Among the most popular CBD searches on Google is the age-old problem for men: How to use CBD for ED. ED, short for erectile dysfunction, is a common condition that affects many men of all ages making it one of the more common sexual health issues in the world so it’s no wonder folks are turning to more natural avenues to fix the flaccid issue.
In this post, we’re going to talk about,
- What erectile dysfunction is,
- Whether or not CBD for ED is a viable option,
- And, what else you can do to address ED’s endless causes
What Is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol and is one of the more than 100 naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. We find CBD in abundance in specifically bred hemp flower.
By itself, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid meaning it will not make you feel intoxicated and does not lead to dependency.
While experts aren’t entirely sure how CBD interacts with your body, we do know that it works closely with your endocannabinoid system; an intricate cell-signaling system that manages bodily functions like:
- Central Nervous System Development
- And more…
What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?
Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction is characterized by the persisting inability to achieve or maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction shouldn’t be confused with the occasional difficulty achieving an erection due to stress, performance anxiety, or fatigue.
Erectile dysfunction is categorized as such because of its ongoing nature that affects the quality of life and makes it difficult for a man to engage in sexual activity. ED can also cause reduced sexual desire and ejaculation issues.
ED can also be a symptom of a more serious illness like atherosclerosis (blocked arteries), heart disease, and high blood sugar. If you started experiencing consistent issues getting and maintaining an erection, you should see a healthcare professional.
The Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
ED can be caused by both physical and psychological issues, often working together. Some of the most common causes of ED include:
Conditions that negatively affect blood flower can impede blood supply to the penis making it difficult to get and maintain an erection.
Excessive body weight can cause many other issues including hormonal imbalances, type II diabetes, and vascular issues, all of which can contribute to ED.
Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other nerve injuries can disrupt the signals responsible for initiating and maintaining an erection.
Many medications used to treat high blood pressure (like beta blockers), depression, and anxiety (SSRIs & SNRIs) list erectile dysfunction as a side effect.
Smoking cigarettes or using alcohol excessively can interfere with the signals sent to your brain that tell the penis to fill with blood. Substance use can also reduce testosterone production which can negatively affect ED.
Anxiety & Depression
Performance anxiety, depression, and general anxiety can all interfere with the way your brain communicates with your penis, thus further exacerbating the anxiety.
Sometimes your body just won’t listen to your brain. Getting and maintaining an erection takes energy. Excessive fatigue can lead to temporary ED.
Can You Use CBD For ED?
This is a tricky question. Because erectile dysfunction can be caused by so many underlying issues, it’s impossible to say whether or not CBD will be able to help. Not only that, but it would be irresponsible to do so.
CBD cannot help with ED’s underlying issues like obesity, neurological injuries, substance use, and more. You should be wary of any company or brand that claims that their CBD products can help with ED. That would be like if superfood producers said that their anti-oxidant-rich acai bowls could prevent cancer. Irresponsible.
Can CBD Act Like Viagra?
Not only will CBD not address most of the underlying issues of erectile dysfunction, it won’t address the symptom itself. CBD will not act like Viagra (Sildenafil citrate) and will not give you an erection.
CBD And ED’s Underlying Causes
While CBD won’t address most of the physical causes of ED, it may be able to help with some of the underlying psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.
A 2015 review of nearly 50 independent studies suggested that CBD may help alleviate generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and other forms of anxiety.1 If it is true that CBD helps with anxiety, using CBD before a sexual encounter may help with performance-related anxiety and leave you more at ease, thus helping with situational ED.
While CBD won’t help with immediate fatigue as it doesn’t act like a stimulant, using CBD to better manage your sleep may help with fatigue in the long run. Many people use CBD oils and infused edibles to help with sleep-related issues.
Does CBD Help With Blood Flow?
One last avenue that’s worth mentioning is CBD’s effect on blood flow. There aren’t many large-scale studies yet, but a few suggest CBD may help increase blood flow to the brain after one dose, and more generally after repeated dosing.2 While we don’t know why this is, some preclinical studies have shown that CBD use can reduce vascular inflammation in isolated arteries.
CBD And ED Studies
As of this writing, there are only a handful of studies into the link between cannabis use and erectile dysfunction and even fewer into the link between CBD specifically and ED.
A study published in 2019 in the American Journal of Men’s Health found that their data suggested that ED is twice as high in cannabis users than in the control group.3 While there could be many reasons why that’s the case, it warrants further research and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Instead Of CBD, Focus On…
Cannabidiol (CBD) as of right now isn’t a viable treatment for ED and likely never will be. Instead of getting discouraged, focus instead on the underlying causes of ED,
Better sleep will help you in so many facets of life including lowering stress, reducing anxiety, curbing impulsivity, and more. More sleep also means more energy and if you struggle with fatigue-related ED symptoms, getting a solid eight hours of rest could certainly help you.
Related: CBN For Sleep
Finding better ways to manage stress and addressing chronic stress will help you get better sleep, make maintaining a diet easier, and make you feel better. Getting rid of stress is easier said than done though and will take some trial and error. When you find something that works for you, keep at it!
Exercise, and especially regular cardio sessions, will help your heart and vascular system immensely. If your ED is related to your heart health, doing regular cardio exercises will help you immensely.
CBD For Erectile Dysfunction: The Flacid Truth
The idea that CBD can help with ED is one dreamt up by marketers to sell you CBD products. If you come across any cannabis or CBD brands that claim that their products can help solve your erection issues, be very wary. Are those claims backed by any scientific studies? And, if they are, who paid for those studies?
The unfortunate truth here is that while CBD may be able to help with a lot of things, maintaining an erection isn’t one of them.
- Blessing, Esther M et al. “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders.” Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics vol. 12,4 (2015): 825-36. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
- Sultan, Salahaden R et al. “The effects of acute and sustained cannabidiol dosing for seven days on the haemodynamics in healthy men: A randomised controlled trial.” British journal of clinical pharmacology vol. 86,6 (2020): 1125-1138. doi:10.1111/bcp.14225
- Pizzol, Damiano et al. “Relationship Between Cannabis Use and Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” American journal of men’s health vol. 13,6 (2019): 1557988319892464. doi:10.1177/1557988319892464