Cannabinoids primarily affect the body through the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for regulating other body systems and it’s where the endocannabinoid receptors are located. The cannabinoid receptors’ presence in the endocrine system means that cannabinoids may have a therapeutic potential when it comes to treating endocrine disorders.
The Endocrine System
The endocrine system consists of glands that release hormones in the body. These hormones signal molecules that are transported by the circulatory system and are capable of regulating the behavior and psychology of people.
The endocrine system’s main components are the hypothalamus, thymus, parathyroid, thyroid, pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, pancreas, adrenals, and tests or ovaries. Furthermore, the hormones that are responsible for releasing these glands are the testosterone, melatonin, insulin, glucagon, and the Luteinizing hormone. These hormones help regulate certain processes in the body including fight or flight responses, sleep, growth, and energy storage.
Endocrine System Disorders
The endocrine disorder could take place if one or more of the endocrine glands’ function has been compromised, which could disrupt the system’s balance. If a certain gland produces too much or too little of a particular hormone, then an endocrine disease could manifest. These diseases could also arise if nodules, lesions, or tumors form within the endocrine gland and affect its functionality.
Diabetes is one of the most common types of endocrine disorders. It’s a condition that happens when the pancreas isn’t able to produce enough insulin. Another common type of endocrine disorder is the adrenal insufficiency. This happens when the adrenal glands only release a very small amount of aldosterone and cortisol, which could possibly lead to fatigue. Some other types of disorders concerning the endocrine are gigantism, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome, and hypopituitarism.
Cannabinoids and the Endocrine System
The cannabinoids have been shown to have the potential to regulate the endocrine system and treat certain cases of endocrine disorders. These compounds are said to be helpful in treating several endocrine disorders that are triggered due to the presence of tumors in the particular endocrine glands. In one particular study, it states that the endocannabinoids are capable of inhibiting cell growth, including the invasion and metastasis of breast, thyroid, and prostate tumors. Since cannabinoids like THC are also capable of activating some receptors because of the similarity to the endocannabinoid receptors in terms of molecular structure, they might be able to produce similar effects.
Another research has also shown that the cannabinoid receptors on the nerves are involved in regulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, a region that controls the hormone production through the thyroid gland and suggests that both cannabinoids may have influence over the production of hormones.
Cannabinoids like CBD may also help treat the symptoms of endocrine disorders. CBD is a type of non-psychoactive cannabinoid which exhibits various medicinal applications. Some of the most common side effects of endocrine disorders are insomnia and anxiety. CBD has been shown to ease the feeling of anxiety. Furthermore, it may also help to improve sleep patterns by preventing anxiety that could improve REM sleep.