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Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been getting a lot of attention lately due to its ability to enhance recovery while acting as a natural anti-inflammatory and a post-workout painkiller.
It also appears that CBD intake directly interferes with cortisol secretion and may potentially reduce cortisol levels in the blood.
Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that CBD oil may be used to alleviate a wide range of serious health issues including insomnia, social anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and diabetes.
However, the interplay of CBD and testosterone is still largely under investigation by the cannabinoid scientific research community.
Does CBD oil increase or lower testosterone levels?
So what is the exact effect of CBD oil intake on testosterone levels?
This is a complex topic and we need to dive deep into the current research to find evidence on the effects of CBD consumption on testosterone in order to gain a further understanding of the wide range of potential use cases for the wildly popular cannabinoid.
It is extremely important to know whether or not CBD oil may negatively affect testosterone levels as that can have negative consequences on the fitness and well-being of adult males.
It is already well established that CBD operates in harmony with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which, in turn, assists in the maintenance of homeostasis in the human body.
Thus, one would expect that CBD usage should not trigger a considerable drop in testosterone levels as that would drive the body out of balance in the first place.
How do other cannabinoids affect testosterone levels?
Firstly, it is crucial to distinguish between THC and CBD as two of the most well-known cannabinoids.
While THC is psychoactive and generates the notorious “high” that everyone knows about, CBD is known to have a calming effect and numerous health benefits.
Likewise, when it comes to the effect of cannabinoids on testosterone production, THC and CBD interact differently with the ECS and thus affect testosterone levels in a different manner.
In particular, THC has been shown to bind to the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 which may suppress testosterone production.
However, this does not apply to CBD, but may indeed adversely affect the testosterone production in otherwise healthy recreational marijuana smokers.
The endocannabinoid system and testosterone production
The ECS acts as an evolutionary “master” system within both mammals and invertebrates.
As such, it is made up of a set of endogenous cannabinoid ligands and their congeners, as well as the enzymes needed for the metabolism of those ligands, and their transporter proteins and receptors.
So, how exactly does the ECS influence testosterone production?
This process occurs mostly through the interplay between the ECS and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, whereby HPA is predominantly responsible for all testosterone production in the human body.
In order for the testes to produce testosterone, relevant signals must be sent from the brain starting at the hypothalamus. Subsequently, the pituitary signals to the luteinizing hormone to stimulate the production of testosterone from the Leydig cells in the testes.
Furthermore, cannabinoid receptors are located in sperm cells, and along the pituitary and Leydig cells, such that they can modulate testosterone production and male fertility.
Thus, the ECS plays a key role in reproduction and CBD oil may have an impact on testosterone levels.
Further scientific research studies on CBD and testosterone
An important study in the Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology journal dating all the way back to 1979 has already demonstrated that cannabinoids generally tend to reduce testosterone production in rat testis Leydig cells.
Furthermore, THC is expected to have a much worse effect on testosterone production than CBD since it lacks other desirable properties. In particular, CBD may induce cortisol suppression which results in an increase of the testosterone levels.
Interestingly, another paper examined the CBD-induced suppression of testosterone oxidation in adult male rats, indicating that CBD may reduce the breakdown of testosterone and thus result in prolonging its circulation.
In general, unbound, free testosterone levels are essential and of greater importance than the overall testosterone levels.
Finally, a peculiar study published in the Life Science scientific journal established that the most well-known cannabinoids, namely THC, CBN, and CBD, can both stimulate and inhibit testosterone production in testes of mice depending on the cannabinoid concentrations utilized.
In particular, these cannabinoids stimulated testosterone production at nanomolar concentrations, while the effects were inhibitory at micromolar concentrations.
Summary of CBD for Testosterone
The abovementioned scientific research studies illustrate that CBD intake will likely not increase testosterone levels in humans directly, but is generally not expected to have an adverse effect either due to its other benefits that are undoubtedly favorable for maintaining good testosterone levels.
Extensive clinical research studies in humans are not available at present and will be required in order to formulate definitive conclusions when it comes to the effect of CBD consumption on testosterone production in adult males.
A final piece of advice
In case you have low testosterone levels and are now actively seeking a way to trigger an increase, the testosterone replacement therapy might still be your best bet at this point in time as a tried-and-tested solution administered by healthcare professionals.
However, if you are looking for purely natural remedies that may be effective, it is recommended that you focus on getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet, losing excess weight, staying physically active and in great shape, reducing stress, adding vitamins and supplements (tribulus might be worth looking into), and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Does that ring any bells?!
Indeed, CBD can be utilized to improve sleep quality, weight loss and appetite suppression in overweight people, post-workout recovery, stress and anxiety levels and so on.
Thus, do not underestimate the CBD oil effect when it comes to indirectly regulating your testosterone levels in a natural manner!