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Guide: CBD Effects on Hormones

Guide: CBD Effects on Hormones

Imbalanced hormones can lead to sleepiness, irritability, inexplicably rough skin and numbness in the extremities, alongside spiked cholesterol levels and sudden weight fluctuations. Lopsided hormone levels can arise in a variety of ways, which is why keeping them in check is critical to managing your health and wellness.

Fortunately, CBD can help to regulate and balance our body’s everyday functions.

When CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated and initiate processes, they can affect a range of endocrine glands and, in turn, your hormone levels. 

More specifically, CBD may influence your cortisol levels, which impact your body’s stress responses. It may also impact your melatonin levels to support restful sleep and your insulin levels to regulate blood sugar levels. But how exactly does CBD affect hormones and how do cannabinoids and hormones harmonize? In this guide, we’re deep diving into our body’s endocrine and endocannabinoid systems to understand CBD effects on hormones. 

CBD and Your Hormones: What You Need to Know

How does CBD balance hormones? To answer that question, we must first understand the two subjects under discussion: CBD and hormones. They’re both complicated topics, so let’s start by disentangling them from one another and looking at each one separately.

What Are Hormones? 

Hormones are regulatory substances that relay important messages through the bloodstream. They communicate these messages to cells that act as building blocks for various parts of the body, including: 

  • Skin
  • Muscles
  • Tissues
  • Organs

Within the endocrine system, glands produce hormones. The hormones then disseminate throughout the body to help regulate the functions of various organs and cells. That said, there are several organs and glands that produce hormones, including:

  • Adrenal glands – These small glands are attached to both kidneys. They’re shaped like triangles and are responsible for producing important hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and aldosterone. 
  • Hypothalamus – This gland is actually a small region at the front of your brain. It performs an array of functions and creates dopamine, oxytocin and somatostatin, among other hormones.
  • Pancreas – This pear-shaped organ is located at the back of the abdomen. It’s an important part of the human digestive system as well as the endocrine system. One of its most important jobs is producing insulin, a hormone that helps blood cells absorb sugar and convert it into energy. 
  • Pituitary gland – A tiny gland located between the back of the nose bridge and the bottom of the hypothalamus, the pituitary makes six hormones, including adrenocorticotropic and prolactin. It’s also responsible for storing and releasing oxytocin from the hypothalamus. 
  • Thyroid – This neck gland regulates the body’s metabolic functions. It also releases thyroid hormones like calcitonin, thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones. 

Once it is produced and released, each hormone goes on a mission to find a specific cell. Although they move pretty freely through the bloodstream, unrestrained by vessel and capillary walls, a given hormone is only capable of relaying its message to a cell if that cell is equipped with a special cannabinoid receptor and is able to receive the message.

When a hormone does find its cellular mate, it transmits its message, and the tissue or organ gets to work. 

Among the more than 50 hormones that scientists have so far identified are:

  • Cortisol
  • Estrogen
  • Insulin
  • Melatonin
  • Serotonin
  • Testosterone

Hormones are very powerful and a healthy body is highly efficient at producing them at appropriate levels. That said, even small changes to your hormone levels can greatly impact how your body functions.

What Is CBD?

CBD refers to cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the marijuana hemp plant. 

Cannabidiol is just one of many chemical compounds that marijuana plants produce. Among the most well-known examples is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical responsible for the inebriation or “high” associated with marijuana. It’s important to note that CBD is distinct from THC and does not have THC’s psychoactive effects. 

That said, CBD does affect the body, even if it doesn’t get you high like THC. And although more research is needed before we can fully understand the relationship between CBD and the body, what we know so far offers some compelling insight into how potential CBD effects on hormones could manifest.

This is where things get a little scientific. 

Earlier, we mentioned the endocrine system, which regulates many important body functions. But the endocrine system is just one of many systems that keep the human body going. 

Another critical body system is the endocannabinoid system. 

The endocannabinoid system refers to a range of chemical signals that course through the human body and the various receptors that are in place to interpret those signals:

  • These receptors are numerous and located throughout the body and the brain. 
  • The body communicates with these receptors by producing special endocannabinoid molecules that, incidentally, bear a very close resemblance to cannabinoid molecules like CBD that are present in hemp plants.

There are numerous endocannabinoid receptors in the body. But of particular importance to the discussion are two particular receptors called:

  • CB1 – These receptors are among the most prominent receptors in the human brain. In fact, they are responsible for regulating an array of other receptors that control things like body temperature, mental function and appetite.
  • CB2 – These receptors are mostly found in white blood cells. They are membrane proteins that are crucial to regulating the immune system, inflammatory responses and metabolism.

The molecules in CBD products like CBD oil products work in much the same way as the similarly structured endocannabinoid molecules that the body naturally produces. As such, cannabinoids can interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors to send messages and initiate responses that trigger physiological processes in the body—including hormone production.

Everything in the body is connected. When CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated and initiate processes, they can affect a range of endocrine glands and, in turn, your hormone levels. 

How CBD Can Affect Your Hormones 

It’s important to reiterate that the body produces at least 50 known hormones, and the cannabinoids in CBD products are likely to interact with each of them in a unique way — or not at all. 

That said, CBD is believed to influence three hormones in particular — cortisol, insulin and melatonin. 

CBD Hormone Balance and Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormonal steroid that is produced in the adrenal glands that are attached to the kidneys. Most people know it as the hormone primarily responsible for regulating the body’s response to stress. But this stress hormone also plays a significant role in regulating several other processes, such as:

  • Blood sugar 
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism
  • Sleep 

CBD is believed to be anti-catabolic, meaning it has properties that could help curb the rate at which the adrenal glands release cortisol to other parts of the body, suggesting a direct link between CBD and your body’s cortisol level.

CBD Hormone Balance and Insulin 

The human body produces the insulin hormone in the pancreas and uses it to create energy from food and keep blood sugar balanced.

Insulin is one of the most critical hormones in the body. An imbalance in the production and release of insulin can compromise heart health, weight and blood sugar levels, among other risks. 

But how are CBD effects on hormones related to insulin? 

One of the most well-known attributes of CBD is its potential anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s immune response that’s triggered whenever a threat is perceived. However, this response can sometimes go haywire. 

When that happens, inflammation levels can rise and create a health risk.

One such risk is sustained inflammation of the cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. When those cells become inflamed, their ability to produce the hormone at a sufficient level may become impaired. This can lead to:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic dysfunction
  • Weight gain

As such, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help to regulate insulin levels in the body and support pancreatic health. 

CBD Hormone Balance and Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain and is directly related to sleep. The brain times the production and release of melatonin according to your circadian rhythm, producing less of it during the day and more of it at night. 

So, what’s the relationship between CBD and melatonin, and does CBD balance hormones that regulate your sleep cycle?

It’s difficult to say for sure. But we do know that the endocannabinoid system is connected to body processes that control sleep patterns. We also know that the molecules in CBD activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. In fact, there is research to suggest that activity in the endocannabinoid system affects:

  • Melatonin production
  • Quality of sleep
  • Ability to fall asleep 

In other words, it’s possible that taking the proper CBD oil dosage or other supplements could increase your melatonin levels — and even help you sleep better at night. 

How To Tell If Your Hormones Are Imbalanced

Although the body has a pretty good system in place for producing, releasing and distributing necessary hormones, imbalances are possible. A hormonal imbalance is when your body produces too much or not enough of a given hormone.

The human body produces more than 50 distinct hormones, any of which can become imbalanced. In some cases, imbalances occur for a short time before going away on their own. In other cases, however, imbalances can be long-lasting and require medical intervention. 

There are many factors that can cause hormone imbalances. Hormone production can be affected by things like:

  • Life phases – Puberty, menopause and pregnancy can all directly affect on the production of various hormones, including LH, FSH and progesterone.
  • Stress – A tense moment or period of sustained stress can lead to temporary or prolonged hormone imbalances. For example, sustained stress can lead to heightened cortisol production, resulting in raised blood sugar levels.
  • Medications – Certain medications and steroids can also affect your hormone levels, particularly cortisol.

Your hormones can also become imbalanced by other growths, as well as a compromised endocrine system. 

What Are The Symptoms of a Hormone Imbalance?

The symptoms of a hormone imbalance can vary depending on which hormones are affected. For example, an imbalance of hormones that regulate metabolic functions, like insulin, testosterone, or estrogen, may have distinct or overlapping symptoms with imbalanced estrogen levels, testosterone production, or other sex hormones. 

That said, the most general signs of a hormone imbalance include: 

  • Facial blemishes
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Fertility issues
  • Hair loss, including body hair
  • Mood swings
  • Skin conditions
  • Stomach issues like constipation or diarrhea 
  • Unexpected weight gain or loss

If you’re worried about your hormone levels, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your medical provider. 

Balance Your Health With Zebra CBD

More and more people are turning to CBD products to improve their health, boost their wellness and live fuller, happier lives. Whether you’re interested in microdosing CBD oil or looking for CBD for menopause to potentially help with hormones, you can find the right CBD product with us. 

At Zebra CBD, we know that ensuring all of your hormones are well-balanced is central to that feeling of total well-being. That’s why our lines of premium CBD oils, tablets and topicals are subjected to rigorous and repeated testing before they go on sale, guaranteeing the perfect CBD solution for your personal needs. 

Discover a healthier you. Shop Zebra CBD today!

Sources: 

Cleveland Clinic. Hormones. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22464-hormones

Cleveland Clinic. Endocrine System. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21201-endocrine-system

Britannica. Human Endocrine System and Hormones Examined. https://www.britannica.com/video/72950/Hormones-glands-endocrine-system-target-cells-bloodstream

Harvard Health. The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569

Methods in Enzymology. Cannabinoids and Their Receptors. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/cannabinoid-receptor-type-2

Cleveland Clinic. Cortisol.  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22187-cortisol

CBD Oil Review. Does CBD Oil Affect Your Hormones? https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-oil-and-hormones/

Cleveland Clinic. Insulin. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22601-insulin

Harvard Health. Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t know. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476

Mayo Clinic. Melatonin. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-melatonin/art-20363071

Net Doctor. CBD oil and hormonal imbalance: can cannabidiol help restore hormonal imbalance? https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/a30907980/cbd-oil-hormones/