What Do We Know?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a hot new product that is reputed to help treat a plethora of medical problems. Its proponents say CBD can improve pain from inflammation, anxiety, epileptic seizures, weight gain, sleep problems and even infertility.
What is it, and what do we know about it? Should you consider it to help overcome fertility problems?
CBD vs. THC
CBD is a natural compound derived from marijuana plants or hemp. It is not psychoactive, i.e., using it doesn’t make you high. THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance in marijuana which is psychoactive. CBD is not addictive, according to a report from the World Health Organization , and doesn’t show potential for abuse, unlike THC. CBD is not smoked but is processed into an oil, which can be used topically, in infusions, or put in gummy bears or other food products.
Does CBD Work?
Many users of CBD are claiming near-miraculous cures for a wide spectrum of conditions, but there is almost no scientific evidence at this point for how effective CBD is. There has been little research on CBD to date. Recently the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, the first drug incorporating CBD, for use with rare forms of childhood epilepsy that don’t respond to other drugs, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Epilepsy is the only area so far where there is clear proof of its efficacy, according to a recently published review of research studies. Much of the research for uses other than treatment of epilepsy did not include control groups or were animal testing, so the effects humans perceive could be similar to placebos. No research has been published yet on CBD’s effect on fertility. Existing cannabis research has focused on THC, marijuana use, and the effect on male fertility (in short: it’s bad for male fertility).
Another issue is that CBD is regulated as a supplement, not a drug, which means there are few manufacturing standards and no regulation of contents. Buyers may or may not be getting the amount of CBD the packaging states and the products sometimes are adulterated with THC or contaminants. CBD does interact with some other drugs, in much the same way grapefruit juice does. There are side effects as well, including nausea and sleepiness.
What If You Want to Try It?
The legality of CBD products is confusing. Most states have defined CBD as legal if it is derived from hemp, but with varying restrictions. CBD products are readily available online and in most states, but are unregulated. If you want to try CBD, consensus seems to be that topical application of the oil is less likely to cause side effects than consuming CBD gummies or other CBD-infused edibles. If you are taking ANY medications, please check with your physician before trying CBD.