Does weed affect birth control? It is a question many people like to know the answer of because it sure affects many people’s lives. This being said, I’ve decided to nerd out a bit this time and do some thorough research on what scientists have to say about the green stuff and fertility stuff.
As we all know, smoking tobacco is one of the “no-no” dietary recommendations among alcohol, and raw fish, that pregnant women are strongly advised against. Cannabis is also part of the list. This is because, as doctors say, marijuana induces the risk of stillbirth and negatively affects the child’s visual-motor coordination. Namely, cannabis affects the unborn child with its psychoactive compounds (the THC) through the placenta regardless of how it is taken – smoking or vaping, or through edibles.
How does weed affect birth control?
If you wonder does weed affect birth control, you are probably not thinking about getting pregnant for a while. You simply want to enjoy marijuana and know whether it has a negative impact on birth control and your chances of conceiving later on. While using marijuana to alleviate menstrual cramps is a very effective remedy for those struggling with painful periods, those who are off the birth control and want to conceive should know that marijuana should be stopped from using as soon as you start planning parenthood. Being properly educated on the topic does weed affect birth control could save many people the trouble of ineffective birth control and infertility for those on the other end of the spectrum.
However, just as with anything regarding marijuana, studies and statements are contradictive and confusing because they all seem to show different results regarding one identical question. For instance, there was a study that showed that marijuana use had no effect on time to pregnancy (TTP) nor it had an effect on birth control in general. This only shows that limiting your use of marijuana while on birth control or during your pregnancy is only a matter of “better safe than sorry” approach rather than one with a strong base.
What happens exactly?
A baby in a blanket via unsplash.
All the organs and systems in your body are interrelated and are able to communicate and send nutrients and other substances between themselves. The same goes when cannabinoids enter your bloodstream either by smoking weed or by ingesting it orally, or topically. Namely, your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) mediates the effects of weed throughout the entire body once it detects its cannabinoids. And, your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is closely related to your reproductive system, in fact, just like with any other system, it aids in its proper function. The way it does that is through an equal distribution of endocannabinoid receptors in the entire body. Which means they are present in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and endometrium. A study done on the questing does weed affect birth control explains that your endocannabinoid system is active in the ovaries during folliculogenesis. Folliculogenesis is the process when mature eggs are produced from ovarian follicles. So when the ECS is activated by the marijuana you just smoked its receptors throughout the whole body become active too, and they work differently, neglecting their everyday responsibilities. This means that birth control can be neglected in times of smoking marijuana while taking or, or when trying to conceive, it can lead to reduced fertility, spontaneous abortion, as well as ectopic pregnancy. So if you’re wondering does weed affect birth control, this would be your best answer.
Marijuana and periods
However, in order to fully understand does weed affect birth control and how so, we should look into the menstrual cycle from another angle. The weed angle, that is. You see, the cycle itself is directly connected to fertility and has a lot to do with it because when trying to naturally conceive, the woman’s reproductive system needs to release an egg by the ovaries (process is known as ovulation), in order for the sperm to have a chance to fertilize the egg at the end. The study explains that there is a strong connection between marijuana and menstrual cycle difficulties. Namely, women who use marijuana tend to have an elevated rate of menstrual cycles in which ovulation lacks. This means that the eggs aren’t as readily produced, ovulation is delayed and prolonged, thus fertility is reduced.
Does weed affect birth control: the fertility hormones
Fertility hormones via conceptfertility.
Taking a step beyond, the cycle is regulated by the fertility hormones. These include the estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH), among the many. To understand better how does weed affect birth control let’s take a closer look at this explanation of these hormones’ responsibilities when it comes to the menstrual cycle:
- “Follicular Phase: LH and FSH stimulate the growth of several ovarian follicles — kicking things off. As the “dominant” follicle (the one that will release an egg) grows, estrogen rises to prep for ovulation and FSH levels begin to fall. This drop in FSH causes the other ovarian follicles (with the exception of the dominant one) to die off.
- Ovulation: When estrogen levels peak, the body produces a surge of LH, which helps the egg reach final maturation and ultimately release from the follicle.
- Luteal Phase: The increase in luteal phase cues the body to produce progesterone, which helps the lining of the uterus thicken in anticipation of a fertilized egg making its home there (it’s like making a comfier bed for the baby). If a sperm fertilizes the egg and pregnancy occurs, progesterone levels continue to rise. If fertilization doesn’t occur, progesterone levels drop.
- Menstrual Phase: This drop in progesterone causes the egg and the uterine “bed” to shed in the form of your period.”
The point of all this in the question of how does weed affect birth control is that it lowers the fertility window and prolongs the ovulation by limiting how all these fertility hormones work together. It also limits how they all work together in conceiving a baby.
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