How to Use CBD to Support Your Testosterone Levels
Dec 30, 2020 | Save On Cannabis
A growing number of guys are using cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) to maintain their testosterone levels. We covered the topic in depth in our weed for bodybuilding guide. But can CBD oil actually boost your testosterone or prevent low testosterone? As with most claims related to cannabidiol, the research is limited, but the data we do have is pretty intriguing to say the least.
Causes of Low Testosterone
As you get older, your testosterone decreases. There’s no getting around that. In men, testosterone is produced by the Leydig cells of the testes; it affects sexual development, sex drive, and sperm production while also influencing bone mass and muscle growth. It’s easy to see why gym rats take their testosterone very seriously.
By the age of 40, testosterone production starts to decrease by about 1% per year, but not all men are impacted in the same way.
Overweight men tend to lose more testosterone than the average man, as there are enzymes stored in fat cells that convert testosterone to estrogen. Excess inflammation can also promote these estrogen-converting enzymes, so it’s important to keep inflammation under control as much as possible. High cortisol levels—often brought on by stress—can further result in decreased testosterone production.
Other causes of low testosterone—and particularly premature low testosterone—include:
- Injury or infection of the testes
- Alcohol abuse
- Certain medications like steroids and opioids
- Certain metabolic disorders like hemochromatosis
- Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea
Maintaining good health is imperative for maintaining healthy testosterone levels, but there may be natural ways to slow the decline. Cannabidiol may be able to help.
Why People Want Higher Testosterone
It’s easy to understand the main reason why guys want higher testosterone levels: more testosterone means bigger gains at the gym and a more fulfilling sex life. As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to hit the same fitness milestones and achieve the same kind of muscle development that you once did, and having great sex becomes much more of an effort.
In addition, the effects of low testosterone can take a toll both physically and emotionally. Low T can contribute to decreased sexual function, weakened bone density, muscle loss, memory issues, fatigue, irritability, depression, and more.
How CBD May Support Testosterone
The mechanisms related to CBD and testosterone aren’t fully understood, but there are a few important connections worth noting.
First, cannabidiol interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is made up of receptors (CB1 and CB2) located throughout the brain and body. Cannabidiol influences CB1 and CB2 in a way that triggers various responses throughout the body.
This is important because there are CB1 receptors located in the testicles where testosterone is produced. Researchers are now examining how CBD may play a role in testosterone regulation, and some animal studies have observed how cannabidiol may slow the breakdown of testosterone in the liver. If testosterone is metabolized more slowly, this may result in higher levels.
But while the direct impact of cannabidiol on testosterone is still being researched, we have a better understanding of how CBD influences certain risk factors for low testosterone. For example, we mentioned earlier how chronic inflammation can deplete testosterone levels. A growing body of research reveals that cannabidiol may be effective at reducing inflammatory cytokines in the body via the CB2 receptor—in other words, CBD may block inflammation.
We also noted that cortisol can contribute to low testosterone. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and there’s some clinical evidence to suggest that CBD can reduce stress and anxiety, thereby helping you to keep your cortisol production at a healthy level.
How to Take CBD for Testosterone
If you’re looking to support healthy testosterone levels and you’re currently using other supplements, speak to your doctor before taking CBD. Cannabidiol can interact with certain supplements and medications by inhibiting key liver enzymes.
Once you decide to start taking CBD, most experts recommend starting with a low dosage, typically 5mg to 10mg, two to three times per day. Then increase the dosage gradually by no more than 10mg per day. High doses of CBD are usually well-tolerated, but consider scaling back if you notice side effects like drowsiness, diarrhea, or reduced appetite.
Avoid topicals like lotions and creams, as these are primarily intended for localized relief. You want an oral application that can address the testosterone itself, inflammation, and cortisol. Tinctures are easiest; just apply a couple of drops under your tongue, and allow the liquid to be absorbed into your body through the mucous membrane.
If you’re taking CBD as part of your workout regimen, take it after your workout as part of the post-recovery phase. You don’t want to take it before the workout, as it may contribute to drowsiness or a general sense of relaxation that’s not conducive to rigorous physical activity.
Why CBD May Be Superior to Other Testosterone-Building Supplements
The major benefit of cannabidiol is that the side effects are generally mild. Diarrhea, changes in appetite, and loss of energy may occur, especially at high doses, but these side effects usually fade quickly.
Conventional testosterone supplements, on the other hand, can have severe and even dangerous side effects. For instance, some studies have linked testosterone supplements with heart problems. One 2010 study found that men over 65 were more likely to suffer from a serious heart condition when using testosterone gel. A more recent study found that even younger men have a greater risk of heart attack when taking testosterone supplements.
And the problem isn’t just heart disease. A 2014 rat study found that testosterone supplements represented a “strong tumor promoter for the rat prostate.” More research is needed to identify if humans may also face an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Other possible problems associated with testosterone supplements include sleep apnea, testicular shrinkage, acne breakouts, and breast enlargement. No such issues have been identified with CBD oil.
How to Choose the Best CBD for Testosterone
There are a lot of CBD products out there, and not all of them are high-quality. When comparing CBD for testosterone regulation, there are a few qualities to look out for.
- Always buy from trusted brands like Charlotte’s Web or Social CBD. Avoid unknown, unvetted, or poorly reviewed brands, as the lack of regulation in the CBD industry means that there’s a huge “Buyer Beware” element.
- Shop for products that come with a certificate of analysis from a third-party testing lab. Your lab report should confirm that the product has exactly as much CBD as advertised with no impurities or contaminants.
- Shop for full-spectrum CBD products for best results. Whereas CBD isolate products contain only CBD, full-spectrum CBD products contain the CBD and all of the other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, including up to .3% THC. Each supplementary cannabinoid offers its own therapeutic benefits and reinforces the CBD for a more potent overall effect.
- Shop for CBD isolate products if you’re trying to raise your testosterone for competitive athletic performance. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits all cannabinoids except for CBD. So it’s okay to have cannabidiol in your system, but if you test positive for trace amounts of THC, CBN, or CBG, you could be banned from competition.
- Choose a fast-acting delivery system if you’re using CBD for post-workout inflammation relief. Tinctures and vape oils are extremely fast-acting whereas edibles can take over an hour to activate.
We don’t yet know the full story on CBD for testosterone, but if you’re looking for natural ways to keep your T levels up, cannabidiol offers an easy supplementation option with few to no downsides.
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