Research of medical marijuana has taught us about our own endocannabinoid system (ECS) — cell receptors that play a vital role in inflammation, appetite, pain, mood, memory, and even cancer prevention. Cannabinoid receptors respond to compounds in cannabis, or marijuana, but the good news is you don’t require cannabis to activate them. Because of their role in autoimmune health, it’s worth knowing about the ECS when you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
A healthy ECS produces cannabinoids on its own and doesn’t require cannabis. The cannabinoid anandamide, for example, is called the “bliss molecule” because it plays a role in happiness and higher thought. The ECS is also important in preventing or dampening autoimmunity such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Some people have an endocannabinoid deficiency that can cause pain, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and even serious diseases. This deficiency may be genetic.
An ECS deficiency could explain why cannabis is helpful for some people — it contains more than 100 cannabinoids, including the psychoactive THC, cannabidiol (CBD), and terpenes. The latter two are not psychoactive.
CBD and terpenes are now widely recognized for their medicinal effects, however, there is controversy around whether they are medicinal on their own or must be taken together and with THC. There is also controversy over whether these compounds are as effective if they come from non-psychoactive hemp versus cannabis.
There are no established guidelines when it comes to using CBD, terpenes, or THC for Hashimoto’s low thyroid, although there are plenty of anecdotal stories about medical marijuana.
How to activate your endocannabinoid system without cannabis
Medical cannabis is only legal in about half of the United States. Outside of the US, laws and tolerance vary widely.
Because the ECS produces its own cannibinoids, you don’t necessarily need cannabis to boost your ECS. Below are suggestions on boosting your ECS if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid:
- Quit drinking alcohol. Regular alcohol raises stress and inflammation that can exhaust the ECS.
- Go for regular bodywork. Chiropractic adjustments, massage, or acupuncture double anandamide, the “bliss” cannabinoid.
- Eat plenty of leafy greens. Leafy greens contain a terpene that activate cannabinoid receptors. This may help combat the inflammation of Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
- Eat more essential fatty acids. Lack of omega-3 fatty acids cause the ECS to function poorly. Get plenty of omega 3s and not too much omega 6. Consider supplementing with fish, algae, emu, or hemp oils.
- Exercise. The “high” from exercise may be from ECS activity, not opioids. But don’t overdo it or make it something you dread as this depletes the ECS.
Contact my office if you have more questions about how to manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.