Cannabidiol (CBD) was discovered by accident in the 1940s, but it was not until 1963 that Dr Raphael Mechoulam isolated CBD and began to study its properties. Over time, they are proving to have an increasingly beneficial effect on the body, and the spectrum of medicinal and therapeutic properties of this cannabidiol has more than once surprised the discoverer himself.
The results were so promising that research work on CBD started by many research centres around the world, in the context of treating a great many diseases and ailments. And we continue to learn about more of its capabilities. But in this article, we will only focus on the effects of CBD oils on thyroid disease.
The reason is simple, an increasing number of research findings suggest that CBD oils can be very effective in supporting treatment in people affected by thyroid function problems or other endocrine disorders.
The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck, surrounding the anterior part of the trachea, and is one of the primary endocrine glands. It is home to many of the hormones that regulate the functions of the entire body. A healthy thyroid gland is a guarantee of a normal metabolism, a healthy heart, muscles and bones. The thyroid gland is closely linked to the brain, helping it to maintain the body's internal balance.
This gland has a significant impact on body temperature, heart rate, growth, fertility, sensory perception and emotional responses. If the functioning of the thyroid gland is disrupted, the above processes also cease to function properly. Thyroiditis can lead to significant enlargement of the thyroid gland, causing additional discomfort. The most common way to diagnose gland disease is through blood tests, which examine the levels of thyrotropic hormones (TSH) and thyroid hormones (FT4 and T4).
It occurs when the thyroid gland produces too few hormones or ceases to be active at all. This brings with it a range of health problems, manifested by, among other things, constant fatigue and drowsiness, diminishing memory, lack of concentration, joint pain, weight gain, breathing problems, skin problems, frequent constipation, thinning and brittle hair, reduced libido and even depression. Hypothyroidism can have various sources. It could be mechanical trauma, elemental deficiency (iodine, selenium, zinc) or perhaps an autoimmune disease. The disease affects women 5 times more often than men and as much as 6% of the population under 60 years of age.
In this case, the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, which manifests itself as fatigue, irritability and nervousness, increased sweating, intolerance to heat, tachycardia, muscle weakness and trembling and weight loss, among other symptoms.
This disease is also known as chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. It involves the immune system of the affected person attacking the thyroid gland, damaging it to such an extent that it stops producing hormones. The disease can develop at any age, starting in childhood. However, it primarily affects women. Initial symptoms rarely indicate Hashimoto's disease and it is often only years later that it is correctly diagnosed.
The most common symptoms include constant fatigue, joint pain, constipation, facial swelling, dry skin, increased sensitivity to cold, hair loss or weight gain.
When the immune system attacks the thyroid gland by mistake, this can also result in Graves-Basedow disease. This endocrine system disorder causes the body to produce an excess of thyroid antibodies. This results in high blood pressure, increased metabolism and a visibly enlarged thyroid gland.
CBD oils in thyroid diseases
Research into the effects of CBD oils on thyroid disease has only recently begun, but the first findings are very promising. Indeed, it turns out that CB1 receptors, which are part of the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), regulate thyroid activity by affecting the neurons that control the thyroid gland. Studies also indicate that cannabinoids influence the release of thyroid hormones. In contrast, the largest clusters of CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system are found in the immune system, meaning that cannabinoids are also able to regulate immune responses in thyroid disease.
CBD is one of the cannabinoids that affects the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for balancing the body. As a result, it can support the thyroid gland multidimensionally:
- CBD oil may have an effect on the regulation of thyroid hormone secretion. This allows it to be used whether hypothyroid or hyperthyroid. The way it works is that the endocannabinoid system is involved in keeping hormone levels in balance, and CBD supports the proper functioning of this system, so it has an indirect effect on regulating thyroid hormone secretion.
- CBD oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties, so it can have an effect on inflammation in the thyroid gland, relieving it.
- By supporting the metabolism, CBD oil can also have an effect on the digestive processes that occur in thyroid disease sufferers. By acting on the cannabinoid system, it helps to control the digestive process and helps to regulate intestinal function.
- CBD oil has calming, relaxing and de-stressing properties without having psychoactive effects. Such effects can assist patients with hyperthyroidism, in whom hand tremor, nervousness or anxiety are common symptoms.
- CBD oil improves concentration, as it affects the plasticity of the hippocampus, which controls learning processes and is responsible for good mood.
- CBD oils help regulate the body's diurnal rhythm, affecting sleep and wakefulness. Even small doses improve focus and reduce stress levels in the morning, while larger doses, taken in the evening, help you fall asleep and prolong the deep sleep phase.
Research into the effects of CBD on thyroid disease is still in its infancy, but the first results are already quite promising. However, the results in terms of minimising the symptoms of the disease themselves are no longer just in their infancy but concrete, significantly improving the quality of life of patients with Hashimoto's or Graves Basedow's disease
It is also worth noting that even long-term use of CBD oil does not cause addiction. However, any patient under the care of a doctor should declare their intention to use CBD oil for the thyroid and listen to the opinion of a medical professional.
It is also important to remember that the effectiveness of CBD oil is determined primarily by its quality. Therefore, it is important to choose oils from a proven manufacturer with certificates showing that the products have been tested for pesticides, toxins and heavy metals.
- "Clinical Significance of Cannabinoid Receptors CB1 and CB2 Expression in Human Malignant and Benign Thyroid Lesions" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4619873/.
- Borowska, M., Czarnywojtek, A., Sawicka-Gutaj, N., Woliński, K., Płazińska, M. T., Mikołajczak, P., & Ruchała, M. (2018). "The effects of cannabinoids on the endocrine system." Endocrinologia Polska, 69(6), 705-719. https://doi.org/10.5603/EP.a2018.0072
- "Evidence for functional CB1 cannabinoid receptor expressed in the rat thyroid" https://eje.bioscientifica.com/view/journals/eje/147/2/255.xml