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 .
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The studies on cannabinoids and thyroid health are limited, but so far their findings do suggest that CBD may normalize thyroid conditions.
Thyroid-related headaches and CBD: a new solution to an old problem
It’s often said that there is nothing like the exhaustion of a thyroid condition. The endocrine system, when not in working order, can wreak havoc on many functions within the body. Functions like:
- Menstrual cycles
- Body temperature
- Blood Pressure
In fact, according to the American Thyroid Association, the complex relationship between thyroid disease, body weight, and metabolism is being studied more and more. With so many bodily functions relying on one teeny gland, the function of the thyroid is paramount to your well-being — mind, body, and spirit.
A study published in 2018 found, “in a study of the cannabis use for self-medication in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, 10.2% of patients reported using it for migraine headache symptoms…with low doses tending to alleviate migraine while higher doses even triggering headaches. These findings call for creating a highly specific prescription for individual patients, which might be required for a safe and successful treatment plan.” To put it plainly, cannabis works but needs to be personalized to help alleviate symptoms in a way that’s personal and efficient.
An earlier study published in 2017 determined that in a survey of nine California clinics, over 40% of patients self-reported that cannabis therapeutic benefits.
Thyroid replacement medication and CBD
Many who have lost a thyroid due to cancer or other diseases, know the juggle of ensuring the proper dose of thyroid medication and regulation is present in their body. But often, with thyroid replacement therapy comes the dreaded headaches and the soul-crushing, vomit-inducing migraines that accompany thyroid issues. And even those not on thyroid replacement medicine experience severe migraines. In fact, the International Headache Society estimates 30% of individuals with an underactive thyroid (also known as hypothyroidism) experience headaches, while Mayo Clinic also states that hyperthyroidism, (or an overactive thyroid) can cause migraines as well. So, what’s a headache sufferer to do?
Patients who experience thyroid-based headaches also face other thyroid-related complications like anxiety, inflammation, and joint pain. With CBD available on the market in almost every state, study after study is finding that not only does CBD oil help with headaches but pain related to inflammation and anxiety as well, especially since they stimulate the Endocannabinoid System.
With so many bodily functions relying on one teeny gland, the function of the thyroid is paramount to your well-being — mind, body, and spirit.