CBD for TTC

CBD for TTC

What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the main chemical compounds found in cannabis, and thanks to its therapeutic profile, it has been the focus of an increasing number of studies to uncover the full scope of its potential health benefits. There is a growing body of research that supports its abilities to relieve pain, calm anxiety, reduce inflammation, stabilize mood, assist with fertility, stop seizures and manage weight, just to name a few. And unlike its partner, THC, it is a non-psychoactive compound, which means that it will not get you high.


How Does It Work?
Our bodies have a system called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that plays a significant role in helping keep our bodies balanced through a process called homeostasis. The ECS consists of a group of internal cannabinoid receptors that are located on the surface of cells in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems and help regulate a number of physiological and cognitive processes including pain, mood, memory, energy, fertility, and pregnancy as well as pre- and post-natal development.

CB1 and CB2 are the two main cannabinoid receptors found within the ECS and are responsible for transmitting information about changing conditions within the body to the inside of the cells in order to kick-start the appropriate cellular response.

  • CB1 receptors are found on the surfaces of cells in the brain, liver, lung, uterus and sperm, and help moderate a number of functions for the body dependent on their placement such as pain perception, mood, or memory.
  • CB2 receptors are found on the surfaces of cells mainly in the spleen, tonsils, thymus gland and white blood cells, but are also located in the brain as well although not as densely as CB1 receptors. They’re responsible for signaling the body’s immune response to pathogens and also help moderate inflammation.

There are three kinds of cannabinoids that are recognized by the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors:

  • Endocannabinoids: molecules produced naturally by the human body and serve as neurotransmitters. Two main endocannabinoids have been discovered thus far:
    • Anandamide: the “bliss molecule”
    • 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG): plays an important role in helping regulate the circulatory system
  • Phytocannabinoids: plant-derived (phyto) cannabinoids such as CBD or THC, that can be found in cannabis 
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids: artificial cannabinoids created in laboratories

 

Each of these cannabinoids are considered “agonists” – chemicals that bind to and activate receptors to produce a biological response. In the case of our CB1 and CB2 receptors, activation by these cannabinoids helps influence our body’s daily functions such as immune system regulation, memory processing, pain sensation, body temperature, motor control and more.

Unlike most endo- and phytocannabinoids, instead of binding with or directly triggering CB1 or CB2, cannabidiol modifies their ability to bind to other cannabinoids. Because it inhibits the degradation of anandamide (the bliss molecule) by blocking a particular enzyme (FAAH) which breaks down anandamide, and also works as a partial agonist to 5-HT1A (a serotonin receptor), CBD can have positive effects on anxiety, depression and other mood disorders by helping mellow out fight or flight responses to stress and promoting a sense of calm. It also activates other receptors within the body such as GPR55, which has been linked to the treatment of pain and inflammation.


What Does This Mean for Fertility?

Female Fertility
Studies show that the ECS has a direct impact on the female reproductive system. It not only affects ovarian follicle maturation, oocyte (egg) maturation and ovarian endocrine secretions, but also impacts embryo transport, implantation, deciduation and placentation (the formation and growth of the placenta). Recent studies have also shown that when the ECS is out of balance, aberrant endocannabinoid signaling can result in ectopic pregnancies. 

Anandamide levels have also been found to play an important role in pregnancy, especially in the early stages. Because a surge of anandamide levels during ovulation is clinically associated with a successful pregnancy, introducing CBD at that time (which helps inhibit the breakdown of anandamide) may help boost anandamide levels naturally and support successful ovulation. 

The ECS and corresponding endocannabinoid levels have even been linked to female sexual arousal, with cannabinoid-infused topicals positively linked to both an increase in sexual stimulation and arousal.

CBD can also help promote an overall sense of peace and well-being and help combat stress or performance anxiety as it relates to bedroom activities thanks to its anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) properties.

Additionally, CBD may also be helpful in the systemic reduction of inflammation in the body, which can have a negative impact on both egg quality and the likelihood of implantation. 


Male fertility
Recent research shows that the male reproductive system is also impacted by the ECS — CB2 receptors have been linked to sperm motility and the recently discovered cannabinoid GPR18 is thought to help improve sperm's acrosome reaction (the release of enzymes from the sperm head that helps it fuse, penetrate and ultimately fertilize an egg).

Endocannabinoid signaling has also been tied to other male reproductive functions such as spermatogenic output and sperm viability.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of conflicting evidence about the impact of phytocannabinoids on male fertility. While some research suggests a negative relationship between cannabis and male fertility (specifically as it relates to sperm morphology), the predominant focus of those studies was on the potential negative impact marijuana use had on fertility due to the adverse impacts of THC. Conversely, a recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard found a positive link between cannabis use and sperm count.

There is also anecdotal evidence that suggests that the use of cannabis sativa by Ayurveda practitioners was linked to the improvement of erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory function, and sexual performance


Conclusion
While the role of the ECS and phytocannabinoids have yet to be fully mapped out as they relate to the human reproductive system, initial research coupled with a growing library of anecdotal evidence suggests a number of positive correlations between cannabidiol use and its influence on improving ECS and by proxy reproductive function.

As a collective of women who have experienced firsthand our own challenges trying to conceive, helping others on their journey to pregnancy is very important to us. That’s why we are committed to ensuring that our products contain only the best whole hemp extracts, and why we invest in the third-party efficacy testing and lab results to back that up.

Stay tuned for part two of our series, which will provide an in-depth look at why the quality of hemp used in supplements is critical to ensuring positive outcomes.





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