Erectile dysfunction– ED for men is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions affecting older men. However, it can even develop in your 20s. Although a range of ED treatments has appeared on the market since the 1990s, pharmaceutical options have side effects and different natural remedies work for different people. The increasing popularity of CBD oils and other cannabinoid products has brought about the question, does CBD work for reducing erectile dysfunction, and can it help me?
What Causes ED For Men?
Erectile dysfunction has a range of hormonal, cardiovascular, and psychological causes. Its incidence rises with age, but even younger men can develop it.
ED has been traditionally seen as an unavoidable part of aging. However, one-third of men over 70 do not experience it. Some chronic diseases, however, make up part of the answer to what contributes to ED. Around 40 percent of men with ED have high blood pressure. Another 40 percent have high levels of blood lipids, and 20 percent have diabetes. These conditions are likely to affect blood vessel function and testosterone generation.
Additionally, around 25 percent of ED cases are related to medication side effects, such as the SSRIs that many people take to manage depression. On the other hand, stress and anxiety can impair your ability to achieve and maintain an erection. This is most common in younger men who do not have other chronic diseases affecting the blood vessels, and it’s often linked to social or performance anxiety.
No discussion on the causes of ED could be complete without mentioning endocrine disruptors. Men exposed to high levels of estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors, such as BPA and DES, are more likely to experience ED and infertility. It’s even worse in the case of exposure before birth and during childhood, as they disrupt penis growth. Testosterone therapy cannot always reverse the effects.
Does CBD Have Beneficial Effects on Male Sexual Function?
A 2020 survey found interesting effects of cannabis products, both THC- and CBD-dominant, on erectile function and male sexual function in general. One-quarter were over 60, and just over one-third were between 40 and 59. Men who used cannabis products six times each week had average IIEF scores of 69.08, compared to 64.64 among men who did not use them at all. There was also the possibility of a reduced erectile dysfunction risk, at 17.7 percent in the cannabis-user group compared to 31 percent of the non-users.
However, cannabinoids have shown mixed results on sexual health overall. This may be a case of men only benefitting if they need endocannabinoid system support. Younger men who do not have any issue with sexual function seem more likely to report little benefit or even impairments.
How Can CBD Help ED For Men?
Cannabinoids may help to improve the balance and production of your sex hormones. One paper shows that androgens and estrogen may be higher in long-term cannabis users and users of CBD products. They also had higher anandamide levels, which is a brain chemical that evokes feelings of joy. Better yet, the volunteers in this study reported more frequent sexual intercourse alongside cannabis use. It’s unclear whether this may be due to lifestyle factors, or improved mental health increasing confidence and assertiveness.
But who is most likely to benefit? It appears that CBD could be most effective in reducing the risk of developing low testosterone levels among men over 40. A study of long-term CBD users found that only 22% of men aged 40-59 and 21% of men over 60 had low testosterone, compared to 36% or 35% of men in the general population. There was no difference in younger men, however.
Anxiety is a common cause of erectile dysfunction, especially in younger men. Fortunately, CBD oils and other preparations may be helpful. Several studies demonstrate improvements in social anxiety, the most likely type of anxiety in men who seem to freeze up before intimacy. People recovering from addiction or trauma may benefit too, but not those with high degrees of paranoid traits. Other papers suggest an antidepressant effect of CBD, which may be stronger with strains rich in limonene. Citrus oils, another popular source of limonene, allowed most people in one small study to discontinue their antidepressants.
Sexual desire and satisfaction can influence physical functioning, such as erections. A study on both men and women found that most enjoyed stronger sexual desire and orgasm intensity with cannabis use. Neither age nor gender affected the results which stronger perceived senses of touch and taste may have most influenced. The relaxing effects of cannabinoids could have played a role in this by removing psychological barriers to pleasure.
CBD could help to prevent or relieve sexual dysfunction by improving blood vessel function, a contributor to ED. Research on men given CBD for one week found a drop in blood pressure by 6mmHg, addressing one potential underlying factor behind ED for men. After one week, the men had improved blood vessel function and reduced stiffness in their arteries.
How does it work? CBD and other cannabinoids in hemp, alongside its terpenes, have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These could protect your blood vessel walls, giving them better elasticity and a reduced risk of plaque formation in the long term. We recommend a full-spectrum CBD oil rich in terpenes to make the most out of this benefit.
Better yet, regular CBD consumption could reduce the risk of diabetes. The same study showing improved testosterone levels revealed a lower rate of diabetes in men over 45. Only 3.4% of men aged 45-64 and 8.6% over 65 had diabetes. These rates were 12.1% and 19.8% in the general population.
CBD may also have indirect benefits. As seen in the 2020 survey, tobacco use was linked to worsened erectile function. Those who use CBD or other cannabis products, whether they smoke intoxicating strains or enjoy CBD-rich edibles, often substitute them for tobacco. Many make this switch to enjoy a relaxing effect without negative health consequences.
How Do I Find A Quality CBD Oil?
If you ask us, we recommend a full-spectrum CBD oil low in THC but high in terpenes. This maximizes the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits we mentioned earlier, and some terpenes such as limonene and myrcene add to CBD’s anxiety-relieving properties.
THC is seen as likely to impair male sexual function, including erections, because of its more potent relaxant properties. It’s also intoxicating, so it could dull your passion if the strain is too sedating.
Is CBD Oil Worth a Shot for Erectile Dysfunction?
While research is still in its earlier stages, CBD may be a promising supplement for male sexual function in many cases. Men with chronic diseases, a heightened risk of diabetes, anxiety, and men over 40 appear more likely to benefit than young, healthy men. Overall, CBD seems to have a regulatory effect on factors that affect sexual health.