Currently, there is no evidence to indicate that marijuana, or cannabis, decreases the effectiveness of birth control. While more research is still necessary, it is unlikely that cannabis negatively affects these contraceptive methods. However, some potential side effects of cannabis use may interact with these medications.
Cannabis is one of the more popular recreational drugs in the United States, with almost 20% of U.S. respondents reporting cannabis use in a 2020 survey. Birth control refers to methods that people may use to prevent pregnancy. Evidence suggests that roughly
While more research is necessary, the
In this article, we will discuss the potential interactions between cannabis and birth control.
“Cannabis” refers to a plant that people may use for recreational and medicinal purposes. The cannabis plant contains
The most abundant cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). People can partake in cannabis by smoking or eating parts of the plant, such as the dried flowers or leaves and seed oil.
As a result of these potential liver impacts, limited evidence indicates that CBD may affect some estrogen-based birth control methods but not progesterone-based birth control. While research is inconclusive, progesterone may be a viable option for those who wish to use both CBD and birth control medication at the same time.
There is no evidence to suggest that THC can decrease the effectiveness of birth control. However, certain side effects of THC may worsen negative side effects of hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, IUDs, the patch, ring, and implant.
Evidence suggests that both estrogen-based birth control pills and
Method of consumption
Typically, people may partake in recreational cannabis use through either smoking parts of the cannabis plant or eating edibles infused with cannabis oil. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest whether the method of cannabis consumption impacts how it may interact with birth control.
However, some methods of cannabis consumption and contraception may be likely to affect each other. For example, as people ingest both oral contraceptives and edibles, there is more potential for interaction in the stomach.
Some people may use medicinal cannabis in other forms that could interact with birth control. For example, some research suggests a possible interaction between nabiximols, a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) containing THC and CBD, and hormonal birth control. However, nabiximols have not yet gained FDA approval for the treatment of MS in the United States.
At present, there is
Many people report positive effects from consuming cannabis. In addition to its recreational properties, cannabis may provide
However, there are some safety risks associated with regular cannabis use, including:
- cannabis use disorder
- increased risk of injury
- risk of developing a mental health condition
- head rush or dizziness when standing
Some evidence also suggests that chronic cannabis use may affect female fertility. However, studies in this area are scarce. Additionally, ingesting cannabis during pregnancy can also harm a growing fetus. The harmful effects of cannabis use throughout pregnancy
- reduced growth of the fetus
- premature delivery
- impaired brain development
While birth control methods are typically safe, they may also result in health complications. For example, possible risks of using birth control pills may include:
- heart attack
- blood clots
- liver tumors
While more research is necessary to investigate interactions between smoking cannabis and taking birth control, certain birth control methods may not be suitable for those who smoke cigarettes. For example, the
A doctor may advise individuals who smoke tobacco to consider birth control options other than the pill, patch, or ring. These may include condoms or the copper IUD.
- lung cancer
- kidney cancer
- stomach cancer
- cardiovascular disease
- sudden infant death system
- reduced fertility
- problems during pregnancy
The CDC notes that smoking tobacco leads to
At present, there is no definitive research to suggest that cannabis decreases the effectiveness of birth control. More studies are necessary to fully understand how cannabis may interact with these contraceptive methods.
As with any drug, there may be some risk of potential side effects and interactions. Additionally, while cannabis and birth control may not interact, each can produce side effects that could be concerning when people mix them.
Individuals who want to use both cannabis and birth control should consult with a doctor to learn more about what birth control options are best for them.