When you think of hormones, you probably think about reproductive hormones like oestrogen and testosterone. However, hormones are involved in lots of different processes in our body. They are necessary for managing sleep, mood, appetite and countless other things. Hormonal imbalance can cause mood disorders and conditions like diabetes. CBD might be able to help regulate your hormones.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid that is made from cannabis plants. You can buy many different types of CBD products such as oils, creams or powders. CBD is fully legal in the UK. It does not have any psychoactive properties because these come from another cannabinoid, THC, which is illegal in the UK
CBD and the Endocrine System
The endocrine system is the system of glands that control the release of hormones within our bodies. These glands include the thyroid, pancreas, pineal gland and others. Hormones are chemical messengers in our body and a deficiency or surplus of them can affect many processes in our body.
CBD interacts with our bodies through a system called the endocannabinoid system. This system is linked with the endocrine system and therefore related to managing hormone levels in our body. The endocannabinoid system activates the receptors in the brain and body which control our hormonal glands. Because CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it is therefore able to affect hormone levels.
CBD and Cortisol
Cortisol is one of the most important hormones in our bodies. It affects how we feel stress and is responsible for the feeling of “fight of flight”. It is also involved in memory and managing our metabolism. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland. High levels of cortisol can be problematic as they may cause mood swings, weight gain and anxiety. CBD has been found to decrease the level of cortisol. In a study, scientists found that levels of growth hormone stayed the same after taking CBD, but cortisol decreased. This was quite a small study so further research is required.
CBD and Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone that is closely linked to sleep and energy levels. It’s produced in the pineal gland and increases at night to help us get to sleep. Many people struggle with sleeping and insomnia can be harmful to long-term health. CBD itself doesn’t have any sedative properties but there is some evidence to suggest it can help increase the production of melatonin by stimulating the pineal gland. There is also evidence that CBD can help with sleep cycles as this study showed. In the animals tested, they slept for longer at night and were better at staying awake during the day when they were given CBD.
CBD and Reproductive Hormones
There is mixed evidence about CBD and reproductive hormones. Most of the studies to do with fertility and female hormones have measured the impact of cannabis rather than CBD. Cannabis is very different because it contains lots of other different cannabinoids, including THC. There is some evidence to suggest that if you are trying to get pregnant then it might be best to take smaller amounts of CBD. A study in the Journal of Ovarian Research found that high levels of cannabinoids led to reduced testosterone levels and sperm count in men and reduced ovulation and disrupted periods in women. However, this study was using cannabis as the source of cannabinoids, not CBD.
For people who are experiencing menopause, CBD may be able to help. CBD can improve insomnia and mood swings. After menopause, a lack of oestrogen can cause osteoporosis (bone density loss). In animal studies, CBD has been shown to slow down the loss of bone density.
CBD and Insulin
Insulin is a very important hormone in our body that enables the absorption of nutrients and sugar from our food. Problems with levels of insulin can lead to diabetes which requires medical intervention. There is some evidence that CBD may be able to help prevent diabetes and lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes,. It’s important to speak with your doctor before taking CBD if you have diabetes.
Summary: CBD and Hormones
There are many different hormones in our bodies and each one plays an important role. The close relationship between the endocrine system and the endocannabinoid system means that CBD may be able to affect the production of hormones. Cortisol and melatonin are two very important hormones that directly impact how we feel so making sure they’re at their optimum levels is essential. Taking CBD every day as a plant-based supplement can help you feel your best.