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There is no current evidence that weed affects the efficacy of birth control methods. However, some side effects of cannabis may interact with pre-existing side effects of particular birth control methods.
This article explores the relationship between weed and birth control and what you need to know about using both simultaneously.
Does Weed Make Birth Control Ineffective?
Approximately 65% of females in the United States use some form of birth control. With more than 120 active compounds in cannabis, some of them are likely to interact with contraceptives’ side effects, particularly hormonal birth controls. However, both CDC and FDA guidelines do not consider cannabis a contraindication for contraceptive measures, regardless of format.
While there is no evidence that THC can decrease birth control’s effectiveness, specific side effects of THC, such as nausea or anxiety, may worsen the hormonal side effects of oral contraceptives (birth control pills), IUDs, patches, rings or implants.
CBD, another cannabinoid in cannabis, can impact how the liver metabolizes certain medications, including some forms of hormonal birth control. Limited evidence indicates that CBD may affect estrogen-based birth control, though not progesterone-based medications. Progesterone may be a more viable option for those seeking to use CBD and birth control simultaneously, though the research is far from conclusive.
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Potential Health Risks and Side Effects
Both THC and some estrogen-based birth control medication can increase blood pressure, which may elevate the risk of heart complications when taken simultaneously. Those with a history of heart concerns (like high heart rate) or high blood pressure should consult a physician before combining THC and birth control medication.
While birth control itself is generally safe, there are a few possible risks, including:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Liver tumors
More generally, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been shown to play a role in reproductive health and fertility, helping with egg production and the development of embryos. Additional research is needed to understand THC’s involvement in fertility when combined with other contraceptive methods.
For pregnant women or people seeking to become pregnant current research recommends ceasing cannabis use as it can affect pregnancy. Mothers who are breastfeeding should also abstain from using marijuana products because it can be excreted in breast milk and be harmful to your baby’s health.
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Does Administration Route Matter?
Currently, no evidence suggests that one cannabis consumption method has a different impact than any other on birth control efficacy. Whether smoking, eating edibles or vaporizing cannabis, medical marijuana is unlikely to affect contraceptive medicine or devices.
However, research has implicated smoking tobacco in negatively interacting with certain types of birth control, including pills, the patch or ring. Smoking can harm blood vessels and the heart, leading to heart complications. We currently don’t have enough research to know if smoking cannabis has the same risk, but you may want to opt for edibles, tinctures or vaporized cannabis if you use certain types of birth control.
The Bottom Line
Today, insufficient evidence exists to provide reliable recommendations on birth control and marijuana use. No definitive research suggests cannabis reduces the efficacy of birth control, but like any other drug, there’s always a risk of interactions or side effects.
If you’re concerned, talk with a medical marijuana professional who can help you weigh the pros and cons based on your personal medical needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you smoke weed on birth control?
While research shows that smoking tobacco while using birth control can heighten an individual’s risk for heart conditions or disease, no studies examine the effects of smoking or ingesting cannabis while on birth control.
Does CBD or THC cancel out birth control?
There is no current evidence that CBD or THC affects the efficacy of birth control methods. However, some side effects of cannabinoids may interact with pre-existing side effects of particular birth control methods.
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