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 your skin and teeth. When talking about pregnancies, smoking is one of the most risky and dangerous things you can do. What a lot of people don’t know is that smoking can also negatively impact your birth control.
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 of posing significant levels of risk all by themselves. For example, a couple of years ago, the makers of Nuva Ring 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 preexisting condition.
But what about smoking marijuana? 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 theory. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Hypertension found “a modest association between recent cannabis use and systolic blood pressure,” but stressed the importance of waiting for other studies to investigate further.
Another fact that people should contend with is that some experts believe THC could mess with your birth control and make it less effective, especially if the birth control is estrogen based. It appears that THC can actually increase estrogen levels, potentially putting you at higher risk of blood clots and stroke.
When it comes to CBD, studies show that the compound can interact with different substances we ingest, includes birth control pills.
According to CBD retailer Onyx + Rose, enzyme inhibitors such as CBD can potentially increase breakthrough bleeding and decrease estrogen-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 marijuana. 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 marijuana works best for them and their situation.
More research is clearly necessary in order to keep people safe and to help us all understand how cannabis interacts with our bodies. Until then, it’s best to have an honest conversation with your doctor.