CBD oil — the non-psychedelic component of marijuana — has been catapulted into the health and wellness scene as a do-it-all supplement. Anecdotally (and with some support from researchers), it’s been said to aid with stress, pain, appetite, blood flow, mood, and memory.
Recently, it’s also been touted as something that can improve sexual health and function. So, if you’ve been dealing with low libido, then CBD products may (naturally) be of interest to you.
In this guide from ASYSTEM, we’ll go over what CBD is, how it works, and if it can help increase sex drive.
What Is CBD?
CBD (abbreviation for “cannabidiol”) is the second most abundant active ingredient in the cannabis plant. It can also be extracted from hemp plants (which are closely related to cannabis) or synthesized in a laboratory.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the psychoactive component of cannabis — CBD does not cause a “high.” It is usually available in oil, cream, or edible form.
As long as CBD contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal and can be sold in virtually any store. It’s an especially popular product in health food shops.
How Does CBD Work?
CBD affects the endocannabinoid system. This biological system is made up of endocannabinoids — types of chemical messengers that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain.
This does not mean that the brain has special receptors for cannabis. Rather, researchers named those brain receptors “cannabinoid receptors” after discovering their interaction with the cannabis plant.
The endocannabinoid system impacts major processes in the central nervous system (CNS), which include mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. However, researchers don’t fully understand this biological system and might discover other functions in the future.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are found primarily in the CNS and play a substantial role in brain functions and, to a lesser extent, in the body. CB2 receptors are found primarily in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and play a role in various bodily functions.
When the body breaks down CBD, it does not bind to cannabinoid receptors. However, researchers believe that it still interacts with the receptors somehow, which allows it to exert many of the benefits that people bring forward.
CBD can also interact with other receptors, such as the 5-HT serotonin receptor (which can influence mood) and the TRPV1 receptor (which plays a role in pain).
Anecdotally, users of CBD claim that it can play a role in relieving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and pain conditions. In addition, it can induce relaxation, promote sleep, and improve cognitive function. There is limited research to support some of these claims.
Can CBD Improve Sex Drive?
In addition to all of its health benefits, users of CBD aim that it can improve sexual function. In this section, we’ll go over the evidence-based benefits of CBD when it comes to sex.
CBD Can Boost Libido
Stress is a major factor in low libido, affecting both male and female sexual desire. Intuitively, this makes sense: It’s extremely hard to get into “the mood” when you’re stressed out. In addition, studies have found a direct negative correlation between levels of the stress hormone cortisol and libido.
Because CBD can induce relaxation, it may decrease stress levels. This, in turn, may boost libido in those whose diminished sex drive is caused by excess stress.
Of course, this benefit can be said of any supplement that can reduce stress, such as ASYSTEM’S De-Stress Gummies.
One survey reports that those who supplement with CBD experience increased relaxation. In addition, they report improved focus, increased sensitivity to touch, and increased sexual satisfaction. These factors can contribute to improved feelings of well-being and an increased desire for sex.
CBD Can Support Sexual Health
In addition to improving the desire for sex, CBD has also been shown to enhance sexual health. For instance, one review found that supplementing with CBD can improve ejaculatory function in males.
Another review suggests that CBD can boost sexual health in those with erectile dysfunction (ED). According to the authors, CBD may induce relaxation and increase circulation throughout the body, which includes the genitals.
However, this study only shows a correlation between CBD use and sexual function. In addition, there is no research to compare CBD’s efficacy to those of standard ED medications. This makes it difficult to say with 100% certainty that CBD can improve sexual function.
CBD Can Improve Sexual Performance
Because CBD is touted for various health benefits, it can — in theory — increase sexual performance. For example, an increase in energy can boost sexual stamina. Likewise, an increase in relaxation can reduce performance anxiety.
Research currently supports that CBD can enhance two facets of sexual performance: vaginal lubrication and physical sensitivity.
According to one study, women who were administered topical CBD reported a significant increase in lubrication. Dryness can lead to painful sex, which can decrease sexual pleasure. On the contrary, CBD can make sex more pleasurable and increase sexual stamina by increasing lubrication.
The same study also found that CBD could enhance sensitivity to touch. This can increase sexual arousal in addition to orgasm frequency and intensity.
How Much CBD Should I Take?
Although CBD is not sold in every corner store, it is not difficult to find if you are located in the U.S. It is commonly available as an oil, gummy candies, or topical creams and lotions.
Typically, you will have a choice of different concentrations.
If you are offered a “full-spectrum CBD,” it will have all the natural compounds found in cannabis, including THC. However, the THC concentration will typically be no greater than 0.3%. This is not enough to produce any psychoactive effects.
You may also choose a “broad-spectrum CBD,” which contains many of the natural compounds of cannabis — except for THC.
If you are ingesting CBD, then you should consider dosage. The best CBD dosage for you depends on various factors, such as your weight, your body chemistry, and what you hope to get out of ingesting CBD.
Before taking any supplement, it’s always best to check with your doctor. In the case of CBD, it can interact with certain medications or medical conditions. If you decide to take it, checking with your doctor for dosage is a smart first step.
If you’re unable to get your doctor’s recommendation, it’s best to start with a minimal dose. You can begin with 20 mg and slowly build your way up. While taking CBD, make sure to keep track of how it's affecting you. If you feel that you’re not getting the full benefits, you can increase it by 5 mg per day until you get the desired effect.
Can You Use CBD as a Lubricant?
Topical CBD can come in many forms, such as creams, lotions, balms, or body oils. While these various forms of CBD have different functions, you can use some of them in place of a lubricant.
Because CBD is thought to increase circulation, it is possible that applying it to the body can increase arousal — especially if it’s applied to the genital area. This may heighten sensitivity and increase orgasm intensity.
Due to its pain-relieving effects, CBD may be used during sex to improve discomfort. Some women feel pain, soreness, and overall lack of pleasure due to dryness — in addition to a few other factors. While studies would need to confirm this, it may be likely that CBD can improve some of the discomfort of sex.
CBD is associated with very few side effects, especially for the skin. It is unlikely to cause irritation, making it generally safe for topical application.
While it’s hard to say with 100% certainty that topical CBD makes for a great lubricant (after all, there are so many forms of topical CBD), it won’t hurt to try it out on your own.
If you are experiencing a low sex drive, the effects of CBD can be a promising solution for restoring your libido — in addition to your sexual health and function.
If the current evidence on CBD isn’t enough to convince you, then you have other options for boosting your libido. ASYSTEM’S Libido System is made with all-natural ingredients clinically proven to improve your sex drive — for your best sex life yet.
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)
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