Marijuana’s legal standing is complex. At the federal level, the plant is still illegal, and at the state level, laws vary. In 2015 the FDA approved research on CBD, and in 2018, the Farm Bill permitted the commercial sale and distribution of CBD extracted from hemp. Companies can currently only sell cannabidiol as a health supplement, making the compound more accessible. But the FDA believes there are still concerns regarding its regulation. The regulatory authority has yet to publish any guidelines regarding CBD dosage and concentration.
A lot about CBD remains unknown. But, here’s what we were able to wean from existing research about how CBD affects fertility.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and is one of the most abundant active ingredients in cannabis. It is different from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chief compound present in the marijuana plant. THC is intoxicating and typically known for inducing a high associated with puffing marijuana. On the other hand, CBD is non-intoxicating and present in high concentrations in the hemp plant.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a critical review to back CBD’s safety profile. So far, no known cases of CBD overdose have been reported. Besides a few mild side effects, the compound isn’t known to cause any adverse effects on human health.
In fact, cannabidiol is known to have a whole host of medicinal benefits, including:
- Epileptic seizures
- Chronic pain
- Cancer symptoms
CBD and Fertility: What Science Suggests?
Not much has been explored regarding the link between CBD, fertility, and pregnancy. Some studies suggest that smoking Marijuana can reduce IVF success and ovulation.
There’s also a scientific investigation that indicates that marijuana can negatively affect fertility, causing a critical decrease in sperm count and potency. However, all of this research has nothing to do with CBD. It’s based on THC in marijuana.
In 2018, the FDA approved the first CBD-based drug to treat two forms of severe pediatric epilepsy. After this, conjecture surrounding the compound’s therapeutic value heightened in the scientific community. Surely, if the compound could treat epilepsy, it could also have value for fertility?
The reason why CBD can be related to fertility is because of its structure. The compound’s chemical makeup is similar to hormones by the human endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a vast network of cell-signaling receptors. Since its discovery in the 1990s, the research on its physiology has been painstakingly slow. Scientists have linked the system to a whole range of functions, from inflammation and sleep to mood and the reproductive system. Because CBD can trap in the system and influence the activity of its receptors, it may play a role in human fertility.
The two main endocannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — found in the female reproductive tract. While the research is no way near conclusive, some experts suggest that because of their location, they might influence sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg.
Recently, scientists have discovered cannabinoid receptors in sperm cells. GPR 18 may increase sperm action, and improve the sperm’s ability to swim towards the egg.
By interacting with these receptors, CBD may boost ovarian function and follicle growth.
CBD for fertility hasn’t garnered much attention despite the compound’s widespread availability in online stores and pharmacies. So, the jury on whether CBD helps with fertility is still not out. Most of the research is based on animal models and doesn’t paint an accurate picture in terms of human models.
How to Use CBD for Fertility?
All things said you should practice caution when using cannabis products for fertility. Smoking marijuana is a big NO during pregnancy. This is because we don’t know much about how vaping affects fertility.
Existing research doesn’t paint a good picture. The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (ACOG) published research suggesting that taking marijuana during pregnancy may lead to a whole host of fetal complications, such as stillbirth, low birth weight, and compromised fetal development.
So, what about CBD? According to certain industry experts, CBD oil has proved to be beneficial for fertility in both men and women. CBD improves the circulation of cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system, a system that regulates processes like reproduction and pregnancy. The endocannabinoid system also helps with post and prenatal development. In a 2012 study, the system was found to stimulate female sexual arousal.
Forms of CBD
If you choose to use CBD for fertility, you have a lot of options to choose from. There are oils, tinctures, lotions, and creams. The best method for consuming CBD to increase your chances of getting pregnant will involve full-spectrum CBD oil.
Full Spectrum CBD oil contains a healthy blend of cannabinoids and other chemicals found in cannabis. These compounds work together to increase and refine each other’s therapeutic value because of the entourage effect.
The part about using CBD in oil form is bioavailability. With edibles and other delivery systems, CBD undergoes processing before entering the bloodstream. Because of this, its potency and bioavailability take a serious hit. With CBD oils, you can also easily gauge the dosage. Most CBD oil products come with a 1ml dropper.
Topical CBD products are best for aches, pains, and localized treatments. These do not enter the bloodstream and are most commonly used for joint and skin conditions, such as arthritis and acne.
It will take years before we understand CBD’s efficacy and safety for fertility and pregnancy. Until then it’s best-advised to consult your doctor before consuming the compound. CBD may interact with other drugs and cause adverse reactions. If you are on prescription medications that come with a grapefruit warning, you should especially practice caution.
Tell your doctor every supplement you’re taking and always start with a low dose. First, see how you react to the compound and how much dosage you can tolerate. Then, decide whether you and CBD are a good fit or not.
You also want to make sure that you’re buying CBD from a reputable vendor. Your product shouldn’t contain harmful additives, such as heavy metals and pesticides.