Cannabis has varying effects on individuals, and the differences may be influenced by gender. Generally, female animals are more responsive to cannabinoids than males. Certain studies suggest that cannabis could reduce diabetes in women, and many women report using cannabis to reduce endometriosis-related pain. Some companies have developed cannabis-infused products targeted specifically towards women.
A common worry among women who use cannabis is whether marijuana impacts birth control. This article examines current scientific research and explores the potential consequences of cannabis use for individuals using birth control.
Does Marijuana Affect Birth Control?
Although there are assertions suggesting that certain cannabinoids might impact the efficacy of birth control. There is presently no scientific evidence or research supporting this claim. Furthermore, neither the FDA nor the CDC classify cannabis as a harmful substance in relation to hormonal contraceptives such as the IUD, pill, ring, or patch.
Nevertheless, there are some similarities between the effects of birth control and smoking, whether it is nicotine or cannabis. Smoking has been associated with temporary elevations in blood pressure. Likewise, studies show that hormonal birth control can raise blood pressure and increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The rise in blood pressure is caused by elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone. These are hormonal contraceptives accumulating in the brain region responsible for regulating blood pressure.
It is worth noting that modern hormonal birth control methods contain lower hormone doses compared to those used in the past.
Doctors have long advised patients on birth control to refrain from smoking cigarettes. This recommendation is partly to safeguard the developing fetus and also to protect the mother. Nicotine chemicals can cause blood thickening and the formation of blood clots that may obstruct arteries. Smoking is generally considered risky while using birth control due to the potential cardiovascular side effects.
Although research on the topic is limited, some studies show that cannabis can impact the cardiovascular system. THC, the cannabinoid responsible for cannabis’s psychoactive effects, can elevate heart rate and has been reported to cause cardiovascular side effects in certain users.
Considering all this information, the question arises: can an individual on birth control consume cannabis?
Interactions Between Cannabis and Birth Control Products
There is no scientific proof indicating a direct interaction between cannabis and any birth control method. Although it is not stated that consuming cannabis is detrimental when using birth control, the similar effects of cannabis and birth control on the body may result in adverse side effects or alterations in the effectiveness of specific types of birth control.
Hormonal Birth Controls
Contraceptives like IUDs, implants, shots, birth control rings, and the patch contain estrogen and progesterone (or progesterone alone) in varying amounts. Their function is to inhibit the release of eggs from the ovaries and prevent the fertilization of eggs by sperm. Additionally, hormonal birth control thins the lining of the uterus, reducing the likelihood of a fertilized egg attaching to it, and thickens cervical mucus to impede the sperm’s movement towards the egg.
A study conducted in 2013 discovered that estrogen enhances sensitivity to THC. Since birth control introduces higher levels of estrogen into the body, individuals using birth control should be cautious about their cannabis consumption and monitor their dosages.
While the chances are minimal, hormonal birth control can elevate blood pressure and lead to blood clot formation. However, there is conflicting research on whether birth control or cannabis directly causes these conditions. These concerns are primarily relevant for individuals with preexisting cardiovascular or blood disorders. Some connections have been established between THC and cardiovascular problems, but additional research is required. Similarly, THC intake may raise heart rate and blood pressure, but a recent study suggests that cannabis could potentially be employed to reduce blood pressure.
Copper IUD (non-hormonal)
The copper IUD, a plastic T-shaped device wrapped with copper wire, is placed inside the uterus. It is widely used, highly effective, and provides the longest duration among non-hormonal methods of birth control. The presence of copper induces an inflammatory response that is detrimental to sperm and eggs.
The usage of cannabis does not impact the effectiveness of this type of contraception.
Birth Control Side Effects
Although birth control and cannabis do not interact, the use of cannabis can affect the side effects of contraceptives, both positively and negatively.
Hormonal birth control can cause various side effects such as breakthrough bleeding, headaches, nausea, bloating, and the formation of liver tumors. There are claims that the use of cannabis, particularly CBD, may increase the likelihood of breakthrough bleeding. However, no research has been conducted to verify the validity of this claim. On the other hand, some individuals use cannabis to alleviate headaches, but it can also lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate headaches.
The insertion of a copper IUD can result in side effects like spotting, irregular or heavy periods, longer menstrual cycles, and an increased chance of experiencing painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Consuming cannabis may help reduce nausea and painful cramps associated with these side effects. But, excessive THC consumption can also induce feelings of nausea in some individuals.
Some individuals on birth control have reported changes in mood and mental health. Cannabis has the potential to both reduce and worsen conditions such as depression and anxiety.
When considering the relationship between marijuana and birth control, it’s essential to understand the different consumption methods.
Smoking: Smoking marijuana involves inhaling the smoke released from burning cannabis flowers. It is important to note that smoking, regardless of the substance, can have adverse effects on overall health. Smoking marijuana does not have a direct impact on the effectiveness of birth control methods.
Vaping: Vaping is generally considered a healthier alternative to smoking, as it avoids the combustion process and reduces exposure to harmful chemicals. However, more research is needed to understand the potential effects of vaping on birth control methods.
Edibles: Edibles are food products infused with cannabis extracts. These products are consumed orally and undergo digestion before the effects are felt. It is important to note that the interaction between edibles and birth control methods is not well-studied. However, it is unlikely that consuming edibles would directly affect the effectiveness of birth control.
Must Read: Does Marijuana Affect Birth Control?
As with any substance, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of their own body’s reactions. Remember to consult with healthcare providers for personalized advice on using birth control methods while consuming marijuana.