Cannabis, especially its non-psychoactive component cannabidiol or CBD, is known for many health benefits. There’s a long list of medical conditions and ailments that respond well to cannabis, including cancer, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and nausea. Apparently, erectile dysfunction is among these conditions.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also called impotence, is a man’s inability to maintain an erection that is sufficient or firm enough for satisfying sexual activity.
Occasional erectile dysfunction is not uncommon as many men experience it when they are stressed. However, when it happens frequently, it can be a sign of more serious underlying health problems that need treatment. It can also be a sign of relationship and emotional difficulties that may need to be addressed with the help of a professional.
What are the symptoms of erectile dysfunction?
You may have erectile dysfunction if you experience these symptoms regularly:
- trouble getting an erection
- reduced interest in sex
- difficulty maintaining an erection during intercourse
Other sexual disorders that are related to erectile dysfunction include:
- delayed ejaculation
- premature ejaculation
- anorgasmia, which is the inability to achieve orgasm
If you have any of these symptoms and if they have lasted for two or more months, you should talk to your doctor.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
There are many possible causes of erectile dysfunction. These can include both physical and emotional disorders. Some of the most common causes are:
- cardiovascular disease
- damage from surgery
- damage from cancer
- increased age
- drug use
- relationship problems
- alcohol use
Problems with your endocrine or hormonal system may also cause erectile dysfunction. It is because this system is involved in a number of bodily functions, including sexual ability and libido.
Moreover, people suffering from mental health problems like depression and anxiety are more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction than those in a sound mental state.
Conventional treatments for erectile dysfunction
Doctors will give you the treatment for erectile dysfunction depending on the underlying cause. Some doctors also offer a combination of treatments including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.
For erectile dysfunction medications, your doctor may prescribe something to help manage your symptoms. These drugs typically stimulate blood flow towards your penis in order to facilitate an erection. The downside? These medications can have unpleasant side effects. It usually just varies from person to person.
This means that taking pharmaceutical drugs usually involves a process of trying out several meds before finding one that works for you.
Common medications that doctors prescribe to men suffering from erectile dysfunction include:
- sildenafil (Viagra)
- testosterone (Androderm)
- avanafil (Stendra)
- alprostadil (Caverject)
- tadalafil (Cialis)
- vardenafil (Levitra)
There are also some men who go for herbal supplements that doctors do not prescribe. While these supplements and herbs claim to be natural remedies, many of them are not regulated. This could also mean that these supplements contain additional ingredients that are not listed on the product label. Therefore, this type of supplements should be used with caution.
These herbs and supplements have been reported to have certain degrees of success in the treatment of erectile dysfunction:
- Asparagus racemosus
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological factors like stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, you may benefit from talk therapy. Working with a qualified therapist over several sessions could help you manage your mental health. Your therapist will address major anxiety or stress factors, your subconscious conflicts, your negative feelings around sex, or other factors affecting your ability to have a healthy sex life.
If you are having problems with your relationship or marriage as a result of erectile dysfunction or if these problems are causing the erectile dysfunction, talking with a relationship counselor might help. Relationship or marriage counseling can help you reconnect with your partner emotionally, and this could help fix the physical problem.
If your erectile dysfunction is caused by stress, you can go the alternative route. You can try yoga, massage, and other activities that you find relaxing.
Some men even get prostatic massages, which is a form of massage therapy where trained practitioners massage the tissues in and around the groin in order to promote proper blood flow to the penis. Research on the efficacy of this kind of massage, however, is limited.
Kegel exercises are not just for women. They are good for men, too. In fact, a small study saw that after three months of regularly doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, there was an improvement to penile function.
This exercise involves identifying your pelvic floor muscles, contracting them for 5-20 seconds, then releasing them, and then doing the same 10-20 times in a row around three times a day. Your testicles will rise when you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
There are also men who opt for acupuncture. Studies on how effective acupuncture is for treating erectile dysfunction is likewise limited and inconclusive.
Change in diet and lifestyle
Deciding on a healthier diet and lifestyle may do wonders to your sex life. You can reverse or prevent erectile dysfunction by exercising regularly, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, maintaining low blood pressure, reducing your stress, and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol.
Erectile dysfunction is often related to blood flow problems, so keeping your blood vessel healthy through a healthy diet and exercising may help reduce this problem.
Can cannabis help with erectile dysfunction?
A number of men have reported using CBD or cannabidiol to treat erectile dysfunction and actually succeeding. These men claimed to have an easier time getting an erection and maintaing it.
The aphrodisiac effect of CBD is fairly well-documented and cannabis has been known to enhance sexual appetite and performance.
How does cannabis help?
CBD works by helping regulate our endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of a network of neurotransmitters found all throughout our body and is involved in many physiological functions — from immunity to appetite to hormonal maintenance to sexual ability. CBD and other cannabinoids in cannabis interact with these transmitters.
By helping regulate the endocannabinoid system, CBD can also help offset some of the problems that contribute to erectile dysfunction.
For one, CBD is well-known for its ability to fight anxiety. It does so by promoting a calm and relaxed state of mind and body. And we all know that it is important that a person is relaxed in order to properly support an erection. By being relaxed, the parasympethetic nervous pathways of the body become active.
CBD is also known to be a strong anti-inflammatory substance. Freeing our body from inflammation also means getting rid of obstructions in the blood flow. And we all know that erections are all about blood flow.
Moreover, CBD has pain-relieving properties. If your erectile dysfunction is caused by pain when engaging in sexual intercourse, which may also be caused by an underlying problem, then relieving the pain could help you have better sex performance.
Then there are men who experience erectile dysfunction because they have problems maintaining a proper sleep schedule and getting enough sleep, thus leading to issues with blood flow and mental health problems. If such is the case for you, then try CBD as it can help you relax and fight insomnia.
How to use CBD
There are many ways to use CBD to treat erectile dysfunction. You can use CBD as capsules, tinctures, and oils and take them orally.
You can also get CBD lube and apply it directly to the penis. CBD will be absorbed directly into the pores and promote blood flow, or fight any internal inflammation. Moreover, applying CBD directly onto your genital will enhance the physical sensations of sex for you and even for your partner.
CBD can also be applied as a topical medicine on other parts of the body in order to help improve the blood flow and fight inflammation.
Additionally, CBD can be vaped, which is a great method for those who are suffering from sexual anxiety. What’s more, vaping CBD allows the compound to hit you the fastest out of other methods. However, the effects will also dissipate faster — 45 minutes! — than other methods of ingestion.