CBD Effects on Hormones
Posted on August 15th, 2020
Have you been crying a lot lately, for no particular reason? Are you also having trouble sleeping, and find yourself wandering in bed all through the night? Are your emotions all over the place, and you do not know why? If any of these describe you, then you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. It may seem far-fetched, but it is true. These hormonal imbalances usually occur when the levels fluctuate from the normal range, depending on the person. Even a minor hormonal imbalance can cause numerous side effects. And while there are several ways to help manage hormonal imbalances, can the effects of CBD impact hormones?
Typically, CBD is sought after to help manage symptoms such as pain relief, reduce inflammation, nausea, and vomiting, and maybe even help in managing the symptoms of diabetes. It has gained a lot of popularity, and it’s not without reason. So, you may be wondering if CBD could help deal with hormone imbalance. Could CBD help bring relief to the symptoms that are making you cranky and an emotional wreck? Read on to find out more.
Before we look at the effects of CBD on hormones, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of hormones, how they work, and their relationship with the endocrine system. Hormones are usually chemical messengers involved in various bodily processes such as appetite, growth and development, reproduction, blood pressure, and mood.
The endocrine system is very crucial to the body, in that it maintains a homeostatic balance. It regulates everything in the body, from the metabolism of energy to the production of blood cells. It is a network of body-producing glands that are found throughout the body. These glands include ovaries and testicles in the groin, the pineal gland in the brain, thyroid at the neck, and pancreas glands in the abdomen. Hormones are usually produced at a slow and steady pace. However, due to several factors such as age, genes, and environment, the body could start making too little or too much of a hormone, causing an imbalance.
Hormones might be small, but they are quite mighty. A small change could cause a severe ripple effect in the body and could result in health issues.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance?
Throughout the day, hormones fluctuate and vary. They also shift during menopause, puberty, menstrual cycles, and even pregnancy. They occur in both males and females. When one of the endocrine glands produces too much or too little of a hormone, there will be an imbalance of hormones. Certain health conditions may trigger hormonal imbalances as well. Some of these conditions may include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Underactive or overactive thyroid glands
- Tumors in the endocrine glands
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Environmental factors such as taking steroids, stress, and being overweight
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Some of the common symptoms of hormonal imbalance may include:
- Mood Swings
- Weight gain
- Vaginal atrophy
- Hair loss
- Skin problems
- Menstrual irregularity
- Changes in blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Blurred visions
What Are the Effects of CBD on Hormones?
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that is derived from the cannabis plant. It interacts directly with the endocrine system, which is the body’s network of hormone-producing glands. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, its other counterpart, has intoxicating effects as it is psychoactive. The body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that controls bodily functions. It may act as a regulator in the body impacting everything from your mood, memory, appetite, fertility, and even sleep. CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the brain. By doing this, the endocrine glands may be stimulated, potentially affecting the body’s hormones. Essentially, by stimulating the ECS system, CBD may be able to affect the hormone levels in the body. Below are examples of how CBD might influence the major hormones in the body.
CBD and Insulin
One primary job of the endocrine system is to manage the body’s metabolism. It does this by producing hormones in the pancreas, such as glucagon, insulin, and somatostatin. An imbalance in the insulin hormone usually leads to diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease. Lack of insulin can lead to an increase in blood sugar levels, called hyperglycemia, and low insulin levels can lead to low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia. Without insulin, sugar from food will not be able to pass into your body cells from the bloodstream.
CBD has been noted to influence the production of insulin, but it is still not yet clear how it does it. However, there is a correlation between inflammation of the pancreas and lack of insulin production, which leads to diabetes. CBD may have anti-inflammatory properties; and therefore, it might help reduce the inflammation of the pancreas and improve insulin production.
CBD and Cortisol
Another primary role of the endocrine gland is to manage how the body responds to stress. It does this with the help of cortisol and epinephrine hormones. Stress can be harmful for the body and mind, and it has adverse effects on your overall health. Cortisol, produced in the adrenal gland, is a crucial hormone used in the management of stress. It is also used in the managing of memory, metabolism, and helping with the healing of wounds. Cortisol controls the natural “flight or fight” response that humans have. Instead of the body allocating resources to your metabolism and immune system, you will find that the body focuses on producing more cortisol, to prioritize the fight or flight response. This could lead to side effects if you produce too much of it; hence you may suffer from increased anxiety, weight gain, and mood swings.
The good news is that CBD might have the potential to help with the regulation of the secretion of cortisol. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol your body produces. It could also help decrease its prevalence in plasma results while doing so. CBD might decrease the cortisol levels according to several studies, which means it may help reduce stress and any other side effects of cortisol.
CBD and Melatonin
Having a lack of, or insufficient sleep can lead to deterioration of your overall health. Melatonin, produced by the pineal gland, is responsible for your circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. It ensures that your energy levels while sleeping and waking up and managed. For most people, their energy levels are usually highest at night and the lowest in the morning. Environmental factors such as blue light and darkness will also affect your levels of melatonin.
The endocannabinoid system is involved in the management of sleep by directly regulating sleep stability via the CB1 receptors’ activation. It activates the CB1 receptors, hence affecting how much melatonin is produced and how fast you fall asleep.
CBD may stimulate the secretion of the melatonin sleep hormone by activating these cannabinoid receptors in the pineal gland. On its own, CBD is not a sedative, but it might have soothing and anxiolytic qualities that help you relax better.
CBD for Women
Throughout their adult lives, women usually experience frequent shifts in their hormonal levels. If you are a woman, you might have experienced this at one point in your life. Below are some of the ways that the effects of CBD may help with hormones for women.
Nothing is as annoying as the bloating that happens when you are on your menstrual period. The food transit through the digestive system usually slows down during menstruation, leading to bloating and constipation. Also, the estrogen and progesterone level drops before your period usually lead to water retention, which can be quite uncomfortable. CBD could help deal with bloating issues by increasing your gut motility.
During the menstrual cycle, many women also experience anxiety and depression. This also happens during menopause. CBD may help to activate the serotonin receptors in the body, which is the happy chemical. Since it might have anti-anxiety and antidepressant qualities, it could help improve your mood.
Pain associated with cramping can be daunting for many women. However, there is some good news. CBD may have pain-reducing qualities, with little to no side effects. It may help relieve pain and relax the cramping muscles. It may also have vascular relaxing effects, which helps reduce the pain you experience during period cramps. Since CBD might also act as an anti-inflammatory, it could help to reduce inflammation caused by prostaglandins.
CBD interacts with the vanilloid receptor in the brain, hence making it useful in managing and decreasing pain caused by swollen breasts. It may also help alleviate the discomfort.
Using CBD for Hormone Related Issues
The effects of CBD may help you to achieve a homeostatic balance in your hormones, and reduce the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. However, it is also advised to always talk to your doctor before taking CBD. This will help ensure that it is the right choice for you and that it will not interfere with your medications.
As seen above, CBD has numerous potential benefits and might help to restore balance in your body. However, studies are still ongoing, as research is still in its preliminary stages. If you want to start taking CBD, do not forget consulting your doctor, as they will guide you through it.