Can CBD Boost Your Sex Life?
Dr. Aysha Butt is the Medical Director of FROM MARS, and is a GP Partner at Woodcote NHS Medical Practice.
Cannabidiol, usually called CBD or cannabis oil, has been claimed to have a whole host of health benefits and is now available in a range of products.
One of the supposed benefits of CBD is that it can boost your sex drive (libido). But is this really true, or is CBD the latest in a long line of fashionable but phony natural sex enhancers?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. It belongs to a group of molecules called cannabinoids.
CBD isn’t the chemical that gives cannabis its high. That’s mainly caused by another cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD does affect your brain and body though. CBD molecules can stimulate receptors in your brain and other parts of your body, altering a range of processes inside you. Because of its effects on the brain and the body, CBD has become a popular natural remedy used to reduce pain, lower anxiety, help with PTSD, curb addiction, help with movement disorders, treat epilepsy, and boost your sex drive.
How does CBD work?
When you take CBD, it causes your body to release chemicals that attach to structures in your body called cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are found in the brain and in other organs, like your liver.
When cannabinoids attach to these receptors, they activate them, and a cascade of biological processes begin. These processes can have a wide range of effects depending on where the receptors are. In the brain, they can alter mood, emotions, motivation, the perception of pain, and your reward system.
Is CBD legal?
The legal status of CBD varies by country. In the US, CBD is a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which means it’s not generally approved for use in prescription medicines or dietary substances.
CBD derived from hemp with 0.3% THC or lower is legal for use in cosmetics, but can’t be used as an ingredient in the food, drinks, or supplements, at least at the Federal level.
States and local governments can regulate the sale of CBD, so you should check your local state laws to make sure you can buy CBD products legally before you do so.
How do I take CBD?
You can now buy a range of products that contain CBD, so you can take it in a variety of ways.
These products include oils and tinctures, pills and capsules, creams and lotions, food and drink, dietary supplements, and vapor to be used in e-cigarettes. The list of products containing CBD is growing all the time, so you may well find others too.
You need to use caution though, as not all products that claim to contain CBD actually do. The FDA tested a range of non-FDA-approved products and found some contained less CBD than claimed, and others none at all. If it’s legal for you to buy CBD products where you live, make sure you do so from a retailer you trust.
Does CBD have sexual benefits?
Scientists have found cannabinoid receptors in areas of the brain associated with sex, and also in various cell types in the male reproductive system. This means that cannabinoids like CBD play a role in sex, and that they could influence our reproductive systems and possibly our libidos.
However, the human body is incredibly complex. CBD has been claimed to help with erectile dysfunction (ED) in men, improve lubrication in women, and boost libido in both, but there’s very little research on the effects of CBD on our sex lives.
Can CBD increase your sex drive?
Of the limited research that has been conducted, results have conflicted. Some studies found cannabinoids increased sex drive, whilst others found they reduced it. Increases in sex drive were more likely in women in some studies, and reductions in sex drive were more likely in men. It’s too early to say if this is a real trend though, or if cannabinoids like CBD have any consistent effect on our sex lives.
Although the science is still inconclusive, there are plenty of reports from people who claim that CBD helps with sex. You can find a lot of these online. In a survey of 1,000 people by Remedy Review, of the 40 people who’d tried CBD, 27 of them (68%) said CBD improved their sex lives, (although most of these people were women).
Taking CBD for erectile dysfunction
Marijuana and ED have a mixed relationship. There are claims that cannabis can help with ED, but research suggests that cannabis and chemicals derived from cannabis are more likely to cause it.
Specifically for CBD, it could help with ED if it relaxes blood vessels and makes it easier to get blood to your penis (which is roughly how ED medications like Viagra work). And some initial research has shown that CBD can reduce blood pressure, so this may be the case. No studies we know of have looked at CBD and ED explicitly though, so we can’t say for sure.
Does CBD reduce anxiety?
Some research has shown that CBD can reduce anxiety and that it could be effective for treating anxiety disorders.
Although more research needs to be done, this may be one way that CBD could help boost your sex drive. If you’re anxious about sex for any reason, have performance anxiety, worry about your body, or have concerns about erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, then CBD may be able to help. CBD may boost your sex drive simply by relaxing you and helping you get out of your own head.
The verdict on CBD and sex
The truth is, there isn’t convincing evidence yet that CBD can improve your sex life.
As more research is conducted, this may change. But as of today, we can’t say whether CBD will boost your libido, lessen it, or have no effect at all.
A lot of people are enthusiastic about CBD, and plenty claim CBD has positive effects on their sex lives, but these claims are anecdotal. They haven’t been verified, and the CBD wasn’t taken under controlled conditions, so we can’t be sure whether it was the CBD that boosted the person’s sex drive, or something else.
If CBD is legal where you live, it might be something you want to experiment with. You may find it helps boost your sex drive and reduce anxiety. Or you may find it doesn’t do anything for you at all.