How Does CBD Affect Testosterone?
Read Time: 4 minutes
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. CBD has gained immense popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits, such as reducing anxiety, soothing inflammation, and promoting better sleep. There has been a growing interest in exploring the connection between CBD and how it might affect bodily functions like libido and testosterone levels. In this blog, we’ll examine the current research on CBD and its potential impact on testosterone levels in the body, as well as offer some product suggestions.
The Endocrine System and Testosterone
Before diving into the research on CBD and testosterone, it's essential to understand the role of testosterone in the body. Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced primarily in the testicles.¹ It plays a crucial role in male development, including the growth of muscles, bone density, and body hair. Testosterone also influences other vital aspects, including sex drive, sperm production, and mood.
The endocrine system regulates the body's production and release of hormones, including testosterone. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland control the production of testosterone in the testicles. These two systems communicate to trigger the body to produce testosterone. Sometimes, these systems have trouble communicating for a few reasons, such as aging, testicular injuries or diseases, chronic illnesses, hormonal disorders, obesity, improper diet, stress, sleep-related conditions, or certain medications.²
Low testosterone (or hypogonadism) can greatly affect men's overall health and well-being. In addition to decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction, low testosterone may cause fatigue, reduced energy levels, depression, and anxiety. Prolonged low testosterone levels may lead to decreased muscle mass and even osteoporosis.
Given the potential consequences of low testosterone, you might wonder if CBD helps or harms testosterone levels in the body. While more research is needed to fully understand CBD's effects on testosterone in humans, current evidence suggests that CBD is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on testosterone levels. We'll break that down in the next section.
CBD and Testosterone
The existing library of research on the two is, unfortunately, lacking. The only study directly examining the relationship between CBD and testosterone was a survey of over 28,000 men and women.³
The study found that CBD did not significantly affect testosterone, thought it did reduce daytime drowsiness. CBD did not increase or decrease testosterone, but older men were found to have less prevalence of low testosterone levels compared to population norms adjusted for age.
Remember that the study's findings have not been peer-reviewed or repeated, so the relationship between CBD and testosterone is still in the air. That being said, if you're concerned about low testosterone levels, you should always talk to your doctor to explore the underlying causes and find a treatment option that works for you.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Testosterone
While research suggests that CBD may not affect testosterone levels, it may affect other areas of the body that affect testosterone levels. CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system or ECS.⁴ Your ECS is a system of chemical messengers called endocannabinoids and receptors found throughout your body and central nervous system that helps to regulate a few natural bodily processes.
Your ECS is responsible for keeping you balanced or homeostatic. It uses chemical messengers to regulate things like your sleeping and waking cycle, appetite, mood, inflammatory and immune responses, and more. Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system may also play a role in regulating the production and release of hormones like testosterone in the body.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, and some evidence suggests that it may help keep your ECS leveled out.⁵ While the current research suggests that CBD may not have a significant impact on testosterone levels in the body, some studies have shown that CBD may have other potential benefits that support the balance you need to experience normal testosterone levels.
Evidence suggests that CBD may help reduce stress and anxiety, which may positively impact sex drive and performance.⁶ Stress often leads to low testosterone levels or erectile dysfunction.⁷ One study found that CBD may affect the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body by interacting with the ECS.⁸ Lower levels of cortisol may leave you feeling more relaxed and balanced.
Some research also suggests that CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce pain and inflammation in the body, potentially improving overall physical function.⁹ For people experiencing chronic pain, testicular injuries, or a sedentary lifestyle experiencing decreased testosterone, this extra balance may be beneficial for getting your natural testosterone levels and mood back on track.
Sleep may also help lower testosterone levels, and according to research testosterone levels typically peak during sleep and are lower during waking hours.¹⁰ Poor sleep quality or inadequate sleep duration can increase stress levels and negatively impact testosterone production. Evidence suggests that CBD may work with the ECS to help regulate your sleeping and waking cycle, making for a healthier lifestyle, lowering stress levels, and improving performance.¹¹
While current research suggests that CBD isn't going to increase or decrease your testosterone levels, it might play a role in some of the other factors that affect your testosterone levels, like stress, poor sleep, and inflammation.
CBD isn't a cure-all and won't solve issues like low testosterone, but by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, CBD might help your body and mind find the balance needed to function at their best. You should always talk to your doctor before taking CBD to rule out potential complications.
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