First of all, what exactly is hormonal contraception?
Hormonal contraception is the manipulation of hormones which works to prevent unwanted pregnancy, this is known as birth control. The most common form of hormonal birth control is the birth control pill, which consists of combined (the prevention of ovulation) and also includes progesterone (which thickens the cervical mucus to reduced sperm penetration).
What is CBD and How Does it Work?
CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and made into what we know as CBD oil. CBD is one compound of many cannabinoids. CBD is one of at least 113 cannabinoids that are found in the cannabis plant.
In 1992, the discovery of the endocannabinoid began to unfold. It was here where we found that everyone has an endocannabinoid system, and it is linked to our immune system, the central nervous system (CNS) and our hormones. Our endocannabinoid system contains cannabinoid receptors known as CB1 and CB2 receptors. Which play a big role in our memory, appetite, mood and pain-sensation.
Does CBD make you High?
No. CBD (Cannabidiol) does not make you high. Cannabis contains both THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD, but the compounds have totally different effects. For example, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant while THC is the psychoactive compound that results in “getting high” when heat is applied to it, i.e cooking it into edibles, or smoking it.
CBD and Hormonal Contraception
There is not a lot of information or data regarding whether or not CBD interacts or reacts with birth control pills. This is ultimately due to the lack of research and studies carried out on the topic. However, there have been some studies in relation to CBD and birth control. One of which stated that CBD, can potentially increase spotting (bleeding between cycles) and possibly decrease estrogen-based contraceptive success, which can result in pregnancy.
A study in 2011 shows that Cannabidiol (CBD) can inhibit our enzymes CYP 2C9, CYP 2C19 and CYP 3A4 and the hormones which are found in birth control pills are metabolized by these CYP enzymes and studies have suggested that these CYP enzymes are affected by CBD. This study indicated that cannabidiol was metabolized by human liver microsomes (HLMs)
A study from 1983, involving THC and CBD and the interactions they had with the estrogen receptor showed that THC metabolites failed to compete with estradiol whereas CBD showed estrogen receptor binding.
So the problem is, although there has been a few studies carried out, nothing is certain, and there is very little evidence on CBD and hormonal contraception. But, most medical professionals and doctors will inform you that prior to taking the birth control pill, you are warned to not smoke (marijuana or normal cigarettes) as it can increase the risk of blood clotting. But the fact that smoking cannabis isn’t the only form of medicating. Other ways involve tinctures, edibles, creams etc, so that’s not to say that medical marijuana is good or bad for hormonal contraception, however. CBD has been proven to balance imbalanced hormones. These hormones include Cortisol, Melatonin, Insulin, and Homeostasis but at the same time, THC has been proven to naturally elevate blood pressure especially when merged with certain birth control methods.
An article written by Simone Fischer, written in relation to Erika Lang, a 24-year-old who died from blood clots that had travelled to her lungs, a side effect and a direct result of the NuvaRing, a contraceptive vaginal ring that state’s its a Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).
Simone states: “According to the FDA, there is a fifty-six percent increased risk of blood clots, and that percent can climb even higher if you are a female cigarette smoker.” and as a result of this, Simone immediately took to the internet and “exhausted the Portland State University article/database and found nothing” on marijuana and birth control.
Simone reached out to Dr Mitch, a Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany, due to the fact that he has written books on marijuana, and has done extensive research, and he admitted to knowing very little to any research that looked at marijuana and its effect on female birth control.
“However, this does not mean there aren’t any effects due to a lack of information around the subject in accordance to risky birth control method”.
Conclusion Relating to CBD and Birth Control
There is very little to no information in relation to CBD interfering with hormonal contraception such as the birth control pill, not because it’s obsolete but maybe due to the fact that medicinal cannabis is relativity new to the medical industry, and it doesn’t help the fact that cannabis is also illegal throughout the world, making it difficult for researchers and medical professionals to further studies on the topic. This is not to say that there will never be more information on the topic, as a lot of governments have been looking into the medicinal benefits of cannabis for other ailments and conditions, and are on the road to making cannabis a legal drug in the medicine world (not for recreational use).