Cannabis in the past few years has been subject of studies exploring the effects on living beings, in particular of some of the cannabinoids, most of all CBD and THC.
Cannabinoids perform their function in the organism in different ways, mainly through the endocannabinoid system.
One of the bodily systems on which the endocannabinoid system seems to have a direct effect is precisely the endocrine system.
What are endocrine disorders?
Endocrine pathologies are diseases which affect the endocrine glands and can impact the human body in many ways.
The most common are those related to the thyroid, and is in particular hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, which occur when the thyroid produces too little or too much thyroid hormones.
In adults the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a health condition in which the immune system of the patient attacks its own thyroid and damages it until it isn’t able to produce an adequate quantity of hormones anymore.
Hypothyroidism is a health condition which can occur also as a consequence of the treatment with radioactive iodine, used for the treatment of some thyroid diseases or following the surgical removal of the gland.
In the past the diagnosis of thyroid pathologies occurred only when the disease was already in an advanced stage, whilst today a simple blood test is enough to diagnose thyroid disorders.
The endocannabinoid system and the endocrine system
The study “Effect of Marijuana Use on Thyroid Function and Autoimmunity” conducted from 2007 to 2012 evaluated the effects of cannabis on the thyroid function.
5280 adults of the ages between 18 and 69 were examined. The sample was interviewed on the use of cannabis and subsequently subjected to analysis of the thyroid. 54% of the interviewed individuals reported to be using cannabis for a long time already, while 15% told they had started using it recently.
The analysis performed by the research team demonstrated that consumers of cannabis had a significantly lower frequency of high thyrotropin and positive anti-thyroperoxidase antibody with respect to non-consumers.
Thyrotropin, also called thyroid-stimulating hormone, is produced by the pituitary gland; its release is in general at its minimum in the morning and at its maximum in the late evening. Evaluating the levels of thyrotropin makes is possible to assess the correct functioning of the thyroid.
Hence, the conclusion the research team reached to is that the use of cannabis is not associated with thyroid dysfunction, but resulted associated with lower levels of thyrotropin in a significant way.