Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the world. Though it is legal now in Canada and many states in the U.S., there is still some ambiguity about its long-term effects.
One area of confusion is the link between marijuana usage and erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction affects 1 in 4 men under the age of 40, and the percentage climbs higher with age.
The question is, does marijuana help or hinder this unfortunate condition? And if it does help to create ED or other sexual dysfunctions, what if anything can be done about it?
What Is ED?
Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual condition that prevents a man’s ability to get or maintain an erection that is sufficient for sex. It happens when blood flow to the penis gets blocked or reduced.
Health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or a drastic change in hormones can cause ED. Not only can it result in strained relationships and embarrassment, but frequent ED can also be a sign of underlying health problems.
There are many factors that increase the likelihood of ED, and most of them have to do with lifestyle choices. A huge contributing factor is an inactive lifestyle. In most cases, erectile dysfunction will go away with frequent exercise and a healthy diet.
However, there are mental factors at play here too; stress and anxiety have been heavily cited as causes of ED. It’s hard to be in the mood when your mind is in overdrive.
Occasional ED isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. It’s linked to lack of sleep, work stress, performance anxiety, and a long list of other factors. If it becomes a regular occurrence, however, it might be time to seek medical attention.
Marijuana and ED
Some studies have shown a link between marijuana use and ED, though the research done so far has been conflicting. The main reason this could be true has more to do with the specific effects of marijuana than the drug itself.
There are two active compounds in the marijuana plant: cannabinoids (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis that causes the sensation of being high.
THC has many short-term effects including euphoria, mood changes, and altered senses. The euphoria caused by THC is often followed by a feeling of extreme drowsiness known as the burnout.
The “burnt out” feeling after smoking weed could lead to a decrease in arousal, which can potentially lead to ED. Marijuana can also have an effect on the circulatory system, resulting in higher blood pressure and an increased heart rate.
High blood pressure causes the artery walls to contract, causing less blood flow to important areas of the body (i.e., the penis). And lowered blood flow to the penis plays a big part in the difficulty to get or stay erect.
Another link between marijuana and ED has to do with the cannabinoid receptors present in the smooth muscle tissue of the penis.
These receptors pose the possibility that marijuana use interrupts the normal function of this tissue, though there is more research needed to confirm this theory.
Does Smoking Weed Cause Impotence?
While there have been some studies linking marijuana to impotency, the research is inconclusive. In fact, some have found that the opposite is true.
Some people experience increased arousal and an elevated desire for sex after they’ve smoked marijuana. Though it is possible that frequent marijuana use can make it harder for men to achieve orgasm.
There are many other factors at play, including the type of marijuana, the quantity, and the frequency you’re smoking.
The answer to this question isn’t as clear cut as we’d like. It’s more to do with your overall health and lifestyle as a whole. Most studies show that men who smoke and drink regularly have an increased chance of experiencing ED.
Though in many cases, regular exercise and a healthy diet can counter-balance or even completely cancel out the risk. The best cure for ED symptoms is to get off the couch and get moving.
Other Causes of ED
Most experts agree it’s unlikely that marijuana is 100% to blame for ED. There are too many other contributing factors.
For example, cigarettes and alcohol have a much bigger impact on ED than marijuana. Men who smoke weed alongside drinking and smoking cigarettes have an increased chance of experiencing the symptoms.
The act of smoking itself causes the veins and arteries to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure. With this in mind, smoking anything has the possibility of decreasing blood flow to the penis. But cigarettes are the worst culprit.
Alcohol is another leading cause of ED. Regularly drinking more than two drinks a day will restrict the blood flow to the penis. Drinking excessively also reduces the production of testosterone.
And testosterone is a key hormone for sexual health. Anything that negatively impacts the production of testosterone will inherently increase the chances of ED.
Another cause of ED is high cholesterol. And this is where the research into marijuana and ED gets conflicting. Certain strains of marijuana actually lower cholesterol.
So if you’re experiencing ED linked to high cholesterol, smoking marijuana could help reverse the symptoms.
As mentioned earlier on, an inactive lifestyle and being overweight are the biggest contributing factors to ED. Stress, anxiety, drinking, and smoking also have an impact.
Get Help For Your ED Right Now
Is there a definite link between marijuana and ED? The short answer is no. Some studies have found links between certain effects of marijuana and ED, but there is no conclusive evidence proving that marijuana on its own is to blame.
If you’re experiencing ED on a regular basis, consider your lifestyle. Making small changes to your daily routine by partaking in regular exercise, eating healthy and limiting your tobacco, alcohol and marijuana intake will go a long way.
Sufferers of diabetes might have an increased chance of experience ED, especially if the disease is being poorly managed.
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