Birth control methods have been prevalent in the past six decades and they have helped women when they choose not to get pregnant. The most common forms of birth control are pills but there are other methods such as skin patches and injectables. With the now common use of CBD for health problems, there is a huge question as to how it affects the use of birth control methods. CBD is a powerful remedy and it tends to interact with some pharmaceutical drugs. Research has found that as CBD enters the body, it interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system which regulates hormones and other systems. It tends to interact with the female body in different ways and it affects how supplements and other medications act in the body. Some people have actually reported that indeed CBD interfere with their hormonal birth control methods. Other women have reported certain side effects, menstrual problems and even unwanted pregnancies. That is why people are now concerned about its interference with birth control methods since users still want to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
There are a number of ways in which CBD may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control methods, especially hormonal ones.
CBD Interferes with the Way Drugs are Processed in the Body
According to one study published in 2011, high doses of CBD are powerful enough to interact with other medications by slowing down the activity of cytochrome P450, a liver enzyme that helps the body to process at least 60% of all medications that people take. Apparently, grapefruit acts in a similar manner and if any medication advices a consumer to avoid grapefruit, then they should also consider avoiding CBD which is very strong at inhibiting cytochrome P450. This is the same way in which CBD inhibits the processing of THC, meaning that taking a certain amount of THC alone may cause psychoactive effects but taking the same amount together with CBD may prevent the psychoactive effect. For that reason, scientists believe that taking broad spectrum CBD may have a different effect than taking CBD isolate in its effect on birth control methods. But then, research is required to find out which form of CBD is safer for women on birth control.
This enzyme inhibiting action of CBD is suspected to increase breakthrough bleeding. It is also believed to decrease the effectiveness of estrogen-based contraceptives, leading to high risks of unwanted pregnancies. However, this matter is still being studied to find out how far CBD may increase this risk and the risk of blood clots and breast cancer.
CBD Competes for Estradol
One of the last research studies on CBD’s interference with hormonal birth control was done in the 1983. The study found that CBD appeared to compete with estradol, an important female hormone, for estrogen receptors found in the female reproductive system. The scientists believe this is how CBD prevents estrogen-based contraceptives from working properly. (1). From that time there has been no focus on the subject maybe because cannabis was illegal in most Western countries and in some of those countries clinical trials on cannabis were not allowed. Now that CBD has become legal in the US, it is hoped that there will be more research, including clinical trials, in the near future.
CBD Influences Hormone Behavior
It is already known that hormonal contraceptives work by influencing hormone behavior. One study has found that when CBD enters the body, it interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system to influence the release of hormones. It is quite possible that the two can easily interfere with each other, or more correctly, that CBD interferes with the way hormonal contraceptives work. As a result, a hormonal contraceptive can easily be rendered ineffective, which may lead to unwanted pregnancy.
The Type of Contraception Matters
CBD seems to interfere with hormones and that tends to affect hormone-based contraceptives. However, the type of contraception that a woman uses may make a difference. Because CBD competes with contraceptives for estradol, estrogen-containing pills, injections, patches and rings may be rendered weak or even ineffective. The implication for women is that they may want to move away from estrogen-based contraceptives when they decide to take CBD for health reasons. So far there is no indication that progesterone-only contraceptives can be affected so women may consider going onto them until there is proof that they may be affected as well. Alternatively, women can continue on their estrogen-based birth control methods as long as they supplement with additional birth control methods such as condoms. Research is required to determine what level of CBD affects estrogen therefore at the present moment there is no guideline as to the safe levels of CBD for women on birth control.
CBD Affects Different Women Differently
Some women have claimed that CBD interferes with their birth control. Other women have taken CBD for a long time while taking hormonal birth control and they have not experienced any negative effects or any side effects. That is why there are people who do not believe that CBD does indeed interfere with birth control. However, in the absence of scientific verification, this can be explained by the fact that CBD acts differently in different female bodies. To be on the safe side, women should simply supplement their birth control with condoms or move over to progesterone-based contraception when they decide to use CBD
CBD has a long list of health benefits and it seems to either equal and sometimes exceed the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs. It also has the advantage of having no side effects for some people or mild to moderate side effects at higher doses that most people can tolerate. That is why an increasing number of people are using it for their health conditions and even for beauty purposes. However, it appears that CBD does indeed affect the effectiveness of estrogen-based birth control methods. Women are therefore advised to be cautious when taking CBD while also taking birth control.
NOTE: Kushly.com does not support wild, unverified claims that CBD is a “magic bullet” for any illness. Instead, we refer everyone to academic research on CBD, carried out by medical professionals and credible institutions.
- Sauer M.A and others. (1983, Feb). The Journal for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Marijuana: interaction with the estrogen receptor.