CBD extract in a jar

Is CBD a Viable Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction?

CBD is an ingredient found in cannabis. (Learn More) Its legal status in the United States is still fuzzy, (Learn More) but CBD may have many potential medicinal uses. (Learn More)

CBD has been touted as a treatment for ED (erectile dysfunction). (Learn More) At the current time, there is not enough research to suggest that CBD can treat ED. (Learn More) Moreover, the side effects of using CBD (Learn More) and the dosage you should use are not well established. (Learn More)

Ultimately, it appears CBD may offer a potential treatment option for people who have erectile dysfunction. It does not yet have enough research to support its use for this purpose. (Learn More)

Is CBD Different from Marijuana?

CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the most prevalent active ingredients in the cannabis plant (marijuana).

CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, but its status as a treatment for erectile dysfunction has not been thoroughly investigated in research studies.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD (unlike THC) does not produce significant psychoactive effects. As a result, it does not have an abuse potential.

It can be derived from cannabis products or hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plants. Its major use is in medical forms of marijuana.

cbd plant

CBD products are marketed online and in many areas of the United States, but its legal status may be variable from state to state and even from locality to locality.

The federal government, under the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), still considers CBD products to be in the same classification as marijuana, a Schedule I (C I) controlled substance. This means that any amount of the substance is illegal to possess by private individuals, and the substance can only be possessed by organizations and individuals with special permission from the government (typically for research studies).

The position taken by the federal government appears to hinge on whether CBD is extracted from hemp or from cannabis (marijuana). However, given the trend in the country to legalize marijuana products for medicinal and even recreational use, it is almost assured that this status will change eventually.

Even though the federal government considers CBD illegal to possess, it rarely enforces its controlled substance status. In many states, people can obtain CBD products without medical marijuana licenses.

Medicinal Uses of CBD

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived medicine that contains CBD, to treat seizure disorders, particularly seizures in children. Research studies found that CBD was able to control seizures even when other medications were not effective.

CBD may be a viable treatment for certain types of chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia. However, more research is needed in these areas to get approval and to develop specific medications to address these conditions.

Medical marijuana supporters have touted CBD as a sort of cure-all for every possible condition; however, there is no such thing as a panacea. In the past, other drugs like cocaine, antidepressants, and even alcohol have been touted as solutions to all types of disorders.

CBD and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) occurs as a result of several different medical conditions, and it can occur as a result of mental health disorders. Some of the causes of ED include:

  • Cardiovascular issues that inhibit blood flow, making it significantly difficult to achieve an erection.
  • Diabetes, which can inhibit blood flow, leading to problems obtaining or maintaining an erection.
  • Hormonal problems that can lead to difficulty getting an erection.
  • Neurological disorders that make it difficult for neurotransmitters to send messages to the body that lead to an erection.
  • The use of other medications that inhibit your ability to get an erection or toxins in your system that can lead to damage in this area.

Proponents of CBD for the treatment of ED suggest the following:

  • CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may increase blood flow and lead to better circulation. Thus, it could reduce issues associated with ED.
  • CBD is being investigated for potential neuroprotective properties and for its ability to reduce issues associated with neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Thus, it may be able to address issues linked with ED from this perspective.
  • CBD is considered to be an antitoxin, which means that it can destroy toxins in the system (free radicals) and may address ED to some degree.
  • CBD may have antidepressant and anti-anxiety aspects, which may alleviate erectile dysfunction that is due to mental health problems in some people.

Is CBD a Viable Treatment for ED?

Although there are some anecdotal reports and even case-study reports of CBD being able to address erectile dysfunction in some people, there is very little published research that has been able to establish a connection between the use of CBD and its ability to address ED.

Anecdotal evidence for the use of CBD in the treatment of seizures existed before the FDA approved its use as a result of research studies confirming the anecdotal reports. Thus, it is clear that CBD may be a potential treatment for ED, but at the current time, it is not a viable treatment based on a lack of research study support.

Can CBD Be Harmful?

Although the proponents of CBD continue to state that it has no side effects, this is not true. The following are reported side effects of CBD:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Irritability or changes in mood
  • Changes in appetite (increase or decrease)
  • Dry mouth
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased liver enzymes that could suggest the potential for liver damage

People who take other medications, like Coumadin (a blood thinner), may experience rising levels of those medications in their blood when they take CBD. There are also concerns about CBD use in pregnant women, as it could potentially lead to developmental issues in fetuses.

Manufacturers of CBD, medical marijuana proponents, and others have criticized the notion that CBD produces any side effects, but these side effects appear to be the result of some of the research studies using CBD. There is no such thing as a chemical substance that does not produce side effects. It is essentially impossible to take any substance and only experience positive effects.

More information needs to be gathered until the effects of taking CBD are fully understood.

How Much CBD Should You Take?

One final precaution regarding the use of CBD is that doses have not yet been determined. Because of a lack of research evidence, there is no barometer to determine if taking high levels of CBD can be potentially dangerous or what the therapeutic levels are for different types of disorders.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there appears to be some anecdotal evidence that CBD can treat erectile dysfunction, but anecdotal evidence is the worst kind of evidence. Organizations that approve the use of medications for specific diseases and disorders, such as the FDA, will not accept anecdotal evidence.

Instead, anecdotal evidence is often used to develop controlled research studies that can investigate the advantages and disadvantages of using a medication to treat a condition.

At the current time, CBD appears to have potential to address erectile dysfunction, but it cannot be considered a viable treatment option for the issue.


Cannabidiol. U. S. National Library of Medicine.

Cannabidiol (CBD) Pre-Review Report.  (November 2017). World Health Organization.

Drug Scheduling. Drug Enforcement Administration.

FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived From Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy. (June 2018). Food and Drug Administration.

What’s to Know About Erectile Dysfunction. (December 2017). Medical News Today.

CBD Oil: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects. And Safety. (May 2019). Verywell Health.

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