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Can CBD Help with Thyroid Disorders?

Among the questions our ECHO specialists have received is whether cannabidiol (CBD) has any beneficial effect for thyroid conditions. Thanks to the thousands of studies conducted on CBD, scientists and medical professionals understand he therapeutic potential of the cannabinoid now more than ever. With that said, there’s still an urgent need for more studies investigating how the non-psychoactive compound can be applied therapeutically. The studies on cannabinoids and thyroid health are limited, but so far their findings do suggest that CBD may be helpful for normalizing thyroid conditions.

It’s first important to note that there have yet to be any clinical trials on CBD and thyroid disorders. Regulations and restrictions make it very difficult for investigators to study cannabinoids and that has lead to a lack of human research.

The promising findings regarding CBD and thyroid disorders have to do with what scientists have so far learned about cannabinoids and how they influence the body’s endocannabinoid system , a communication network vital to our overall well-being and health. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating balance in many of our processes, including thyroid function.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of several integrated mechanisms, one of which includes cannabinoid receptors . Cannabinoids — including those synthesized naturally and those absorbed from plants like CBD — interact with these cannabinoid receptors to assist the system in its effort to maintain homeostasis.

Scientists have discovered that there are cannabinoid receptors located on cells on the thyroid gland. Cannabinoid receptors have also been identified within the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN), an area of the brain that sends signals to the thyroid, regulating its activities.

The presence of cannabinoid receptors on the thyroid and in regions of the brain that send signals to the thyroid suggests that CBD and other cannabinoids can influence the health and performance of the gland. A 2009 study found that one particular type of cannabinoid receptor – cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) – directly influences the activity of the neurons that control the thyroid.

“The presence of both symmetric and asymmetric type CB1 synapses on [thyrotropin-releasing hormone-synthesizing] neurons in the [hypothalamic periventricular nucleus] suggests that endocannabinoids may influence both excitatory and inhibitory inputs of these neurons,” the researchers concluded in the study.

A 2002 animal study found evidence that CB1 receptors regulate the release of thyroid hormones tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), and that the administration of cannabinoids influenced the hormonal activity.

The study concluded: “These data indicate that functional CB1 receptors which are able to modulate the release of T3 and T4 are expressed in the rat thyroid, and suggest a possible role of cannabinoids in the regulation of rat thyroid hormonal activity.”

A 2015 study found that cannabinoid receptors could potentially serve as therapeutic targets for both malignant and benign thyroid lesions.

While it remains unclear how CBD’s influence on cannabinoid receptors may impact conditions like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, the presence of cannabinoid receptors and their influence on thyroid health and function suggests the cannabinoid may possibly have therapeutic application.

Evidence also suggests that CBD and other cannabinoids can be beneficial for managing the symptoms commonly associated with thyroid disorders, such as pain , depression , dry skin , inflammation , and anxiety .

You can learn more about CBD and its benefits by visiting our education page .

You may also be interested in these related articles:

Have more questions about using CBD for thyroid disorders? Join our free ECHO Community to connect with physicians and others who have used or are using cannabinoids for health purposes.

The studies on cannabinoids and thyroid health are limited, but so far their findings do suggest that CBD may normalize thyroid conditions.

CBD for Thyroid Disorders

In America, approximately 20 million people suffer from some kind of thyroid disorder, and close to 60 percent of the affected don’t know about their condition. According to the American Thyroid Association 1 women are a lot more likely to experience thyroid problems than men. Doctors usually prescribe traditional medicines to people with thyroid problems. However, the medicines may not always work. In fact, they could end up presenting quite a few side effects. People are, therefore, seeking refuge in alternative medicines. Many studies indicate CBD can be effective at treating an array of thyroid-related issues.

Found in the endocrine system, your thyroid gland is a vital organ. It’s a butterfly-shaped, small gland located below your voice box and in front of your neck. The gland produces and gives out two important hormones – T4 (tetraiodothyronine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) – that control your body’s metabolism and determine how your cells utilize energy. Also, the gland manages the pace of several processes, which include heart rate and body temperature. Generally, body metabolism management is critical for regulating weight, mood, and physical and mental energy levels.

Moreover, the thyroid gland converts the food you ingest into energy so that your body keeps functioning properly. Several thyroid problems are due to an atypical secretion of thyroid hormones. However, all kinds of thyroid disorder/disease have unique causes, risks, and diagnoses. It’s worth noting that many studies are pointing at how CBD could be potentially beneficial in treating thyroid diseases.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System and Their Direct Impact on the Thyroid Hormone Release

The human body’s ECS (endocannabinoid system) exerts its strong influence in different ways. For instance, it regulates poise within various processes, such as thyroid function. According to an article published by National Institute of Health (NIH) 2 , scientists have discovered that the thyroid gland’s cells have cannabinoid receptors on them.

Multiple regulations and restrictions have made it quite difficult for researchers to learn more about cannabinoids and what role they play in the treatment of a thyroid disorder. Even though human-based research on the matter isn’t extensive yet, a study 3 was carried out on animals in 2002. It discovered that CB1 receptors control thyroid hormone release. Also, it was found cannabinoids administration had a say in thyroid hormonal activity. In 2015, another 2 was carried out by the NIH, which discovered cannabinoid receptors can theoretically be therapeutic targets for benign and malignant thyroid lesions.

Furthermore, a research study 4 carried out by the Journal of Endocrinology exhibited that endocannabinoid receptors are situated within the sections of the brain. The receptors transmit signals to the gland. This shows the likelihood of cannabinoids, such as CBD, influencing the thyroid gland’s performance and overall health.

Different thyroid disorders

A thyroid disorder is a condition that impacts the thyroid gland. Different kinds of thyroid disorders either affect the gland’s function or its structure. A disorder is usually linked to the glands either releasing excessive thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormones (hypothyroidism). Other specific thyroid disorders are:

What is hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid condition that indicates denotes an overactive thyroid gland. One out of every 100 women 5 could be suffering from this condition. It’s not common in men, however. Several conditions could cause hyperthyroidism, which includes excess iodine consumption, thyroid inflammation, tumors of the testes or ovaries, benign pituitary or thyroid gland tumors, and large quantities of tetraiodothyronine administered through medication or dietary supplements.

Grave’s disease is among the major causes of hyperthyroidism, found in approximately 70 percent of people with a hyperactive thyroid. It induces antibodies to push the thyroid into secreting too much hormone. Thyroid nodules could also cause the thyroid gland to produce its hormones in excess. This condition is called multinodular goiter or toxic nodular goiter. Increased thyroid hormone production could present the following symptoms:

  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • racing heart
  • shaking
  • increased sweating
  • trouble sleeping
  • anxiety
  • brittle nails and hair
  • thin skin
  • weight loss
  • muscle weakness
  • bulging eyes

How CBD can help treat hyperthyroidism

Patients with hyperthyroidism usually report major or minor relief from negative symptoms of their disease. Regularly using CBD oil for thyroid helps individuals normalize their body weight, by putting an end to diarrhea issues and reestablishing their appetite. CBD for thyroid disorder gets rid of irritability and anxiety-related sleep disorders. Moreover, CBD for thyroid disorder helps with heart function regulation, the trembling of fingers and hands, and muscular aches, if any.

Does CBD affect thyroid medication?

There has been no clinical evidence showing interactions between CBD and thyroid medication such as Levothyroxine. A good way to get an idea if CBD will interact with your thyroid medication is to look for the “grapefruit warning” on the label.
More than 85 drugs 6 interact with grapefruit, however no thyroid medications are present on that list.

Nonetheless, we always recommend you read the label of your medication carefully and always consult with a doctor before taking CBD in combination with any medication.

What is hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the reverse of hyperthyroidism. In this case, the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones or is underactive. This disorder usually follows Hashimoto’s disease, the damage inflicted by radiation treatment, or thyroid gland removal surgery. While not all individuals with Hashimoto’s exhibit hypothyroid signs, thyroid antibodies could be the marker for thyroid diseases in the future. Most hypothyroidism cases are mild, with the symptoms being:

  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • dry skin
  • heightened sensitivity to cold
  • constipation
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • decreased sweating
  • insomnia
  • anemia
  • loss of libido
  • slow heart rate
  • weakness
  • coma

How CBD oil can help treat hypothyroidism

People with hypothyroidism issues would notice alleviation or total elimination of distressing headaches, and pain in the joints and muscles when using CBD oil. CBD lets restore the restful sleeping tendencies of the patient. Moreover, it helps increase concentration levels and eliminates depression and arduous tension.

What is Hashimoto’s disease

Also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s disease is one of the most common hypothyroidism causes. It could affect a person at any age, but middle-aged women are most likely to be affected. The disorder manifests when your immune system erroneously attacks and slowly annihilates the thyroid gland, along with its ability to make hormones. Some individuals with minor instances of this disease may not show obvious signs. In fact, the disease could stay stable for several years, with the symptoms often being subtle. Also, the symptoms aren’t specific. In other words, they share symptoms of several other conditions, which include:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • mild weight gain
  • constipation
  • dry, thinning hair
  • dry skin
  • irregular and heavy menstruation
  • puffy, pale face
  • intolerance to cold
  • goiter or enlarged thyroid

How to use CBD oil for Hashimoto’s

Hashimoto’s disease is literally a condition affecting the body, mind, and spirit. CBD oil for Hashimoto’s responds well to the innate cannabinoid substances of your body. CBD oil and Hashimoto’s are usually talked about in the same sentence because CBD sustains and balances the homeostasis of your body, and Hashimoto’s disease like other thyroid diseases is due to an imbalance in your body’s normal functioning. Anecdotal reports about efficient and successful treatment with CBD oil and Hashimoto’s involved corroborate these claims.

What is Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is composed of multiple disorders that lead to thyroidal inflammation, which could either cause abnormally low or high thyroid hormone levels in the blood. Thyroiditis is usually caused when the thyroid is attacked, leading to thyroid cell damage and inflammation. The disease is typically considered as an immune system malfunction. The cause could be bacteria- or virus-induced infection. Moreover, some drugs could trigger thyroiditis due to their tendency to damage thyroid glands.

The different kinds of thyroiditis are Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (a very common hypothyroidism cause), postpartum thyroiditis (typically triggered after delivering a child), silent thyroiditis, subacute thyroiditis, radiation-induced thyroiditis, drug-induced thyroiditis, Riedel’s thyroiditis, and acute thyroiditis. Each of these thyroiditis types has its unique causes, risks, and diagnoses.

There are multiple symptoms and signs of thyroiditis, due to the various types. These could comprise:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • cold intolerance
  • muscle cramps
  • dry hair and skin
  • decreased concentration
  • constipation
  • sleepiness
  • leg swelling
  • puffy eyes

When the condition becomes severe, the symptoms include low body temperature, slow heart rate, coma, and heart failure.

How CBD can help treat thyroiditis

Due to thyroiditis’ immunomodulatory traits, CBD ushers in positivity by not just alleviating thyroiditis symptoms, but also by coming down hard on the hampering inflammatory process. Though these assumptions haven’t been confirmed scientifically, they certainly help us view the conceivable inhibition of thyroid cells’ destruction courtesy cannabidiol’s positive attributes and action.

CBD oil Dosage for Thyroid Disorders

While there are more than a handful of ways to use CBD for treating thyroid disorders, high-quality CBD oil is the most effective and potent method. Oils, by nature, are molecular carriers, which means they can carry a lot more cannabinoid molecules than any other type of CBD product. Moreover, CBD oil can be ingested easily and absorbed quite efficiently when the drops are directed below the tongue and kept there for some 30 to 90 seconds prior to swallowing.

If you are just getting started, it’s recommended you administer the drops no more than three times a day.

Determining the correct CBD dose for a thyroid disorder will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Since everyone’s reaction to CBD is different, it is important to listen to your body and regulate the dose while looking for signs of improvement.

We recommend following the step up approach established by Leonard Leinow and Juliana Birnbaum in their book “CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis” 7

You can read about the step-up approach and calculate what CBD dose is right for you in our post on CBD dosage.

Bottom line

The most impressive thing about CBD oil treatment for thyroid disease is the single medication approach. It can be used for treating virtually every and any kind of thyroid malfunction – be it hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, or goiter. Several anecdotal pieces of evidence pertaining to CBD’s efficiency and efficacy in treating thyroid disorders have been documented. Moreover, multiple scientific studies have showcased the therapeutic regulatory effects of cannabinoid on the thyroid gland. Though not a lot of specific clinical trials have been carried out on CBD oil for thyroid diseases, the growing understanding of how CBD works with the internal endocannabinoid system is enough material to give life to the notion that CB receptors could play a major part in homeostatic thyroid regulation, along with correct cell-to-cell interaction between the brain, thyroid, and the body’s system of organ structures.

If you wonder why there is the mention of only CBD and not its family members, marijuana or THC, for treating thyroid disorders, it is because CBD constitutes the plant’s non-psychotropic cannabinoid. In other words, it won’t give you the feeling of “high” by itself. Not to mention, most people wanting to use cannabis for its medical traits are usually least interested in the drug’s mind-altering effects.

There are several different Thyroid Disorders which could all benefit from the healing properties of CBD Oil. Read more about the effects of CBD on Thyroids