If you’ve used cannabis for any length of time (or perhaps you’re just beginning your research), you’ve no doubt heard of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s the system within your body that regulates and balances numerous other internal systems and processes. While your body produces natural endocannabinoids to help restore balance when necessary, cannabinoids like THC and CBN bind to the receptors within your ECS to unlock various effects, too.
We need more research on the topic, but we do know that cannabinoids may help restore your internal homeostasis. They can do things such as alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and regulate mood. We also know that they can play a role in the function of your hormones. Let’s take a closer look.
How Does Cannabis Affect Estrogen?
We don’t know a whole lot about how cannabis affects estrogen, but research has discovered a few things. First, limited science shows that higher levels of THC can promote anti-estrogen activity. However, lower levels may restore balance back to the hormones. Additionally, research indicates that women’s bodies may absorb THC and other cannabinoids differently depending on the level of estrogen present. The hormone may also result in a faster tolerance to THC in women than in men.
How Does Cannabis Affect Testosterone?
Research says different things about how cannabis affects male hormones (testosterone in particular). Some evidence shows that THC may block the production of a hormone (GnRH) in the body that triggers the production of other hormones. The result is a decrease in testosterone production. Another study found that cannabis, along with other drugs, could lead to lower sperm count. At the same time, it may increase testosterone production.
Does Cannabis Affect Fertility?
Limited research shows that THC may lower fertility in both men and women. In addition to potentially decreasing testosterone and sperm count, the cannabinoid may also reduce sperm motility. In women, it can disrupt the menstrual cycles. THC slows the maturation of follicles. It can also result in excess cannabinoids in the system during ovulation. Even so, research has found that a combination of THC and CBD may help with premenstrual cramps, pain, and migraines.
How Does Cannabis Interact with Thyroid Hormones?
Some research shows that THC may interact with your thyroid, inhibiting TSH. Low levels of TSH can trigger fatigue, reduced libido, depression, and cold intolerance. However, the reduction in TSH levels isn’t always bad. It may help those dealing with insomnia. A combination of THC and CBD at the right dosage may also help avoid the potential negative effects.
How Does Cannabis Affect the HPA Axis?
The HPA axis is responsible for cortisol production. Cortisol helps to regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, and blood pressure. However, high levels of the hormone can impact the negative feedback loops that keep your body from making too much of it, which can be a problem for those with anxiety disorders. On the other hand, too much THC may increase cortisol production. A combination of THC and CBD or microdosing cannabis may be most beneficial for managing cortisol and treating conditions like anxiety and PTSD.
So, Does Cannabis Affect Your Hormones?
While it appears that cannabis does affect your hormones, limited research doesn’t give us much conclusive evidence. However, it appears as though using a combination of cannabinoids may be more effective and beneficial than using only one cannabinoid.
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