Cannabis’s effects on the endocannabinoid system and other biological systems and processes are still being investigated as we learn more about them. Researchers are currently looking into the herb’s potential connection to endocrine disorders. From the earliest stages of life until old age, the endocrine system is essential to human development in many ways. Learn more about the endocrine system, how cannabis affects it, and whether THC and CBD will one day help treat endocrine disorders by reading on.
Using cannabis in Chicago necessitates having a medical marijuana card. Obtaining a medical marijuana card in Chicago is a simple procedure; you can easily complete a straightforward form on our website, schedule a call with our marijuana doctors, and receive your card on the same day.
Hormone-producing glands and organs make up the endocrine system. Released into the systemic circulation, these regulatory substances are essentially a means of communication between tissues, allowing them to travel to different parts of the body. Endocrine signaling occurs between distant cells as opposed to paracrine signaling, which occurs when hormones act on adjacent cells.
For instance, consider the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. A neuroendocrine mechanism that mediates the effects of stress is determined by the interaction between these three glands. The stress hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands located above the kidneys, and the entire process begins with the release of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the hypothalamus, which is situated on the brain’s underside.
The glands are specialized organs that generate specific hormones. All things considered, a healthy endocrine system facilitates appropriate communication between the body’s various components, resulting in strong bones, sufficient energy, and a stable mood.
In human biology, the endocrine system is involved in many different aspects. Consider how important communication is to human relationships. Without it, miscommunications are common and things fall apart rapidly. The body is subject to this logic. Good communication keeps everything organized.
Maintaining homeostasis, a state of biological balance that keeps us alive and functioning, is the main objective of the endocrine system. Everyday stimuli throw off this equilibrium, and the endocrine system uses both positive and negative feedback loops to help bring things back into balance.
Because they reverse physiologic changes, negative feedback loops aid in the maintenance of homeostasis. For instance, the pancreatic beta cells release insulin, a hormone that tells muscle, liver, and fat cells to store glucose, in response to an increase in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels start to fall, a negative feedback loop is triggered in the pancreatic cells, causing them to release glucagon instead of insulin and facilitating the return to homeostasis.
The development of clots is an illustration of a positive feedback loop. Injured blood vessel walls after a skin wound cause a feedback loop that speeds up clotting until the clot gets big enough to stop bleeding.
There are numerous other instances where the endocrine system continuously restores equilibrium to the body, such as in the control of body temperature, appetite, lactation, ovulation, and even childbirth.
It is obvious that preserving health and normal bodily functions depend heavily on the endocrine system. However, what transpires if problems emerge and this signaling network is interfered with? Adverse events may result in endocrine disorders. The imbalance that results from a gland producing an excessive or insufficient amount of a particular hormone can interfere with the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis through negative and positive feedback loops.
Hormone levels can be affected by a variety of conditions, including:
Gland tumors or lesions
Inability of a gland to generate enough hormones to trigger another in the chain reaction.
There are numerous varieties of endocrine disorders, and each has a unique set of symptoms. Among the most popular ones are the ones listed below:
When does cannabis come into play? Knowing anything about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) will allow you to understand the wide range of effects that cannabis constituents can have on the body. In fact, the thyroid, pituitary, and hypothalamus are among the endocrine organs that have receptor sites for the ECS
The endocrinological system and the nervous system both aim to preserve homeostasis. It helps control the production of neurotransmitters, appetite, mood, and bone mass, among other things. Notably, the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids affect the ECS indirectly by modifying our own endocannabinoid levels or by directly binding to its receptors.
However, how might cannabis prevent endocrine system problems? We are not certain, and we most likely won’t be for a while. Clinical trials that are strictly regulated are necessary to develop an understanding based on evidence. Ongoing research, however, is examining how THC and CBD in particular might address the symptoms of these illnesses.
It’s likely that you are aware of THC. This molecule, which is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the majority of contemporary cultivars, is responsible for the euphoric and intoxicating effects of cannabis. While some users find the experience of getting high to be unpleasant, others find that THC enhances their quality of life and they truly enjoy the high.
Research, for example, is looking into how THC stimulates appetite, which is a characteristic that may help prevent the loss of appetite that comes with some endocrine disorders, like thyroid disorders. For patients with approved conditions, cannabis-based medications like Marinol, which mimics the effects of THC, are currently used to increase appetite.
Researchers are also looking into the potential mood-enhancing effects of THC. We are aware that the chemical short-term elevates dopamine levels in the brain, leading to feelings of bliss and calmness. Long-term use, though, might cause this effect to become blunted. Therefore, more research is required to evaluate the relationship between cannabis use and mood in endocrine disorder patients.
And what about the pain and cramping that accompany certain endocrine disorders? Researchers studying cannabis are looking into how THC affects pain signaling pathways. Subsequent research in this field will determine whether the cannabinoid can help patients feel less physically uncomfortable.
Compared to THC, CBD, or cannabidiol, has a different range of effects. CBD functions differently from THC, which binds directly to the major endocannabinoid system receptors. Despite having a low binding affinity for these sites, it is able to momentarily increase anandamide levels, an endocannabinoid. Anandamide has effects that are similar to those of THC, albeit far less euphoric, because it binds to the same sites. Anandamide, sometimes referred to as the “bliss molecule”, is the subject of research into how it affects mood and mental health.
Additionally, transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a putative “expanded ECS” cannabinoid receptor, binds directly to CBD. Studies are currently being conducted to determine whether CBD could lessen pain through this mechanism, which is involved in pain detection.
Research is also evaluating the impact of CBD on anxiety, a condition that afflicts people with endocrine abnormalities like hyperthyroidism. Researchers have used human subjects with generalized anxiety to test the cannabinoid thus far. Hopefully, more thorough clinical trials will clarify the way in which the cannabinoid affects the symptom in people with endocrine disorders.
How will cannabis be used to treat endocrine disorders in the future? Possibly. Right now, it’s too soon to say. Research is ongoing to determine whether cannabis may address the underlying causes of some disorders as well as the degree to which its constituents can help treat their symptoms.
But obstacles will inevitably arise along the route. Cannabis may have advantages, but under certain conditions, data indicate that the herb may also cause endocrine system disruptions. The current challenge facing researchers is to figure out how to use cannabis to improve endocrine system function without jeopardizing the delicate chemical cascade balance.
If you choose to use cannabis as a remedy for endocrine disorders, obtaining a medical marijuana card in Chicago is crucial to ensure legal consumption and avoid potential legal issues. Obtain your medical marijuana card today by following our three-step process on our website, and receive your MMJ card from the comfort of your home.