cannabis birth control pills
cannabis birth control pills

Does Cannabis Affect Birth Control Meds?

Wait, does marijuana use mess up birth control pills and schedules?

Posted by:
Lemon Knowles on Wednesday Mar 11, 2020

Does Cannabis Affect Birth Control Meds?

cannabis and birth control

Before thinking of having a baby, women often rely on birth control methods to keep an unplanned child from being born. Some of the birth control methods are contraceptive pills. Sometimes these kinds of hormonal tablets have negative side-effects, but sometimes it is also the only way a person feels safe to stop falling pregnant. Birth control pills are known to increase blood pressure in some and also have a negative connotation to forming cancer.

Cannabis is a plant that has many health benefits. But it is also known that cannabis influences the endocrine system. Not much research has been done on cannabis and the effect it has on contraceptives. So, apart from being warned that tobacco might have a negative impact on pregnancy, women also want to know that the effect on cannabis use on contraceptives has.


The Impact of Cannabis on Women’s Hormones and the Endocrine System

CBD is one of the cannabinoids with an array of health benefits. But it is also proven that Cannabidiol has an influence on certain medications as it gets broken down in the same spot. Preliminary research indicates that has an impact on endocrine signaling and it could disrupt female hormone regulation. In a study done in 2016 at Yale, it was found that cannabis consumption could reduce fertility by disrupting normal hormone production. This could mean that women who take cannabis daily for medicinal purposes, could experience a disruption in the production of estrogen and progesterone. For some women, their cycle might even be disrupted, and they could suffer to fall pregnant.

The same study also showed that birth control meds could also have a reverse effect on how women experience the intoxicating effects of marijuana. The ovarian hormones, found in birth control pills too, influence tolerance and dependence on cannabis. It also impacts the plant’s pain-relieving properties. The conclusion of this study was that cannabinoids might disrupt the delicate balance of the endocrine system in the production of female hormones.


What Does it Mean for Birth Control Pills or Patches?

There are not enough studies done to clearly have an idea of how cannabis could affect birth control meds. But we do know that cannabis impacts female endocrine signaling of the reproductive hormones, even if scientists are not sure how exactly. The question is if cannabis could upset the delicate balance created by hormonal birth control meds? Hormonal birth control meds, including the patch, release scheduled doses of both estrogen and progestin to control ovulation and prevent pregnancy.

This lets one conclude that cannabis could possibly somehow influence hormones introduced by birth control tablets just as it would with natural hormones. But it is very hard to prove, as close to no studies have been done on this subject. A conclusion can only be based on evidence found in previous studies.

In one study it was found that THC may interrupt estrogen endocrine signaling. It seems that THC has an anti-estrogenic activity. But today scientists have abandoned this because no evidence was found to support the finding.


So, what do we Know?

Even though scientists are not clear on the matter, we know that cannabis does affect the endocrine system. What scientists do know, is that CBD tends to monopolize certain metabolic enzymes. The metabolic enzymes are found in the liver where they are responsible to transform digested compounds into biological useful ones. A group of enzymes, called cytochrome P450, is influenced by CBD. It inhibits the activity of CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4.

This happens when the liver is flooded with CBD. Until CBD is dissipated, these enzymes are incapable to process any other compounds. What makes it a problem is that these enzymes ignore then all other compounds in need of transformation. Cytochrome P450 enzymes are responsible to transform birth control meds apart from about 60% of other pharmaceuticals. When they are not metabolized, their blood levels increase. This suggests by changing cytochrome P450 activity, cannabinoids may indirectly influence hormonal endocrine signaling. The hypothesis is then that cannabis might impact the liver´s ability to metabolize birth control meds in a timely manner.


Is it a Risk to take Birth Control Meds when Cannabis is Consumed?

It is not clear if cannabis and the impact it has on endocrine signaling would decrease the effectiveness of birth control meds. Research in this matter is still very much in its baby shoes. No animal trials are done yet. Research confirmed that cannabinoids like THC and CBD influence endocrine signaling, but how and to what effect is still very vague. In theory, it looks like cannabis could have an effect.

The only thing we can take from this is that the effect is most likely very small. Many women have been taken birth control meds together with their cannabis. No measurable impact on spikes of pregnancy has been noticed. This means that the impact might possibly be very small.



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