Nearly half the states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana for serious illnesses. A handful of others have legalized recreational marijuana. Most medical experts agree that occasional consumption is safer than alcohol for adults if used in moderation, though not enough studies have been conducted to ascertain the actual health effects on the body.
Case in point, marijuana’s impact on sexual functioning, something that is a concern for the vast majority of men, is still debated. Lots of guys want to know how marijuana affects them, and if it’s use could lead to ED. That’s a tricky question. One study published in the journal Clinical & Developmental Immunology found that compounds in cannabis actually reduced the risk of erectile dysfunction. Here, Swiss researchers discovered that elements in marijuana targeted CB2 receptors. These are found throughout the body. One common cause of ED is a buildup of cholesterol which clogs arteries including those which cause the penis to become erect.
Here two cohorts of mice were used. One received treatment with cannabis the other was a control group. After a period of three weeks each mouse was tested for fibrosis or tissue buildup that inhibits normal blood flow. Those exposed to marijuana had far less buildup than those who did not. But the debate as to whether marijuana use causes or cures ED remains ongoing. Other research has focused on the short-term results. Though many consider it an aphrodisiac, other studies have shown that elements in cannabis interfere with the CB1 receptor which may inhibit the creation of an erection.
A previous review published online in 2011 in the in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that long-term marijuana use may lead to sexual dysfunction in men. But these investigators also admit that there were few, high quality studies to choose from. One experiment involving rhesus monkeys gave researchers an indication that pot smoking could cause ED. Still, more research is sorely needed for a definite answer can be reached. With a trend toward liberalization, one hopes definitive results shouldn’t be too far off.