CBD FOR Erectile Dysfunction:
CAN it help? May 2022

Some men are curious about using CBD for erectile dysfunction. Although research is lacking, CBD might help by improving blood flow and lowering anxiety, common underlying causes of ED.

Gleb Oleinik Updated on April 29, 2022 Affiliate Disclosure Some links are specifically formatted for which we may receive a commission on resulting sales or clicks from affiliate partners (“Affiliate Links”).

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We don’t know how effective CBD is due to a lack of research.
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Theoretically speaking, CBD may alleviate ED by improving blood flow and underlying causes such as anxiety. But studies are lacking.
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Theoretically speaking, CBD may alleviate ED by improving blood flow and underlying causes such as anxiety. But studies are lacking.

Erectile dysfunction is not the first condition that comes to mind when talking about cannabidiol (CBD). But given how common ED is and CBD’s popularity for addressing a myriad of health issues, it’s not surprising that some men want to give it a try.

In theory, CBD may help by improving blood flow and counteracting the underlying causes of ED, such as anxiety and stress. But there are zero studies at this time.

Here’s everything we know about using CBD for erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction Overview

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the difficulty of getting and maintaining an erection sufficient enough for sex.

ED is the most common male sexual health concern. It’s estimated to affect more than half of American men aged between 40 and 70 and at least 150 million men globally. But the real numbers are likely even higher due to bias, embarrassment, and other factors. ¹

Because male sexual arousal is a complex phenomenon that involves the brain, emotions, hormones, and other elements, erectile dysfunction can be caused by the interplay of multiple issues.

These include cardiovascular and hormonal disorders, diabetes, obesity, traumatic injuries such as fractures, neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, and mental problems such as performance anxiety, stress, and depression.

ED can also be a side effect of antidepressants, other medications, and recreational drugs.

Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

The main symptoms of erectile dysfunction are:

  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Difficulty maintaining an erection
  • Lowered sexual desire

Can CBD Help With Erectile Dysfunction?

There aren’t any studies investigating CBD for ED. But, theoretically speaking, it might be beneficial. First, several studies have shown that CBD may have vasodilatory (blood vessel-widening) effects. ² ³

That means it might increase blood flow to the penis – the same method already used by some ED medications, such as alprostadil. ⁴ But CBD’s vasodilating properties are underresearched and haven’t been studied in erectile tissue – so, we don’t know for certain.

CBD could also help indirectly by improving conditions that can lead to erectile dysfunction, such as anxiety, stress, and depression. Performance anxiety is a particularly common cause of ED and affects anywhere from 9% to 25% of men. ⁵

CBD’s anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects are well-documented, with researchers concluding that it could help treat a wide range of anxiety disorders. ⁶ It’s also been shown to have antidepressant properties in animal studies. ⁷

CBD, the Endocannabinoid System, and Sexual Function

It’s also possible that CBD can influence male sexual function directly by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

For example, rat studies have shown that anandamide, a key endocannabinoid that’s also found in humans, has a biphasic effect on sexual function.

CBD for ED

In other words, low levels of anandamide promote sexual activity, whereas high levels have the opposite effect. ⁸

 

These findings are especially relevant for CBD because one of its main mechanisms is blocking the enzyme that breaks down anandamide, which increases its levels. ⁹

 

Interestingly, research of cannabis use in men paints a similar picture, suggesting that low doses may promote sexual desire whereas high doses may suppress it, in some cases causing erectile dysfunction. ¹⁰

 

But it’s far too early to say anything concrete. Researchers simply don’t know enough about how CBD and the endocannabinoid system affect male sexual behavior.

What Does the Research Say?

Research on CBD for erectile dysfunction is lacking. All we have is indirect evidence.

One 2020 study found that CBD reduced blood pressure in healthy adults, suggesting that it might be beneficial for ED by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the penis. ¹¹ But we won’t know for sure until targeted research is done.

There’s more promise in CBD’s ability to improve performance anxiety and depression, two common underlying causes of erectile dysfunction. CBD has been shown to lower anxiety in a wide variety of anxiety disorders. ¹²

For example, a 2011 study in 24 people with social anxiety disorder found that CBD reduced anxiety and discomfort during public speaking, whereas placebo treatment had no effect. ¹³

Meanwhile, a 2018 study of CBD in people with cognitive and psychological issues related to chronic cannabis use reported a reduction in depressive symptoms. ¹⁴

The bottom line is that CBD could relieve ED in theory but focused studies are needed. Right now, this topic and the broader field of cannabis and sexual health are under-researched.

Can You Use CBD for ED

How Much CBD Should I Take for Erectile Dysfunction?

Given the lack of research, you won’t find a recommended dosage of CBD oil for ED. Besides, it’s different for every person, depending on your weight, genetics, symptom severity, the type of product you’re taking, and other factors.

Your best bet is to follow the “start low and go slow” route recommended by medical researchers. ¹⁵

Start with about 10mg to 15 mg of CBD or the dose recommended by your product and wait two hours to see the effects. If you don’t notice a difference, increase the dose and try again. Use this method to gradually arrive at the dosage that provides you with the desired effects.

Are There Any Side Effects?

CBD has been studied for many years, confirming that it’s a relatively safe, non-intoxicating compound with mostly mild side effects. They include: ¹⁶

  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Diarrhea and nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Changes in appetite or weight

 

Studies also suggest that CBD may interact with some medications by affecting the liver enzymes that help the body metabolize drugs. ¹⁷

Having said that, these potential side effects were only reported by studies using high oral doses of pure CBD. Most people opt for full-spectrum CBD products and use oils instead of oral products like capsules, reducing the likelihood and magnitude of CBD’s side effects.

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Conclusion

CBD might help with ED by improving blood flow and underlying causes like anxiety. But these benefits remain theoretical until relevant research is done. Further studies are needed before we have a clearer picture of CBD’s effects on male sexual function.

For now, the only evidence we have is that a small number of CBD users – less than two percent according to one 2020 study of online forum posts – use CBD for erectile dysfunction and other sexual health concerns. ¹⁸

If you want to try using CBD oil for ED we recommend choosing a full-spectrum, third-party tested CBD oil from a trustworthy brand.


Gleb Oleinik

Gleb Oleinik is a freelance CBD & cannabis writer from Vancouver, Canada. He’s read thousands of studies about cannabinoids and other beneficial natural compounds, helping him translate complex science into plain language. He’s also written third-party lab test reports of CBD products and knows the industry inside and out. When he’s not writing, Gleb likes to spend his time in the gym and out in nature.

Frequently Asked Questions

Take CBD oil about 30 minutes before sex to give it time to start working. Alternatively, you can take CBD oil daily at set times like the morning and in the evening before bed. You may need to experiment with gradually increasing dosages before you notice the desired effects.