Columnist Paris Dancy explains why he sought alternative treatment for low testosterone, and what he learned from trying medical cannabis. As the cannabis industry grows, more and more people are asking whether or not CBD can lower testosterone levels. Here's what we know so far.
My Experience Treating Low Testosterone With Cannabis
The potential benefits and risks of cannabis have long been a topic of discussion. There are various stigmas attached to the plant because people have different opinions about it. Is cannabis a drug? Can it be used as an alternative to Western medicine? Is it dangerous? The answers are frequently debated.
In this column, I will focus on my experience treating low testosterone with cannabis as someone who had a pituitary adenoma and battled Cushing’s disease. As a disclaimer, it is not my intention to provide medical advice or recommend cannabis as a treatment. Speak with your doctor and other members of your care team before making any type of medical decision.
Cushing’s by Different Causes May Have Similar Effects on Metabolism
Why I sought alternative treatment
I was diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone, in 2015. I was prescribed a topical steroid, but had to stop using it due to an allergic reaction. Doctors soon discovered my pituitary adenoma, which we realized was causing my low testosterone. I had transsphenoidal surgery to remove the tumor later that year.
During some testing in 2017, my endocrinologist noticed my testosterone levels were still low. I started on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which required biweekly injections. Although I saw an improvement in my energy levels, focus, strength, and libido, my attitude and aggression were becoming problematic and concerning my loved ones.
After discussing it with my wife, I stopped TRT in 2018 and decided to search for an alternative solution. I had done some research on cannabis and other natural supplements, and presented the idea to my wife.
She was initially hesitant, and rightfully so. I had used marijuana in the past recreationally, but also as a means of self-medicating while struggling with depression and anxiety before my surgery. I didn’t see this as a problem. I thought, “It’s just marijuana. I know how it affects me.”
What I didn’t consider
I didn’t consider several factors when deciding to treat my lingering health issues with medical cannabis.
Firstly, my body had changed following my battle with Cushing’s and my surgery. Weight didn’t come off as fast as it used to, and I had constant aches in my limbs, feet, and neck. I could no longer use a substance or medication without facing consequences. I had noticed this while taking the prescribed topical steroids and TRT.
Secondly, I didn’t fully consider how self-medicating had affected me. During that time, I saw a decline in my productivity, both personally and professionally. And as I discussed in a previous column, self-medicating didn’t allow me to address the root of the issue. It only made things in my life more difficult.
Thirdly, I lacked knowledge about the many types and strains of cannabis, which prevented me from making an informed decision about what type of product I should use.
THC vs. CBD
In selecting cannabis products, one thing consumers must consider is the amount of THC and CBD in them. These are natural active compounds (cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces a “high” or euphoric feeling. The higher the percentage of THC in a cannabis strain, the stronger the effect.
CBD, or cannabidiol, can be derived from either hemp or marijuana, which are both types of cannabis. In the U.S., hemp is legal and defined as a cannabis plant that contains 0.3% THC or less. Marijuana contains more than 0.3% THC and is federally illegal, although many states have legalized it, either fully or for medicinal purposes.
CBD does not produce the same “high” as THC, but both cannabinoids may offer medical benefits, such as pain, anxiety, and stress relief.
If you are considering trying medical cannabis, I encourage you to check your state’s laws and speak with your physician.
Why I ultimately chose CBD
After much trial and error, I discovered that the higher the percentage of THC, the more issues I was having. The pain and stiffness in my feet and lower back seemed to worsen. It didn’t matter which strain I used or how I consumed it.
Then, I decided to start trying CBD products with low levels of THC. I also began a new health regimen involving a plant-based diet, intermittent fasting, and exercise. I started taking supplements that research suggests can naturally boost testosterone levels and regulate hormones.
Within a month, I noticed my energy levels increasing, my mood improving, and my stiffness decreasing. Although I was still the same weight, I felt lighter and stronger, and my walks were getting longer. Soon, the aches went away completely.
To this day, I am still curious about the effects of THC on people who have had pituitary adenomas or Cushing’s disease. Given my own experience, I wonder if there is a correlation between THC and worsening symptoms.
While I believe it’s been helpful, I don’t think CBD alone led to the improvements in my health. I believe that the combination of healthier lifestyle choices and CBD has given me the results I desire.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.
Cannabis and Testosterone: Does CBD Lower Testosterone?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the hot-favorite cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, loved by people all across the globe. This obsession is for several reasons, mainly because of CBD’s huge plethora of benefits. CBD’s exceptional potential to improve the quality of life has led users to wonder if CBD affects testosterone or does CBD lower testosterone.
CBD can closely interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which supervises and controls multiple mechanisms, including hormonal production. A lot is happening in your body, and hormones have most of the charge over your body’s mechanisms.
Ever wonder how your body manages to operate in harmony day after day? Yes, you got it right. It’s all about those hormones helping your body communicate well. Testosterone is a significant male hormone that regulates sperm production, sex drive, and several other functions. 
Our expert analysis brings forth several facts regarding the relationship between CBD and testosterone. This write-up is all about our diligent research on the most frequently asked question; Does CBD increase or decrease testosterone? Stick around to learn more.
What Is Testosterone?
Just like other hormones, testosterone is a chemical messenger that operates in your body to induce certain physical and chemical changes in the body. You might be wondering if testosterone production is confined to male bodies, but that’s not the case. Females produce testosterone as well but in a comparatively smaller amount.
Males have Leydig cells in their testicles that are typically involved in the production of testosterone. There are a plethora of functions accomplished by testosterone in men’s bodies. Some of the following are:
Production of sperm
Sexual arousal and sex drive
Distribution of fat in different parts of the body
Maintenance of bone mass
Development of muscles and promotion of increased strength
Production of new red blood cells in the body.
If your body fails to produce sufficient amounts of testosterone due to any persisting health factor, you may become infertile. The major reason is that testosterone helps you produce healthy sperm. On the contrary, if testosterone production increases in women, it might lead to infertility.
Also, to understand everything better, it’s substantially important to know the sites where testosterone is produced in your body. The pituitary gland and the brain critically govern the level of testosterone in your body.
CBD’s interaction with Hormones
Let’s discuss the link between cannabis and testosterone, or more specifically, at what points does cannabidiol interact with the maintenance of hormonal levels. There are a few ways that CBD may impact, enhance, or diminish the production of certain hormones in your body.
Production of hormones:
The glands in your body are fully covered with cannabinoid receptors, which the endocannabinoid system directly controls. CBD interacts with the ECS and cannabinoid receptors of the body. This ultimately empowers CBD to have an indirect charge over the production of hormones as well. This way, it can alter the patterns of hormonal production and impact the organs.
Mostly when the CB1 receptors are activated, the whole process is initiated by the hypothalamus, which has charge over hormonal synthesis. Ultimately a series of chemical messages are forwarded to other glands that trickle down and trigger the production of hormones as a response.
CBD possesses a remarkable ability to influence, diminish or enhance the volume or strength of the hormonal message sent to the glands for triggering them to produce hormones. Also, it can impact the sensitivity level of the receptors in the glands.
This way, CBD can influence the “response” mechanism of the Respective hormonal glands to increase or decrease the production of various hormones. Experts believe that this is exactly how CBD can impact the production of hormones.
Breakdown of hormones
How Does CBD Affect Testosterone Level?
Several studies bring forth different factors that need to be arranged in order to better comprehend the effects of CBD on production.
Does CBD lower testosterone? According to the results of a recent experiment on monkeys, CBD was found to increase the production of LH and FSH hormones. The doses used were a lot higher than people generally consume. However, surprisingly there was no change in testosterone level until the dose was exceptionally increased to an unrealistic level. It displays that CBD doesn’t show any substantial impact on the level of testosterone. 
The following studies suggest that CBD may reduce the production of testosterone in the body.
CBD was shown to have adverse effects on testosterone production in mice and rats. However, this experiment involved extensively high doses of CBD that are practically not used. 
An enzyme called 17α-hydroxylase actively produces testosterone in the testes. CBD can directly inhibit this enzyme, thereby preventing testosterone levels from declining.
Medical science potentially lacks proper literary work to elaborate on the effects of CBD on human beings. We need more practical trials on humans to have more explicit results in this regard.
Does CBD Increase Testosterone In Any Way?
One important point to consider is that all the studies that support the concept of CBD inhibiting testosterone levels have used extremely high doses of CBD. Also, as testosterone levels are also decreased by stress and inflammation, CBD might help improve the production of testosterone through its assistance in fighting off stress and inflammation in the body.
With all this said, we recommend you to exercise regularly and not consume extensively high doses of CBD. Make sure to track your doses and give yourself frequent breaks to revive the body’s regular production of hormones.
For those still wondering does CBD lower testosterone? CBD doesn’t show any substantial impact on reducing testosterone production in human beings if used in average doses.