It’s true that some people experience cannabis withdrawal symptoms during tolerance breaks, drug test cleansing or for any other reasons some may quit weed. Unlike with alcohol or opiates, cannabis withdrawal symptoms are relatively minor. Most report night sweats, sleeplessness, irritability, changes in appetite, brain fog and other mild symptoms that usually pass in less than one week. But for men, there may be one additional symptom of withdrawal that could be troubling; erectile dysfunction. After keeping up a regular smoking habit over a duration of time, some men are noticing that their ability to get an erection is diminishing in the immediate days after quitting.
Weed and ED
While women are finding that weed greatly enhances their sexual arousal, many medical researchers are claiming that cannabis is associated with male erectile dysfunction. A review published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that,
(Cannabis) may actually increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. Studies show that when THC reaches the brain, it gives users the feeling of being ‘high.’ This interferes with your body’s normal functions. It may also impact normal function of the penis’ smooth muscle and cause ED.
And yet, many men report that cannabis is an aphrodisiac and depending on the strain, testify to incredible sex while high.
Sexual dysfunction as a common withdrawal symptom
But it turns out that withdrawal from most substances can have a negative impact on male virility and performance. Alcohol withdrawal, for instance, can lead to sexual dysfunction in men, as does its dependence.
Alcohol abuse damages several internal organs, including the heart, which inhibits blood flow. It also damages nerves, both of which can lead to prolonged impotence.
As for cannabis withdrawal and its effect on male sexual health, there is very little research on the subject. But Dr. K Eisele from DoctorsLounge.com believes,
(Smoking marijuana) damages blood vessels and nerves, making the very sensitive erotic zones less sensitive and therefore, less easily aroused. The arousal is not as easy to maintain as before this damage occurred.
Other researchers cite the effects of cannabis as a dopamine inhibitor, and how the initial onset of withdrawal symptoms can impact the brain’s pleasure center as the body readjusts.
ED as a result of pot withdrawal may derive from cannabis, but it may also derive from smoking itself. According to Healthline,
Smoking can damage your blood vessels, and ED is often a result of poor arterial blood supply to the penis.
While a tobacco or nicotine habit most likely has a stronger impact on ED, inhaling smoke of any kind and its carcinogens over time can produce similar effects.
What to do
As far as cannabis withdrawal is concerned, most people report feeling like themselves within one week or less. If you’ve just quit weed and you’re experiencing trouble getting an erection, try to give your body a week or two to readjust.
Issues that extend beyond a few weeks, however, should definitely be checked out by your physician.