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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:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Dry skin
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia

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.

Key Takeaways

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.