Cannabidiol (CBD) has soared in popularity in recent years thanks to its numerous health benefits. Derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, CBD oil is a powerful therapeutic remedy used to regulate body functions and alleviate symptoms of various health conditions.
CBD oil may support thyroid health, play a role in thyroid hormone regulation, and help manage symptoms associated with thyroid disorders.
This article will review the potential benefits of CBD oil for thyroid health, side effects, how to use CBD oil, and what to look for when choosing CBD products.
Health Benefits of CBD for Thyroid
CBD boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial for thyroid health. Evidence suggests that CBD oil may help regulate thyroid hormone levels in the body and reduce symptoms associated with certain thyroid disorders.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a vast network of specialized receptors located throughout the body that helps the body maintain homeostasis (balance). The ECS plays a role in regulating important body functions, including appetite, mood, memory, fertility, body temperature, immune response, and pain perception.
The ECS has receptors—known as endocannabinoid receptors—throughout the body, including the thyroid gland. These receptors are also found in brain regions responsible for sending signals to the thyroid gland that controls thyroid hormone production. Research shows that the ECS plays a role in regulating hormones and thyroid health.
Though the exact mechanisms of how CBD interacts with the body’s ECS are not yet fully understood, CBD binds to endocannabinoid receptors in the thyroid gland to help support thyroid functions. CBD is known to alleviate certain symptoms associated with thyroid disorders, such as:
- Weight gain
- Skin problems
- Anxiety and depression
Though there is little research exploring the effect of CBD on specific thyroid disorders, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may offer therapeutic benefits for people with thyroid conditions.
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. Excess amounts of thyroid hormones cause your body’s metabolism to speed up, leading to symptoms such as weight loss, insomnia, rapid heart rate, hand tremors, and anxiety.
CBD oil may help relieve anxiety, irritability, hand tremors, and shakiness and improve sleep. Some evidence suggests CBD may benefit heart health and reduce irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. Common symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair, joint and muscle pain, and depression. Research shows that CBD may effectively reduce pain, help hydrate dry skin, and play a role in weight loss.
The leading cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—an autoimmune disorder associated with chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. CBD’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties may benefit people with thyroid inflammation.
Thyroid cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Some research suggests that CBD may have anti-cancer properties and prevent cancer cells from multiplying, suppressing tumor growth.
One study found that the thyroid gland has a rich concentration of endocannabinoid receptors that may play a role in reducing the size of thyroid tumors. This suggests that CBD may be a potential therapeutic option to prevent the growth and spread of thyroid tumors.
Possible Side Effects
CBD is generally well-tolerated and is considered safe. CBD does not have psychoactive properties, which means it will not create the “high” sensation associated with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid abundant in the Cannabis sativa plant. Some people who take CBD may experience minor side effects, including:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Changes in appetite
Interactions With Thyroid Medications
Levothyroxine is a medication used to treat hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. Research suggests that CBD may interact with levothyroxine and cause the thyroid gland to secrete more thyroid hormone than the body can metabolize. When this occurs, too much thyroid hormone may accumulate in the body and lead to hyperthyroidism.
Talk with your healthcare provider before taking CBD, especially if you currently take prescription medication to manage a thyroid condition. CBD may interact with other medications you’re taking, and your healthcare provider should be able to provide guidance on whether or not CBD is safe for you.
Dosage and Preparation
There is no recommended CBD dosage to manage thyroid disorders. Everybody responds to CBD differently, so it may take trial and error before finding the best dose for your needs. The general advice for those new to CBD is to start low and go slow. Certain factors play a role in how much CBD a person needs for symptom relief, including:
- The potency of the CBD oil you are using
- The severity of your symptoms
- Body weight and metabolic rate
You may need to experiment with different doses before you find the right amount to manage your symptoms.
CBD oil is available in various forms:
- Tinctures (CBD oil mixed with a carrier oil)
- Gummies and other edibles
The form you choose depends on your preference and how quickly you hope to feel the effects. Putting a few drops of the oil under your tongue generally produces effects more quickly than chewing a gummy, for example. Carefully read the directions for use on the packaging of the CBD product you intend to use before trying CBD.
If you’d like to try CBD to support your thyroid health or manage thyroid disorder symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider. They should be able to offer dosage and product recommendations and provide information about potential interactions with medications you are taking.
What to Look for in CBD Oil
The CBD industry is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and quality can vary widely between brands and products. There are certain things to look for to ensure you purchase CBD oil from a reputable source:
- Certificate of Analysis (COA): Reputable vendors should provide a COA—a document from an accredited laboratory that details the quality and purity of a CBD product. It should also include a list of ingredients.
- 3rd-party lab testing: Buy CBD oil from companies that have their products tested in a 3rd-party lab to ensure you get the amount of CBD listed on the product packaging.
- Potency of the product: CBD products generally list dosages in milligrams (mg). If you’re new to CBD oil, you may want to try a product with a lower dose of CBD before trying more potent products.
Avoid CBD products that make health claims on the packaging, such as a promise to cure a particular disease. You may want to read through customer reviews for products you are considering. Testaments from people who have used a specific CBD product can tell you a lot about its effectiveness and potential side effects.