The endocrine system in our bodies can have a large effect on many things. By using signals such as hormones, it regulates many of our bodily functions. This means that if anything goes wrong with it, even something minor, it can cause a variety of negative symptoms. The good news is that since Cannabis and CBD directly affect the endocrine system, they may be able to play a key role in alleviating endocrine disorders.
Overview of the Endocrine System
Specifically, the endocrine system is a regulatory communication system within our bodies. It allows tissues and organs to share information with one another, and regularly releases hormones into our systems to do this. Regulating stress, building healthy bones, and leveling out one’s mood are just a few of the roles the endocrine system plays.
Functions of the Endocrine System
The endocrine system is divided up into a number of glands. Let’s go over each, and what they do specifically to regulate your body.
This gland is located at the base of the brain just behind the nose. Throughout history it has been called the “master gland,” because it also controls many other endocrine glands as well. Some of the processes the pituitary gland is involved with are reproduction, sexual maturation, and metabolism.
The thyroid is a well known endocrine gland that is located in the neck. It has a strong influence on metabolic health, and directly affects heart function, metabolic rate, bone health, and even brain development.
A lot of mysticism has surrounded the pineal gland throughout history. Some have called it the “seat of the soul” while others call it the “third eye.” In truth, the pineal gland, which is located deep within the brain, helps to regulate bio rhythms using melatonin and serotonin. This allows it to influence sleep cycles, heart rate, and may even plays a part in regulating moods.
The adrenal glands are found on top of the kidneys, and are responsible for helping the body to handle stress. That isn’t all however, they also help the body to process macro nutrients such as fats, proteins, and carbs. It also helps to suppress inflammation, affects bone formation, and works with the cycadean rhythm as well.
Disorders of the Endocrine System
Like any other bodily system, the endocrine system may not function as it is supposed to at time. This can be caused by injury or illness, but the fact remains that disruptions to the endocrine system can have many negative affects on the body. In fact, having too much or too little of a specific hormone can cause positive and negative feedback loops that damage the body.
Here are a few known endocrine disorders, and their symptoms:
Diabetes Mellitus – Increased hunger and thirst, muscle craps, frequent urination, and chronic fatigue.
Hypothyroidism – Weight gain, slower movement and thought processes, chronic fatigue, and brittle hair/nails.
Hyperthyroidism – Sleep problems, mood problems, anxiety, and nervousness.
Adrenal Insufficiency – Weight loss, muscle weakness, abdominal pain.
How Cannabinoids Affect the Endocrine System
The endocrine system works closely with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS as it is known. The ECS has receptors on the endocrine organs, allowing it to help maintain homeostasis of the body. Cannabinoids from cannabis plants bind to these receptors and help to stabilize and regulate the body’s functions such as mood, sleep cycles, and inflammation.
Can Cannabis Treat Endocrine Disorders?
Cannabis has a direct effect on the ECS, which in turn affects the endocrine system. In many cases this is a positive thing as cannabinoids help to maintain homeostasis. However, in other cases it may cause disruptions.
Studies are on going, and scientists are trying to find ways to ensure that cannabinoids are able to be used in a way that always produces a positive result. This will be a big step in the direction of using cannabinoids to treat endocrine disorders.