Erectile dysfunction, in short, is a common sexual problem that affects the mental and physical health of most men. Do the therapeutic properties of CBD oil help treat ED? How to use CBD oil? Let’s discuss it.
To be sure, there is an increase in demand, supply, and reputation for CBD products for their wide application in managing various conditions. But, when it comes to erectile dysfunction, most men are embarrassed to talk about it. In such a case, can the therapeutic potential of cannabis-based CBD products help treat erectile dysfunction symptoms? Although we have discussed the multiple therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, it is essential to understand the nature of any disorder so that the evaluation of the reparative role of CBD can be more effective, in this case, erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction: the biggest health concern
Various websites, blog posts, and social media references point out that up to 30 million men of different age groups are affected by erectile dysfunction. Although this may be true, our Hemppedia editorial team has wanted to analyze the ED data from a different perspective.
Although erectile dysfunction is a common cause of concern in men’s health, not many people know that it is treatable.
Did you know that during the forecast period 2019-2025, the global market size for erectile dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Tadalafil, Alpostadil cream and more) is valued at 2.93 billion US dollars in 2025? It is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5%.
These figures seem more alarming than the incidence of ED. Are the data a result of the effect of the commercialization of erectile dysfunction drugs, or do they indicate that more people are susceptible to it?
When it comes to men’s health, among the 10 most concerning conditions, depression, diabetes and alcohol addiction rank high. Although these are comorbidities, they are fundamental factors that lead to erectile dysfunction. Furthermore, this condition is usually multifactorial, meaning that one or more causes lead to this debilitating situation.
Let’s understand better.
What is erectile dysfunction?
The Consensus Conference of the National Institutes of Health has defined erectile dysfunction (ED) as “a constant inability to achieve or maintain an erection of the penis, or both, sufficient to have adequate sexual relations.”
Some people refer to erectile dysfunction as impotence, but it is not a term widely used by healthcare professionals.
Types of sexual dysfunction
A 2004 study 1 identifies five types of sexual dysfunction that affect men.
- Low libido (sexual interest)
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Premature ejaculation (reaching orgasm too quickly)
- Orgasm delay or inhibition
- Physical abnormalities of the penis
Although there are correlations between these types, this article aims to discuss erectile dysfunction in detail. Equally important is looking at the potential benefits of CBD oil for managing erectile dysfunction symptoms.
Causes of erectile dysfunction
A 2017 study 2 reports that erectile dysfunction is a natural part of aging. Its appearance increases with age together with testosterone (androgen) deficiency. The decrease in testosterone causes a decrease in erections, decreasing the blood supply to the penis. Consequently, the penis fails to create rigid erections. Therefore, erectile dysfunction not only affects sexual life, but could also indicate the existence of undiagnosed coronary heart disease (CAD) and diabetes mellitus.
References from the 2016 Erectile Dysfunction Study 3 and a 2018 Study 4 report on the causes of ED. They are presented in the form of a simplified table as indicated below.
1. ORGANIC CAUSES
|Endocrine factors||Non-endocrine factors|
|Reduction of serum testosterone levels||Vasculogenic: affect blood flow, clog arteries. For example: hypertension, high blood pressure, smoking.|
|Hormonal imbalances, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, mood, anger.||Neurogenic: abnormalities in neuronal relationships. For example: spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, lumbar disc disease, traumatic brain injury, etc.|
|Metabolic disorders, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus||Iatrogenesis: medical or surgical treatment of a pelvic fracture or pelvic surgery.|
|Tissue disorders||Kidney disease, enlarged prostate, urinary tract infection|
2. NON-ORGANIC CAUSES
|Psychogenic factors||Confounding factors|
|DE mediated by adrenaline.||Acochol consumption.|
|Stress, depression, and anxiety are jointly defined as increased anxiety.||Periodontal diseases, oral health|
|avoidance of sex due to performance anxiety, lack of sexual desire, loss of self-esteem, impaired quality of life.||Medications used to treat erectile dysfunction, antiulcer drugs, opiates, drugs for hypertension, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, etc.|
|Psychiatric symptoms, personality disorders, social anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia.||Lack of physical activity leads to hyperlipidemia|
Summarizing from the two previous tables, we have understood that erectile dysfunction is a multifactorial condition. A combination of organic, non-organic, and lifestyle-related factors contribute to the development of the disorder.
More key highlights from the 2016 Erectile Dysfunction Study 5 :
- There is a strong correlation between erectile dysfunction and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with mild benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or an enlarged prostate gland.
- Erectile dysfunction often precedes cardiovascular conditions. Therefore, it can be used as an early indicator to determine important cardiovascular problems.
- Tobacco addiction increases the risk of erectile dysfunction, since smoking has a direct impact on it.
Key points from the 2017 study 6 :
- Vascular diseases are the most common causes of erectile dysfunction, but the exact pathway is still unknown.
- There is a relationship between chronic periodontitis (CP) and erectile dysfunction because both diseases share common risk factors and cause endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, men with mild to severe erectile dysfunction showed a higher prevalence of CP.
(Chronic periodontitis is a common disease of the oral cavity that causes chronic inflammation of the periodontal tissues and the accumulation of dental plaque)
Also, research suggests that erectile dysfunction can start due to injury to the penis from sport or accident, autoimmune diseases, Peyronie’s disease, medical or family history, etc. All this influences sexual health, sexual disorders or painful sexual relations.
How to treat erectile dysfunction?
There are several treatment options for treating erectile dysfunction. If you seek professional medical advice in time, you can improve your sex life and general well-being.
A 2014 study 7 notes that reports of erectile dysfunction date back to 2000 BC.
The 2016 study 5 reports that, since the 15th century, interest in this topic and its remedies has remained constant.
Therefore, we can say that modern advanced treatments for erectile dysfunction have been inspired and oriented by conventional remedies.
Let’s briefly look at some of the current remedies in practice to treat erectile dysfunction.
- Oral Prescription Medications
- Implantable devices in the penis
- Surgery (Reconstruction of the artery)
- Injectable medications and suppositories
- Alternative medicines, Dietary supplements, Botanical medicines made from plants and herbs.
Oral prescription drugs:
Oral medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil are PDE5 inhibitors. They help to relax the tissues of the penis and stimulate sexual arousal, which allows to improve sexual performance or prolong sexual intercourse. Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) helps increase blood flow to the penis by relaxing the blood vessels.
From a 2013 study 8 we can understand that PDE5 is an enzyme found in the penis and clitoris, in smooth vascular, bladder and prostate muscles, and in platelets.
Research suggests that complete care should be exercised when treating patients with erectile dysfunction. Especially by examining his other health problems, his history and his psychological tests, accompanied by constant monitoring. Because, unlike natural supplements, these prescription drugs have side effects.
For example, the 2005 study 9 reports that, although sildenafil is safe in men with coronary heart disease, it should not be used with nitrates. And the side effects include headache, flushing, and dyspepsia.
Implantable prostheses or devices:
Implantable devices or prostheses are physical objects, usually one to three pieces.
The device is placed inside the penis through a surgical procedure. After recovery from surgery, the patient can control his erection with the help of the implant.
External devices, such as vacuum erection devices, help to achieve an erection. In them, the penis is inserted through a cylindrical plastic vacuum tube to draw blood into the penis. An elastic ring is placed at the base of the penis to prevent blood from returning to the body.
Reconstruction of the arteries:
The cerebral, nervous and vascular systems intervene in the physiological process of erection. The process begins with the brain, which sends arousal signals to the nerves in the penis and transmits them to the spinal cord and penis to cause an erection. When the nerve impulse reaches the two erection chambers of the penis (corpora cavernosa), it relaxes the tissue of the penis and the blood vessels in the chambers fill with blood. Later, the penis swells and traps blood, making it hard and erect.
Arterial surgery is a remedy to help erectile function normally by removing obstructions in the penile chambers and creating better blood flow.
A 2013 study 10 reports that penile vascular reconstructive surgery should be a promising option in the near future provided it is handled with caution and with proper surgical methods.
Injectable drugs and suppositories:
Injectable medications cause automatic erections, unlike oral medications.
For example, alprostadil is injected into the penis and as a urethral suppository.
Suppositories are pills specially designed to deliver certain medications through the anal or vaginal cavity. They usually have a conical or oval shape that contains the medicine.
New Advances in Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
The 2014 study 7 analyzed in detail the new technological advances in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Such as external penile support devices, vibrators, low intensity extracorporeal shock waves, impulse magnetic field therapy, tissue engineering, nanotechnology, endovascular treatment, and newer penile implants.
More and more people are turning to unconventional approaches to health care, alien to Western practices. Among them are contemporary alternative medicines and integrative therapies.
Alternative medicines include herbal products, nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and probiotics available in the form of tablets, powders, syrups, capsules, teas, and extracts. The global complementary and alternative medicine market size is valued at US $ 82.27 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.03% from 2021 to 2028.
A recent study 11 reports that the FDA is developing a framework under which CBD-containing products could be labeled as dietary supplements, supported by expanded research, a corporate stewardship program, and a rigorous adverse event reporting system.
Does CBD Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms?
We may not always get direct answers to what we are looking for.
We are aware that research is insufficient in several areas of medical cannabis and its pharmacological aspects.
But, Hemppedia has compiled several blog posts on the various therapeutic aspects of cannabidiol CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis sativa plant. Additionally, we have also talked about other cannabinoids (CBG, acid forms, THCA, THC, CBDA) and their potential health benefits in managing mental, neurological, pain and inflammatory conditions and much more.
So, let’s try to connect a few dots and explore the role of cannabinoids in improving the quality of life of men affected by erectile dysfunction.
In this blog post, we discuss the symptoms of endocrine, non-endocrine, psychogenic, and compound factors that lead to erectile dysfunction.
The 2018 study 12 confirmed that endogenous cannabinoids have a role in regulating food intake and energy homeostasis of the body, and have a significant impact on the endocrine system, including the activity of the pituitary gland, the adrenal cortex, the thyroid gland, pancreas, and gonads. This establishes the interrelationships between the endocannabinoid system (SEC) and the endocrine system and could be a potential target to test the therapeutic benefits of various drugs in the treatment of infertility, obesity, diabetes, and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Let’s recall once again the neurogenic causes of erectile dysfunction.
- In the blog post, CBD for Multiple Sclerosis, we had pointed out the benefits of using CBD to treat Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to improve the quality of life for most patients.
A study published in 2013 13 in the journal “Neurobiology of Disease” addresses this issue. It confirms the long-lasting protection of cannabidiol (CBD) against the harmful effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis.
- CBD blocks a receptor known as GPR6, which is known to cause some movement disorders in Parkinson’s patients. Another study showed positive results and improved the quality of life of affected patients without any other psychiatric disorder.
- The blog post on CBD for sport brings to light references to studies looking at the use of cannabis and CBD for high-risk sports professionals. Highlighted here is the role of CBD in decreasing inflammatory cell activation, mood enhancements for traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and pain management.
- CBD can stimulate the growth of the hippocampus, thus causing the creation of new neurons. Neurogenesis can be a powerful method of reducing the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. In addition, cannabis and its components help relieve depression and stabilize moods (induced by chronic stress) by activating the paralimbic and limbic areas of the patient’s brain. CBD has a role in modulating serotonin levels and promoting restful sleep.
- CBD for an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia): BPH is an enlarged prostate condition, not necessarily cancer. Symptoms such as painful urination, pain in the hips and pelvic area, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, and frequent urination appear. Urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, and increased testosterone production can also lead to BPH.
Let’s quickly understand some terms. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that regulates sex drive or libido, bone and muscle mass, fat, red blood cells, and sperm production. And, the Leydig cells present in the seminiferous tubules of the testicle are responsible for producing testosterone, the male sex hormone.
Therefore, it is worth highlighting the role of CBD in the inhibition of testosterone. A 1979 study 14 reported that cannabinoids in very low concentrations can directly interfere in Leydig cells with the synthesis of proteins and testosterone, and therefore with their function.
- Having discussed the role of CBD, a few points about THC are worth mentioning.
Two hormones are essential for reproduction (both male and female): Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). These are secreted by the pituitary gland called gonadotrophs.
A 1984 study 15 reports that THC decreases LH and FSH, responsible for the reduction of testosterone production by the Leydig cells of the testes. Additionally, THC suppresses prolactin, thyroid gland function, and growth hormone, while elevating adrenal cortical steroids.
In essence, we have understood that sex is more than a physical relationship. The homeostasis of the mind and body together play a crucial role in sexual health and vice versa.
How to use CBD oil for erectile dysfunction?
The exact way CBD oil works for erectile dysfunction is not fully known yet. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and it doesn’t get you high. However, the calming and relaxing properties of CBD regulate mood, stress, and performance anxiety, thus increasing libido.
There are only tertiary references on the use of CBD products derived from cannabis, including CBD oil, capsules, concentrates, CBD edibles, CBD lubricant or lubricants to control pain, discomfort in erectile dysfunction .
Since there are different formulations of CBD, the best and easiest choice is CBD oil. CBD oil comes in different strengths and strengths. Most importantly, in the context of erectile dysfunction, as we have discussed the negative effects of THC on male hormonal function, is to ensure that you purchase high-quality CBD products that do not contain THC.
- The best oral route of administration is sublingual.
- The best oral route of administration is sublingual. Take a few drops under the tongue, wait a couple of seconds until the oil is absorbed quickly since this way avoids the first step.
- Keep the dosage to a minimum for 3-4 weeks, take a week off and continue dosing. This method of administration may help you establish an understanding of your body chemistry.
- Erectile dysfunction affects more than 150 million men worldwide, according to studies.
- Erectile dysfunction is not just a result of aging, but a consequence of an underlying physical problem.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis causes erectile dysfunction.
- Erectile dysfunction is treatable as long as men echo it and consult a urologist to discuss their sexual health.
- The Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS) found that the probability of severe depression in men affected by erectile dysfunction was about 90%.
- Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disorders can lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, adopting a Mediterranean diet, and getting plenty of sleep can help manage overall health.
- CBD oil can provide you with an overall calming effect that makes your mind relax and shake off stress and anxiety.
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