The good news is that, despite possibly being a huge fad, CBD can be beneficial for many people and it looks like it’s here to stay. If you have Hashimoto's, it might be worth a try. CBD for Hashimoto’s Disease: How Can It Help? CBD is a powerful and versatile compound; it can help regulate various functions throughout the body, including hormonal balance. With new CBD oil has shown promise in treating Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Learn how this compound may improve thyroid and immune function.
Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About CBD for Hashimoto’s
If you were to believe every claim about CBD, it will cure you of cancer, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety, drug addiction, glaucoma and much more. And while CBD is showing promising results for a number of health disorders, it’s hard to sort through all the information (and misinformation!) out there.
Research into CBD for autoimmunity in general is starting to emerge (and it’s looking good), but there is still not a ton of information about how CBD might benefit you if you have Hashimoto’s Disease.
Terms like CBD and THC, marijuana and hemp, and full-spectrum get thrown around, adding to the confusion. And now we can find CBD in anything from sodas, beer and protein bars to lotions, pills and sprays.
The good news is that, despite possibly being a huge fad, CBD can be beneficial for many people and it looks like it’s here to stay.
What Is CBD?
Whether or not you decide to try using CBD for yourself, it’s important to understand what it is, where it comes from, how it works and how it’s different from other similar substances.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a cannabinoid found in marijuana. In addition to CBD, marijuana also contains the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which until recently was the most well known cannabinoid, due to its psychoactive properties (i.e. it gets you high).
But in fact, marijuana contains more than a hundred different kinds of cannabinoids of varying amounts.
Cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors found in many mammals, including humans.
CBD has been found to have some health benefits and early on was discovered to help those with some extreme forms of childhood epilepsy. But finally, after years of limited research being done on CBD, the FDA now allows research into possible benefits of CBD for many kinds of health concerns.
To clarify, while marijuana contains both THC and CBD naturally, CBD-containing products contain only isolated CBD unless otherwise noted. There are some traces of THC in some products because of the nature of how it naturally occurs.
The trace amounts are minimal and would not result in feeling high. But for those who may have to drug test for professional purposes, some people have had problems with CBD products causing a positive drug test result.
Some CBD is sourced from hemp instead of marijuana. Although the same species of plant, hemp has been bred to contain less than 0.3% THC. This has allowed it to be used industrially. But some companies use hemp as their source of CBD because more states allow it.
Health Benefits of CBD and CBD Products
The idea that you can reap the health benefits of marijuana without the high of THC is just one of the reasons CBD has taken off the past few years. Another, of course, is the legality.
Although state laws vary, most states (last I checked Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota were the exceptions) allow some form of CBD to be used. But these laws change often so it’s best to stay up to date with the laws in your own state.
Because CBD is legal in most cases, it can be a source of relief for some people without breaking the law or putting their job in jeopardy.
The benefits of CBD come from those receptors that are naturally found in our bodies. There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, found in the central nervous system.
These receptors are found throughout the body , such as in the eyes, spleen, blood vessels, testicles and the cells and tissue of the immune system. But they are most prevalent in the brain.
These make up what is called the endocannabinoid system (or ECS). The ECS helps regulate sleep, appetite, mood, pain and the body’s immune response.
Our own bodies create neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that bind with the receptors. By introducing them from external cannabinoids, we are simply using more concentrated forms.
Some studies have found that CBD triggering these receptors may:
But what does all this mean for autoimmunity in general and Hashimoto’s Disease specifically?
CBD for Autoimmune Disease
We know that cannabinoids interact strongly with the immune system because the immune system contains cannabinoid receptors throughout. And although the ECS makes endocannabinoids, we can become deficient when the immune system is overstimulated, as in cases of autoimmunity.
This is when adding exogenous cannabinoids, like CBD, can support our bodies and our wellbeing.
Many people are very cautious about anything that boosts the immune system while struggling with autoimmunity. But it’s important to note that there is a difference between amping up the immune system and modulating it.
Cannabinoids, in fact, help balance out the immune system. This is because CB2 receptors can suppress immune response when needed .
Additionally, CBD is anti-inflammatory and slows down T-cell production .
The anti-inflammatory action of CBD should not be underestimated. It has been compared to turmeric and ginger in its ability to impact inflammation and can reduce pain associated with inflammation , as in arthritis.
Hashimoto’s and CBD
Even knowing that CBD can be helpful for autoimmune disorders in general, you may still wonder if it’s right for someone with Hashimoto’s Disease. Afterall, every autoimmune disease is different.
Let’s look at how CBD may affect thyroid function specifically.
Unfortunately, there are few studies that look at the direct connection between CBD and thyroid function and hormones. But with time, we will see more and more information on the subject.
For now, there are some studies that indicate that endocannabinoids, and therefore exogenous cannabinoids as well, can stimulate the hypothalamus’ release of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
This is crucial since low TSH levels are a major cause of hypothyroidism, the leading cause of which is Hashimoto’s. TSH is what triggers the thyroid to produce hormones.
Although there is still more research to be done, at least one study has found that CBD may even directly stimulate thyroid hormone production .
Much like how cannabinoids act as an immune regulator and not an immune stimulator, possible cannabinoid receptors on the thyroid itself indicate that cannabinoids may help regulate the thyroid, as opposed to stimulating it. This means there is potential for both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases.
And even more promising, these receptors seem to influence both T3 and T4 hormone production.
When experiencing a Hashimoto’s flare-up, one of the common symptoms is a headache or even a migraine. But CBD has shown promise in helping to relieve the pain of that experience .
The CBD and THC Debate
If you’ve gotten this far and wondered why you wouldn’t just relive your college years and go for the whole marijuana experience, there are some things to be aware of.
First, there are still many states that do not allow the legal use of THC, even where CBD is legal. Second, not everyone wants the experience of getting high and that can be understandable.
Part of the problem is that many of the health benefits of cannabinoids have looked at THC in conjunction with CBD.
I often preach about the benefits of whole foods over individual nutrients, like how the B vitamins work synergistically together better than they do individually . The truth is that cannabinoids may work the same way, with at least some small amount of THC helping CBD to work more effectively.
The bad news is that this may not be an option for everyone. The good news is that there are many great products out there that offer just CBD and others that contain both CBD and small amounts of THC to boost CBD action.
Don’t Skimp on Quality
Just like with food and supplements, it is important with CBD to make sure you are getting a high quality product since it is going directly into your body.
Look for organic products that do not contain any fillers (especially anything that may trigger an allergic reaction or intolerance). And read the fine print if you are avoiding THC.
If you are wanting something with CBD and a small amount of THC, you will want to look for the term “full-spectrum.” This means that it contains a range of cannabinoids, including up to 0.3% THC, which is still such a small amount that it will not make you feel high. (That 0.3% threshold is legal federally but laws still vary state by state.)
The Many Faces and Forms of CBD
As I said, CBD is found in so many different kinds of products these days: gummies, oils, tinctures, bath salts, sodas, lotions and even chocolate.
If you want to use it therapeutically, it is best to avoid foods. (These can often have tons of crappy additives.)
But if you’re debating between taking CBD orally or topically, it is mostly going to be a personal preference. I tend to recommend topical application because it is well-absorbed, easy to use and well-tolerated.
Creams, salves and lotions can have the added benefit of helping to relieve sore muscles.
Easing into Your CBD Dosage
While dosage will vary greatly person to person and depending on your goal, I also suggest easing into the process.
Start out low and work your way up over weeks. While this may mean you don’t immediately see benefits or experience relief from symptoms, keep the end goal in mind and know that CBD builds up in your body.
A Note on Medication Interactions with CBD
There are no known interactions between CBD (or other cannabinoids) and thyroid medications. However, they may compete for certain metabolism pathways that would be an issue in cases of hyperthyroidism.
Some people have reported feeling nauseous or experiencing anxiety when taking CBD and thyroid medication together . However, spacing them out just a couple hours can prevent this.
Only You Know If CBD Is a Good Option for You
The truth is that you have to weigh your options and the pros and cons of CBD. For the right person, it can be a game-changer. But it may not be for everyone.
The good news is that CBD is considered quite safe with little side effects. This means that you can try it out and see if it helps with your Hashimoto’s or other autoimmune disease. Just remember to use a quality product and ease into a therapeutic dosage.
CBD may not cure you of all diseases, pains and maladies, but it may bring some relief and be another piece of the puzzle.
Want to work with me on your thyroid health and overall wellbeing and nutrition? I offer a number of packages for individuals and families .
I can help you find the right option that will fit your lifestyle, budget and goals and will leave you with personalized recommendations.
CBD for Hashimoto’s Disease: How Can It Help?
CBD is a powerful and versatile compound; it can help regulate various functions throughout the body, including hormonal balance.
With new research emerging every month, scientists are discovering new health benefits of CBD — but can it be used to treat Hashimoto’s disease and other thyroid conditions?
Most benefits of CBD stem from its modulatory actions on the immune system. Cannabinoid receptors are also found on the surface of hormonal glands, including the thyroid.
If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (or any other autoimmune disease), it means your body is losing the war against an aggressive immune system.
Although there are no direct studies focusing on using CBD for Hashimoto’s, several research papers suggest that it can improve the quality of life of patients with thyroid disorders.
Today, we elaborate on how you can use CBD oil for Hashimoto’s to control its symptoms and regulate your immune system.
What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. It causes a person’s immune system to become aggressive toward the thyroid (autoimmunity), damaging to the point where it can’t produce its own hormones any longer.
Hashimoto’s involves inflammation of the thyroid gland and is the major contributor to hypothyroidism — a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid.
Some patients with Hashimoto’s can develop a goiter, which is a lump on the thyroid triggered by inflammation and causing neck discomfort. One way to diagnose Hashimoto’s is through blood test results that check thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones (FT4 and T4).
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto’s disease develops more often in women. However, it can occur at any age and even men and children can suffer from it.
The most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Ple skin
- Hair loss
- Sensitivity to cold
The symptoms may not be noticeable at first, but as the disease progresses over the years, their severity will increase — deteriorating your quality of life.
Conventional Treatments for Hashimoto’s (High Risk)
Researchers have yet to find the underlying cause of Hashimoto’s disease and other thyroid disorders. However, the main hypothesis revolves around chronic inflammation caused by an aggressive immune system.
The conventional Hashimoto treatment involves taking levothyroxine, which is a thyroid medication using a specific hormone to level the deficiency in thyroid hormones.
Unfortunately, when you’re prescribed levothyroxine, you usually need to take it for life.
Taking high doses of the drug can have negative side effects, such as osteoporosis or irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia). Your doctor should titrate the medicine appropriately, but most of the time, the dose is gradually increased to the point where another treatment must be considered.
Meanwhile, CBD may offer a theoretically safer way to treat people with Hashimoto’s.
Can CBD Oil Help Treat Hashimoto’s?
CBD is one of over 115 cannabinoids identified in cannabis plants. Unlike the other major cannabinoid, THC, CBD doesn’t cause mind-altering effects when you take it. Researchers have found that cannabinoids, including CBD, offer remarkable anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2010 review of studies published in the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry found that daily supplementation with CBD inhibited disease progression in mice.
The research team learned that CBD decreased the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are known to trigger inflammatory reactions.
Cytokines have been highlighted as one of the contributors to the onset of thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s.
In a 2011 study, the authors concluded that cytokines play an important role in the pathogenesis (formation) of autoimmune disorders in the thyroid. They also found that cytokine modulation may help treat autoimmune conditions.
A 2020 study mentioned CBD and other cannabinoids as potential immunosuppressants due to their ability to block the production of inflammatory cytokines. These properties suggest that CBD — and cannabis in general — may have the potential to curb chronic inflammation in the body.
Another study showed that CBD is involved in regulating inflammatory response and expression by acting on various receptors throughout the body. The authors noted that CBD administration in animals could inhibit the release of excess cytokines.
Since CBD can reduce the number of substances that trigger inflammation, it may theoretically be used as an adjunctive treatment for Hashimoto’s — at least for symptom control.
However, there are no direct studies that would examine CBD’s impact on thyroid disorders, including Hashimoto’s disease. No clinical trials exist to prove the long-term efficacy of CBD for Hashimoto’s as a monotherapy.
How does CBD Work to Help with Hashimoto’s?
In a study published in 2017, the research team mentions that specific receptors in the human body could modulate the production of cytokines. The CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are the components of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), are said to play a part in signaling that influences cytokines.
The ECS promotes and helps to maintain homeostasis throughout the body. It regulates various physiological functions, including inflammation.
CBD influences the ECS structures, particularly the CB2 receptor — which would explain its anti-inflammatory effects.
On top of acting on CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD may also use other pathways that reduce inflammation.
Meanwhile, the authors of a 2015 study that evaluated the ECS’s role in thyroid tumors found that cannabinoid receptors are linked to tumor malignancy.
They concluded that CB1 and CB2 receptors are potential therapeutic targets for future treatments.
Another study also found that CB1 receptors of the ECS control hormone production in the thyroid.
Thyroid hormones help regulate body temperature, energy, and other important metabolic functions.
Since CBD is the modulator of the ECS, there’s a chance that it can be used to regulate thyroid conditions by acting on its structures.
However, more clinical human studies are needed to confirm CBD’s long-term efficacy in treating Hashimoto’s.
5 Reasons to Consider Taking CBD for Hashimoto’s
Looking at the above studies, this may be enough to convince you to try CBD for Hashimoto’s. That being said, there’s more to CBD and thyroid than just symptom control.
After all, conventional treatments are also focused on managing the symptoms of thyroid disorders.
Here’s why you may want to consider taking CBD for Hashimoto’s.
1. Safety Profile
If therapy is effective, that doesn’t mean it’s safe in the long run.
There are plenty of treatments in contemporary medicine which have been shown to be effective — but cause negative side effects.
On the other hand, there are plenty of therapies with the potential to treat Hashimoto’s while being very safe for our health.
The degree of a medication’s safety is referred to as its safety profile.
CBD has an excellent safety profile. Even doses as high as 1,500 mg administered daily for several weeks didn’t cause any dangerous side effects in patients.
The side effects of CBD are benign and include changes in appetite, dry mouth, dizziness, and — in case you took way too much — diarrhea.
Any healthy foods can get you these kinds of side effects if you take them in excess amounts.
According to the WHO, CBD is safe and well-tolerated in humans.
That being said, CBD can interact with many pharmaceutical medications. It can compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize these drugs, resulting in either too low or too high concentrations of the drug in the bloodstream.
If you’re unsure if you can take CBD for Hashimoto’s alongside your thyroid medications, consult a holistic doctor experienced in cannabis use.
2. Additional Benefits Aside from Hashimoto’s
Another reason to consider using CBD oil for Hashimoto’s is its versatility.
Medications are made to impact specific enzymes or receptors and may not interact with any other cellular components.
Unlike medications, herbal extracts like CBD oil can act on several different molecular pathways. CBD has over 65 such targets. It greatly helps one’s health due to its various benefits.
Additional benefits may include:
- Reduced anxiety thanks to the modulation of GABA, serotonin, and anandamide (Hashimoto’s patients often experience anxiety)
- Improved sleep as a result of the circadian rhythm regulation (many thyroid patients suffer from insomnia)
- Reduced pain due to its analgesic properties (people with Hashimoto’s often have chronic pain)
- Reduced inflammation (inflammation impacts conversion from T4 to T3)
If you have any of these symptoms, you could use CBD oil to improve your overall quality of life with Hashimoto’s.
3. Complementary Effects with Other Treatments
The current treatment paradigm for Hashimoto’s has caused many patients to look for natural alternative therapies because it’s just a standard “wait and see approach.”
As a patient, you don’t want to rely on taking synthetic hormones for life.
The good news is that you can use CBD along with other lifestyle modifications to achieve a better result. When you see the big picture, you’ll notice that Hashimoto’s requires a multifaceted approach, not just some miracle pill.
Changing your diet, reducing your stress, and supplementing CBD oil can help your body get back on track and heal itself from excess inflammation — but they don’t guarantee that you’ll be able to reverse your condition.
They are, however, much safer than conventional methods. Taking CBD oil on a daily basis can help improve the functioning of your ECS — translating into more effective management of vital functions throughout the body.
This, on top of an anti-inflammatory diet, proper stress hygiene, and an active lifestyle, can help you achieve better results for your thyroid health overall.
CBD oil is legal in all 50 states and you can buy it without a prescription — unlike thyroid medications, which must be prescribed by a doctor.
In most cases, patients may know more about their disease and possible treatments than their doctor and yet they’re not able to get the right medication.
Because they are limited by the doctor and the prescription.
If your doctor isn’t willing to prescribe you the medication you’re asking for, your knowledge doesn’t matter.
This problem is nonexistent with CBD and other herbal supplements.
Nevertheless, we still advise you to consult a doctor before adding CBD oil to your daily routine. Doing so will help you find the right dosage to start with — not to mention that you can avoid negative interactions with other medications.
5. Patient Success Stories
Clinical trials are important for evaluating the long-term efficacy and safety of certain medications, but all clinical trials start with anecdotal evidence, better known as success stories of patients.
Both types of evidence have strong value. While clinical studies are very helpful, they don’t always tell the full story. The results can be interpreted in any way that suits the thesis of the study’s author.
Moreover, some clinical trials aren’t published, so we don’t always get to see their results. The author simply doesn’t have to publish the study if it doesn’t show the results they were looking for.
Some studies can be run 3-4 times until they finally yield satisfying results.
Last but not least, just because studies show that something is effective doesn’t mean it will work for every individual.
Doctors are often excited about novel therapies when they read about them in scientific magazines only to find out that they’re not nearly as effective as they believe them to be in the real world.
When it comes to patient success stories, they take a different approach.
There are no controls that clinical studies can provide but they still provide value as a “proof of concept.”
Are there any direct studies on the effectiveness of CBD for Hashimoto’s?
Do we see positive stories of patients who have taken it and seen great results?
The so-called anecdotal evidence often provides inspiration for clinical trials.
How to Choose CBD Oil for Hashimoto’s
CBD can be found in three major types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate.
The full-spectrum type of CBD is the most popular because it contains cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and trace amounts of THC. Together, these compounds create the entourage effect, which means that the plant-based compounds work together in synergy — producing greater therapeutic effects than each of them alone.
Broad-spectrum CBD is another popular type. This option contains the same compounds as full-spectrum CBD — except for the THC content.
The third variant is CBD isolate. This is just pure CBD in crystalline or powdered form. It carries the highest dose of CBD per serving; it’s also odorless and flavorless, which is why some people prefer it over the two above formats. That being said, CBD isolates lack the entourage effect, so they are less desired among consumers.
Tips for Buying CBD Oil for Hashimoto’s
- Look for a certificate of analysis (COA) for the chosen product. This document shows that the product has undergone proper testing and its contents match the ones that are listed on the label.
- Read product reviews and do a solid background check on your potential vendor. If buying from a local store, make sure to check if it has the proper authorization to sell CBD extracts.
- The best CBD oils for Hashimoto’s are made from organic hemp; it’s the most dependable source of high-quality CBD.
- Ensure that there are no limits to the availability of CBD in your state. Hemp-derived CBD is federally legal but the state laws are dynamic, so it’s always worth it to keep yourself up to date with your local regulations surrounding cannabis.
- Consult a holistic doctor, preferably someone experienced in cannabis use, before buying CBD products.
CBD Dosage for Hashimoto’s
Since CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, there are no official dosage guidelines when it comes to using CBD for Hashimoto’s, or any other condition for that matter.
There are a few factors you should consider when determining your dose of CBD, including:
- Tolerance to CBD
- Severity of symptoms
- Expected results
The best approach to starting your CBD regime is to take a small amount of CBD (5 or 10 mg) and gradually increase it until you come to the point where you experience the desired results without any side effects.
You can also use different studies on CBD for specific symptoms to analyze different dosages try them out on yourself.
How to Take CBD for Hashimoto’s
CBD is available in many different forms, including CBD oils, edibles, capsules, vapes, and topicals.
Beginners often choose edibles or capsules because they contain a fixed dose of CBD per serving. Since oral forms of CBD need to pass through the digestive system, they have a delayed onset (up to 90 minutes) but last longer than other forms (up to 10 hours).
More experienced users turn to CBD oil because it combines dosage accuracy with a higher bioavailability and faster onset. CBD oils absorb through the mucous membrane in your mouth, avoiding the first-pass metabolism in the liver. As a result, your body receives more active ingredients. The CBD also acts faster (15-30 minutes) lasting for up to 6 hours.
Vaporization offers the fastest and most effective way to consume CBD. When you inhale CBD through a vape pen, it travels to your bloodstream through lung tissues — producing almost instantaneous effects. Vapes have the highest bioavailability (56%) and they last for up to 4 hours.
For localized problems, such as inflammatory flare-ups, you can use CBD topicals such as creams, balms, lotions, or gels. They target the CB2 receptors in your skin, providing relief from inflammation and pain. The absorption rate and duration of topicals vary between different formulations.
CBD vs Other Natural Remedies for Hashimoto’s
Diet modifications are one of the first steps that a person with Hashimoto’s should take. This includes choosing animal foods rich in zinc, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Vegetables contain phytosterols, which are anti-inflammatory compounds. Low-calorie fruits have high levels of antioxidants and can help the body recover from the damage caused by inflammation.
Animal-based foods high in zinc, such as meats and eggs, are recommended several times a week. Zinc deficiency is often cited as one of the causes of hypothyroid conditions.
Iodine supplements are another possible option, but they need to be taken in the right form, as certain forms of iodine can be toxic for the body and actually exacerbate your condition.
Other Types of Thyroid Disorders
Aside from Hashimoto’s disease, people can suffer from one of the following thyroid conditions that are triggered by the chronic inflammation of this gland:
Hyperthyroidism occurs where the gland produces more hormones than the body actually needs. Excessive thyroid hormone production can result in symptoms such as irritability, fast heart rate, weight loss, muscle weakness, and nervousness.
Grave’s Disease is another thyroid disorder that occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland by accident. This leads to the production of excess thyroid antibodies.
People with Grave’s disease often have high blood pressure and increased metabolism as a result of enlarged thyroid glands.
Key Takeaways on Using CBD for Hashimoto’s
CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain, showing as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of Hashimoto’s disease.
There is some evidence to support the use of CBD in reducing chronic inflammation associated with thyroid conditions. Several studies have shown that CBD may block the excess activation of the immune system by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory proteins.
Researchers believe that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in regulating the activity of hormonal glands — including the thyroid. By modulating cannabinoid receptors, CBD can act as an adaptogen — adjusting the production of thyroid hormones.
More clinical trials are needed to confirm CBD’s efficacy for Hashimoto in the long run, but current findings are very promising, to say the least.
You can also use CBD oil to help with other symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s, including anxiety, pain, sleep problems, and low energy levels.
Always consult a doctor before buying a CBD product for any condition. Doing so will help you figure out the best CBD dosage for your situation and avoid potential CBD-drug interactions.
Do you take CBD for Hashimoto’s? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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- Ganesh, B. B., Bhattacharya, P., Gopisetty, A., & Prabhakar, B. S. (2011). Role of cytokines in the pathogenesis and suppression of thyroid autoimmunity. Journal of interferon & cytokine research: the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research, 31(10), 721–731. (2)
- Khodadadi, H., Salles, É. L., Jarrahi, A., Chibane, F., Costigliola, V., Yu, J. C., Vaibhav, K., Hess, D. C., Dhandapani, K. M., & Baban, B. (2020). Cannabidiol Modulates Cytokine Storm in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Induced by Simulated Viral Infection Using Synthetic RNA. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 5(3), 197–201. (3)
- Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(1), 21.
- Fitzgerald, J. C., Weiss, S. L., Maude, S. L., Barrett, D. M., Lacey, S. F., Melenhorst, J. J., Shaw, P., Berg, R. A., June, C. H., Porter, D. L., Frey, N. V., Grupp, S. A., & Teachey, D. T. (2017). Cytokine Release Syndrome After Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Critical care medicine, 45(2), e124–e131.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
5 reasons to Consider CBD oil for Hashimoto’s: Benefits, Safety & More
Can CBD oil (or CBD in other forms) help treat the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
When you start to see places lik e Harvard (1) talking about the benefits of CBD oil you know there may be something to this compound.
This over the counter therapy may be considered in certain thyroid patients, especially those with Hashimoto’s who haven’t found success with more conventional treatments.
In this article, you are going to learn about CBD, how it may influence Hashimoto’s, and 5 reasons you may want to consider using it.
Can CBD Oil Help Treat Hashimoto’s?
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids found inside of marijuana.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the compounds which interact with certain receptors inside of your body.
You’re probably familiar with the high that marijuana can cause and this is caused by one of these cannabinoids (known as THC (2)).
Not all cannabinoids, however, cause a “high” and some even exert action on other tissues in your body. The activation of these tissues may lead to the powerful health benefits of CBD.
While marijuana does contain CBD, it’s important to realize that CBD is not the same thing as marijuana (even though marijuana seems to have some positive benefit on thyroid function (3)).
Some people are afraid that taking CBD is the same thing as marijuana and this is NOT the case.
It’s been shown, in an increasing number of studies (4), that some of these cannabinoids may act on certain cells in your body by influencing specific endocannabinoid receptors.
These receptors control and regulate incredibly important tissues including the following:
- The limbic system (the system that controls pleasure)
- The hypothalamus (the portion of your brain that helps regulate thyroid, metabolism, and appetite)
- The gastrointestinal tract (which influences many systems in your body including appetite, metabolism, and weight)
- Adipose tissue or fat tissue (your fat cells are a rich source of hormones such as leptin which feedback to your brain and other systems)
Can you see now why so many people are interested in CBD?
CBD, acting on cannabinoid receptors, may interact with these organs and tissues and to influence your hormones, immune system, appetite, and weight.
What’s important here, at least for our discussion, is that CBD is a legal supplement and can be purchased over the counter in almost every State.
This provides you, as the patient, with the power and a potential therapy which can influence these important systems.
And this is why I’m interested in CBD oil, especially as a treatment for thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s t hyroiditis.
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Potential Benefits of CBD Oil
We know that CBD is powerful but how does CBD help your thyroid?
The benefits of CBD in this setting probably (we don’t know for sure) stem from its ability to impact your immune system, your thyroid directly, and your hypothalamus.
Let’s break each of these down in more detail:
How does CBD affect your immune system?
This is not well understood but it appears that CBD reduces inflammation by increasing levels of IL-10 while simultaneously decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-2, IL-3, INF-y, and TNF-alpha.
You don’t really need to understand the specifics here but what you do need to know is that there is a tug-of-war occurring in your body between pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (or any other autoimmune disease), your body is losing the war.
CBD oil may help ‘even the odds’ by promoting an increase in the cytokines that you want while decreasing those that cause harm.
This effect is probably why certain people with Hashimoto’s see improvement and why other patients with autoimmune conditions do as well.
In addition, CBD may have a direct effect on the production of thyroid hormone (5) by stimulating your thyroid gland directly.
The impact CBD has on the thyroid gland is somewhat confusing, to say the least.
Studies show that CBD can reduce the amount of T4 and T3 that the thyroid gland produces while also reducing the TSH (6).
In addition, these same studies show that CBD seems to have a protective effect against the production of anti-thyroid antibodies.
To summarize, CBD seems to impact all levels of thyroid function including TSH, free thyroid hormones, and thyroid antibody levels.
But how can something which decreases your free thyroid hormone levels be “good”?
My feeling is that it probably impact cellular sensitivity in some way which makes the amount of thyroid hormone in your body more effective.
This might reduce the amount of free thyroid hormone necessary in your bloodstream which would in turn cause a reduction in TSH.
This is just speculation, however, and I will be keeping an eye on the research as it unfolds.
Lastly, CBD also probably impacts your thyroid gland indirectly by influencing your hypothalamic function.
Your hypothalamus is a major regulator of metabolism and, therefore, T3 levels in the body.
Anything which stimulates or regulates the hypothalamus will necessarily have at least some impact on your thyroid gland.
In our case, this stimulation is a positive thing as it may help promote T3 production directly and conversion of T3 from T4.
It may also have an impact on leptin sensitivity and leptin levels which also indirectly impact T3.
While we don’t have all of the details, we do have enough information to suggest that CBD may be helpful for some thyroid patients presumably from the three areas listed above.
Looking at these areas may be enough to make you consider using CBD but there are still some other important points you should be aware of as well.
With that in mind, take a look at 5 reasons that I believe you should consider using CBD oil if you have Hashimoto’s or hypothyroidism:
#1. Safety Profile
Just because a therapy is considered to be “effective” doesn’t mean that it should be used.
We have plenty of therapies in medicine which have been shown to be effective but which cause negative side effects or consequences.
On the flip side, we have plenty of therapies which can POTENTIALLY help people with Hashimoto’s which are very safe but not very effective.
What we really want is something that is shown to be both VERY effective and yet VERY safe.
How safe a medication or therapy is, is referred to as its safety profile.
And whenever you, as a patient, consider any therapy you should always ask yourself about the safety profile of that thing.
CBD, as a therapy, has a strong safety pr ofile (7).
Meaning, it is considered to be a safe therapy.
The most commonly reported symptoms associated with using CBD include nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in weight or appetite.
*Note: CBD oil can also impact some prescription medications such as coumadin.
You can get these kinds of side effects from certain healthy foods!
Does this mean CBD is safe and that all people will tolerate it well?
Not necessarily, but it does mean that your risk of developing some serious issues as a result of using it is very low to non-existent.
While it’s important to understand the safety profile of certain medications and supplements, you should also consider the inherent bias that exists between over the counter supplements and medications.
Certain prescription medications, for instance, are notoriously dangerous but this danger is tolerated simply due to the bias that exists in the system.
Take statins, as an example:
We know that people who take statins have an increased risk of developing muscl e damage (8) (1 in 24) and even diabe tes mellitus (9) (1 in 204) and yet statins are prescribed like candy by most conventional doctors.
You might think the benefits of these medications are enough to outweigh the risks but there is enough information to put e ven that into question (10).
Can you imagine if an over the counter supplement was known to increase the risk of diabetes even if it was at a rate of 1 in 10,000?
It would no doubt be all over the news and it would ripped off the market by the FDA.
Why do I bring this up?
Because as a patient, you need to be aware of this bias so that you don’t get confused by sensational headlines that you might see regarding CBD (or other supplements) in the news cycle.
Stay grounded and take a look at what the studies show before you make a decision regarding what to take (or not).
#2. Additional Benefits Beyond Hashimoto’s
I think another reason to consider using CBD oil would be that it impacts more than just one system in your body.
This is true of MOST over the counter supplements, by the way, but is not necessarily true of prescription medications.
Over the counter supplements and herbal remedies tend to impact multiple systems because they are less specific than prescription medications.
Medications are created to impact very specific enzymes or receptors and may not impact ANY other cellular components.
This makes them potentially efficacious but also very narrow in terms of how they help.
You can think of supplements as being less specific and more broad in how they impact your cells.
The result is that you can take a supplement and experience multiple sets of positive effects.
CBD oil seems to fit into the former category probably because there are receptors on multiple cells.
The result is that CBD oil can potentially help you in many other ways aside from just impacting your immune system.
Additional benefits may include:
(11) (very important as many thyroid patients also suffer from anxiety) (12) (many thyroid patients suffer from insomnia) (13) (many thyroid patients suffer from chronic pain) (14) (inflammation may reduce T4 to T3 conversion and impact your thyroid)
If you have any of the symptoms listed above then there might be a stronger case for you to at least trial CBD oil.
#3. Another Therapy for Hashimoto’s
As a patient with Hashimoto’s, you are probably all too familiar with the current treatment paradigm (or lack thereof).
The standard treatment for Hashimoto’s is really just a ‘wait and see’ approach in which your doctor typically waits until your body destroys enough of itself that you require some form of therapy (usually thyroid medication).
As a patient, this can be troubling to hear.
The good news is that there are several therapies which are available to Hashimoto’s patients who don’t want to take the ‘wait and see’ approach.
The only problem with some of these therapies is that they are not always effective and the results that each patient may obtain varies.
Changing your diet, reducing yo ur stress, taking supplements, and so on are all helpful therapies, but they do not guarantee that you will be able to treat or reverse your condition.
So whenever I see a therapy which can potentially help treat Hashimoto’s I get a little bit excited.
And, as a patient, you should be aware of all of these therapies, not because you necessarily want to use them all right away, so that you can come back to them at a later date.
Even if you don’t plan on using CBD, for whatever reason, at least put it in the back of your brain as a potential option to come back to later.
#4. Availability over the counter
Another big reason is how easy it is to get!
I constantly hear of the frustrations that patients feel regarding obtaining prescription thyroid medication.
In many cases, patients may know more about thyroid medications than your doctor (you probably fit into this category if you are reading this) and yet they are not able to get the thing that they need.
Because something stands in their way. The prescription pad from the doctor.
It doesn’t matter what you know if your doctor isn’t willing to provide you with a prescription.
You don’t have this problem with certain supplements and it doesn’t exist with CBD.
CBD is currently (and for the foreseeable future) available over the counter and can be purchased easily.
Even though you can get it without a prescription from a doctor I still recommend that you discuss what you are taking with your doctor!
It’s important to have an open dialogue with your doctor to ensure that you are not doing anything which would negatively influence your other therapies.
If your doctor is not willing to work with you on this then you may need to seek a second opinion (use this r esource to help you find one).
#5. Patient Success Stories
Some people tend to rely more on clinical studies to support how they treat themselves while others tend to focus on the results of others.
I really think that there is value in both and I tend to look at both sides of the story before recommending therapies to patients.
Clinical studies, while necessary and very helpful, don’t always tell the full story.
The results can be skewed or interpreted in virtually any way that suites the bias of the author of the study.
In addition, we don’t always get to see the results of studies which were not published.
If a study doesn’t show the results that the author was looking for he/she doesn’t have to publish it.
It’s possible for the same study to be run 3-4x until it finally produces the results that the author is looking for (we see something similar happen with some phal medications (15)).
Lastly, just because a study shows that something is effective doesn’t mean it translates into clinical practice!
I’ve been very excited about several therapies when I read about them in studies only to find out that they simply are not nearly as effective as I thought they would be in the real world.
Patient success stories, on the other hand, tend to come from a different place.
They lack the controls that clinical studies have but they still have value as a “proof of concept”.
Do we see that CBD oil has been used successfully in patients with Hashimoto’s and thyroid disease?
The answer is yes.
We see positive success stories in those who have taken it and they have shared their results.
If you are someone who fits into this category I would encourage you to leave your comments or experiences below as it may help those who are on the fence.
Should you try it?
While CBD shows promise and may be something worth considering, just because it has the potential to be effective doesn’t necessarily mean you should take it.
One of the downsides to CBD and I see this same thing in many other supplements and therapies, is that while it may work to improve your thyroid function, it’s not necessarily working by reversing the issues which are causing your conditions to begin with.
If you are pounding down refined sugar, eating out on a regular basis, and suffering from serious stress from work or other aspects of your life, then CBD is probably not going to solve those issues.
But, if you’ve tried all of the natural therapies that I’ve listed above and have found some improvement, but not a complete improvement, then CBD may be a good idea in that situation.
It might also be a good idea to use if you have Hashimoto’s triggered by something which is not necessarily treatable or reversible.
If an acutely stressful event triggered your Hashimoto’s then it’s not really possible to go back in time to prevent it from occurring.
If this is the case for you, then CBD may be an option worth considering.
Like other thyroid therapies, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that you can or should take.
Instead, make sure you weigh the potential benefits against the potential side effects and determine if it is right for YOU.
Update: I’ve been experimenting with this CBD product which I have used both personally, on my family, and I have seen the third party verification of THC/CBD ratios.
If you choose to use CBD ensure that you are getting a quality product if you want to see results!
I’m coming to understand that there are MANY cheap products available which do NOT contain what they claim (in a somewhat unregulated supplement industry).
So if you try one of these brands and do not see results do not blame the CBD! Instead, it’s probably more related to the low quality of the product.
For now, with this CBD product that I have had success with and continue to both use and recommend.
CBD oil shows promise as an emerging treatment for those with thyroid disease and especially Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
It’s not clear exactly how or why CBD oil is effective but it probably has to do with how it impacts your thyroid gland directly and other systems, such as the hypothalamus, indirectly.
The net result may be an improvement in both direct thyroid symptoms and indirect symptoms such as anxiety, pain, and insomnia.
As a thyroid patient, it may be worth exploring this therapy especially given its excellent safety profile and relatively cheap cost.
CBD oil is available over the counter and can be purchased online, making it an ideal complementary therapy to whatever you are currently doing to treat your Hashimoto’s.