Hormones & You
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the main compounds found in hemp and cannabis plants. It has received a lot of attention recently for its wide array of beneficial properties.
But how exactly does CBD work? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is very complex. CBD impacts receptors all over the body, producing a variety of outcomes, including those affecting hormone production.
CBD affects the endocrine system and the production of hormones like cortisol, insulin, and melatonin.
Some of the major roles of hormones are:
- Sex drive
Hormones are chemical messengers. The endocrine glands produce these molecules in microscopic amounts.
The major glands of the endocrine system are:
- The hypothalamus, pituitary gland and pineal body in the brain
- The adrenal glands above the kidneys
- The ovaries or testicles in the groin
- The thyroid and parathyroids at the front of the neck
- The pancreas in the abdomen
Hormones enter the bloodstream and travel to specific receptor sites in the organs and tissues where they cause changes to take place.
Hormones are essential for every bodily process, including:
- Reproduction and sexual function
- Body temperature
- Blood pressure
They may be small, but they’re mighty. A slight excess or deficiency of a particular hormone can lead to health issues.
Hormones fluctuate and shift naturally throughout the day, during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. These changes are predictable and mean your body is functioning normally.
Other hormone imbalances can happen if one of the endocrine glands produces too little, too much, or even stops producing hormones entirely.
Certain health conditions can trigger hormone imbalances, including:
- Tumours of the endocrine glands
- Under or overactive thyroid disorders
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Addison’s disease
Other lifestyle or environmental factors can also influence your hormone balance, such as being overweight, stressed, taking steroids, and even consuming high-levels of soy products.
Both men and women can experience hormone imbalances. The symptoms you experience can vary greatly and depend on the glands and hormones affected. Symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances include:
✔️ Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
✔️ Weight loss or gain
✔️ Excessive sweating
✔️ Difficulty sleeping and fatigue
✔️ Blurred vision and headaches
There are medical studies and anecdotal evidence that indicate CBD could help alleviate the symptoms of a hormone imbalance. CBD has a range of proven health benefits, and research into its full spectrum of effects is ongoing.
Research confirms a link between the endocannabinoid system and endocrine processes.
‘We know that the endocannabinoid system has a role in maintaining balance in the body. It makes sure our body is acting within a narrow range of operating conditions; so-called homeostasis.’ explains Dr Moltke.
‘The ECS is known to regulate stress, mood, memory, fertility, bone growth, pain, immune function, among other things. CBD interacts with the ECS and with many other receptors in the body.’
Dr Moltke goes on to explain, ‘We are still highly lacking human studies that show exactly how this manifests in our different hormonal systems.’
CBD can influence major hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and melatonin.
Your pancreas produces the essential hormone, insulin. An imbalance can cause not only diabetes, but heart disease, and obesity.
‘We have long known that marijuana consumption seems to be related to reduced blood sugar levels.’ says Dr Moltke. She goes on to outline that ‘clinical experience and studies are showing that when diabetic people use medicinal cannabis, they can reduce their diabetic medicine or insulin as cannabis lowers blood glucose.Further research is required to fully understand the effect of CBD on insulin levels. ‘We do not, however, know how CBD alone affects blood sugar or insulin. It probably does not have a direct effect on these measures, but the anti-inflammatory properties can be extremely valuable for type 2 diabetics, as it is a condition associated with chronic inflammation in the whole body due to high blood sugar levels.’
Stress is bad for our blood pressure, mental state, and overall health. Cortisol, along with adrenaline, is involved in managing your stress response.
Cortisol is essential for survival. It’s responsible for controlling our natural ‘flight or fight’ response. If you produce too much cortisol, you may suffer symptoms, including weight gain, mood swings, and increased anxiety.
‘One study clearly shows that CBD is able to lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with chronic stress’ explains Dr Moltke.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your health will suffer. Melatonin from your pineal gland is responsible for your circadian rhythm, in other words, when you sleep and wake, and for managing your energy levels. For most people, it’s highest at night and lowest in the morning.
The ECS is involved in your sleep pattern. One study reported that the ECS activated CB1 receptors which affect sleep stability, how quickly you fall asleep and increases the level of melatonin produced.
CBD might be able to help with the symptoms of normal monthly hormone fluctuations and those that happen during puberty and menopause.
• Mood swings
Many women experience anxiety and depression as part of their menstrual cycle and during menopause. Oestrogen and progesterone affect levels of serotonin, the so-called happy chemical that influences mood.
Research shows that CBD activates serotonin receptors and that in animal models, it shows anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
During menstruation, the uterine contractions that occur throughout your cycle are more intense. This causes food transit through the digestive system to slow down, leading to constipation and bloating.
The drop in oestrogen and progesterone before your period can also cause water retention.
There are cannabinoid receptors in the digestive system, and research confirms that the ECS is involved in the physiological control of colonic motility. CBD could, therefore, help with bloating issues by increasing gut motility.
• Pain and cramps
Some women find the pain associated with menstruation debilitating, others merely uncomfortable. Studies have shown that CBD works to relieve pain and relax cramping muscles.
As progesterone declines, prostaglandins increase, peaking during menstruation. These chemicals cause inflammation, heightened sensitivity to pain, blood vessel constriction, and uterine contractions. Although necessary for a regular menstrual cycle, high levels of prostaglandins can lead to more painful or heavier periods.
CBD is widely recognised as having muscle and vascular relaxing effects, which also lead to a decrease in painful period cramps.
The way that CBD and the ECS work are complicated and further research is needed, but there is some evidence to suggest that CBD could help with the symptoms of a hormone imbalance.
It depends on the way you want to use it, and the desired effects. We recommend you to start with one simple drop of CBD oil once or twice a day. You can mix it with creams or in your favourite drink. It if it is the first time you consider this supplement, consult your doctor.
Due to the nature of our CBD product range we are not always able to offer refunds, please read our Refund Policy for more information
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