Medical Cannabis and the Thyroid Gland
Endocannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, including in the thyroid gland. The body’s natural endocannabinoid system helps to regulate the body’s activities and maintain homeostasis, or balance. Interestingly, endocannabinoid type molecules have been found to have anti-cancer effects on thyroid tumors in laboratory and animal studies. Much more research is needed in this area.
In addition, endocannabinoid receptors are located in regions of the brain that send signals to the thyroid gland. 2009 research reported in the journal Endocrinology showed that CB1 receptors are abundantly present on nerves in the brain that are involved in the regulation of the “hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid” axis. The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis controls the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. The distribution of CB1 receptors in the brain suggests that they may influence both excitatory and inhibitory inputs on this system.
It is unclear how medical cannabis might directly impact conditions such as an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). However, many patients report that medical cannabis is quite effective in treating some of the clinical symptoms that are commonly associated with these diseases. Such symptoms may include anxiety/depression, irritability, headaches, insomnia, joint and muscle aches, and others.
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