smoking marijuana while on birth control

Are there risks to combining weed and birth control?

Some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if it is oestrogen-based.

Article Sidebar

Share this Story: Are there risks to combining weed and birth control?

Copy Link

  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Trending

    Article content

    Smoking always comes with health hazards, from life-threatening issues such as cardiovascular health and increased cancer odds, to more superfluous damages, like the health of skin and teeth.

    When talking about pregnancies, smoking is one of the more risky things to do. What a lot of people don’t know, though, is that smoking can also have a negative impact on birth control.

    Are there risks to combining weed and birth control? Back to video

    The combination of smoking cigarettes and birth control has been linked to an increased risk of developing blood clots and other kinds of cardiovascular disorders. There are also a wide variety of birth control methods, with some posing significant levels of risk all by themselves.

    More On This Topic

    What You Need To Know About Marijuana And Birth Control

    Smoking weed now more morally acceptable than porn, polygamy and cloning humans

    Here’s one more way in which cannabis is better than tobacco

    For example, a couple of years ago, the makers of NuvaRing were sued by different women who argued that this particular method of birth control increased their odds of getting blood clots and embolisms by a significant margin. All of these risks are increased for women over the age of 35 who have some sort of pre-existing condition.


    Article content continued

    But what about smoking weed? What effect does that have on birth control? The short answer: Experts aren’t quite sure.

    While THC has been associated with elevated blood pressure, which could theoretically become an issue when combined with birth control, there haven’t been too many studies that support this idea. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Hypertension found “a modest association between recent cannabis use and systolic blood pressure,” but emphasized the importance of waiting for other studies to investigate further.

    Another fact that people should consider is that some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if the birth control is oestrogen-based. It appears that THC can actually increase oestrogen levels, potentially putting a user at higher risk of blood clots and stroke.

    A large percentage of people are using some kind of birth control. / Photo: iStock / Getty Images Plus Photo by iStock / Getty Images Plus

    When it comes to CBD, studies show that the compound can interact with different substances that are ingested, including birth control pills.

    According to CBD retailer Onyx + Rose, enzyme inhibitors such as CBD can potentially increase breakthrough bleeding and decrease oestrogen-based contraceptive effectiveness, leading to an increased risk of unwanted pregnancy.

    A large percentage of people are using some kind of birth control, whether it’s pills, condoms or vaginal rings. Most can adapt these methods to their daily lives, still managing to smoke cigarettes or cannabis. What people can do to stay as safe as possible is to evaluate all of their options, to use birth control that is recommended to them by a professional and to carefully consider which method of ingesting cannabis works best for them and their situation.

    More research is clearly necessary to keep people safe and to help everyone understand how cannabis interacts with the body. Until then, it’s best to have an honest conversation with your doctor.

    Some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if it is oestrogen-based.

    Does Marijuana Affect Birth Control?

    Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

    Recreational marijuana is legal in 11 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., but there are still many gray areas when it comes to the health effects of using cannabis. Research is still being done on marijuana secondhand smoke as well as the benefits and risks of trendy products like CBD. However, there have been many studies that have shown marijuana can interfere with some medications.

    Almost 13% of women age 15-49 are currently using birth control pills for contraception, while more than 10% use long-acting reversible contraception like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s no surprise, therefore, that many women would be concerned about the risks associated with mixing marijuana with birth control.

    While there have been studies on marijuana use and fertility, there is limited research on the interaction of marijuana and birth control. Despite this, many birth control brands come with warnings that there could be adverse effects when their pill or patch is combined with marijuana.

    Marijuana may have effects that counteract estrogen, potentially making estrogen-based birth control pills — as well as patches, injections and rings — less effective. However, there’s no data to suggest that marijuana decreases the effectiveness of birth control.

    Certain hormone-based contraception also comes with a warning that it can theoretically decrease the elimination of marijuana from the body, meaning the effects of marijuana could be more severe or last longer.

    Cardiovascular issues are also a concern for combining marijuana and contraceptives. Cigarette smoking already increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from oral contraceptive use, and smoking marijuana could have a similar effect.

    Researchers are also investigating the effect of marijuana on blood pressure, with some linking cannabis to higher blood pressure but others finding CBD decreases blood pressure. Birth control pills, patches and IUDs can all increase blood pressure, risk of blood-clotting problems and other heart issues.

    The lack of research on how marijuana affects the health of women, in particular, is one reason more and more women are being inspired to dive into the fields of marijuana research and law as well as becoming pioneers in the marijuana industry.

    Marijuana may make birth control pills less effective, but there are other factors to consider before using birth control and marijuana at the same time.