While most doctors remind patients of the risks of using cannabis when they start a birth control regime, many patients still have unanswered questions.
Whether a woman is trying to prevent pregnancy, or choosing birth control for another reason altogether, the choice of birth control can come with the possibility for negative effects on the body. For instance, many women aren’t aware that the risk of smoking tobacco while on hormonal birth can elevate their risk for stroke, blood clot, and heart attack.
Birth control pills and other methods of contraception have also been known to increase blood pressure and some types of cancer. As with everything, medicine often offers a trade of risks. For women concerned about the risks associated with mixing marijuana with birth control, here’s what you should know.
Blood Pressure and THC
While THC can elevate blood pressure directly after ingesting, more studies are still needed to understand the direct cause. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Hypertension found “a modest association between recent cannabis use and systolic blood pressure,” but stressed the importance of waiting for other studies to investigate further.
In fact, the Cardiology Advisor explains it one step further. With cannabinoids affecting blood pressure in different ways, a recent study showed that cannabis users had higher systolic versus diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the movement or force of blood against the artery walls while diastolic measures the resting period between heartbeats. The modest rise in blood pressure of about 3mm Hg, the Cardiology Advisor found the number may be “difficult to discern in clinical practice.”
Interestingly, in several studies, it was found that cannabinoid (CBD) oil actually decreased blood pressure. In a 2017 study published in JCI Insight, researchers found that CBD oil reduced a resting systolic blood pressure rate and stroke volume while increasing the heart rate. Individuals who took CBD had a lower blood pressure rate by -5mmHg and an increased heart rate at 10 bpm.
Easing the effects of birth control
Birth control can have other effects on the body, like vaginal dryness and mood swings. Cannabinoid receptors are present in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and other areas of the female reproductive tract. We know cannabinoids play a part in helping to control inflammation and pain, but also pleasure.
For women who experience hesitation during sexual intercourse, or currently in menopause, science suggests that CBD oil may help to not only set the mood but ease dryness and pain during sex. Women are just starting to investigate the power of CBD and THC put topically on the body. One woman shared her story on using cannabis as a lubricant on HelloMD, saying, “Cannabis has helped me in many ways—from cramp relief after getting a UTI to pain relief-focused topicals to the amazing benefits of cannabis-infused lubricants.”
While most doctors remind patients of the risks of using cannabis when they start a birth control regime, many patients still have unanswered questions. For women seeking answers of whether or not cannabis or CBD is safe to use while on birth control, the best step is to have an open and frank discussion with your gynecologist.