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How to use CBD oil for erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction, ED, in short, is a common sexual problem that affects most men’s mental and physical health. Does the therapeutic properties of CBD oil help in treating ED? How to use CBD oil? Let us discuss.

Undoubtedly, there is an increase in demand, supply, and reputation for CBD products for their extensive application in managing several conditions. But, when it comes to erectile dysfunction, most men feel embarrassed to talk about it. In such a case, can the therapeutic potential of cannabis-based CBD products help treat symptoms of ED? Although we have discussed the multiple therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, it is indispensable to understand the nature of any disorder so that assessing the remedial role of CBD could be more effective, in this case, erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction: Top Health Concern

Several websites, blog posts, and social media references point out that as many as 30 million men from different age groups are affected by ED. Although this may be true, our Hemppedia editorial team wanted to look at data about ED from a different perspective.

Although ED is a common cause of concern in men’s health, not many people know it is treatable.

Did you know that during the forecast period 2019-2025, the global erectile dysfunction drugs (Viagra, Tadalafil, Alpostadil cream, and more) market size is valued at USD 2930 million in 2025? Expected to register a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 3.5%.

These numbers seem more alarming than the incidence of ED. Is the data an outcome of the marketing effect of erectile dysfunction drugs, or does it indicate that more population is susceptible to ED?

When it comes to male health, among the top 10 most concerning conditions, depression, diabetes, and alcohol addiction occupy prominent positions. Although these are comorbidities, they are fundamental factors that lead to erectile dysfunction. Moreover, this condition is often multi-factorial, meaning one or more causes lead to this debilitating situation.

Let us understand further.

What is erectile dysfunction?

The National Institutes of Health Consensus Conference has defined erectile dysfunction (ED) as “a consistent inability to attain or maintain a penile erection, or both, sufficient for adequate sexual relations”.

Some people refer to ED as impotent, but not an often-used term by healthcare professionals.

Types of sexual dysfunction

A 2004 study 1 points out five types of sexual dysfunctions affecting men.

  • Low libido (sexual interest)
  • Erectile dysfunction(ED)
  • Premature ejaculation (reaching orgasm too quickly)
  • Delayed or inhibited orgasm
  • Physical abnormalities of the penis

Although there are correlations between these types, this article aims to discuss ED in detail. Equally important, to analyze the potential benefits of CBD oil for managing symptoms of ED.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

A 2017 study 2 reports that ED is a natural part of aging. Its occurrence increases with age coupled with testosterone (androgen) deficiency. A decrease in testosterone causes a decrease in erections, diminishing the blood supply to the penis. Consequently, the penis fails to create rigid erections. Hence, ED not only affects sex life but also could indicate undiagnosed coronary artery diseases(CAD) and diabetes mellitus.

References from the 2016 ED study 3 and a 2018 study 4 report on the causes of ED. They are presented in a simplified tabular form as given below.


Endocrine factors Non-endocrine factors
Reduced serum testosterone levels Vasculogenic: affecting blood supply, clogged arteries. For eg: Hypertension, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking
Hormonal imbalances, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, mood, anger Neurogenic: abnormalities in neural relations. For eg: spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, lumbar disc disease, traumatic brain injury, etc
Metabolic disorders, poorly controlled Diabetes mellitus Iatrogenic: medical or surgical treatment for a pelvic fracture or pelvic surgery
Tissue disorders Kidney diseases, prostate enlargement, urinary tract infection


Psychogenic factors Confounding factors
Adrenaline mediated ED. Alcohol consumption
Stress, depression, and anxiety together defined as heightened anxiety. Periodontal diseases, oral health
avoidance of sex due to performance anxiety, lack of sexual desire, loss of self-esteem, deteriorated quality of life. Medications used to treat ED, anti-ulcer drugs, opiates, hypertension drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines,etc
Psychiatric symptoms, personality disorders, social anxiety disorder and schizophrenia Lack of physical activity leading to hyperlipidemia

Summing up from the above two tables, we have understood that ED is a multifactorial condition. A combination of organic, non-organic, and lifestyle-led factors contribute to the development of the disorder.

More key takeaways from the 2016 ED study 3 :

  • There is a strong correlation between ED and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) in men with mild benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate gland enlargement.
  • Erectile dysfunction generally precedes cardiovascular conditions. Therefore, it can be used as an early indicator to ascertain major cardiovascular problems.
  • Tobacco smoking addictions increase the risk of ED as smoking has a direct impact on ED.

Key takeaways from the 2017 study 5 :

  • Vascular diseases are the most common causes of ED, but the exact pathway is still unknown.
  • There is a link between chronic periodontitis (CP) and ED because both diseases share common risk factors and lead to endothelial dysfunction. Therefore men with mild to severe ED showed a higher prevalence of CP.

(Chronic periodontitis is a common oral cavity disease that causes chronic inflammation of the periodontal tissues and accumulation of dental plaque)

Additionally, research suggests that ED can begin due to an injury to the penis from sports or accident, autoimmune diseases, Peyronie’s disease, medical or family history, etc. These impact sexual health, sexual disorders, or painful sex.

How to treat ED?

There are several treatment options available to treat ED. If you seek timely professional medical advice, you can improve your sex life and overall well-being.

A 2014 study 6 points out that reports of ED date back to 2000 BC.

The 2016 study 3 reports that since the 15th-century, interest in this subject and its remedies have remained constant.

Therefore we can say that modern advanced treatments for ED have drawn inspiration and guidance from conventional remedies.

Let us briefly look at some of the current remedies in practice to treat erectile dysfunction.

  • Oral prescription medications
  • Penile Implantable Devices
  • Surgery ( Artery reconstruction)
  • Injectable medicines & Suppositories
  • Alternative medicines, Dietary supplements, Botanical drugs from plants & herbs

Oral prescription drugs:

Oral drugs such as sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil are PDE5 inhibitors. They help relax penile tissues and stimulate sexual arousal leading to enhanced sexual performance or longer-lasting sex. Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) helps increase blood flow to the penis by relaxing the blood vessels.

From a 2013 study 7 we can understand that PDE5 is an enzyme found in the penis and the clitoris, smooth vascular, bladder and prostate muscles, and platelets.

Research suggests that complete care must be taken into account while treating erectile dysfunction patients. Especially examining their other health problems, history, and psychological examinations, accompanied by constant follow-ups. Because, unlike natural supplements, these prescription drugs do present side effects.

For example, the 2005 study 8 reports that although sildenafil is safe in men with coronary heart disease, and not to be used with nitrates. And side effects include headache, flushing, and dyspepsia.

Implantable devices or prostheses:

Implantable devices or prostheses are physical objects, usually one to a three-piece device.

The device gets placed inside the penis through a surgical procedure. Post recovery from surgery, the patient could control his erection with the help of the implant.

External Devices such as vacuum erection devices help achieve an erection. Here, the penis is inserted through a plastic cylindrical vacuum pipe to pull blood into the penis. An elastic ring is placed at the base of the penis to prevent blood from flowing back to the body.

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Artery reconstruction:

The physiological process of erection involves the brain, nervous and vascular systems. The process begins with the brain that sends arousal signals to the penile nerves transmitting the same to the spinal cord and penis to cause an erection. When the nerve impulse reaches the two erection chambers inside the penis(corpora cavernosa), it relaxes the penile tissue, and the blood vessels in the chambers get filled with blood. Subsequently, the penis swell in size traps the blood and makes it hard and erect.

Arterial surgery is a remedy to help erectile function normally by removing blockages in penile chambers and create better blood flow.

A 2013 study 9 reports that penile vascular reconstructive surgery should be a promising option in the near future provided it is handled cautiously with appropriate surgical methods.

Injectable medicines and suppositories:

Injectable medicines trigger automatic erections, unlike oral medications.

For example, Alprostadil is injected into the penis and as a urethral suppository.

Suppositories are pills specially designed for administering certain medications through anal or vaginal cavities. They are generally in a cone or oval shape that contains the medicine.

New advancements in treating ED

The 2014 study 10 elaborately discussed new technological advancements in ED management. Such as external penile support devices, vibrators, low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave, impulse magnetic field therapy, tissue engineering, nanotechnology, endovascular treatment, and new penile implants

Alternative medicines:

More and more people are turning to non-mainstream approaches to health care, which are outside western practices. They include alternative contemporary medicines and Integrative therapies.

Alternative medicines include herbal products, nutraceutical products, dietary supplements, and probiotics available as tablets, powder, syrup, capsules, teas, and extracts. The global complementary and alternative medicine market size is valued at USD 82.27 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.03% from 2021 to 2028.

A recent study 11 reports that the FDA is developing a framework under which CBD-containing products could be labeled as dietary supplements, supported by expanded research, a corporate stewardship program, and a rigorous adverse event reporting system.

Does CBD help treat symptoms of erectile dysfunction?

Well, we might not always get direct answers to what we seek.

We are aware that research is inadequate in several areas of medical cannabis and its pharmacological aspects.

But, Hemppedia has compiled several blog posts about the various therapeutic aspects of cannabidiol CBD, the non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis sativa plant. Moreover, we have also discussed other cannabinoids (CBG, acidic forms, THCA, THC, CBDA) and their potential health benefits in managing mental, neurological, pain, and inflammatory conditions and a lot more.

So, let us try to connect some dots and explore the role of cannabinoids in improving the quality of life for men affected with ED.

In this blog post, we discussed the symptoms of endocrine, non-endocrine, psychogenic, and compounding factors that lead to erectile dysfunction.

The 2018 study 12 confirmed that endogenous cannabinoids have a role in regulating food intake and energy homeostasis of the body, and have a significant impact on the endocrine system, including the activity of the pituitary gland, adrenal cortex, thyroid gland, pancreas, and gonads. This establishes the interrelations between the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the endocrine system and could be a potential target for proving the therapeutic benefits of several drugs in the treatment of infertility, obesity, diabetes, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Let us once again recall the neurogenic causes of ED.

  • In the blog post, CBD for Multiple Sclerosis, we had pointed out the benefits of using CBD to treat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis to improve the quality of life of most patients.

A study published in 2013 13 in the journal “Neurobiology of Disease” addresses this topic. It confirms cannabidiol (CBD) long-lasting protection against harmful effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis.

  • CBD blocks a receptor known as GPR6 that is known to cause some impaired movements in a patient with Parkinson’s. Another study showed positive results and improved the quality of life of affected patients without any other psychiatric disorder.
    blog post brings out references from studies that analyzed the use of cannabis and CBD for high-risk sports professionals. The role of CBD in decreased inflammatory cell activation, improvements in mood for traumatic brain injury, concussions, and pain management is noteworthy here.
  • CBD can stimulate the growth of the hippocampus, thereby triggering the creation of new neurons. Neurogenesis can be a powerful method to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. Moreover, cannabis and its components help alleviate depression and stabilize moods (induced by chronic stress) by activating paralimbic and limbic areas in the patient’s brain. CBD has a role in modulating serotonin levels and promoting restful sleep.
  • CBD for Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia): BPH is a condition of an enlarged prostate, not necessarily cancer. Symptoms like painful urination, pain in the hips and pelvic area, blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation, and frequent urination show up. Urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney stones, and increased testosterone production could also lead to BPH.

Let us quickly understand some terms here. Testosterone is the male sex hormone that regulates sex drive or libido, bone and muscle mass, fat, red blood cells, and sperm production. And, Leydig cells present in the seminiferous tubules in the testicle are responsible for producing testosterone, the male sex hormone.

Therefore, the role of CBD in inhibiting testosterone is noteworthy. A 1979 study 14 reported that cannabinoids at very low concentrations may interfere directly in Leydig cells with both protein and testosterone synthesis, and thus with their function.

  • Having discussed the role of CBD, a few points about THC are mention-worthy.

Two hormones are essential for reproduction ( both male and female): Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These get secreted from the pituitary gland called gonadotrophs.

A 1984 study 15 reports that THC lowers the LH and FSH, which are responsible for reduced testosterone production by the Leydig cells of the testis. Moreover, THC suppresses prolactin, thyroid gland function, and growth hormone while elevating adrenal cortical steroids.

In essence, we have understood that sex is more than a physical relationship. Homeostasis of the mind and body together play a crucial role in sexual health and vice versa.

How to use CBD oil for erectile dysfunction?

The exact manner in which CBD oil for erectile dysfunction works is not yet fully understood. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and does not make you high. But the calming and relaxing properties of CBD regulates mood, stress, and performance anxiety leading to the possibility of boosting libido.

There are only tertiary references about the use of cannabis-derived CBD products, including CBD oil, capsules, concentrates, CBD edibles, CBD lube, or lubricants for managing pain, discomforts in ED.

Since there are different formulations of CBD, the best and the easiest choice is CBD oil. CBD oil comes in different strengths and potencies. Most importantly, in the context of ED, since we have discussed the negative effects of THC in male hormone function, make sure to procure high-quality CBD products that are THC-free.

CBD For Erectile Dysfunction: Can It Help?

Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is one of the most common sexual dysfunctions for men, affecting around 30 million men in the United States alone.

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If you’ve spent any time on natural health websites, you may have seen recommendations for cannabidiol, or CBD, as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

While there’s currently no research showing that CBD is an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction, it might be helpful for treating anxiety that can contribute to ED and other sexual health issues.

Below, we’ve explained what erectile dysfunction is, as well as the key factors that may cause you to experience difficulties getting or keeping an erection.

We’ve also dug into the science behind CBD to find out how it may be helpful for treating some sexual performance issues.

Finally, we’ve listed the science-based treatment options that are available if you’re affected by ED.

CBD for Erectile Dysfunction: The Basics

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, from physical health issues to factors like stress, anxiety or use of certain medications.

Most people with ED use medications like sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra®) to increase blood flow to the penis and treat erectile dysfunction.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is widely available as an oil and in numerous other products. Many of these are promoted as natural treatments for various ailments and health conditions.

Currently, there’s no scientific research showing that CBD is an effective treatment for ED or a suitable replacement for medications like sildenafil.

However, some research suggests that CBD may be an effective treatment for anxiety, which is occasionally a causative factor in ED.

If you have ED, it’s best to talk to a licensed healthcare provider to find out about your ED treatment online options before relying on something like CBD.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Erectile dysfunction is a common medical condition in which you may find it difficult to develop or maintain an erection. You may have ED if you:

Are able to get an erection, but find it difficult to do so consistently when you want to have sex

Are able to get an erection, but can’t maintain it long enough for enjoyable sex

Can’t get an erection at all

Erectile dysfunction can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from physical health issues to psychological conditions, medications and even certain habits and lifestyle factors.

Common physical causes of ED include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and physical health conditions that affect your penis, such as Peyronie’s disease.

Psychological causes of ED include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and guilt or concerns about sexual behavior.

Medications that may cause ED include antidepressants, antiandrogens, tranquilizers and some medications used to treat high blood pressure.

Habits and lifestyle factors that may cause ED include smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, illicit drug use, lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese.

Although ED becomes more common with age, it can affect men of all ages. In fact, one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that approximately one out of every four men seeking help for ED is under the age of forty.

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What Is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical that’s extracted from the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike many other cannabinoids, CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive activity, meaning it won’t make you feel the typical high associated with cannabis.

CBD and other cannabinoids work by binding to the cannabinoid receptors located throughout your central nervous system and organs. Your cannabinoid receptors play a role in a variety of functions, from learning and cognition to cardiac function, energy metabolism and more.

Currently, CBD is being studied as a potential new medication for conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease and others.

CBD is available in a wide range of products, from CBD oil to capsules, gummies, sleep aids and even personal care products. It’s also used as an additive in CBD-infused smoothies and health foods.

Does CBD Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

Search online for terms such as “CBD sex products” and you’ll come across hundreds of CBD products such as lubes, massage oils, capsules and “love potions” that claim to boost your sex drive, strengthen your erections and improve your sexual performance.

Despite the promises made about certain CBD products, right now, there’s no reliable scientific evidence showing that CBD treats erectile dysfunction or improves sexual performance.

There’s also no scientific evidence that CBD improves blood flow to your penis or has any effect on the muscles or nerves involved in erections.

In general, most research on cannabis and sexual health is mixed, with different studies finding positive and negative effects on sexual performance.

For example, a scientific review published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics found that use of cannabis and cannabinoids had a negative effect on sperm function and mixed effects on reproductive hormones in men.

On the other hand, a recent study published in Sexual Medicine found an association between frequency of cannabis use and increased sexual function in men. Interestingly, the men in this study showed improved erectile function with cannabis use.

The study authors do make the point that “the clinical significance of this is likely low, and selection bias may limit the generalizability of these findings.”

There’s also some evidence that cannabis use may increase activation in the areas of the brain responsible for arousal. For example, a 2017 study found that cannabis use increased activation of certain parts of the basal forebrain in people exposed to erotic photos.

It’s important to note that this research looked at the effects of cannabis as a whole, not specific cannabinoids such as CBD. As such, their findings may not apply to products that contain CBD or other isolated cannabinoids.

Overall, there just isn’t enough scientific research available to confidently say that CBD can treat erectile dysfunction or other sexual health issues.

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CBD and Sexual Performance Anxiety

One area where CBD may be useful is in treating and managing anxiety, including anxiety about sexual performance.

Sexual performance anxiety is a feeling of nervousness and anxiety that can happen before and during sex. As we’ve covered in our guide to sexual performance anxiety and ED, anxiety that’s related to sex may contribute to sexual performance issues, including erectile dysfunction.

While there’s no research on CBD and sexual performance anxiety specifically, some studies of CBD have found that it may have benefits for treating anxiety.

For example, a 2020 review published by the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found that CBD showed promising results as an alternative treatment for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.

However, as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has pointed out, there currently isn’t enough evidence to state that CBD is an effective treatment for anxiety.

CBD Safety and Side Effects

CBD products appear to be safe for most adults. However, there are side effects associated with cannabidiol and other cannabis products that you should be aware of if you’re thinking of using CBD, whether for its possible effects on sexual performance or other effects.

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When taken by mouth, reported side effects of CBD include drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, lightheadedness and a reduction in blood pressure levels.

Currently, there’s limited information available on the potential side effects of topical products containing CBD. There’s also little research on the safety and potential side effects of CBD products for people under the age of twenty-one.

In addition to possible safety issues with CBD itself, it’s important to be aware that most CBD products aren’t subject to the same regulations as FDA-approved medications, or even many dietary supplements.

How to Treat Erectile Dysfunction

Although CBD isn’t proven to treat erectile dysfunction, several safe, science-based treatments are available that can improve your erectile health and sexual performance.

Currently, the most effective treatments for ED are medications called PDE5 inhibitors. These work by increasing blood flow to the erectile tissue of your penis, allowing you to easily get an erection when you’re sexually aroused.

Popular PDE5 inhibitors used to treat erectile dysfunction include:

Sildenafil. The active ingredient in Viagra, AKA generic Viagra, sildenafil is a popular ED medication that’s designed to provide relief from erectile dysfunction for approximately four hours.

Tadalafil. The active ingredient in Cialis®, tadalafil is a long-lasting ED medication that remains effective for up to 36 hours.

Vardenafil. The active ingredient in Levitra®, vardenafil provides relief from ED for four to eight hours per dose.

Avanafil. Available as Stendra®, avanafil is a newer ED medication that works quickly and is less likely to cause certain side effects than older PDE5 inhibitors.

All ED medications require a prescription. We offer a range of FDA-approved ED medications online, following a consultation with a physician who will determine if a prescription is appropriate.

Our guide to PDE5 inhibitors goes into more detail on these medications and how they work to treat ED.

In addition to ED medications, making changes to your habits and lifestyle can help to improve your erectile health and sexual performance. Try to:

Maintain a healthy weight. Research shows that obesity is a significant risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men. In fact, even being mildly overweight can have a negative impact on your erectile health. Try to maintain a healthy body weight to keep health issues like ED at bay. Although body mass index (BMI) is far from perfect at assessing your health, aiming for a BMI in the 18.5 to 24.9 range is a good general target. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website has a handy calculator that you can use to determine what your BMI is.

Exercise on a regular basis. Reliable erections are all about blood flow. Research into the effects of exercise and ED has found that regular exercise is linked to improvements in erectile function. In addition to improving your erectile health, regular exercise can help to lower your risk of heart disease, strokes and other health risks. Aim for at least 15 minutes of exercise per day to keep your heart healthy and your sexual performance optimal.

Quit smoking. Smoking can significantly increase your risk of developing ED by causing damage to your blood vessels and vascular system. If you smoke, try to quit. Our guide to quitting lists science-based techniques that you can use to give up smoking for good.

Treat any underlying health issues. Finally, it’s important to treat any underlying health problems that may contribute to ED, particularly issues like high blood pressure or heart disease. Not only do these affect your erectile health — they can also have a major negative effect on your general health and wellbeing over the long term if left untreated.

You can learn more about treating ED through healthy habits and lifestyle changes in our guide to naturally protecting your erection.

In Conclusion

While CBD may offer benefits for sleep, anxiety and other health issues, there isn’t any scientific evidence to show that it’s effective at treating ED or improving your sexual performance.

If you’re affected by ED, the most effective treatment options are PDE5 inhibitors like sildenafil, tadalafil and others. These work by improving blood flow to your penis, making it easier for you to get and keep an erection when you’re aroused.

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Learn More About Treating ED

Erectile dysfunction is very common and usually treatable. Our full guide to ED covers everything from the causes of erectile dysfunction to treatments and prevention strategies that you can use to improve your erections and optimize your sexual health.

16 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

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This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.