CBD for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - Can it help?
CBD for Hashimoto's thyroiditis
CBD or cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating, naturally occurring compound in the cannabis Sativa plant. The many therapeutic benefits of CBD have made it a popular ingredient in the medicinal and wellness world.
It seems like everyday we are learning about another therapeutic benefit of CBD. There is so much promising research being done on the benefits this cannabinoid holds. But can CBD help people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also called Hashimoto's disease) is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the neck below the Adam's apple and produces two hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones control metabolism and affect every cell in the body. They create energy from food and help regulate heart rate, weight, bone density, cholesterol levels, menstrual cycles, and fertility.
The inflammation of the thyroid gland from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of an underactive thyroid gland (this is called hypothyroidism). This leads the thyroid gland to not produce enough thyroxine, which in turn slows down the metabolism.
What causes Hashimoto’s disease?
Autoimmune diseases happen when the body's immune system starts to attack healthy cells as if they were invaders. Doctors don't know the root cause of the immune system attacking the thyroid gland. Some think a virus or bacterium might be to blame, while others believe it may be due to some genetic flaw.
Factors like heredity, age, and sex may be key factors in determining the likelihood you will develop the disorder. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also more likely to occur if you have another autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or type 1 diabetes.
Signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s
The signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis might not be easy to detect at first. Typically, the disease progresses slowly over the years. As previously mentioned, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis’ leads to an underactive thyroid gland. So, the signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s are those of hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Feeling sluggish and fatigued
- Being more sensitive to the cold
- Hair loss
- Face puffiness
- Pale and dry skin
- Gaining unexplained weight
- Achy and stiff muscles
- Weakened muscles
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Heavy and prolonged menstrual flow
You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms.
How is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosed?
Hashimoto's disease is diagnosed based on the patient's signs and symptoms and the results of blood tests that check for levels of thyroid hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland (hypophysis) is a small endocrine gland at the front of the brain near or around the hypothalamus. It produces several hormones that control other glands and organ systems.
The tests conducted to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may include:
- A hormone test: This is a blood test that determines the level of hormones produced by the thyroid and pituitary gland. In case the amount of the thyroid hormone results to be low, this means that your thyroid is underactive. At the same time, an elevated level of the thyroid-stimulating hormone shows that the pituitary gland is working harder to stimulate the production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland.
- An antibody test: Since Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder, it leads to the production of abnormal antibodies. A blood test may confirm the presence of antibodies against thyroid peroxidase, an important enzyme in the production of thyroid hormones found in the thyroid gland. While it's not a "sure thing," a positive TPO antibody test, coupled with the hormone test, will most likely indicate hypothyroidism.
When left untreated, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to a number of other health complications, such as:
If untreated, Hashimoto’s can lead to a condition called Goiter, a swelling in the front of your neck that makes it difficult to swallow and breathe.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also associated with an increased risk of heart problems. When the thyroid gland is not working properly, it sometimes causes high levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) that can lead to heart disease. With time, hypothyroidism may lead to an enlarged heart and even heart failure.
Mental health issues
Experiencing mental health issues such as depression is common for people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Depression may start in the early phases of the disease and become more severe as the time left untreated goes by. Moreover, Hashimoto’s can also cause a libido (sexual desire) decrease as well as slowed mental capacity.
Myxedema is a rare and life-threatening condition that can come from untreated hypothyroidism. Its symptoms can be drowsiness and extreme tiredness, which may prompt unconsciousness. A myxedema coma can also occur when the body's cold-fighting mechanisms take time to kick in. The coma can be triggered by exposure to cold, sedatives, infection or other stresses on the body. The condition requires urgent medical treatment.
If a pregnant woman has hypothyroidism and is not treated, their baby may be at higher risk of birth defects. These children are more prone to experience intellectual and developmental problems. Women with Hashimoto’s also have an increased chance of having a child with heart, brain and kidney problems. So, make sure to get your thyroid hormone level checked if you're planning to get pregnant.
Can you take CBD for Hashimoto’s?
Now let’s jump into what you’re really curious about. CBD and Hashimoto’s disease.
Treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis aims to control symptoms with medications and dietary changes. There are no known cures for Hashimoto's thyroiditis at this time.
CBD may be a great option to consider for possibly treating some of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. CBD has been shown to potentially offer relief from some of the symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
CBD for pain relief
Muscle and joint pain are two of the most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Research has shown that CBD exerts analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects which regulate the perception of pain. In addition, a recent study from the University of Syracuse found that CBD may help you manage acute pain by activating pathways in the brain that make it feel less unpleasant.
CBD for mental health
CBD’s sedative effect is one of the most commonly cited therapeutic benefits of CBD. For this reason, CBD is often used to potentially manage the symptoms of a wide range of mental health issues, from anxiety to depression.
Specifically, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis happen to experience signs of depression. CBD may potentially help relieve those symptoms. Most antidepressants work by increasing the level of serotonin, the main mood stabilizer hormone. CBD on the other hand produces anti-depressant effects by affecting how the brain responds to the serotonin present in the body.
A 2019 study also found that CBD may potentially have some advantages compared to traditional antidepressant medications. Modern antidepressants take time to exert their therapeutic effects and have several side effects like mood swings, insomnia, and agitation. In comparison, CBD shows a faster and sustained antidepressant effect. In addition, CBD may result in fewer side effects.
That is not to say that CBD is a replacement for traditional antidepressants. If you currently use prescription antidepressant medication, talk with your healthcare provider on how you can safely introduce CBD to your regimen.
CBD for dry skin
A 2014 study found that CBD acts as an effective sebostatic agent, meaning it regulates the production of sebum in the skin. As a sebostatic agent, CBD can stimulate sebum production. To put this into simple terms, CBD may help to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.
When your thyroid slows down thanks to diseases like Hashimoto’s, it can affect many processes in your body. One of these changes is a decrease in the maintenance of oils on your skin, which can lead to dryness. CBD may help combat this symptom.
CBD for the immune system
While the effects of CBD on the immune system are not fully understood, research has shown that CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is an important part of our body’s natural defense system. This system helps the cells communicate with each other and regulate many bodily functions, including inflammation responses, moods, sleep patterns, appetite regulation and more.
Studies have found that CBD may act as an immunosuppressant. And immunosuppressive drugs are often used as a treatment for autoimmune diseases. Even though there isn’t specific research on the immunosuppressive effects of CBD on patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, CBD may potentially provide relief for patients with this autoimmune disease by helping balance the body’s ECS.
Hopefully as more research is done, we’ll have a better understanding of how people can use CBD for Hashimoto’s disease.
CBD side effects
CBD is considered to be safe and its side effects are typically mild. That’s why many people prefer it as a natural and alternative form of treatment.
The most commonly reported side effects of CBD are:
- Changes of appetite and/or weight
CBD may also interact with certain medications, such as:
- Certain over the counter drugs
- Dietary supplements
- Prescription medications
That’s why you should consult with a doctor prior to introducing CBD to your daily routine.
Moreover, like many other drugs and supplements, CBD may also pose the risk of developing liver toxicity. One study conducted on mice found that at high dosage CBD usage increases the risk of liver toxicity. However, it must be noted that the mice in the study were fed very large amount of high CBD-rich extracts. That’s why it’s important you take CBD according to the recommended dosage and frequency.
In addition, to avoid the negative side effects of CBD, you should only buy from brands selling high-quality CBD products that are third-party laboratory tested.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that is not easy to detect and may cause many health problems for patients if left untreated. While there is no cure for Hashimoto’s, CBD may be able to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with it. Nevertheless, you should talk to your doctor before introducing CBD to your medical treatment plan and always buy from trusted, high-quality brands.
The use of quality CBD products may lead to improved overall wellness. Wellness Medicinal prides itself on producing high quality, eco-friendly CBD products. We invite you to check our range of CBD products that includes CBD tinctures, salves, and face creams that aim to improve your everyday life.