According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and an estimated 60% are unaware of their condition. Women are more likely to develop a thyroid disorder, which, if left untreated, can lead to a host of other conditions such as osteoporosis and infertility.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the front of the neck. Its role is to make thyroid hormones that are secreted into the blood and carried throughout the body. The thyroid controls the body’s metabolism, can increase heart rate, and regulate blood pressure and body temperature. The gland also produces calcitonin, which aids bone cells in processing calcium and adding it to the bones. Thyroid disorders types include:
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Thyroid Tumors
- Thyroid Cancer
Early warning signs of thyroid problems include:
- Overactive thyroid – Racing heart rate, palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, weight loss with increased appetite, excessive sweating/heat intolerance, muscle fatigue
- Underactive thyroid – fatigue (mental and physical), cold intolerance, constipation, hair loss, weight gain, depression
A doctor and/or endocrine specialist is best to speak to if you are witnessing these symptoms and are concerned about whether or not you have a thyroid-related condition.
There are a variety of care options that a medical professional may guide you through to address thyroid conditions. Scientists have been observing how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in the regulation of several body processes. Cannabinoids exert their effects in the ECS by interaction with the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. To date, cannabinoids have been confirmed to participate in the regulation of food intake, energy homeostasis of the body, and have a significant impact on endocrine system, including the activity of the pituitary gland, adrenal cortex, thyroid gland, pancreas, and gonads. Here we will discuss recent research that points to the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) in benefitting thyroid health.
The ECS and Endocrine System
The ability of the ECS to control appetite, food intake, and energy balance has received great attention. Some of the earliest reports of effects of cannabis consumption on humans were related to endocrine system changes. It has been proposed through research that the ECS may control hormonal balance also through a direct effect at the level of target organs. The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs, using hormones to control and coordinate the body’s metabolism, energy levels, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and mood.
Cannabis and Thyroid Function
Early studies show that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is able to decrease thyroid hormones and iodine accumulation in rat models. Additional studies indicated that the thyroid gland itself may be the direct target of cannabinoid action.
Given the established safety profile of CBD and protective effects on kidney inflammation and damage, it is being researched for several treatment-resistant diseases as well as an alternative to medications that may come with adverse side effects. CBD research for thyroid disorders is still in early stages, however the existence of the ECS receptors on the thyroid gland and in the brain region that controls thyroid function is promising.
Numerous studies point to CBD as helpful in managing symptoms commonly associated with thyroid disorders such as energy levels, anxiety and depression, insomnia, cardiovascular health, gut health, hair loss and weight changes. A study published in 2022 sought to better understand the role of CBD as a potential therapy for thyroid disorders and discovered that CBD treatment of rat models in the study significantly improved the levels of thyroid hormones. In addition, it was reported that cannabinoid receptors are involved in the healing of malignant and benign thyroid lesions and relief from inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and depression.
There is a lot to consider when starting cannabinoid therapy but, as always, a Realm of Caring care specialist is here to help with free one-on-one support to answer your questions. Contact us today by calling (719) 347-5400 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.