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CBD Oil and Birth Control – November 2020

Can CBD help with birth control, and if so, how?

There are several ways by which CBD may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control methods, primarily hormonal ones.

CBD has been shown to compete with estradiol, influence hormones, and interfere with how contraceptives are broken down in the body.

CBD Competes with Estradiol

Estradiol is one of three estrogen hormones naturally produced in the body. Increased estradiol levels precede the maturation and release of the egg from the ovary and the thickening of the uterus lining to implant a fertilized egg (1 ) .

A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics examined CBD’s interference with estrogen receptors in rats (2 ) . At large doses, cannabis exhibited neither estrogenic or non-estrogenic effects .

Of several other common cannabinoids tested, only cannabidiol competed with estradiol for estrogen receptor binding. This binding action was evident only at very high concentrations of cannabidiol.

The study found that CBD might compete with estradiol for estrogen receptors found in the female reproductive system.

Scientists believe this action is how CBD prevents estrogen-based contraceptives from working properly, possibly leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.

CBD Influences Sex Hormones

Hormonal contraceptives work by influencing hormone behavior. In a study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Reproductive Medicine , it was noted that the essential component for any hormonal contraceptive method is progestogen (3 ) .

Progestogens are synthetic forms of progesterone, a naturally occurring sex hormone. Progestogen’s primary role is to prevent ovulation through a negative feedback mechanism, resulting in a decrease in luteinizing hormone.

Luteinizing hormone is associated with reproduction and ovulation. Its stimulation of either ovary or testicles results in the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) in women or testosterone production in men (4 ) .

A study found that carefully-controlled regulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is required for successful reproduction, and marijuana from the Cannabis sativa plants may disrupt the delicate balance of the ECS in the female reproductive system (5 ) .

A study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research in 2019 examined the role of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive tissue s (6 ) .

The authors found that chronic exposure to cannabinoids resulted in reduced sperm count, serum testosterone levels, and reduced ovulation in women (5 ) .

In females, chronic exposure to cannabinoids delayed sexual maturation, caused menstrual cycle disruption, and reduced serum concentrations of sex hormones.

CBD Interferes with Metabolism of Contraceptives

Preclinical research shows that CBD is broken down by cytochrome P450 enzymes while functioning as a competitive inhibitor of the same liver enzymes (7 ) .

The cytochrome P450 enzyme system is responsible for breaking down over 60% percent of any drugs, including contraceptives (8 ) .

CBD can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times (9 ) .

When hormone-based contraceptives are taken with CBD, CBD can decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these oral contraceptives, which theoretically would increase the contraceptive hormone levels and increase the contraceptive’s effectiveness. However, unwanted side effects may occur as a result.

This enzyme-inhibiting action of CBD is suspected to increase breakthrough bleeding due to excess estrogen levels as a result of a slower breakdown. The role of marijuana or CBD on the effectiveness of oral contraceptives is unknown. Furthermore, marijuana is known to have adverse effects on fertility for both men and women. In women, it lowers the rate of ovulation which would lower pregnancy rates.

Conclusion

Further research is needed to determine what level of CBD impacts estrogen. Currently, there is no guideline as to the safe levels of CBD for women on birth control.

Before deciding to use CBD as a supplemental birth control method, consult with a doctor, preferably an obstetrician-gynecologist, who is experienced in cannabis use.

Given that CBD competes with contraceptives for estradiol as studies showed, estrogen-containing pills, injections, patches, and rings may be rendered weak or even ineffective when used with CBD.

Can CBD Affect My Birth Control?

Sections
  1. Is Taking CBD While Taking Birth Control Safe?
  2. Birth Control and the CYP Enzyme System – Why Does This Matter?
  3. Progestin-Only Pills vs Estrogen & Progestin pills
  4. 3 Simple Steps to Make Sure You’ll Be Safe When Taking CBD

Is Taking CBD While Taking Birth Control Safe?

We all want to be safe. None of us wants to be at risk of feeling bad or getting sick. Many people have actually asked whether if taking birth control and CBD at the same is ok, so if anyone is feeling silly for asking, don’t!

According to Statista, there is an average of 81.3% prevalence of contraceptive use in the UK, compared to an overall European average of 69.2%. This means that the United Kingdom is one of the highest-ranking users of contraceptives in Europe, and is currently ranked number one in all of Western Europe.

Also, though there are many different types of contraception available in the UK, one of the most prevalent methods is birth control pills.

In addition to this, the UK just legalised the use of CBD products. Therefore, it is quite natural to wonder whether or not CBD will affect your birth control pills, especially since it is a relatively new subject.

Unfortunately, there has not been enough research done on this subject to determine with certainty whether or not taking CBD alongside with birth control pills can lower their effectiveness.

However, there are few leads which some pharmacists and researchers have used as a base and theorised certain outcomes are interactions between CBD and birth control.

Birth Control and the CYP Enzyme System – Why Does This Matter?

The hormones in birth control pills are metabolised by the Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System. In short, it is called the CYP enzyme system. It is important to know a little bit about it before establishing whether or not CBD can actually alter the way these hormones are metabolised within your body.

The CYP enzyme system is within the liver and is responsible for metabolising different types of drugs found in common medications. Amongst these drugs or substances metabolised by the enzyme the hormones found in contraceptives such as birth control pills.

Just like grapefruit, CBD can affect how the CYP enzyme system metabolises drugs, and could possibly cause a higher or lower concentration of the drug within your system than was actually anticipated.

The main point to take away from all of this is that the CYP enzyme is responsible for metabolising the hormones in birth control, and can possibly be inhibited by CBD, according to this study.

Again, there still has not been enough research done on this subject. That means no one can say with 100% certainty or medical approval that CBD will, in fact, affect contraceptives, or that people who take birth control pills will get pregnant if they take CBD.

Progestin-Only Pills vs Estrogen & Progestin (Combination) Birth Control

Certain types of Birth Control can contain different hormones, one is a progesterone-only pill (sometimes called the mini pill), and another is a combination hormone pill, meaning it combines estrogen and progesterone in one.

According to the NHS (Natural Health Services) in Canada, the type of birth control pills that you’re taking might make a difference. They state that contraceptives that contain the estrogen hormone can be at a higher risk of not working the way they should because of the interaction of CBD and the CYP enzyme system. These can include tablets, injections, the patch or rings.

Contraceptives That May Contain Estrogen Oral Contraceptives and Injections can also come in Progesterone only formats
Progesterone Only Contraceptives Injections and Oral Contraceptives can also contain a combination of Estrogen and Progesterone
Non-Hormonal Contraceptives All of these methods of Birth Control do not contain any hormones. Meaning, there is no chance of interactions with the CYP enzyme system

The majority of these concerns all stem from a study in 1983 which found that cannabinoids can compete with estradiol (the major female sex hormone) and may prevent any estrogen-based contraception from working effectively. This can lead to spotting and an increased risk of pregnancy.

While there has not been enough concrete evidence to find if CBD truly affects birth control, if this is a major concern of yours, then it may be best to talk to your doctor about contraceptives. Progesterone-only contraceptives have been recommended or even an IUD.

It is important to note that there are many other herbal remedies and even medications that interact with birth control such as St John’s Wort and even Garlic Pills. It is always essential to be careful when taking any supplements.

At the moment, there are some studies being done to determine if CBD and birth control interactions could increase the risk of certain side effects, but right now, we still don’t know exactly what could happen.

3 Simple Steps to Make Sure You’ll Be Safe When Taking CBD

  1. The first thing that you should do before taking any supplements or any new substance for that matter is to talk to your doctor or specialist. I know that sometimes researching online seems efficient, and it gives us all a sense of accomplishment. But it’s very important to talk to someone who knows about your health and has a valid, professional medical opinion.
  2. Another important step to take before buying and taking CBD is to make sure you are getting it from a reliable, reputable source. Of course, many of the CBD companies and brands you find on the high street market in the UK are definitely reputable and reliable, and will always give you high-quality CBD.
  3. The third step that you can take towards making sure that you’ll be safe when taking CBD is doing your research on the brand, and on the product. While I did mention it is very important to know where your CBD is sourced from, it can help if you find a brand that you know you can trust.

As of today, there are so many great resources that you can use to find out what’s inside of the CBD you are taking. These usually consist of third-party lab results, and they usually show the actual CBD content, if there are any herbicides or pesticides and if there any heavy metals.

Although we don’t have enough concrete evidence about CBD’s effect on birth control, you may want to look into the CYP enzyme system and how it interacts with other substances. I have found this study to be very informative and very clear on the subject.

Otherwise, we hope you have found this blog to be informative, and if you want to learn more about CBD and its different facets, please visit our blog page!

Are you on birth control but want to try CBD? Concerned it could interfere with your medication? Find out the truth on CBD Scanner today!