Birth control is a necessity for many people. Nowadays there are so many types of contraception and people have many more options. But, did you know birth control can often be affected by a number of factors such as medication? Stoners have been curious about the relationship between weed and birth control. Well, does weed affect birth control? Here is what we know.
Does Smoking Weed Affect Birth Control Pills?
To our knowledge, there aren’t any studies that look at weed’s interaction with birth control pills. However, there are certain things we know about weed and birth control pills that allow for some inference.
Raises Blood Pressure
For example, a study in the Journal of Hypertension found that there was a link between weed use and an increase in systolic blood pressure (SBP).
In addition to that, an article published in Circulation says that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) increases supine blood pressure. That’s due to the fact that THC “stimulates the sympathetic nervous system while inhibiting the parasympathetic nervous system”.
Interestingly, cannabidiol (CBD) was found to decrease blood pressure as well as heart rate.
So, what does this have to do with birth control? Well, birth control is known to increase blood pressure on its own.
Harvard Medical School says that birth control containing estrogen can increase blood pressure. Therefore, if you’re a stoner on estrogen-containing birth control, there is a possibility of an increase in your risk of heart attack or stroke. We don’t have any studies backing that up though.
The good news is, there are birth control options that don’t contain estrogen. Harvard Medical School mentions:
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Cervical cap
- Mini pill
- Birth control implant
If you’re a stoner, especially one with elevated blood pressure, have an honest chat with your doctor about birth control options. As Very Well Mind states, your doctor may recommend certain birth control methods over others if you’re an active smoker of weed.
According to Web MD, hormonal birth control methods may not be as effective if you’re using products containing CBD or THC. That includes emergency contraceptives too.
It’s believed that both cannabinoids accelerate the breakdown of birth control in the bloodstream.
Web MD recommends:
- Speaking to your doctor if you use CBD or THC as well as a hormonal birth control
- Using a backup birth control method like a condom
We should mention that again that research is woefully lacking in this area. These are just theories.
Increases Marijuana Effects
According to a study, birth control may make you more sensitive to THC. The researchers noticed that the presence of estrogen caused that effect.
This could mean that you’ll experience stronger effects of THC by using estrogen-containing birth control.
Birth Control Pills and Smoking Cigarettes
Birth control pills and cigarettes are not a great combination either. It’s not just the pills you have to worry about, it’s any birth control with estrogen
Very Well Mind states that cigarettes are believed to be bad for the heart. Nicotine can increase blood pressure and heart rate as well as thicken the blood. Therefore, nicotine can increase the risk for blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke.
Therefore combining certain birth control methods with nicotine-containing compounds can increase your risk for heart and vascular problems.
As a matter of fact, Planned Parenthood says that if you’re over age 35 and a smoker, maybe skip the combination pills. Combination pills have both estrogen and progestin. Instead of using a combination pill or a method that has estrogen, ask about the progestin-only pills.
What About Vaping?
Since nicotine is found in vapes, it’s believed to have the same effects with birth control as cigarettes.
However, since vaping is a relatively new method, there really isn’t any research on this.
We have just inferred based on what we know about nicotine.
Other Factors That Affect Birth Control
We mentioned before that medication can affect birth control. We have also posited that maybe nicotine and weed don’t pair well with these contraception methods. According to Healthline, here are some other factors that may make birth control pills, less effective:
- Herbal remedies – Herbal remedies such as St John’s Warts may actually make your birth control less effective.
- Weight – Studies show that birth control may be less effective due how much you weigh.
- Irregular Use – If you don’t take the pill on time or forget to take it completely, this could affect its effectiveness. Set a reminder or an alarm if you have difficulty remembering.
When in doubt, you can always employ other methods like abstaining during fertile periods (this method isn’t as effective) or correctly using a condom.
So, does weed affect birth control? Research is seriously lacking in this area and so we can’t confirm or deny this claim. However, drug interactions aren’t uncommon. In addition to that, based on what we know about both weed and birth control separately, they may affect each other. Speak to your doctor if you’re having concerns. In the meantime, let’s hope we get more relevant research in this area.