Since marijuana is still illegal under federal law, scientific research is very limited. Because of the way cannabis interacts with the human body’s endocannabinoid system, certain studies suggest that CBD may be beneficial for those who take birth control, while THC may present an increased risk for others. Further research will surely lead us to more answers down the road.
Cannabis and birth control
While we don’t currently know much about the effects of marijuana use while on birth control, we do know that THC (a compound found in marijuana) can potentially raise blood pressure and increase the heart rate in certain people. It could also impact your mood and mental health, especially if taken with prescription medications.
Read on as we discuss the possible benefits, risks, and the latest research surrounding weed and birth control.
CBD is a prominent cannabinoid that can offer therapeutic effects without intoxicating ones. It is possible that, unlike THC, CBD may lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve blood flow, and support healthy heart function by making space for the arteries and decreasing inflammation.
More research on CBD and birth control is few and far between, but some scientists have begun the process of testing this theory.
Potential Health Risks
There are few adverse side effects to be aware of when combining marijuana with oral contraceptive pills, both physical and psychological.
Smoking marijuana with tobacco can increase your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease and raise your blood pressure – three things that birth control pills can also do to the human body.
CBD could have the opposite effect on these health conditions, potentially lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, but more research is still needed to confirm.
Using cannabis and birth control simultaneously could significantly increase the psychoactive effects of the weed: some good, some bad, such as euphoria, sedation, anxiety, or even paranoia.
THC can stick around in your body longer and produce more severe effects, so it’s crucial to speak with a trusted health care provider, especially if you are on current medication.
Birth Control Methods
There are many different types of existing birth control, and each can provide people with lifestyle protection. The most common methods are pills, an implant, IUD, vaginal ring, birth control shot, or a patch. We recommend working closely with your doctor to find a birth control method that makes you comfortable.
Hormonal vs. Non-hormonal
Hormonal birth control works by changing the way your body functions around reproduction. Depending on the hormones used, hormonal birth control can prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, thicken mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm from getting to the egg, or thin the uterus lining to stop the implantation process.
Some hormonal birth control options are more suitable for some than others, and finding the right one can sometimes take trial and error. While each one may have different effects based on the individual, some patients experience unwanted side effects with certain types of hormonal birth control. However, your OBGYN will be able to recommend a hormonal birth control option that will work best for your body.
Non-hormonal birth control typically functions as a barrier between the sperm and egg to prevent pregnancy. Behavioral and permanent birth control are examples of non-hormonal methods.
CBD vs THC
CBD is derived from hemp plants, while THC comes from marijuana cannabis flowers.
CBD and THC cannabinoids are present in both the hemp flower and marijuana plant matter, but hemp tends to have more CBD and a less potent level of THC. This results in less intense psychoactive effects and enhances the therapeutic, medicinal benefits.
The Latest Research
A 2011 study found that cannabidiol may inhibit specific enzymes, the same enzymes that metabolize estrogen birth control pills.
A 2013 study suggests that taking estrogen increases sensitivity to THC. Many hormonal birth control options contain estrogen, except for a few options like the Depo-Provera shot.
A clinical trial is in the early stages and is sponsored by the Oregon Health and Science University in collaboration with the Society of Family Planning. The study plans to explore the interaction between CBD and hormonal birth control, including how it impacts effectiveness and side effects.
Can weed decrease the effectiveness of birth control?
There’s currently not enough solid evidence to suggest that cannabis can decrease the effectiveness of a birth control pill.
While a lack of marijuana research evidence doesn’t mean the risk is impossible, given how standard both cannabis and birth control are, experts would more than likely know by now if the concern regarding birth control’s effectiveness was significant.
Is smoking weed safer than smoking tobacco?
Smoking cigarettes while on birth control is highly dangerous. This act can almost double your chance of getting blood clots, heart attack, and stroke, and the risks increase for women over thirty-five. The trouble is also increased for women with pre-existing cardiovascular disorders.
From limited research on the cannabis plant, it is unlikely that weed poses as severe risk as smoking cigarettes. But as we’ve said many times, there is just more research needed to know for sure.
Are edibles safe to consume on birth control?
As with all marijuana research, there are no current scientific studies on edibles and birth control. If you’re eating an edible with a high CBD content, there’s a minor chance it could interfere with the effectiveness of your hormonal birth control.
If you’re worried about elevated blood pressure or are at a higher risk for cardiovascular health issues and heart attack, it’s probably best to avoid THC for now. But if you’re more concerned about your hormonal pill’s effectiveness, it seems that THC is less problematic than CBD in that area.
10 Best cannabis strains to try on Birth Control
These ten strains are high in CBD, low in THC and well-known for relieving pain, inflammation and balancing your mood.
While there are many types of existing birth control, each one may work for someone and not for the next person. We recommend working closely with your OBGYN to find a birth control method that makes you comfortable. They may also be able to provide further advice and information on using cannabis while taking birth control pills.