoting healthy erectile function.

With erectile problems common in males with hormonal imbalances, CBD could be of benefit here, too – as the endocannabinoid system has a hand in regulating the body’s hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and melatonin – and CBD is increasingly cited as a natural treatment option.

Tobacco a No No

Avoiding tobacco is an absolute necessity in maintaining healthy erectile function. While cannabis has vasodilatory properties, tobacco is a known vasoconstrictor. In other words, it narrows those blood vessels which are vital to healthy erections. Imagine trying to wash your car while someone stands on the hose. Smoking tobacco effectively squeezes the ‘hoses’ inside the penis, and over time makes it far more difficult for that nitrous oxide-rich blood to pass through and facilitate an erection. Whether you’re a cigarette smoker or if you use tobacco in your joints, you know what you have to do to take your manhood off the no-fly list. If that’s not enough to motivate you, consider this: nicotine can also cause the penis to shrink.

cannabis and erectile dysfunction

By impeding the flow of blood through the penis, smoking tobacco can eventually stop those nocturnal erections, which are crucial to continued healthy erectile function and are also needed to regularly stretch the penis and keep it at its optimal length. You’re welcome, guys.

Sizing up the Opposition

If cannabis and CBD are to be become weaponised to help male erectile health, they face some stiff competition, mainly in the form of prescription meds such as Sildenafil (Viagra) and Tadalafil (Cialis), which act fast, and offer a good guarantee of an erection in most cases, but are tempered by some degree of risk. Cannabis beats the two best-selling erection supplements with ease when it comes to side effects. Among the chief concerns about using prescription medication to treat ED is a long list of potential – and in some cases, worrisome – reactions which these drugs can cause, including:

· Chest pains

· Blurred vision

· Irregular heartbeat

· Dyspepsia

· Headaches

· Dizziness

The medicinal properties of CBD are used to counteract some of the symptoms on that list, and any assistance offered in achieving an erection would come without many of the difficulties which often accompany prescription ED drugs and can put a potential dampener on your enjoyment of sex.

Cannabis and Erectile Dysfunction: Conclusion

The medical cannabis industry is now in full swing, with the THC in the plant and CBD extracted from the plant being used to target ever-more ailments. With erectile dysfunction expected to affect over 300 million men worldwide by 2025(vii), it’s time for science to take a look to see if CBD stands up as a legitimate means of treatment.

In theory, CBD and THC can play a part in male erectile function. For the time being, more specific studies are required to establish conclusive links between cannabis and erectile health. At present, there are conflicting findings from various tests. Some citing THC as having a negative impact, while others suggest the opposite. Early writings on CBD and male sexual performance look like grounds for optimism, but we await a more definitive conclusion. Always consult your physician before introducing anything for medicinal purposes.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Duncan Mathers