Infertility

And You Begin Again

 And Sometimes You Lose. Sometimes You Win.

 But You Begin Again.

 Even Though Your Heart Is Breaking.

 In Time The Sun Will Shine

 And You Will Begin Again.

 -Barry Manilow

Does your day starts and ends with the endless trail of thoughts of never getting pregnant? Is your mind haunted with the throes of being childless? Does your heart melt away while the body aches at the sight of a new-born?

Life is full of injustices. Where some have to deal with consecutive unwanted pregnancies, Mother Nature is not kind to many.

Nevertheless, one must not make infertility the focus of their entire life. Even though it is an emotionally and physically exhausting rollercoaster ride, you are not alone. Infertility is a global public health concern.

Infertility and subfertility affect a significant proportion of humanity. According to an estimation made by WHO, in the United States alone, 10% to 15% of the couples are infertile while worldwide 8% to 12% of the couples are struggling to conceive a child.

In medical terminology, infertility is defined as a “disease of the reproductive system” that hinders pregnancy despite committing regular, unprotected sexual intercourse (i.e. without the use of any birth control) for at least 12 months.

In such bleak circumstances, there is distress. There are severe bouts of anxiety. There is utter hopelessness. Numerous studies have revealed that the trauma and depression associated with infertility in couples are similar to cancer and cardiac patients.

Couples in the phase often feel trapped in a long dark, unlit tunnel. But remember there is light outside!

What makes things worst is the hesitation and discomfort in opening up about it and sharing the pain with a loved one or friend due to shame or a feeling of personal failure.

Because no matter how far the world has gotten, the societal expectations around women’s role as a mother remain unchanged. Even today, a woman if diagnosed infertile or have difficulty conceiving is met with raised eyebrows and pointed fingers. Consequently, they often suffer in silence in this emotionally and financially demanding situation.

But, there is no need to resign to feeling this way. Today, there are abundant of holistic treatments as well as medical interventions that can cure infertility. From hypnosis, IVF, acupuncture, diet cleanses. You name it!

Sounds fishy?

Well, most of you must be aware that CBD, the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, is being incorporated into every other wellness product lately.

We understand your concerns in your attempt to get pregnant and the effect of CBD on your overall health and body. For that end, we shall look at the use of CBD oil and how effective it is to boost fertility:

What is CBD?

Before you begin your search down the Google wormhole, let’s go over the basics of CBD.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of the naturally-occurring hundred compounds found in cannabis. This hot new product has received mass acclamation and praise for treating a plethora of chronic and acute medical conditions.

Its proponents avouch that CBD helps alleviate pain, inflammation, seizures, insomnia, weight issues, mental disorders, neurological problems, hair loss, anxiety and other related conditions, including PTSD and Seasonal Affective Disorder and we can literally go on forever.

Furthermore, a CBD-containing medicine, Epidiolex, has been approved and declared as the only anti-epilepsy drug by the FDA after all other medications and drugs failed to respond. Epidiolex exhibited positive results in addressing two rare childhood epilepsy syndromes, namely Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

The tip of the iceberg is, all these benefits come guaranteed without making the user addicted to CBD. This is because CBD doesn’t include Delta- 9 tetrahydrocannabinol aka THC- a notorious component of marijuana that makes one high.

After the rapid legalization of CBD, owing to its medicinal properties, there has been a dramatic rise in the demand as well as the supply of CBD products. Today, CBD-infused goods are flooding every town and city from oils, vapours, extracts, tinctures, capsules, gummies to skin-care, cosmetics and hair-care products.

Regardless, one must carefully inspect the label before consuming any CBD product and be wary of the quantity and concentration of CBD present and most importantly, whether or not there are any traces of THC involved.

What About CBD And Fertility?

CBD’s striking popularity and rampant legalization, has sparked several questions amongst its fans and users, including its impact on fertility. While researchers, scientists and the medical community have joined hands in their quest to tap the full potential of CBD, they are trying their level best to answer these questions.

Despite studies being conducted on a mass level by organizations and universities on animal models, the research is yet on a very nascent stage.

A statement made by Julie Lamb, a medical advisor at Modern Fertility, quoted that “we do not yet know if CBD products made from cannabis might also have a negative effect (like thereof marijuana). CBD is so new that there haven’t been any solid studies to show that it’s safe in pregnancy, or specifically what effects CBD hemp oil would have on a fetus”.

However, some studies carried out on female mouse embryos demonstrated that CBD use nurtured its development because of increased production on anandamide. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that unlike marijuana, CBD can be consumed not only in pregnancy but also while trying to conceive.  

For couples who fail to conceive for factors that aren’t purely medical such as lifestyle or psychological barriers, CBD oil comes to the rescue. It indirectly addresses conception-related issues such as sleep-deprivation and related disorders, stress, weight gain and addictive smoking.

Let’s have a detailed look at each of these parameters step-by-step to help you fully understand how CBD interferes with the main contributors of infertility. However, all this doesn’t come without risks, which we will cover too, in the course of this article. 

With that, we would like to remind our readers that’s its always a wise idea to consult a medical expert before you try CBD. 

Boosting Fertility Through The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Perhaps what captured the attention of the medical world was the fact that CBD’s chemical structure has an uncanny resemblance to that of the naturally-producing hormones inside our body called endocannabinoids.

The entire biological network of endocannabinoids and neurotransmitters (that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain) forms the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is intimately connected with several processes such as pain, inflammation, sleep, immunity and reproduction, including fertility, pregnancy, post- and prenatal development.

Therefore, as soon as we intake THC, CBD or any other psychoactive compound, the ECS System inside our body activates, and the receptors respond and react accordingly to mitigate symptoms of pain, stress, inflammation, seizures, insomnia etc.

The presence of these ECS receptors can be traced in male sperm as well as the female reproductive tract. Therefore, CBD has reflected favourable outcomes in boosting fertility with minimum side effects in, both men and women. Let’s study how:

 A) Male Fertility

Scientists have detected a considerable quantity of cannabinoid receptors present in the male sperm cells. One receptor that is of particular benefit to activate sperm cells is GPR18 as it boosts sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. 

 B) Female Fertility

On the contrary, in females, the endocannabinoid called anandamide (dubbed as the bliss molecule) has been linked with improved fertility chances and healthy pregnancy.

 Remember, the aunties incessantly advising a pregnant lady to stay happy and avoid taking stress?

This neurotransmitter, anandamide binds to the body’s cannabinoid receptors.

To create homeostasis (I.e. a state of stability) in our physiological and biological systems. In the words of Dr Michele Ross, PhD – a neuroscientist and CEO of Infused Health, “In women, rapidly changing levels of anandamide are necessary for a successful pregnancy.

High levels of anandamide occur at ovulation and are clinically associated with a successful pregnancy. Low levels of anandamide, or endocannabinoid deficiency, may interfere with ovulation or the ability to get pregnant.”

This suggests that anandamide plays an integral role in ovarian function and to regulate follicle maturation– two integral aspects of fertility. Moreover, a 2012 study identified a possible relation of the endocannabinoid system with increased sexual arousal in females.

P.S.: It is worth mentioning that at this point, there is still a lack of evidence as a lot more is left to learn about the ECS System. Therefore, CBD’s full impact on Fertility through ECS is not yet thoroughly studied.

Boosting Fertility Through Sleep

A recent study published in 2019, Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series has proved that CBD treats short-term sleep disorders and induces sleep, both, directly and indirectly. Another report from 2017 Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature published in the journal, Current Psychiatry Reports, backed a similar claim that CBD directly interacts with the everyday sleep/wake cycle-regulating receptors in the brain.

According to a research executed by the University of San Paolo, Brazil CBD also has the potential to ease all the symptoms (that otherwise impedes one’s ability to fall and stay asleep deeply) such as anxiety, pain and cortisol levels (the stress hormones released by the body). 

Do you know that a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports Survey found out that from the total CBD Consumers in America (that accounts 14% of the population), around 11% use it exclusively as a sleep aid?

On the other side of the picture, there is also proof hinting a possible co-relation between fertility and sleep. For instance, the findings of two separate studies conducted on male and female samples accorded that sleep disorders and insomnia impair both male and female fertility

As such, it is safe to say that ingesting CBD will regulate our body’s sleep pattern, improves sleep quality and enhances sleep duration, which in turn elevates one’s chances of conceiving. 

Boosting Fertility Through Mood

Have you ever come across a story or news of a barren couple unexpectantly and miraculously conceiving without much explanation?

You know how? 

Might be because of their optimistic and positive attitude towards life.

Yep! A bit hard to swallow, but the truth is our mood exerts a notable influence on fertility and pregnancy. The ovulation cycle in females and sperm production in males is comorbid with their mental well-being.

On the contrary, depression, stress, anxiety and a poor mental state adversely impact hormones that release ovary eggs and sperm cells, which in turn decrease fertility chances.

CBD Oil for one elevates our mood and bring forth feelings of joy, happiness and relaxation. On the one hand, it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters like anandamide (the bliss molecule) while on the other it inhibits the action of adenosine receptors (the depressive chemical).

Boosting Fertility through Weight Loss

People of today’s era are facing the issue of obesity more than ever in the history of humanity. Thanks to increased consumption of cheesy fast-foods, creamy desserts and sweetened beverages. Such foods have severe repercussions on multiple body functions, including our reproductive system.

According to a study, Obesity as a disruptor of the female fertility, “Overweight women have a higher incidence of menstrual dysfunction and anovulation. Therefore, the risk of subfecundity and infertility, conception rates, miscarriage rates, and pregnancy complications are increased in these women”.

Another peril that tags along excess weight is PCOs (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)- a condition that disrupts female hormonal levels and leads to an irregular menstrual cycle. As such, CBD is reputed to cure PCOs by restoring hormonal balance, prompting smooth functioning of our internal system and terminating menstrual irregularity.

It would be very wrong to put the entire blame of infertility on the female partner’s obesity. Male partner’s obesity plays an equal culprit. “There is emerging evidence that male obesity negatively impacts fertility through changes to hormone levels, as well as direct changes to sperm function and sperm molecular composition” a Research from 2012 concluded.

For that end, a study conducted in 2016 by Daegu University in the Republic of Korea affirmed that CBD promises weight loss benefits by interacting with fats stored inside the body.

This ensures multiple outcomes such as the conversion of white or bad fat cells into the brown or good fat cells, swift burning of calories and efficient break down of fats.

There is also enough evidence (for instance 2012 study on Rats Feeding Patterns) to support the claim that CBD is an effective appetite-suppressant which too help weight control. The final result is ultimately an improved chance of fertility in the couple.

Boosting Fertility by Quitting Smoking

Smoking is a big, big NO if having a baby is on top of your couple goals. (The rule applies to BOTH the partners equally). 

Do you know that addiction to weed/marijuana reduces sperm concentration by 28% in males as compared to those who don’t!

The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (ACOG) has particularly warned people to stay away from smoking marijuana or cannabis containing THC while pregnant or trying to get one as it can lead to low birth weight, still-birth, impede fetal brain development or, worst, hinders fetus’s development as early as the first trimester of pregnancy- thereby accelerating the chances of miscarriage. 

Luckily enough, CBD gives an ultimate death blow to addictive behaviours and help people entirely quit nicotine.

CBD Oil And Fertility: The Risks

We cannot stress enough on the utmost significance of making an informed decision before you and your partner revert to CBD therapy for infertility. To that end, we would educate our readers on the potential risks and hazards that come along consuming CBD:

Like most of the substances, CBD also has some side-effects. Following its use consumers can experience nausea, irritation, laziness (due to the calming effect), dry mouth or diarrhoea. Although most of these after-effects are harmless, CBD can also interfere with other medications, drugs or treatments.

Further, much to the surprise of the medical community, numerous researches have pointed detrimental consequences of using CBD on the pretext that it may inhibit fertility. For instance, a trial carried out on male mice denoted that “Chronic cannabidiol exposure promotes functional impairment in sexual behaviour and productivity of male mice by a whopping 30%

Similarly, another study on sea urchins quoted similar unfortunate results on the group treated with CBD, i.e. “cannabinoids directly affect the process of fertilization in sea urchins by reducing the fertilizing capacity of sperm.”

While it is impossible to say with certainty that the results of these studies can be applied to humans, too, it is worth educating yourself about while making your choice.

Final Words

It’s highly unlikely that merely sitting on your hands will put an end to infertility or fertility issues. Thanks to the advancement of science and technology, there are now multiple treatments available ranging from medications (to treat hormonal imbalances, increase sperm count and regulate ovulation cycle) to minor surgical procedures and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) like IVF. 

One such natural treatment option that is gaining momentum today is CBD which can remarkably assist couples in achieving the delicate balance needed for conceiving or maintaining a healthy pregnancy (although, at the moment, it is a relatively controversial and understudied topic).

And while CBD can be a part of the solution, remember, there can be a plethora of other factors at play affecting one’s ability to get pregnant- sometimes with one and other times with both the partners.  

On that note, we would like to sign-off with a message to inspire your fertility journeys as someone beautifully said:

Don’t let infertility to hijack your life 

Because 

With a Baby or Without,

YOU are Valuable. YOU are Whole. And YOU Matter.

Disclaimer: We would highly recommend all those going through infertility to consult a gynaecologist or a fertility specialist who can help you figure out which treatment options are best suited for you. And just because we or anyone else swears that CBD solved all fertility issues, doesn’t necessarily imply that the same would work for you.

It is best to refer to a medical expert before you start trying CBD, who will be able to evaluate your body and the extent of the disease or condition and recommend the best dosage and type for you.

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