CBD oil and erectile dysfunction
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- Research overview
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
Commonly referred to as ED, erectile dysfunction affects 30 million American men of all ages. The causes of erectile dysfunction may be physiological, psychological, or a combination of both. Certain men may be at greater risk of developing erectile dysfunction, such as those who are older than 50, are overweight, or have heart disease.
For these men, there is hope in the form of prescription medications or psychotherapy, depending on the root cause. Weedmaps News recently reported that cannabidiol (CBD) may enhance sex, making it more satisfying and less painful for both partners. Could CBD oil, specifically CBD-rich cannabis oil, which retains other cannabinoids and terpenes, offer similar benefits for men with ED?
A greater amount of research exists for managing the psychological symptoms of erectile dysfunction than the physiological ones. In particular, CBD oil has shown to be effective in decreasing anxiety in a number of studies. While most studies utilized CBD oil that was either broad-spectrum or full-spectrum, CBD isolates (products that lack THC and other compounds), may also provide beneficial effects. Because CBD is such a significant part of the cannabis plant, cannabis itself could play an important role in alleviating ED.
Performance anxiety may be a factor for men whose ED has a psychological origin. Susan A. Stoner’s 2017 scientific review for the University of Washington discussed how cannabis in small amounts lowered anxiety. Stoner, a licensed clinical psychologist who is a research consultant for the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, noted that higher amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) had the opposite effect and increased anxiety, while CBD provided more consistency. This is a prime example of successfully using CBD-rich cannabis oil as opposed to THC-rich cannabis oil.
The potential benefits of CBD could be ideal for men who do not want to take medications long term but would prefer to treat their ED situationally. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Similarly, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis lowered anxiety levels, stress, and depression in the short-term. The potential benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids could be ideal for men who do not want to take medications long term but would prefer to treat their ED situationally.
Obesity is one physical cause of erectile dysfunction that CBD could potentially treat, although CBD on its own was nowhere near as effective as CBD paired with tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) in the supporting study. In 2012, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article titled, “Cannabis Could Be Used to Treat Obesity-Related Diseases.” Science correspondent Richard Gray wrote about the revealing study conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals: “When the scientists examined two compounds, called THCV and cannabidiol, they were found to have an appetite-suppressing effect.”
The CBD/THCV combination could indirectly help men with ED by decreasing appetite and, potentially, contributing to weight loss. Based on this evidence, a broad-spectrum product which contains both of these beneficial cannabinoids could be useful. Cannabis product labels should list which cannabinoids are included and in what concentrations. Only lab-verified products are guaranteed to be pure.
Cannabis use has repeatedly been linked to lower body mass index (BMI), rates of diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. Because CBD is either the primary or secondary ingredient in most varieties of whole-plant cannabis, it could play a very important role in managing BMI, which would support healthy sexual function for men. The specific role of CBD in these conditions is still being investigated.
What the experts say
From the perspective of treating ED-related anxiety, CBD-rich oil may be helpful, according to some experts.
From the perspective of treating ED-related anxiety, CBD-rich oil may be helpful. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Diana Urman, a certified sex educator with a practice in San Francisco, believes that CBD can help reduce sexual anxiety. In a 2018 interview with HuffPost, Urman said, “Many people say they feel more spontaneous and adventurous [after using CBD]. There is also sometimes an increased sensitivity to touch and increased willingness to be more engaged and sensual which, in turn, enhances sexual pleasure and deepens orgasmic abilities.”
While the results are not guaranteed, CBD-rich oil may be worth trying for men who want to be less inhibited in bed and treat their ED without the side effects of prescription medications. As Dr. Perry Solomon, chief medical officer at HelloMD, said in a Men’s Journal article in 2016, “The way I see it, why not try cannabis? There are side effects to Viagra and zero side effects to cannabis when dosed properly. Maybe it’s just making them feel better and relaxed, and that’s making it easier for them to enjoy sex, but it’s still working.”
However, moderation is key, as some research has indicated that too much cannabis can actually cause ED, even while it increases sexual desire.
While the role of cannabis and CBD in erectile dysfunction is not clear, it’s possible that these interventions, alongside other healthful lifestyle choices, could affect ED by improving mood and metabolic function.
CBD oil and erectile dysfunction Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview What the experts say Bottom line Commonly
CBD For Erectile Dysfunction: Can It Help?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is one of the most common sexual dysfunctions for men, affecting around 30 million men in the United States alone.
If you’ve spent any time on natural health websites, you may have seen recommendations for cannabidiol, or CBD, as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
While there’s currently no research showing that CBD is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, it might be helpful for treating anxiety that can contribute to ED and other sexual health issues.
Below, we’ve explained what erectile dysfunction is, as well as the key factors that may cause you to experience difficulties getting or keeping an erection.
We’ve also dug into the science behind CBD to find out how it may be helpful for treating some sexual performance issues.
Finally, we’ve listed the science-based treatment options that are available if you’re affected by ED.
CBD for Erectile Dysfunction: The Basics
- Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, from physical health issues to factors like stress, anxiety or use of certain medications.
Most people with ED use medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®) to increase blood flow to the penis and treat erectile dysfunction.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is widely available as an oil and in numerous other products. Many of these are promoted as natural treatments for various ailments and health conditions.
Currently, there’s no scientific research showing that CBD is an effective treatment for ED or a suitable replacement for medications like sildenafil.
However, some research suggests that CBD may be an effective treatment for anxiety, which is occasionally a causative factor in ED.
What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Erectile dysfunction is a common medical condition in which you may find it difficult to develop or maintain an erection. You may have ED if you:
- Are able to get an erection, but find it difficult to do so consistently when you want to have sex
- Are able to get an erection, but can’t maintain it long enough for enjoyable sex
- Can’t get an erection at all
Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from physical health issues to psychological conditions, medications and even certain habits and lifestyle factors.
Common physical causes of ED include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and physical health conditions that affect your penis, such as Peyronie’s disease.
Psychological causes of ED include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and guilt or concerns about sexual behavior.
Medications that may cause ED include antidepressants, antiandrogens, tranquilizers and some medications used to treat high blood pressure.
Habits and lifestyle factors that may cause ED include smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, illicit drug use, lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese.
Although ED becomes more common with age, it can affect men of all ages. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that approximately one out of every four men seeking help for ED is under the age of forty.
Get effective, affordable ED treatment. from your home!
What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical that’s extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike many other cannabinoids, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive activity, meaning it won’t make you feel the typical high associated with cannabis.
CBD and other cannabinoids work by binding to the cannabinoid receptors located throughout your central nervous system and organs. Your cannabinoid receptors play a role in a variety of functions, from learning and cognition to cardiac function, energy metabolism and more.
Currently, CBD is being studied as a potential new medication for conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and others.
CBD is available in a wide range of products, from CBD oil to capsules, gummies, sleep aids and even personal care products. It’s also used as an additive in CBD-infused smoothies and health foods.
Does CBD Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Search online for terms such as “CBD sex products” and you’ll come across hundreds of CBD products such as lubes, massage oils, capsules and “love potions” that claim to boost your sex drive, strengthen your erections and improve your sexual performance.
Despite the promises made about certain CBD products, right now, there’s no reliable scientific evidence showing that CBD treats erectile dysfunction or improves sexual performance.
There’s also no scientific evidence that CBD improves blood flow to your penis or has any effect on the muscles or nerves involved in erections.
In general, most research on cannabis and sexual health is mixed, with different studies finding positive and negative effects on sexual performance.
For example, a scientific review published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics found that use of cannabis and cannabinoids had a negative effect on sperm function and mixed effects on reproductive hormones in men.
On the other hand, a recent study published in Sexual Medicine found an association between frequency of cannabis use and increased sexual function in men. Interestingly, the men in this study showed improved erectile function with cannabis use.
The study authors do make the point that “the clinical significance of this is likely low, and selection bias may limit the generalizability of these findings.”
There’s also some evidence that cannabis use may increase activation in the areas of the brain responsible for arousal. For example, a 2017 study found that cannabis use increased activation of certain parts of the basal forebrain in people exposed to erotic photos.
It’s important to note that this research looked at the effects of cannabis as a whole, not specific cannabinoids such as CBD. As such, their findings may not apply to products that contain CBD or other isolated cannabinoids.
Overall, there just isn’t enough scientific research available to confidently say that CBD can treat erectile dysfunction or other sexual health issues.
CBD and Sexual Performance Anxiety
One area where CBD may be useful is in treating and managing anxiety, including anxiety about sexual performance.
Sexual performance anxiety is a feeling of nervousness and anxiety that can happen before and during sex. As we’ve covered in our guide to sexual performance anxiety and ED, anxiety that’s related to sex may contribute to sexual performance issues, including erectile dysfunction.
While there’s no research on CBD and sexual performance anxiety specifically, some studies of CBD have found that it may have benefits for treating anxiety.
For example, a 2020 review published by the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that CBD showed promising results as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
However, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has pointed out, there currently isn’t enough evidence to state that CBD is an effective treatment for anxiety.
CBD Safety and Side Effects
CBD products appear to be safe for most adults. However, there are side effects associated with cannabidiol and other cannabis products that you should be aware of if you’re thinking of using CBD, whether for its possible effects on sexual performance or other effects.
When taken by mouth, reported side effects of CBD include drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, lightheadedness and a reduction in blood pressure levels.
Currently, there’s limited information available on the potential side effects of topical products containing CBD. There’s also little research on the safety and potential side effects of CBD products for people under the age of twenty-one.
In addition to possible safety issues with CBD itself, it’s important to be aware that most CBD products aren’t subject to the same regulations as FDA-approved medications, or even many dietary supplements.
How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Although CBD isn’t proven to treat erectile dysfunction, several safe, science-based treatments are available that can improve your erectile health and sexual performance.
Currently, the most effective treatments for ED are medications called PDE5 inhibitors. These work by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue of your penis, allowing you to easily get an erection when you’re sexually aroused.
Popular PDE5 inhibitors used to treat erectile dysfunction include:
Sildenafil. The active ingredient in Viagra, sildenafil is a popular ED medication that’s designed to provide relief from erectile dysfunction for approximately four hours.
Tadalafil. The active ingredient in Cialis®, tadalafil is a long-lasting ED medication that remains effective for up to 36 hours.
Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, vardenafil provides relief from ED for four to eight hours per dose.
All ED medications require a prescription. We offer a range of FDA-approved ED medications online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.
Our guide to PDE5 inhibitors goes into more detail on these medications and how they work to treat ED.
In addition to ED medications, making changes to your habits and lifestyle can help to improve your erectile health and sexual performance. Try to:
Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that obesity is a significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. In fact, even being mildly overweight can have a negative impact on your erectile health.
Try to maintain a healthy body weight to keep health issues like ED at bay. Although body mass index (BMI) is far from perfect at assessing your health, aiming for a BMI in the 18.5 to 24.9 range is a good general target. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has a handy calculator that you can use to determine what your BMI is.
Exercise on a regular basis. Reliable erections are all about blood flow. Research into the effects of exercise and ED has found that regular exercise is linked to improvements in erectile function.
In addition to improving your erectile health, regular exercise can help to lower your risk of heart disease, strokes and other health risks. Aim for at least 15 minutes of exercise per day to keep your heart healthy and your sexual performance optimal.
Quit smoking. Smoking can significantly increase your risk of developing ED by causing damage to your blood vessels and vascular system. If you smoke, try to quit. Our guide to quitting lists science-based techniques that you can use to give up smoking for good.
Treat any underlying health issues. Finally, it’s important to treat any underlying health problems that may contribute to ED, particularly issues like high blood pressure or heart disease.
Not only do these affect your erectile health — they can also have a major negative effect on your general health and wellbeing over the long term if left untreated.
You can learn more about treating ED through healthy habits and lifestyle changes in our guide to naturally protecting your erection.
While CBD may offer benefits for sleep, anxiety and other health issues, there isn’t any scientific evidence to show that it’s effective at treating ED or improving your sexual performance.
If you’re affected by ED, the most effective treatment options are PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil, tadalafil and others. These work by improving blood flow to your penis, making it easier for you to get and keep an erection when you’re aroused.
Learn More About Treating ED
Erectile dysfunction is very common and usually treatable. Our full guide to ED covers everything from the causes of erectile dysfunction to treatments and prevention strategies that you can use to improve your erections and optimize your sexual health.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
We're learning more and more about the medicinal uses for cannabis every day, so it's only natural that we ask: can it help with ED?