Will using cannabis make birth control less effective? Unfortunately, there have been no scientific studies that completely answer the question of whether cannabis or its components (like CBD and CBD prevents estrogen-based contraceptives from working properly, possibly leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy. Learn more. Does taking CBD affect Birth Control? Get all the facts here!
Will using cannabis make birth control less effective?
Unfortunately, there have been no scientific studies that completely answer the question of whether cannabis or its components (like CBD and THC) make birth control pills, patches, or rings less effective. This may be because “medical marijuana” has only been legalized on a state-by-state basis beginning in 1999 and as of yet not all states are on board. Additionally, cannabis products containing THC are illegal federally and in most states. Regulations around CBD, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, vary by state.
In the limited research that has been done, CBD (or cannabidiol) did not appear to stimulate the estrogen receptors on cells, nor block the effects of estrogen on those receptors, which indicates that it’s unlikely to interfere with how estrogen in birth control affects the body. Moreover, CBD slows down enzymes that break down the hormones in birth control. This argues that, if anything, the birth control hormones may be in the body longer and at higher concentrations. Putting all this together, we can definitely say that CBD will not make birth control less effective.
Anecdotally, I haven’t heard or read about women experiencing unplanned pregnancies while using cannabis products and taking hormonal birth control.
Nurx emails are pretty awesome.
Sign up to get health tips, announcements, and more!
By signing up, I agree to the terms and conditions and to receive emails.
CBD Oil and Birth Control – August 2022
There are several ways by which CBD may interfere with the effectiveness of birth control methods, primarily hormonal ones.
CBD has been shown to compete with estradiol, influence hormones, and interfere with how contraceptives are broken down in the body.
CBD Competes with Estradiol
Estradiol is one of three estrogen hormones naturally produced in the body. Increased estradiol levels precede the maturation and release of the egg from the ovary and the thickening of the uterus lining to implant a fertilized egg (1 ) .
A study published in The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics examined CBD’s interference with estrogen receptors in rats (2 ) . At large doses, cannabis exhibited neither estrogenic or non-estrogenic effects .
Of several other common cannabinoids tested, only cannabidiol competed with estradiol for estrogen receptor binding. This binding action was evident only at very high concentrations of cannabidiol.
The study found that CBD might compete with estradiol for estrogen receptors found in the female reproductive system.
Scientists believe this action is how CBD prevents estrogen-based contraceptives from working properly, possibly leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.
CBD Influences Sex Hormones
Hormonal contraceptives work by influencing hormone behavior. In a study published in 2019 in the International Journal of Reproductive Medicine , it was noted that the essential component for any hormonal contraceptive method is progestogen (3 ) .
Progestogens are synthetic forms of progesterone, a naturally occurring sex hormone. Progestogen’s primary role is to prevent ovulation through a negative feedback mechanism, resulting in a decrease in luteinizing hormone.
Luteinizing hormone is associated with reproduction and ovulation. Its stimulation of either ovary or testicles results in the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) in women or testosterone production in men (4 ) .
A study found that carefully-controlled regulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is required for successful reproduction, and marijuana from the Cannabis sativa plants may disrupt the delicate balance of the ECS in the female reproductive system (5 ) .
A study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research in 2019 examined the role of the endocannabinoid system in female reproductive tissue s (6 ) .
The authors found that chronic exposure to cannabinoids resulted in reduced sperm count, serum testosterone levels, and reduced ovulation in women (5 ) .
In females, chronic exposure to cannabinoids delayed sexual maturation, caused menstrual cycle disruption, and reduced serum concentrations of sex hormones.
CBD Interferes with Metabolism of Contraceptives
Preclinical research shows that CBD is broken down by cytochrome P450 enzymes while functioning as a competitive inhibitor of the same liver enzymes (7 ) .
The cytochrome P450 enzyme system is responsible for breaking down over 60% percent of any drugs, including contraceptives (8 ) .
CBD can inhibit the cytochrome P450 system’s ability to metabolize certain drugs, leading to an overall increase in processing times (9 ) .
When hormone-based contraceptives are taken with CBD, CBD can decrease how quickly the liver breaks down these oral contraceptives, which theoretically would increase the contraceptive hormone levels and increase the contraceptive’s effectiveness. However, unwanted side effects may occur as a result.
This enzyme-inhibiting action of CBD is suspected to increase breakthrough bleeding due to excess estrogen levels as a result of a slower breakdown. The role of marijuana or CBD on the effectiveness of oral contraceptives is unknown. Furthermore, marijuana is known to have adverse effects on fertility for both men and women. In women, it lowers the rate of ovulation which would lower pregnancy rates.
Further research is needed to determine what level of CBD impacts estrogen. Currently, there is no guideline as to the safe levels of CBD for women on birth control.
Before deciding to use CBD as a supplemental birth control method, consult with a doctor, preferably an obstetrician-gynecologist, who is experienced in cannabis use.
CBD Oil and Birth Control: Safe to take together? 
Does CBD affect birth control, and are CBD oil and birth control safe to take together?
CBD oil is known for its wide array of potential health benefits, including benefits that apply specifically to women like relieving menstrual cramps or related nausea.
That’s why so many CBD brands market towards women, and why so many women have incorporated CBD oil and related CBD products into their regular wellness and beauty routines.
And it’s also why an important question has been on the rise for women on birth control while also taking CBD:
Can CBD interact with birth control pills?
Here’s what we know:
There are many options for birth control, but most of them play a similar role in changing the balance of hormones in the body to prevent pregnancy.
Because the endocannabinoid system may have a direct impact on the body’s hormone production, it’s fair to suspect interactions between CBD and birth control pills.
Plus, researchers have uncovered other ways that CBD may interact with common medications that may apply to hormone-based medications as well.
Understanding the potential for reactions and working closely with your doctor to design your CBD routine is the best way to avoid an adverse reaction, though it should be noted that the side effects of CBD are rare and usually mild.
If you’re on hormonal birth control and want to begin using CBD, there are a few things you need to know first.
CBD OIL AND BIRTH CONTROL: EFFECT ON HORMONES
Before you can understand the impact that taking CBD may have on hormonal birth control, you’ll need to understand the way that CBD interacts with the body.
When CBD molecules (and other cannabinoids) enter the body, they interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, a system of neuroreceptors that spans through every organ and plays a large role in most basic processes.
Hormones are chemicals responsible for a range of bodily functions, including appetite and metabolism, mood, growth and development, sexuality, and more. Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, which also includes multiple glands throughout the body.
CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in order to activate the endocrine system, which is how CBD can have a direct impact on hormones. Since we know that CBD does affect hormone production, we know it may react with hormonal medications such as birth control pills.
But how do CBD oil and birth control interact?
One study suggests that CBD binds with estrogen receptors in the reproductive system. This means that it competes with estradiol, one major female hormone that also binds with these receptors.
By reducing the amount of estradiol that can bind with neuroreceptors, CBD may affect the efficacy of some hormonal birth control, specifically estrogen-based medications. There is no known impact on progesterone based medications.
Research has shown that CBD may interact with other hormones in ways that could be beneficial, like positively affecting insulin levels or decreasing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
But we don’t have enough information to determine how CBD specifically interacts with certain hormonal birth control medications. We do know that CBD may interact with most medications in one common way: liver enzymes.
Studies have shown that CBD utilizes cytochrome P450 pathways when metabolized by the body. This group of liver enzymes is also responsible for metabolizing most of the medications you can get over the counter or by prescription today.
For this reason, CBD may decrease the absorption of certain medications, which may make them less effective. Most hormonal birth control medications utilize this pathway for absorption, which suggests a clear interaction between CBD and birth control.
Of course, with so little research evidence specifically focused on CBD and birth control, it’s hard to say if the effect is significant enough to worry about.
The effect that CBD has on these liver enzymes is only temporary, and many people find that CBD can be taken alongside their medications, as long as the doses are properly spaced out. Oral contraceptives are no exception.
CBD OIL MAY ACTUALLY COMBAT SIDE EFFECTS OF BIRTH CONTROL
Although reports suggest that CBD could impact certain high-estrogen contraceptives, others display therapeutic effects that may help relieve the unwanted side effects common to many birth control methods.
One woman said starting Sprintec, a popular combination birth control pill, severely irritated her anxiety due to a history of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For two weeks, her experience with the pill was less than pleasant.
She said “I have been an absolute mess. I have been anxious all the time, I’ve had TWO full-blown panic attacks.” She goes further to explain that she also experienced mood swings and bouts of depression, and was desperately seeking a cure.
After a quick trip to her local vape shop to buy a bottle of CBD vape oil, her anxiety was immediately at ease.
“I’ve been using it for the past two days. Needless to say, it has made an enormous difference. I feel the effects immediately, and I’ve just overall been more stable and mellow. It’s actually pretty mind-blowing how effective it has been.”
Other side effects of birth control pills that may respond well to CBD oil include headaches, nausea and vomiting, or weight gain.
Although birth control is often prescribed to help manage the symptoms related to a heavy menstrual cycle, it can sometimes make it worse. CBD topicals may be useful for combating pain due to menstrual cramps.
Again, there is limited evidence regarding the interactions between CBD and hormonal contraception (and there are so many different types of birth control) so it’s always best to proceed with caution and talk with your health provider.
FINAL THOUGHTS: CAN YOU TAKE CBD AND BIRTH CONTROL PILLS TOGETHER?
Now for the important questions: Can you start taking CBD if you are already on hormonal birth control? And should you stop taking CBD to start birth control medication? Because we don’t have much evidence, the answers aren’t so simple.
Anecdotal reports have suggested that many people have taken CBD to combat the side effects of birth control without complications. Reports exist claiming purely the opposite as well, but it’s important to remember that the majority of these claims are purely anecdotal.
In reality, the potential of interaction between birth control and CBD may depend on many factors, like the type of birth control, the amount of each medication taken, and biological factors that are unique to you.
Most importantly, many medications can be used together, so long as they aren’t taken at the exact same time.
When you want to combine CBD with other medications, it’s always best to play it safe. Talk to your doctor before starting CBD oil or any related CBD products, especially if you take hormonal birth control or other prescription medications.
Your doctor will be able to better identify the risks and benefits of combining CBD and your birth control.
Then, look for a high-quality CBD supplement that fits naturally into your wellness routine. Poor quality CBD is the most frequent cause of CBD related side effects.
Our in-house brand Vida Optima balances on the promise of premium quality, full-spectrum CBD. Our Vida CBD Gummies are a customer-favorite for regular use.
Have you used birth control and CBD together? Let us know your experience in the comments below.