Cannabis is a hot topic right now. As more and more states legalize cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, people are beginning to ask questions about the plant. One question that has been on many people’s minds is whether or not cannabis can cause erectile dysfunction. In this blog post, we will take a look at the research on this topic and try to answer the question: does cannabis use cause ED?
Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes
Cannabis is a plant that contains many different chemicals. The most well-known of these chemicals is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the chemical responsible for the “high” that people feel when they use cannabis. Cannabis also contains cannabidiol (CBD), which does not make people feel high but does have some medicinal effects.
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In recent years, more and more states have legalized cannabis for medicinal use. Cannabis is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain relief
- Appetite stimulation
- Anxiety disorders
- Sleep disorders
Cannabis vs. the Brain
Cannabis interacts with the brain in a variety of ways. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors, which are found in many different parts of the brain. These receptors are involved in a variety of brain functions, including:
- Pain perception
- Motor control
The short-term effects of cannabis use include:
- Increased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Reduced blood pressure
- Impaired short-term memory
- Anxiety or paranoia (in high doses)
Short-term memory problems are one of the most well-known effects of cannabis use. THC affects the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for short-term memory. This is why people who use cannabis may have trouble remembering things that happened while they were high.
Cannabis and Erectile Dysfunction
Now that we know a little bit more about how cannabis interacts with the brain let’s look at the research on cannabis and erectile dysfunction.
A study published in the American Journal of Men’s Health in 2019 found a link between regular cannabis use and erectile dysfunction. The study included data from 3,395 healthy men, 1,035 using cannabis (smoking), and 2,360 non-users. The overall prevalence of ED in cannabis users was 69.1%, while the correspondent figure in controls (non-users) was 34.7%. The data suggest that ED is twice as high in cannabis users compared to non-cannabis users.
A controlled study of sexual function in men with cannabis use by the Journal of Substance Use found that erectile and orgasmic function in men who regularly used cannabis was significantly lower than in men who did not use cannabis.
So, what does this all mean?
At this point, the research is inconclusive. However, there is growing evidence that regular cannabis use may be a risk factor for ED. More research is needed to confirm this link and to explore the potential mechanisms involved.
If you are concerned about erectile function, schedule an appointment with our Sexual Health Specialist at Madison Wellness & Aesthetics Center. Call (256) 722-0555 or complete the online booking form.