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Weed is one of the most popular drugs in the world. With the legalization of marijuana in many US states in the past decade, more and more people are lighting up to get high, with the assumption that it’s a harmless activity.
There are also the medical benefits of the drug, which enables people suffering from various diseases a new mode of treatment that’s been otherwise shunned in the past.
Nowadays, smoking weed has been shown in research to be beneficial for several reasons. These pros include:
- Reducing anxiety in patients
- Alleviating pain
- Reducing insomnia
- Assisting cancer patients with nausea caused by chemotherapy
However, one area where we lack positive research is the effect of marijuana and its active component THC on male reproductive health.
We know that cigarette smoking and whiskey binging have been linked to erectile dysfunction, so what about weed?
Let’s uncover the science behind the claims, and what we know about marijuana and erectile dysfunction.
Marijuana and Erectile Dysfunction: The Research
First, we need to understand how an erection works.
When an erection happens, there is increased blood flow in the penile tissue and in the chambers of the penis, which causes it to swell up and become erect.
This process is controlled by several factors both inside and outside the body.
On the outside, sexual arousal sends signals to the brain known as neurotransmitters, which then encourage blood flow to fill the chambers of the penis.
The neurotransmitter in question is dopamine, which plays a crucial role in sexual arousal and sexual function. Specifically, these neurotransmitters bind with the brain’s receptors and are released during sexually arousing situations to give a pleasant high.
This process plays a pivotal role in achieving an erection.
So how does marijuana impact these elements?
In truth, research on the topic is riddled with contradictions. The general sentiment of a recent research reviewreported that there needs to be more research done for a conclusive stance to be made of the benefits and side effects of the drug.
Nonetheless, there have been independent (albeit small-scale) experiments performed that have shown various results regarding marijuana usage and erectile dysfunction.
Here are some positive findings linking medical marijuana use and male sexual health:
- According to recent research, men who used marijuana in combination with other drugs had a 52% lower sperm count rate than those who didn’t use marijuana.
- Smoking marijuana daily is linked to trouble achieving orgasms in some men in one study.
- A review published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine linked an increased ED risk in men with frequent marijuana use.
On the other hand, here are some studies that have concluded that the medical effects of marijuana are yet to be fully comprehended.
- A recent study concluded that there have been no statistically significant differences between sperm quality and marijuana usage.
- Another study pointed out that the results of most studies regarding the association of sexual dysfunction and marijuana usage are inconclusive and contradictory.
- One interesting observance is the increasing incidence between the accelerating growth of erectile dysfunction cases (322 million by 2025) and the fairly recent legalization of marijuana—but such an association isn’t strong enough to be linked.
With that said, if you’re the type to regularly smoke marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes and have come down with an inability to stay erect, schedule an appointment with an erectile dysfunction doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
The Side Effects of Smoking Weed
While smoking cannabis has positive health benefits, there are still some things to consider before hitting the blunt or taking it for medicinal purposes.
You’ll also need to talk to a doctor before you use cannabis or participate in any other drug interactions. Alternatively, you can take a step to healthy living for other ways to improve your health.
Here are some of the side effects marijuana users may develop with frequent use of this recreational drug.
Weed may cause a variety of psychological effects, including:
- Panic attacks
Smoking weed is also considered to be a fast-acting drug. It will enter the bloodstream in a few minutes and quickly contact your brain cells. If your mental state is at risk, smoking weed can exacerbate pre-existing problems.
One of the most common side effects of smoking weed is dry mouth due to dehydration. Smoking anything also causes tar and carcinogens to form in the lungs, thus damaging them over time. If enough damage occurs, the smoker could suffer from inflamed lungs and weaker immune systems over time.
When you smoke cannabis or cigarettes, you put your respiratory organs at risk of getting damaged. This may cause additional damage to your lungs, making it more difficult for your body to fight off germs and viruses like the common cold and flu. Even after quitting, this form of smoking causes a persistent cough.
Impairs Your Brain Function
For younger males, weed can affect their hormone levels and sexual functions. Weed has been linked with impaired short-term memory and is also linked to decreased amounts of alertness, learning, and memory over time.
In addition to changing your hormone levels, weed can permanently change the structure of your brain in imaging tests, even after you’ve stopped using it. This can affect the connections the brain has on the different organs in the body, including the reproductive organs.
Increased Heart Rate
Marijuana also can speed up your heart rate because it contains a cardiac glycoside that stimulates the nervous system. These chemicals can cause an increased increase in heart rate and lessen blood flow to the body, including the penis and the brain.
In addition to this, marijuana use is linked with an increase in systolic blood pressure. Since erectile dysfunction and high blood pressure are inextricably linked, your sexual behavior may be affected in this way.
Takeaways for the Connection Between Marijuana and ED
At the current state, marijuana research is fairly unexplored. The health benefits and side effects of recreational and medical marijuana are something that still needs extensive and large-scale initiatives in which to draw data.
The medical professionals at Premier Men’s Medical Center in Orlando specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.