Graves’ Disease is a difficult illness affecting the Thyroid gland, and those suffering are often desperate for a solution. Could cannabidiol (CBD), be the solution so many people are searching for?
Before jumping to conclusions about CBD and Graves’ Disease, let’s explore what exactly the Disease is, and then outline how CBD could impact it.
What Is Graves’ Disease?
Graves’ is an autoimmune disease that results in hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). The result is an overproduction of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones affect numerous body systems, therefore those suffering can experience a wide range of symptoms.
Common symptoms of Graves’ Disease include:
- Irritability / Mood Swings
- Tremor in hands and/or fingers
- Weight Loss, regardless of eating habits
- Rapid / Irregular heartbeat / Palpitations
- Frequent Bowel Movements
- Change in Menstruation
- Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
- Tremor in hands and
Causes of Graves’ Disease
Graves’ is primarily an immune disorder known as an “Autoimmune Disease”, where the body’s immune cells begin to target healthy tissue instead of foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. In this case, the immune system targets cells found in the thyroid gland.
Thyroid function is regulated by the pituitary gland (found in the brain). This small gland releases a hormone that tells the thyroid when to create hormones.
However in Graves’ disease, the immune system produces an antibody known as thyrotropin receptor antibody (TRAb). This antibody overrides the hormone produced by the pituitary gland, therefore overriding the healthy regulation of the thyroid. The result? An overproduction of thyroid hormones resulting in the above symptoms (hyperthyroidism).
The exact causes remain a mystery.
CBD and Autoimmune Disease
One of the popular uses for CBD, is due to its beneficial effects on the immune system, and therefore autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune Diseases are on the rise. In fact, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from a wide range of 80-100 (or more) autoimmune disease, often with little hope of cure.
Many people who suffer from these not-so-uncommon diseases seek natural therapies, as the prescriptions drugs like steroids and immune suppressants can have a wide range of side effects.
CBD is particularly effective at suppressing immune responses, which is why it reduces inflammation and can act as a natural therapy for autoimmune disease.
CBD and Grave’s Disease
There is no conclusive scientific evidence for or against the use of CBD or cannabis in the treatment of Grave’s Disease or Hyperthyroidism. This means scientific review has not made any clear connections between CBD use and Grave’s Disease, for better or for worse.
However, science has shown that even large amounts of CBD is extremely safe for mammals (including humans and our furry feline and canine friends). Science has also shown that CBD has clear benefits for immune health.
There is no doubt, both scientifically and anecdotally, that CBD is beneficial for our health.
So if you suffer from Grave’s Disease, is taking CBD a good idea?
Well, we can’t answer that question. However, it appears that it would certainly not be a “bad” idea. As always, it is wise to consult with a healthcare professional before trying a supplement like CBD.
Solutions for Graves’ Disease
Whether you include CBD in your Graves’ Disease protocol or not, making dietary and lifestyle changes can certainly improve your health and the condition of your Graves’.
- Avoid significant amounts of goitrogens, which can damage your thyroid and increase your body’s need for iodine.
- Avoid inflammatory foods that could trigger an autoimmune response.
- Avoid extremely low-carb or ketogenic diets, which could negatively affect thyroid function (this may not be true for all patients. Experiment.)
- Consume a diet rich in iodine and selenium.
- Iodine and selenium – It is best to consume these in large amounts from food, however in extreme defficiences it may be necessary to consume supplemental forms.
- Vitamin D: Supplementation is required when sun exposure is limited (especially in Winter months)
- Consider some of the supplements outlined here
- And of course consider supplementing with CBD for your Graves’ Disease
- Focus on healing the gut – Over 80% of our immune system is found in our gut, and certain beneficial gut bacteria can support in the conversion of T4 into T3.
- Stress management: Chronic stress has directly negative consequences on thyroid function.
- Get out in the sun: Sun exposure helps to protect against autoimmune disease
- Exercise: However over-exercise could be damaging when your body is having inflammatory / autoimmune issues. Balance is key.
As always, we suggest you consult with your health care provider before making major lifestyle shifts or trying new supplements, especially with something as serious as Graves’ Disease. We wish you good health!