It is well-known that medical marijuana can reduce pain and stimulate your appetite. What few people know is that it also has the ability to regulate the endocrine system. This can have significant benefits for patients searching for alternative options for treating thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune diseases.
The Role of the Thyroid & Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid is one of the most important glands in the body. Located at the base of the neck beside the trachea, the thyroid plays a critical role in the body’s communication network by regulating the release of hormones into the bloodstream. This influences dozens of essential functions within the body, including muscle function, heart function, neural development, and body temperature.
An individual’s overall health suffers when this process is disrupted by swelling, cancer, Graves’ disease, or other thyroid disorder. Thus, depending on the cause, it is often necessary to apply a wide range of accepted treatments to stabilize the function of the thyroid.
Understanding the Endocannabinoid System
Your body has two types of cannabinoid receptors. The CB1 and CB2 receptors within the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) bind themselves to the THC contained within cannabinoid products. Modern knowledge of this process indicates that this can effectively help regulate physiological and cognitive functions within the body.
There are many benefits that can occur through this process, depending on which cannabis products are used. These include:
- Reduces Pain
- Relieves Anxiety
- Alleviates Depression
- Stimulates Appetite
- Reduces Nausea
- Reduces Inflammation
- Increases Energy
Are You Living with an Underactive/Overactive Thyroid?
Many people live with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) for years without seeking treatment. Knowing and recognizing these signs can help you pursue medical marijuana treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include:
- Unexplained Weight Gain
- Mental Confusion
- Muscle Aches
- Sensitivity to Cold
- Dry Skin
- Brittle Hair and Fingernails
- Loss of Libido
- Irregular Periods
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism include:
- Sleep Apnea
- Sensitivity to Heat
- Swelling in the Neck
- Elevated Heart Rate
- Weight Loss
- Mood Swings
Cannabis and the HPA Axis
Your Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA Axis) regulates your response to stresses. It is responsible for the release of cortisol, which rises when you are under stress and decreases when you are relaxed. Physical stress, emotional stress, and stresses caused by illnesses and injuries can trigger this process.
It is vital to keep the amount of cortisol balanced.
When there is too much cortisol in the blood, and you are diagnosed with low cortisol levels, you may experience:
- Significant Weakness
- Confused Mental State
- Nausea and Abdominal Discomfort
- Loss of Appetite
Similarly, if you have high cortisol levels, the following can occur:
- Weight Gain
- Thinning Skin
- Easy Bruising and/or Flushing
- Muscle Weakness
- Prolonged Recovery from Injury
The HPA axis regulates the production and removal of cortisol in the bloodstream. When under stress, the hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland through the release of corticotrophin-releasing factor and vasopressin. In turn, this triggers the pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotropic hormone. When the stressor subsides, the adrenal glands then release cortisol into the blood.
However, it does not always work the way it is supposed to function. Cannabis products help regulate the release of these hormones into the bloodstream by regulating the signals sent throughout the HPA Axis.
Effect on Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Thyroid conditions are on the rise, and many consumers are searching for alternatives to taking a daily pill to regulate their hormones. When thyroid levels are below your body needs, the pituitary gland produces more TSH. Conversely, when it is low, the pituitary gland produces less TSH. This has a significant impact on overall health, energy levels, appetite, mood, brain function, reproductive function, and more. When TSH levels are high, cannabinoids help establish a balance within your body by reducing serum TSH. Several studies have shown that the administration of cannabinoids can reduce serum TSH by as much as 90% within an hour.
Cautions About Diabetes and Obesity
Individuals with diabetes and those who are obese should exercise extreme caution when considering the use of medical marijuana. There are two primary reasons for this, including:
Activation of endocannabinoid receptors is known to increase appetite. This can cause significant shifts within the metabolic system and negatively impact blood sugar levels.
Individuals who are prediabetic are at elevated risk of progressing to diabetic after prolonged marijuana consumption.
However, the opposite may be true, too. Studies conducted by Harvard Medical School indicate that individuals who use cannabinoid products have lower fasting insulin levels. Individuals within the Harvard study also had less insulin resistance.
Visit mdberry.com to schedule a consultation with a certified doctor who will answer your questions about the effects of marijuana on your hormones and the benefits of treating a wide range of health conditions with medical marijuana.