Don’t blame hormones – they’re just the messengers.
Hormones are the chemical messengers produced by endocrine system glands that control a wide array of body processes, from metabolism, to sleep, to sex drive. Because the endocrine system is linked to the endocannabinoid system, CBD has been shown to influence cortisol, melatonin, and other hormones that are critical to how we feel.
“Your endocannabinoid system actually controls and manages your whole entire endocrine system,” says naturopathic physician Melissa Gallagher. “And the activity in those glands is very receptive to the cannabinoids you get through CBD.”
Gland to meet you!
The endocrine system is made up of the pituitary gland, thyroid and parathyroid glands, pancreas, adrenal glands, and ovaries or testes, all of which produce hormones. Those chemical compounds communicate with organs and tissues regulating appetite, energy, mood, heart rate, growth, and other vital body functions.
You may have heard of melatonin, for example, and its connection to sleep. Melatonin is in fact a natural hormone, produced by the pineal gland to regulate sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms.
How can CBD help?
“CBD stimulates your endocannabinoid system, which impacts your hormone levels in a positive way,” Gallagher says. “It balances things out. That balance activates different receptors in your brain and in your body specifically impacting all those endocrine glands.”
Here’s a look at how CBD can influence some of our most essential hormones:
Cortisol: Known as “the stress hormone” because it plays a central role in the fight-or-flight response, cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands to modulate body functions including metabolism, blood pressure and blood-sugar levels. Too much stress results in too much cortisol, which can lead to health conditions such as anxiety, depression, heart disease and weight gain. “Cortisol kicks off your hormone imbalance,” Gallagher says. Clinical research has shown CBD may lower cortisol levels and interfere with its secretion.
Estrogen: More accurately estrogens, they’re a group of hormones essential to female reproductive and menstrual cycles. The cannabinoids in CBD appear to influence estrogen, which may have broad implications for fertility and menopause treatments.
The Hunger Hormones: Leptin and Ghrelin don’t just sound like hungry trolls – they’re called “the hunger hormones” because they regulate food intake: ghrelin stimulates appetite and leptin decreases it. Leptin has a direct effect on insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that controls blood-sugar levels. Research has concluded that the endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in modulating leptin and ghrelin, and CBD may act on the receptors responsible.
Melatonin: You already know it’s the sleep hormone, and how exactly it interacts with CBD isn’t yet clear. But some initial research shows that the receptors responsible for regulating sleep stability may respond to CBD.
Serotonin: Though technically a neurotransmitter, serotonin acts as a hormone outside the brain and has enormous impact on your anxiety levels, mood, and sense of well-being. Researchers in London and San Paulo who reviewed a broad range of CBD research concluded that CBD “demonstrated a good interaction” with serotonin receptors, among other findings in support of its potential to help with anxiety.
Eaze Wellness acknowledges that research on CBD and the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system are rapidly evolving and the range of possible findings remains wide. Eaze Wellness makes no claims that CBD products are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and recommends all individuals consult with their health care professionals prior to using CBD.