CBD and Hormone Imbalance
CBD and Hormone Imbalance
Studies show that the endocannabinoid system activates receptors of the endocrine system and that cannabinoids such as CBD affect hormones linked to sleep, stress, sexual activity, energy consumption and more. New cannabinoid therapies are expected for endocrine disorders such as diabetes or bone diseases of menopause.
CANNABINOIDS SPEAK WITH THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
In the same way as endocannabinoids, hormones are biochemical messengers involved in many aspects of our physiology. Hormones affect our growth, behavior, sleep, sexual function, energy consumption, and mood. Even our ability to assess a hazard and develop an adequate response depends on these compounds.
These natural regulators are produced in glands of the endocrine system, such as the thyroid, pancreas, pineal gland, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, ovaries, and testes. These glands produce different hormones, including melatonin, testosterone, insulin, cortisol, glucagon, epinephrine (adrenaline), and many more. For example, cortisol is the hormone that manages our response to stress and anxiety, while melatonin tells our body when it is time to go to sleep or wake up. Internal and external factors, such as aging, stress, food or certain chemical substances, can unbalance the production of these messengers.
Our endocannabinoid system is closely related to the endocrine system. Studies show that the endocannabinoid system activates receptors in the endocrine system, and they have also discovered cannabinoid receptors in many different endocrine glands. Therefore, CBD can also activate the endocrine receptors of the brain and the rest of the body.
Research shows that this cannabinoid interacts with the endocrine system, affecting processes such as the sleep cycle, stress signals, metabolism, and sexual activity. Some studies even indicate that endocannabinoids can control the proliferation of many types of cancer endocrine cells, producing an antitumor effect. Specifically, they can inhibit cell growth and metastasis in certain types of oncological diseases, such as tumors of the thyroid, breast or prostate.
The relationship between cannabinoids and hormonal production suggests that these natural compounds may have therapeutic potential to treat endocrine disorders. Currently, one of the many challenges of cannabis science is to understand how the endocrine system can be modulated with CBD and other cannabinoids, in order to regulate hormone levels.
CBD AND METABOLIC HORMONES
Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine diseases, caused by a reduced production of insulin in the pancreas. Insulin balances our metabolism and energy levels by regulating the absorption and storage of nutrients, and by transforming sugar into energy. Insulin imbalances can cause obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
A large variety of studies have explored the effects of cannabinoids on metabolism, as well as the relationship between CBD and diabetes. Some of these studies have shown how CBD affects the function of the pancreas and the production of insulin, thus influencing blood sugar levels. Given this newly discovered role of endocannabinoids in endocrine regulation and energy balance, the development of a CBD therapy that helps maintain a healthy insulin level could be one of the next major steps in cannabis medicine.
CBD AND SEXUAL HORMONES
In both males and females, the secretion of sex hormones is directly controlled by the pituitary gland and influenced by the hypothalamus. It seems that here the cannabinoids also exert an action on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. There is an obvious connection between endocannabinoid activity and the production of the female hormone estradiol. It has been discovered that the endocannabinoid system contributes to the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Although these mechanisms are not yet fully understood, it is clear that the endocannabinoid system exerts an effect on the release of gonadal hormones. Unfortunately, THC altered hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal integrity and affected reproductive function in female mice. Chronic exposure to CBD also promoted deterioration of sexual behavior and fertility in male mice.
A field of cannabis science that seems promising is the treatment of bone and joint diseases with cannabinoids. During menopause, fluctuations and general reduction of sex hormones result in more fragile bones and the characteristic loss of bone density in women. Excessive activity of the GPR55 receptor is involved in this process, causing the loss of bone tissue and, over time, osteoporosis. There is a lot of research that indicates that CBD can inhibit the activity of the GPR55 receptor, helping to heal bones and prevent the loss of bone density. This application of CBD could also help maintain bone health during hormonal therapies in transgender people while reducing anxiety.
CBD AND SLEEP HORMONES
In a few years, the CBD has gained great recognition for its ability to treat stress and anxiety. This is because, among their biochemical interactions with our body, cannabidiol (CBD) can also influence cortisol levels. In addition, CBD could stimulate the secretion of sleep hormones, such as melatonin, by activating receptors in the pineal gland, thus improving sleep patterns. On the other hand, adrenal insufficiency and consequent fatigue that occur when the adrenal glands cannot release enough cortisol and aldosterone could be combated by consuming CBD.
COMPLEMENT A HEALTHY DIET
Based on what we know so far, CBD may be able to improve the symptoms of endocrine disorders and restore hormonal balance; but the therapeutic effects of this and other cannabinoids in hormonal diseases are not yet fully clear. Despite promising results, research in this area is still in preliminary stages. Being able to adopt a cannabinoid therapy for endocrine disorders would provide patients with a natural alternative to current drugs; although it can already be affirmed with certainty that the daily consumption of CBD can be beneficial for our endocrine system. In combination with the consumption of lean proteins, green leafy vegetables and omega-3 fats (such as those contained in hemp seeds), CBD can help maintain hormonal homeostasis.
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