Is It Safe to Take CBD While on Birth Control?
CBD (Cannabidiol) has many known benefits including helping to reduce anxiety, promote sleep and even as a remedy to cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. And to top those benefits off, CBD is generally well-tolerated by most people and doesn’t pose any extreme side effects. It’s even been reported as safe to use by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
However, CBD does tend to have interactions with certain medications and can potentially impact their effectiveness. Hormonal contraceptives, like “the pill”, patches, implants, certain Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and the ring, are some of them. We’ll break down how the interaction between CBD and birth control is thought to occur and why it might be a good idea for you to use other forms of contraception while taking CBD.
We also recommend that you consult with a medical practitioner if you’re already on medication before taking CBD.
How does CBD interact with birth control?
When you take a dose of CBD, it interacts with your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which also has its own natural cannabinoids. The ECS has many roles and responsibilities to play and one of them is hormone regulation. That’s why you can take CBD as a natural treatment option to help if your hormones are off-balance.
CBD is thought to affect the body in different ways. It interacts with birth control because it:
- Affects levels of oestrogen
Because of the role CBD plays in regulating hormones, it can affect the way hormonal contraceptives function. A study has shown that high concentrations of CBD compete with estradiol, the naturally occurring oestrogen. This is the hormone that influences sexual development and fertility. In order to fall pregnant, your body needs to have an optimal level of oestrogen. The study showed that CBD prevented the formation of estradiol by acting as an aromatase inhibitor. Because of this interaction, it’s believed that CBD can affect the way birth control functions.
- Boosts fertility
There is also the thought that CBD actually boosts both male and female fertility. Because CBD can boost the functioning of the ECS, it has the potential to improve sperm’s ability to fertilise an egg and also improve ovarian function. So taking CBD while on birth control may seem counterintuitive.
- Impacts liver function
The liver is responsible for the metabolism of different nutrients and other biological substances. More than 50% of oestrogen metabolism takes place in the liver by an enzyme called cytochrome P450. CBD is known to interact with this enzyme and can impact the way medications are metabolised. It’s for this reason that hormonal contraceptives may be rendered less effective by CBD because their metabolic break-down process may change.
Will CBD make your birth control less effective?
CBD has been shown to affect many different processes in the body. These effects are still being studied to fully understand how they occur. But from the information that is already available, CBD is likely to act as an enzyme inhibitor which can make your hormonal birth control options less effective. It’s also thought to act as a fertility booster, so it could increase the chances of falling pregnant.
Should you use CBD while taking birth control?
Active research is still being done so it’s advisable to take precautions until there’s a definitive answer. To ensure that you don’t fall pregnant while taking CBD, you could try using a backup form of birth control, such as condoms, or try a non-hormonal contraceptive.
It’s best that you speak to your doctor so that they can monitor you and assure you of what’s good for your body and what isn’t. Some patients may find that even emergency contraceptives are less effective when taking CBD, and so the dose may have to be increased.
The Bottom Line
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done in order to have a definitive answer to whether CBD does in fact stop hormonal birth control methods from working. However, it’s best to take precautions if you want to avoid falling pregnant and opt for non-hormonal birth control or use a backup to your current hormonal birth control.