If you suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), you’re far from alone. About 18 million American men over the age of 20 experience ED.
While the risk increases as men get older, this condition also occurs in young people. One study, for example, found that men under 40 account for one in four new cases of ED.
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How Do Men Normally Treat Erectile Dysfunction?
Many men who suffer from ED take medications in order to treat their condition, like:
While these pharmaceuticals certainly help many people, they also come with side effects. The most common ones are:
- Back pain
- Runny nose
- Vision problems
Besides all of these side effects, ED pills can also react negatively to other medications someone may be taking. And though cannabis has been shown to inhibit the enzymes that break drugs down (allowing more of the medications to stay in the body for longer), it only happens after consuming extremely high amounts of cannabis. So, in general, marijuana doesn’t cause any major complications with ED drugs.
As a result, many men with ED are increasingly turning to cannabis for help. Below we’ll look at what the common causes of ED are and whether cannabis has a role in helping to address them.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
There are many potential causes of ED, including a number of health problems such as:.
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Low testosterone
- High cholesterol
- Neurological diseases
- Drug abuse
- Unhealthy diet
Additionally, many medications and medical treatments have side effects that can cause ED, such as treatment for prostate cancer.
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Psychological issues are another significant factor in an ED diagnosis. In fact, psychological factors cause around 10–20% of all ED cases. These include:
If that’s not bad enough, ED can lead to feelings that may make the condition even worse, like:
- Low self-esteem
Does Cannabis Help Ease Erectile Dysfunction?
Whether or not cannabis helps with ED is a bit debatable, and it may depend on what’s causing the ED in the first place.
So far, not a lot of research has been done to investigate whether cannabis has a direct effect on relieving erectile dysfunction in the same way that medications like Viagra do. That’s largely because the federal prohibition against marijuana has made it extremely difficult for scientists to get funding to research the plant.
Due to that lack of evidence, most doctors who don’t typically work with medical marijuana are hesitant to prescribe it for ED. However, if you’re suffering from ED, you should definitely talk to your doctor as it could indicate an underlying health problem.
So, while scientific research is scarce, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that cannabis can help. Marijuana has long been considered an aphrodisiac and many consumers take it to increase their sex drive.
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We also know that cannabis can help reduce high cholesterol, which is a common cause of ED.
Some research and reports from consumers also show that cannabis improves peoples’ sex lives. A survey by condom-maker Skyn, for instance, found that people who consumed cannabis reported having more active and fulfilling sex lives than those who didn’t partake.
That survey also found that 59% of people who consume cannabis everyday are highly confident in bed, compared to just 41% of non-consumers.
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That last finding is especially significant given that ED is often the result of anxiety and lack of confidence. As mentioned, as many as one in five cases of ED may be the result of psychological factors. So, the reason cannabis works for some men who have ED may be because it helps address the psychological factors that are causing it.
And there’s plenty of research showing that cannabis can have a positive impact on mood and emotional well-being. A Washington State University study from last year found that cannabis can reduce short-term feelings of:
Those researchers found that cannabis with low to moderate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels and a high cannabidiol (CBD) percentage worked best to relieve stress.
How to Take Cannabis for Erectile Dysfunction
When it comes to consuming cannabis for ED, it’s important to choose your strain and method of consumption wisely. The last thing you want is to get too high—do that and all you’ll want to do is sink into the couch and eat a bag of Doritos. This will hardly put you or your partner in the mood.
Choose a marijuana strain that has a moderate THC content, such as:
Also, make sure you’re not consuming too much. Your goal is to be just high enough that you feel uplifted with a bit of energy. You may also find a cannabis strain that’s higher in CBD or contains a THC to CBD ratio of one-to-one works best, like:
If you’re an experienced cannabis consumer, then a higher THC strain may be OK, so long as you consume it in moderation.
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The best way to consume cannabis for ED is by either vaping or smoking it. That’s because smoking and vaping produce effects usually within minutes.
Edibles, on the other hand, tend to take at least 30–45 minutes to kick in. You may want to experiment with different strains and consumption methods in order to find what works best for you.
Photo credit: Marjan Apostolovic/Shutterstock.com
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.