Fertility is a sensitive and personal matter
Making the plan to start a family is certainly an exciting time, but the high expectations of conceiving make the inability to do so overwhelmingly. Despite what you see in the movies, kids don’t always come with the first try. Feelings of disappointment and failure can appear quickly, but the reality is that fertility requires our bodies to be in a delicate state of balance.
Stress, medication, lack of sleep, and age can wreak havoc on our reproductive system. In these situations, many couples often turn to alternative remedies to increase fertility.
CBD and fertility: are there a link?
Since the beginning of time, many herbs, natural remedies, and ingenious sexual positions have been used to promote conception. And as we convince ourselves that standing by does not improve our chances of conceiving, various supplements have emerged over the years to improve fertility.
The question of whether CBD is one of those supplements is difficult to answer. Not necessarily because it doesn’t help, but because there isn’t enough research to claim it. However, there are some preliminary studies that give us some encouraging signs.
For example, a 1979 research treated sperm cells with THC and CBD in a rodent model. Although THC was found to cause mutations, “the abnormal sperm rate in animals treated with CBD (cannabidiol) was not statistically different from the control value.” However, the problem is that our knowledge about CBD and the human body has advanced so far in the last 40 years that these results are very likely out of date.
Unfortunately, most fertility studies have focused on marijuana, rather than specifically isolating CBD. Not only does CBD interact with the body in a different way than THC, but it also has completely different effects.
How could CBD support fertility?
Although more research is desperately needed, CBD could support fertility in other ways. The compound has been linked to improvements in mood and relief from feelings of anxiety and stress.
Additionally, CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could also be key to supporting fertility. Several studies have suggested that improvement in the levels of the endocannabinoid’s anandamide and 2-AG play a vital role in the fertility of both men and women.
In short, CBD could help improve the overall efficiency of the endocannabinoid system by promoting balance (homeostasis). An aforementioned study concluded that ECS “has proven to be an essential part of male and female reproduction.” It remains to be proven how the ECS can be manipulated with precision.
Effect of CBD on the fertility of female
This powerful cannabinoid effects and reacts to women and men in different ways. For women, CBD can be beneficial in getting pregnant and also in helping during pregnancy and delivery. Many women are also turning to CBD due to its ability to mitigate the effects of THC. This can allow women who decided to use cannabis during pregnancy to decrease the effect of THC on their bodies as well as the fetus.
For women who are trying to get pregnant, promising evidence has shown that CBD can help with conception. While studies have shown that THC affects implantation and ovulation, and can even be linked to miscarriages, CBD has shown the opposite effects. Because CBD has a very powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, many women choose CBD during the uncomfortable stages of pregnancy and delivery.
Effect of CBD on male fertility
Evidence suggests that CBD may play a key role in a biological process essential for procreation called the acrosome reaction. This research found that when the GPR18 receptor is activated in sperm cells, this acrosomal reaction is triggered. During this process, the sperm cell is slightly altered as it moves towards the egg.
When the sperm “swims” towards the egg, digestive enzymes are released, and the sperm loses the protective “cap” on its head. This allows the sperm to get enter the egg effectively. Without the cooperation of this receptor and the ECS, this reaction would not occur, and fertilization would be impossible.
The future of CBD and fertility
Right now, there is simply not enough research to establish direct links between CBD and fertility. Furthermore, the lack of distinction between marijuana and selected non-toxic cannabinoids like CBD further complicates the problem.
However, there may be hope in the compound’s ability to promote balance in our biological systems through its interactions with ECS. By managing the symptoms that can affect fertility, such as stress, anxiety, or lack of sleep, insomnia CBD could play a valuable role in a partner’s attempt to conceive.