CBD for Thyroid [Understanding Hormone Release]
Exploring the medical benefits of CBD…
The thyroid is an important endocrine gland that wraps around the front of the trachea at the base of the neck. It secretes a variety of hormones that regulate systems throughout the body. A healthy thyroid gland ensures good heart, bone, and muscle function.
The gland also maintains communication with the brain, which helps it to modulate internal homeostasis. The thyroid also affects processes like metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, and even emotional responses. Thyroid disorders can produce a wide range of symptoms, as well as life-threatening health complications.
Researchers have uncovered some connections between the thyroid/brain communication network and the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS (which is present in both the central nervous system and the thyroid gland itself), might play a role in facilitating hormone release. If true, this would mean products like CBD oil might be able to impact various types of thyroid disorders.
In this article, we discuss what the thyroid does, and the symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid gland. We’ll also go over the use of CBD for thyroid disorder and take a look at academic research on the topic.
What Is the Thyroid, and What Are Thyroid Disorders?
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that releases hormones to control dozens of different internal processes. Thyroid activity influences metabolism, growth, brain development (especially during infancy), body temperature, heart and muscle functioning, and a variety of other processes. The gland releases various collective hormones (such as thyroxine, or T4) called thyroid hormones.
Thyroid glands that release either too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) hormone can be catastrophic to organ functioning and to your health and well-being. Specific disorders of the thyroid can include things like:
- Goiter (swelling of the thyroid)
- Thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid due to infection or autoimmune conditions)
- Graves’ disease (which causes an overactive thyroid)
- Thyroid cancer
- Small lumps on the thyroid that may lead to excess hormone production aka thyroid nodules
- Thyroid storm (a rare form of hyperthyroidism that results in high levels of hormone secretion)
Because thyroid conditions can cause so many malfunctions in the body, it can be difficult to detect a specific disorder. Specific tests can check for thyroid imbalances. These tests include biopsies, imaging scans (such as ultrasounds or iodine scans), and blood tests that check for proper levels of T3, T4, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
The Prevalence of Thyroid Disorder in the U.S.
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) estimates that thyroid disorders currently affect up to 20 million Americans. Furthermore, as much as 12% of the U.S. population will at some point in their lives develop a thyroid condition.
The three most common thyroid conditions are nodules, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. The causes of thyroid disorders are largely unknown. Researchers believe that autoimmune conditions, stress, high cholesterol, and smoking can be factors.
Also, women are statistically five to eight times more likely to develop a thyroid problem than men.
Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnant women can lead to a litany of issues. These issues include miscarriage, preterm delivery, and growth/developmental problems.
Conventional Thyroid Disorder Treatments (Not CBD)
There are many conventional treatment options for thyroid conditions. These treatments often include pharmaceutical medications.
For underactive thyroid, T4 replacement medications like levothyroxine and Synthroid are common. For hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), treatments that reduce hormone secretion are necessary.
These treatments include radioactive iodine and antithyroid drugs like methimazole and propylthiouracil (PTU). While effective, these drugs can cause severe side effects in the liver and immune system.
They are not recommended outside the most necessary of circumstances. Surgery can also be a common treatment method. Surgery may address lumps and masses that occur due to cancers or thyroid nodules.
Living with Thyroid Disorder
Thyroid disorders can cause many different problems within the body and brain. These problems can impact the quality of an individual’s day to day life, and can include things like:
- Extreme weight gain or loss
- Heavy mood swings (along with anxiety and depression)
- Reproductive issues (low sex drive, irregular menstrual cycles, etc.)
- Severe muscle/joint pain
- Neck swelling
- Severe fatigue/energy drain
- Hoarse or scratchy voice
- Irregular body temperature (especially the inability to tolerate cold weather)
- Cognitive issues such as brain fog, poor memory, and an inability to concentrate
Lifestyle changes can sometimes be effective in minimizing these symptomatic conditions. Yet, the thyroid network is a very complex web of cellular machinery. Because of this, it can be difficult to pinpoint how to induce positive changes.
This is why people are beginning to talk about CBD for thyroid disorder. By acting upon the endocannabinoid system, CBD can work to regulate internal homeostasis on the whole-body level.
This is different compared to the isolated chemical pathways that prescription medications manipulate. And products like CBD oil present far fewer side effects than most prescription-strength drugs.
CBD for Thyroid Disorders: What the Studies Are Showing
Most people who use CBD for thyroid disorder often use a single high-quality CBD oil. CBD oil may address a variety of thyroid malfunctions. These malfunctions include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroiditis, and thyroid storm. Of course, the question is – how well does it work?
Many people have indicated that their use of CBD oil has produced positive results. There have also been scientific studies suggesting CBD’s regulatory effects on the endocrine gland.
Experts recorded a 30% decrease in hormone release within hours of administration of a synthetic CB1 receptor agonist.
For example, a 2002 study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology proposed evidence of functional cannabinoid receptors in rat thyroids. These receptors appeared to be able to influence both T3 and T4 hormone release. The study also utilized a molecular detection technique called immunohistochemical localization.
The results showed the intracellular presence of cannabinoid receptors. Experts recorded a 30% decrease in hormone release within hours of administration of the synthetic CB1 receptor agonist. CBD is an indirect antagonist of the CB1 receptor. This suggests that it could lead to the reverse outcome.
Also, the general properties of CBD may be able to help with the effects of thyroid disorders. CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Dozens of studies state the role of cannabinoids in reducing organ and tissue inflammation.
More clinical trials can determine how effective CBD is for thyroid disorders. Research of CBD’s relationship with hormone activity is promising.
Yet, it is not enough to claim the compound as an effective treatment. CBD receptors may play a role in thyroid regulation. Yet, we need more research to come to this conclusion.
Why CBD for Thyroid – What About ‘Regular’ Marijuana?
If you’re wondering why so many folks are talking about CBD for thyroid disorders and not THC, you’re not alone. Simply put, the overwhelming interest stems from the fact that CBD is non-psychoactive.
In other words, it won’t get you high. Individuals often use cannabis due to its lack of mind-altering effects. They want a natural treatment, but they don’t want to be under the influence.
This is why most CBD products come from industrial hemp – a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. When cannabis contains a THC content higher than 0.3%, it is determined to be “marijuana.” This can be confusing as many people use the terms hemp and marijuana interchangeably.
Millions of people worldwide smoke marijuana for its therapeutic benefit. This is the basis of the medical marijuana market. Hemp-based products often boast the benefits of cannabis without the high.
The Bottom Line on CBD for Thyroid Disorders
Doctors, scientists, and medical researchers are looking into CBD as an alternative treatment. More research is necessary to come to any definitive medical conclusions.
Most are choosing to go with high-quality CBD oil as a daily supplement. Oils act as molecular carriers. They are able to “hold” more cannabidiol molecules by volume than other forms of CBD (i.e. gummies or capsules).
CBD oils are also easily ingested, and are efficiently absorbed into the body when placed under the tongue and held for 90 seconds.
Determining the proper dosing can be a trial and error process. It’s important to make sure you always read the label on your product and understand how much you’re consuming.
Lastly, it is important to take into consideration the quality of CBD oil you’re using. If you do decide to use CBD oil for a thyroid disorder, understand that not all products are equal.
In the past several years, the FDA has been trying to crack down on disreputable companies. To help guide you along, we’ve listed a few well-reviewed manufacturers below.
Learn about CBD for thyroid. If you've had ongoing issues, this natural compound may provide an alternative form of therapy with little to no side effects.
CBD Effects on the Thyroid
Posted on August 18th, 2020
CBD has undoubtedly taken the mainstream market by storm – it is no longer a surprise entrant but a likely long-stay. CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant or industrial hemp plant. Unlike THC, another common cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that does not result in a ‘high‘ feeling. Thanks to the potential benefits and non-psychoactive properties of CBD, its products may be able to help symptoms of various conditions. But what about the effects of CBD on the thyroid? Let’s take a deeper look into what the thyroid is and how CBD may affect it.
What Is the Thyroid?
The thyroid refers to the butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located on the front part of the neck and below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid secretes thyroid hormones, with the main one being thyroxine (also known as T4). Thyroid hormones serve several functions in the body, including influencing metabolism, body temperature, and growth and development. In infants, adequate levels of thyroid hormone are essential for brain development.
Various thyroid conditions interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid, and for which CBD may be able to help with the symptoms. These conditions include thyroiditis, goiter, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves disease, thyroid nodule, thyroid cancer, and thyroid storm.
Cannabinoids and the Endocrine System
The endocrine system refers to a collection of glands responsible for producing hormones that regulate various bodily functions. Some of these functions include metabolism, reproduction, growth and development, and tissue function. The thyroid gland is one of the glands that make up the endocrine system.
The endocannabinoid system in the human body is made up of the endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes, and is responsible for balance and homeostasis in the body. Endocannabinoids bind to specific receptors for various functions, including thyroid function. Enzymes are tasked with breaking down the endocannabinoids soon after completing their function.
Early research indicated that the consumption of cannabis may have an effect on the endocrine system. Particularly, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor has been found to have an effect on the regulation of the endocrine system, including the thyroid hormone .
Cannabinoids like CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system to maintain balance in the human body. While studies are not conclusive on how CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, some studies suggest that it may help ease inflammation, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and suppress seizures.
CBD and Thyroid Conditions
Though there has not been much research on CBD’s effect on the thyroid, clinical studies have indicated the importance of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors) on malignant and benign thyroid lesions. These studies showed that the cannabinoid receptors could be therapeutic targets to inhibit some thyroid conditions.
The studies also showed that both receptors interfere with molecular interactions and influence the formation and growth of thyroid tumors . As indicated earlier, these receptors could be potential therapeutic targets to inhibit the progression of thyroid tumors.
Scientists also discovered that cannabinoid receptors are present in the thyroid gland cells and within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). The PVN is a part of the brain that sends signals to the pituitary gland, releasing hormones to organs like the thyroid and adrenal gland to regulate their activities
Is CBD Effective in Managing Thyroid Conditions?
Besides its potential to impact the growth of thyroid tumors, the effects of CBD may impact thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. And, it may have the potential to help with the symptoms that come with these conditions. Cannabinoids have been found to have an effect on the cannabinoid receptors in the thyroid gland. This suggests that CBD may be able to affect the activities of the thyroid (secretion of thyroid hormones).
Hyperthyroidism refers to when the thyroid gland goes into overdrive. It then results in an increased metabolic rate and a rapid heartbeat. While there’s no proof that CBD can help normalize this condition, the ability of cannabinoids to influence the activity of the cannabinoid receptors in the thyroid shows that CBD could have potential in impacting these conditions (production of too much or too little T4, as in hypothyroidism).
Other studies have indicated that CBD and other cannabinoids may help manage some of the symptoms associated with thyroid disorders, including:
- Dry skin
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of appetite
CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and antidepressant potential and may, therefore, help ease the inflammation and pain associated with thyroid conditions. It may also be used for sleep disorders like insomnia and might come in handy here as well. Thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism are also characterized by weight loss due to diarrhea, which may be managed by CBD.
CBD Products for Thyroid Conditions
For now, it is not scientifically proven whether CBD can be used to manage the various thyroid conditions. However, this cannabinoid may come in handy in managing the associated symptoms.
Studies have only indicated the effect that cannabinoids have on the endocannabinoid system and the endocrine system. However, CBD has properties that may help manage some of the symptoms that come with thyroid conditions.
CBD oil is probably the most common CBD product among individuals who believe in the potential of this cannabinoid. But why CBD oil? Oils are great molecular carriers.
CBD oil is also easily ingested and efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream. Besides being taken sublingually, CBD oil can also be used by adding in smoothies and shakes. Determining the right dosing of your CBD oil is likely to be a trial and error process before you find what works for you. Be sure to check the instructions and recommended dosing on the product, as this may vary between products and companies.
When choosing your CBD oil, it is important that you choose full-spectrum CBD oil as it contains most of the cannabinoids present in the cannabis or hemp plant as well as other essential compounds like terpenes. It is also advisable to go for a high-quality CBD oil to get the best results.
CBD and Thyroid Medication
Like many other medications, CBD and thyroid medications compete in the cytochrome P450 pathways for metabolism. Such interaction could result in the accumulation of thyroxine due to the competition, and may, in turn, lead to hyperthyroidism. Whenever thyroid medication and CBD oil are taken too closely together, individuals may experience anxiety and mild nausea.
Apart from the interaction of CBD oil and thyroid medication, the use of CBD oil in the management of symptoms associated with various conditions is legal and generally safe. Most states allow the use of CBD, as long as the THC content is not greater than 0.3%. However, it’s always a good idea to check with state and local laws first.
If you are unsure whether there could be a risk of interaction between your thyroid medication and CBD oil, lookout for a “grapefruit warning”. This would give you an idea of whether an interaction is likely. Grapefruit contains compounds known as furanocoumarins that bind with CYP450 enzymes and neutralize them, making the breakdown and elimination of drugs from the body difficult.
It is recommended that you check your medicine label and always consult your doctor before taking CBD. This is especially important if you are taking any medication or have any health conditions.
Does Marijuana Affect the Thyroid?
Now that you are aware of CBD’s potential effects on the thyroid, you may be wondering what effect marijuana could have on the thyroid. While marijuana could contain traces of CBD, it largely consists of THC, another cannabinoid present in the cannabis plant.
THC could have a similar effect on the thyroid as other cannabinoids like CBD. However, marijuana is not used to manage any thyroid conditions for its psychoactive properties. On the other hand, CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with THC. It is for this that CBD products are more commonly used for various purposes.
There has been little research on the effect of CBD on the thyroid. However, initial clinical studies indicate that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system. This shows that CBD could potentially influence the functioning of the endocannabinoid system. Another way through which CBD can potentially affect the thyroid is by binding with the cannabinoid receptors present in the thyroid. This way, CBD could influence the various thyroid functions, including homeostasis.
While there may be little known about the effects of CBD on the thyroid, CBD products may be used to help manage some of the symptoms associated with thyroid conditions. Conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are characterized by inflammation, pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Particularly, CBD has potential anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties. These properties may help reduce symptoms such as inflammation, pain, and anxiety that come with thyroid conditions.
But what about the effects of CBD on the thyroid? Let's take a deeper look into what the thyroid is and how CBD may affect it.