Can CBD Support Fertility?
Fertility is a sensitive and personal subject
Making the decision to start a family is no doubt an exciting time, but the colossal expectations attached to conceiving makes the inability to do so much more overwhelming. Despite what you may see in the movies, children don’t always happen on the first attempt. Feelings of disappointment and failure can quickly follow, but the reality is, fertility requires our body to be in a delicate state of balance.
Stress, medication, lack of sleep, and age can all wreak havoc on our reproductive system. It is in these situations that many couples often turn their attention toward alternative remedies to improve fertility.
CBD and fertility—Is there a link?
Since the dawn of time, many herbs, natural remedies, and inventive sex positions have been used to improve conception. And while we are reasonably confident handstands do not improve your chances of conceiving, several supplements have been linked to enhanced fertility over the years.
The question of whether CBD is one of those supplements is challenging to answer. Not necessarily because it doesn’t help, but because there is not enough research to suggest it does. There are, however, some encouraging signs from preliminary studies.
For instance, a study from 1979 treated sperm cells in a rodent model with THC and CBD. While THC was found to cause mutations, “the incidence of abnormal sperm in the animals treated with cannabidiol (CBD) was not statistically different from the control value”. The problem, however, is that our understanding of CBD and the human body has advanced significantly in the last 40 years, making these results potentially outdated.
Unfortunately, the majority of fertility studies have focussed on marijuana, rather than isolating CBD specifically. CBD not only interacts with the body in a different way to THC, but has entirely different effects!
How could CBD support fertility?
Although more research is desperately needed, CBD may be able to support fertility in other ways. The compound has been linked to improvements in mood and relieving feelings of anxiety and stress.
Moreover, CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) could also prove key to supporting fertility. Several studies have suggested that enhanced levels of the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG play a role in fertility for both men and women.
In essence, CBD could help to improve the overall efficiency of the endocannabinoid system by promoting balance (homeostasis). One study mentioned above ended with closing remarks that the ECS has “emerged as an essential player in male and female reproduction”. Precisely how the ECS can be manipulated remains to be seen.
The future of CBD and fertility
At present, there is simply not enough research to establish any direct links between CBD and fertility. Moreover, a lack of distinction between marijuana and carefully selected non-toxic cannabinoids such as CBD further complicates the issue.
However, there may be promise in the compound's ability to encourage balance in our biological systems via its interactions with the ECS. By managing symptoms that can impact fertility, like stress, anxiety or a lack of sleep, CBD could play a valuable role in a couple's quest to conceive.