If you have Hashimoto’s disease, you probably understand just how challenging it can be. With symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, muscle pain, depression and memory loss, Hashimoto’s can be a frightening and painful condition.
But cannabis may provide some relief. Let’s explore cannabis’s potential for easing the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and how the plant may help—or hurt—your management of the condition.
What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which an overactive immune system sends antibodies to attack and damage the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and produces hormones that coordinate many of our body’s key functions. So, Hashimoto’s disease can lead to serious inflammation and an underactive thyroid, which means there’s less of these important hormones. This results in sub-optimal body functions.
Hashimoto’s, which affects more women than it does men, can bring on an array of negative symptoms, such as:
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pale, dry skin
- Hair loss
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Unexplained weight gain
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Memory lapses
3 Ways Marijuana May Help Ease Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s disease is clearly a painful condition with a wide range of symptoms. But could cannabis help? The research on this is limited—and somewhat conflicting. But there’s some evidence to suggest that cannabis, particularly marijuana rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), could be a big help for those suffering from this disease.
Here are three ways that cannabis may be able to help those with Hashimoto’s:
1. THC Is an Immunosuppressant
Because Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which an overactive immune system attacks the body, one way to address it is by suppressing the immune system. And THC shows promise for doing just that.
Studies have shown that THC suppresses TH-1 cells. These cells are involved in the production of cytokines and the immune responses that damage tissues like the thyroid. By inhibiting TH-1 cells, THC may slow or stop the damage an overactive immune system can do.
2. THC Is an Anti-inflammatory Agent
One of the big symptoms of Hashimoto’s is inflammation, and both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. That said, these two cannabinoids may not be equal when it comes to treating inflammation in Hashimoto’s disease.
Suppression of TH-1 cells with the consumption of THC can not only help calm an overactive immune system, but it can also help control Hashimoto’s-related inflammation. By suppressing these cells, THC dampens cytokine production, which not only slows the immune system down, but is also key in the process of inflammation.
Of course, not all Hashimoto’s sufferers benefit from the suppression of TH-1 cells. While doctors once thought Hashimoto’s disease was exclusively a TH-1-related condition, it’s been shown more recently that Hashimoto’s can also occur from overactive TH-2 cells.
TH-2 cells are another kind of T-cell that protect against toxins and bacteria. If you suffer from this version of the condition, THC may be much less helpful, since it has been shown to actually stimulate TH-2 cells. This could trigger a worsening of the situation for TH-2-dominant cases of Hashimoto’s disease.
The research on CBD for inflammation is a little less clear. While widely acknowledged as an inflammation reducer in general, research on CBD has been inconsistent when it comes to increasing or decreasing TH-1 and TH-2 activity.
If you have TH-1-dominant Hashimoto’s disease, you may want to think twice before taking CBD.
3. THC Is a Pain Reliever
Cannabis can also help relieve pain related to Hashimoto’s disease. Studies say that up to 97% of cannabis consumers take marijuana for pain.
While both THC and CBD can help reduce pain, THC is likely a better choice for those with Hashimoto’s disease, since CBD has the potential to worsen the condition in other ways.
Consuming Cannabis for Hashimoto’s Disease
If you’re interested in taking cannabis for Hashimoto’s disease, be sure to check with your doctor before you give it a try. You should definitely find out whether you have TH-1- or TH-2-dominant Hashimoto’s disease, because the research suggests THC may be more helpful for those with TH-1 dominant Hashimoto’s. Meanwhile, it may actually be harmful for folks with TH-2 dominant Hashimoto’s.
If you have the TH-1-dominant variety, THC could be a great option for you. You can try out inhaled or edible methods on a regular basis to see if it reduces your inflammation and other symptoms.
Either way, you may want to hold off on consuming CBD, since the results around its efficacy are still unclear. And for some of those with Hashimoto’s disease, CBD may have the potential to worsen the condition.
We’ll have to wait on the research to find out more, but what we have so far suggests that high-THC cannabis could be a big help for some folks dealing with this difficult disease.
Photo credit: taramara78/Shutterstock.com
If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.
- Health Conditions
Your trusted source for cannabis information.It turns out THC can help with one type of Hashimoto’s disease, but make another kind worse. Meanwhile, CBD may adversely affect those with the disease.
Best CBD Oil for Hashimoto’s Disease – November 2020
Can CBD Help With Hashimoto’s Disease ?
- Hashimoto’s disease , also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis , is an inflammation of the thyroid that causes the gland to stop producing hormones (1) . The condition is a common cause of hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid in the United States (2) .
- Levothyroxine , which works to replace lost hormones, is the first-line treatment for Hashimoto’s disease . However, excessive supplementation of this drug can cause adverse side effects (3) .
- Cannabidiol ( CBD )’s anti-inflammatory properties may help inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (4) and suppress immune activation in the body (5) .
- One study mentioned that the cannabis compound could control inflammatory response and expression via receptors in the endocannabinoid system (6) .
- However, studies on cannabidiol and thyroid disorders are lacking. Clinical trials on patients with Hashimoto’s disease are necessary to determine its efficacy in treating the condition.
Best CBD Oils for Hashimoto’s Disease
Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil
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Why People Are Turning to CBD for Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s disease , also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis , is an autoimmune condition where the thyroid gland fails to function correctly (7) . The disorder causes a person’s immune system to attack the thyroid ( autoimmunity ), damaging it to the point where it stops producing hormones.
The disease involves inflammation of the thyroid gland and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism ( underactive thyroid ) in the United States (8) .
In some cases of Hashimoto’s disease , the inflammation can cause the thyroid gland to be enlarged ( goiter ), causing neck discomfort. One way to diagnose the disease is through blood test results that measure thyroid-stimulating hormone ( TSH ).
Hashimoto’s disease occurs more often in women. However, it is seen at any age and may develop in men and children (9) .
The most common signs of Hashimoto’s disease include fatigue, constipation, joint pain , pale skin, puffy face, weight gain , dry skin , hair loss , and increased sensitivity to cold.
A person with the condition may not notice its symptoms at first, as the disease typically progresses slowly over the years (10) .
Researchers are unsure of what causes some individuals to develop thyroid problems , like Hashimoto’s disease .
The conventional treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is a dose of levothyroxine ( Synthroid ) (11) . This thyroid medication is a manufactured form of a specific hormone used to treat the deficiency caused by the condition.
However, taking an excessive amount of the drug can lead to harmful effects, such as irregular heartbeats and osteoporosis.
Meanwhile, cannabidiol ( CBD ) may offer an alternative solution to treating people with Hashimoto’s disease .
CBD is one of many compounds obtained from cannabis plants that do not cause mind-altering effects upon consumption. Researchers believe that cannabinoids, like CBD , have anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2010 review published by the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry found that daily cannabidiol intake inhibited disease progression in mice (12) .
The authors learned that the CBD -treated subjects showed decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines or molecules that cause inflammatory reactions.
Cytokines have been implicated in development of thyroid diseases , such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis .
Authors of a 2011 study learned that cytokines play an essential role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders of the thyroid. They also discovered that modulating cytokine responses may help treat autoimmune diseases (13) .
A study in 2020 mentioned that cannabinoids, like CBD , may suppress immune activation and production of inflammatory cytokines. This action suggests that the cannabis compound may have the potential to reduce excessive inflammation in the body (14) .
Another study revealed that cannabidiol is involved in controlling inflammatory response and expression through various bodily receptors. The authors of the study reported that CBD administration in an animal model could inhibit cytokine response (15) .
CBD has been shown to reduce substances that cause inflammation. It may be used as a therapeutic agent to alleviate the symptoms of thyroid disorders , like Hashimoto’s disease .
However, studies on cannabidiol and thyroid health conditions are lacking. No clinical trials exist to prove that CBD can effectively treat the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and other thyroid issues .
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Hashimoto’s Disease
A study published in 2017 mentioned that specific receptors in the human body could affect cytokine production (16) . The CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are primarily used by the endocannabinoid system (ECS), are said to modulate signaling that influences cytokines.
The ECS regulates various bodily functions, one of which is inflammation (17) . Researchers learned that CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are involved in managing inflammation-causing cytokines (18) .
Cannabidiol reportedly binds to these ECS structures, particularly with the CB2 receptor, which may explain its anti-inflammatory properties (19) .
Besides CB1 and CB2 receptor activation, the compound may also have other actions that may reduce inflammation.
Meanwhile, researchers of a 2015 study analyzed the endocannabinoid system ‘s role in thyroid tumors and found that its receptors are associated with tumor malignancy (20) .
They learned that CB1 and CB2 receptors influenced thyroid tumors and hypothesized that both could be targets for future therapies.
Another study also implicated the CB1 receptors of the ECS in the control of thyroid hormone output (21) .
Thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature by increasing the available energy in the body.
Since CBD is said to stimulate both CB1 and CB2 receptors, there is a possibility that the compound may be used to influence thyroid conditions through this action.
However, more clinical data on human subjects is needed to confirm CBD ‘s efficacy for thyroid disorders .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Hashimoto’s Disease
- Using CBD may help people with Hashimoto’s disease . Studies revealed that CBD might have anti-inflammatory properties, which the compound expresses through its interaction with receptors in the body.
- Unlike THC ( tetrahydrocannabinol ), the psychoactive compound of cannabis, CBD does not cause mind-altering effects upon consumption.
- Individuals can purchase and use CBD in most areas in the United States. In places where CBD is sold legally, users can buy CBD products even if they do not have a prescription from a doctor.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the potential health benefits of cannabis constituents, such as CBD (22) .
- The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that CBD is well-tolerated in humans, according to several controlled and open-label trials (23) . Subjects were reported to have not developed substance dependence with the use of CBD .
- There is a significant lack of human studies on CBD ‘s efficacy for Hashimoto’s disease , making it difficult to determine its effectiveness in treating the condition.
- Epidiolex, a drug used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, is the only CBD product approved by the FDA. The agency has not yet allowed any other CBD marketing application for the treatment of a specific disease or condition (24) .
- A review in 2017 assessed the safety and possible side effects of CBD use. Although it has a favorable safety profile, CBD can still cause interactions with other prescription medications that can lead to adverse reactions (25) .
- Many CBD products , particularly items sold online and in some physical dispensaries, are prone to mislabeling (26) . Users who buy CBD from these channels are at risk of consuming more or less of the compound than expected.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Hashimoto’s Disease
Multi-disciplinary diets may help improve the quality of life and thyroid function of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (27) .
According to a study that evaluated the various diets for the condition, consuming vegetables, fruits, and animal foods rich in zinc are recommended by experts (28) .
Eating vegetables several times a day is advised because they contain phytosterols, which are compounds present in plants that have shown anti-inflammatory activity.
However, raw cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, should only be eaten once a week as these can interfere with thyroid hormone production .
The consumption of fruits at least once a day is also suggested as these are abundant in polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (29) .
Eating animal-based foods that are high in zinc, such as meats and eggs, are recommended several times a week. According to a report, zinc deficiency could be linked to hypothyroid (30) .
Meanwhile, iodine supplements are not advised for patients with Hashimoto’s disease . People with abnormal thyroid glands risk exacerbating their condition if they take too much iodine (31) .
Cannabidiol is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that could contribute to alleviating thyroid disorder symptoms. CBD products are often promoted as an alternative to combat inflammation.
Meanwhile, CBD capsules containing zinc are sold by some brands. These CBD products are often advertised as useful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
How to Choose the Right CBD for Hashimoto’s Disease
There are currently three types of CBD sold today: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates.
The most popular of the three is the full-spectrum CBD . This variant contains all of the phytocannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa plants.
CBD oil labeled as full-spectrum has flavonoids, terpenes, THC , and other minerals. The ideal full-spectrum CBD oil has high amounts of cannabidiol while containing small amounts of other compounds.
Broad-spectrum CBD is the next type of cannabidiol product. This variant has the same compounds as that of full-spectrum except for the THC content.
Since THC is psychoactive and often associated with medical marijuana , some individuals prefer to buy broad-spectrum CBD because it does not have the psychoactive compound.
The third variety of CBD is called isolates. CBD isolates are usually sold in crystalline or powdered form.
People looking to purchase pure CBD often decide to get CBD isolates. CBD products containing only pure cannabidiol do not have a distinct smell or taste.
Whichever type of CBD a person chooses, it is vital to select the best quality product available to maximize its health benefits.
Follow these tips to choose only the best CBD oil for Hashimoto’s disease :
- Get a certificate of analysis (COA) or the laboratory report of the CBD product chosen. This document is essential since it indicates that the product has undergone proper testing and contains exactly the specifications mentioned on the label.
- Read product and shop reviews if purchasing from an online CBD store. If deciding to buy from a physical dispensary, check if the establishment has the proper authorization to sell cannabidiol products.
- Buy organic CBD obtained from hemp plants. Industrial hemp is the most dependable source for high-quality cannabidiol .
- Ensure that the legalities involving CBD are followed in the state where one plans to buy and use it.
- Talk to a health care expert, preferably someone experienced in using medical cannabis, before buying any CBD product .
CBD Dosage for Hashimoto’s Disease
The FDA has not approved a CBD product for treating patients with Hashimoto’s disease . Therefore, no official guidelines are available on the proper dosage of CBD for the condition.
However, some users believe that a few factors need to be considered in determining the right dose of CBD .
A person’s body weight and the amount of CBD content in each product are two of the most commonly cited factors.
How to Take CBD Oil for Hashimoto’s Disease
Taking CBD oil in the form of edibles or capsules is the most straightforward way of consuming CBD . For beginners, CBD gummies , brownies, and tablets are recommended.
CBD tinctures that allow users to apply CBD oil under the tongue is suitable for those who want to control the amount of CBD they take.
Meanwhile, CBD , in the form of topicals, like balms, creams, and salves, may be used in massage therapies for relaxation and well-being .
Other Types of Thyroid Disorders
The following are the other common disorders associated with inflammation of the thyroid.
People with hyperthyroidism experience an overactive thyroid wherein the gland produces hormones in excess.
Grave’s disease is a common cause of this disorder. Excessive thyroid hormone levels can lead to symptoms, such as nervousness, irritability, fast heart rate , muscle weakness , and weight loss .
Grave’s disease is another endocrine system disorder that happens when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland by mistake. As a result, a body part produces excess thyroid antibodies .
Patients with Grave’s disease often have enlarged thyroid glands , high blood pressure , and increased metabolism.
CBD has shown to be a potential therapeutic agent in reducing inflammation prevalent in Hashimoto’s disease .
Several studies have revealed that cannabidiol might suppress immune activation and the production of pro-inflammatory molecules.
Researchers believe that CBD activates certain cannabinoid receptors in the body to exert its anti-inflammatory effects. The CB2 receptor of the endocannabinoid system was especially mentioned.
Although CBD is said to have a favorable safety profile, there is a significant lack of clinical trials on CBD and its efficacy in treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis .
Users should consult a doctor, particularly one who is experienced in cannabis products, before purchasing any CBD product for their condition.Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an inflammation of the thyroid that causes the gland to stop producing hormones. ]]>