What are your reasons for consuming cannabis and different cannabinoids? Is it because of the plant’s wide array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits? Is it because of the well-being and quality of life improvements it can deliver? Or does it serve a different purpose in your life?
Although we have our specific reasons for consuming cannabis, it’s important to understand the role it plays internally and externally. Specifically, cannabis impacts a plethora of hormones including, but not limited to: estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormones. But how so?
Keep reading to learn about the role cannabis plays in hormone production, the significance of the body’s endocrine system, and different research findings that shed light on the relationship between cannabis and various hormones.
The Significance of The Endocrine System and Various Hormones
Within the human body, different systems work together to maintain homeostasis and fulfill their designated responsibilities. In particular, the endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones and being the body’s head of communication. The endocrine system consists of the hypothalamus, pancreas, sex organs, and the following glands: thyroid, pineal, and adrenal. These glands communicate with other body parts that are responsible for producing hormones. Then, hormones act as messengers for the body’s endocrine system.
In addition to the variety of systems the body is made up of, we all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), and the ECS shares a link with the endocrine system. Let’s not forget about the impact cannabis has on the endocrine system and different hormones though. Unfortunately, there’s little research about cannabis’s interaction with the body’s endocrine system. However, the existing research findings are certainly noteworthy.
Although there are many hormones within the body that serve their own purpose, several widely known and discussed hormones include testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, insulin, progesterone, prolactin, and thyroid. These hormones can help with fertility, increase growth, control immunity, affect moods, and alter one’s metabolism.
Research Findings About Cannabis’s Impact on Hormones and Hormone Production
Recently, it was discovered that regular cannabis consumption may have the ability to impact prolactin, adrenal, thyroid, and growth hormones. Thus far though, from the findings of a preclinical study, THC is the one cannabinoid that’s responsible for regulating different hormones.
Why is this though? Researchers believe THC has a massive impact on the body’s hormones because the cannabinoid can change different neurotransmitters within the hypothalamus or neurotransmitters within the body’s central nervous system. For those who don’t know, the hypothalamus is the lower central section of the brain that connects the endocrine system with the central nervous system.
Additionally, it has been revealed that cannabis does in fact impact hormone levels and hormone production. Cannabis usage especially THC has even shown to impact the body’s vital sex hormones. The main hormones that have been found to be the most impacted by cannabis include estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormones.
As far as research findings go, one study discovered that the chronic usage of cannabis and various cannabinoids could change the function of several reproductive organs.
Cannabis’s Impact on Female and Male Hormones
For years, research has focused more on the relationship between cannabis and hormone production in males than in females. We know that cannabis consumption results in a testosterone production increase. Oppositely, we also know that high THC levels can promote anti-estrogen activity. Many researchers also believe that when women are ovulating, they experience a strong sensitivity to cannabinoids like THC.
To learn more about the link between cannabis and hormone production in women, additional research must be conducted including human clinical trials. In recent years though, it was discovered that high prolactin levels can lead to changes in women such as the following: elevated stress, mental health issues including anxiety and depression, infertility, aggression, osteoporosis, and even estrogen dominance. This is where some of cannabis’s medicinal and therapeutic benefits can play a vital role.
On the other hand, low prolactin levels can decrease the risk of developing testicular and breast cancer. Although low prolactin levels are better than high levels, when prolactin hormones are suppressed, postpartum and fertility can be negatively impacted.
How Does Cannabis Affect Other Hormones?
Moreover, currently, there isn’t much research on the impact cannabis usage has on the body’s thyroid. However, cannabis may be able to lower TSH—the thyroid-stimulating hormone that controls the functioning of the thyroid. There’s still much to learn though, and researchers are remain unsure about the exact role cannabis plays in thyroid functioning.
Next is the body’s human growth hormone (HGH), which is released from the pituitary gland. HGH is strongly impacted by the ECS and CB1 receptors. When it’s suppressed, it also suppresses the spreading and growth of cancerous cells—a valuable benefit. This hormone is also essential for the functioning of female fertility and the natural cycle a woman’s body goes through in addition to aiding in the growth and development of a person mentally and physically.
Overall, more research must be executed to fully understand how cannabis influences and impacts the endocrine system and hormone production. Although cannabinoids can deliver analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antidepressant properties, and many more benefits, future discoveries will continue to be made regarding the body’s endocrine system and how cannabis impacts hormone production. Stay tuned to find out more!