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cbd and hashimoto’s

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If you have Hashimoto’s disease, you probably understand just how challenging it can be. With symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, muscle pain, depression and memory loss, Hashimoto’s can be a frightening and painful condition.

But cannabis may provide some relief. Let’s explore cannabis’s potential for easing the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and how the plant may help—or hurt—your management of the condition.

What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which an overactive immune system sends antibodies to attack and damage the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and produces hormones that coordinate many of our body’s key functions. So, Hashimoto’s disease can lead to serious inflammation and an underactive thyroid, which means there’s less of these important hormones. This results in sub-optimal body functions.

Hashimoto’s, which affects more women than it does men, can bring on an array of negative symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

3 Ways Marijuana May Help Ease Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is clearly a painful condition with a wide range of symptoms. But could cannabis help? The research on this is limited—and somewhat conflicting. But there’s some evidence to suggest that cannabis, particularly marijuana rich in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), could be a big help for those suffering from this disease.

Here are three ways that cannabis may be able to help those with Hashimoto’s:

1. THC Is an Immunosuppressant

Because Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which an overactive immune system attacks the body, one way to address it is by suppressing the immune system. And THC shows promise for doing just that.

Studies have shown that THC suppresses TH-1 cells. These cells are involved in the production of cytokines and the immune responses that damage tissues like the thyroid. By inhibiting TH-1 cells, THC may slow or stop the damage an overactive immune system can do.

2. THC Is an Anti-inflammatory Agent

One of the big symptoms of Hashimoto’s is inflammation, and both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. That said, these two cannabinoids may not be equal when it comes to treating inflammation in Hashimoto’s disease.

Suppression of TH-1 cells with the consumption of THC can not only help calm an overactive immune system, but it can also help control Hashimoto’s-related inflammation. By suppressing these cells, THC dampens cytokine production, which not only slows the immune system down, but is also key in the process of inflammation.

Of course, not all Hashimoto’s sufferers benefit from the suppression of TH-1 cells. While doctors once thought Hashimoto’s disease was exclusively a TH-1-related condition, it’s been shown more recently that Hashimoto’s can also occur from overactive TH-2 cells.

TH-2 cells are another kind of T-cell that protect against toxins and bacteria. If you suffer from this version of the condition, THC may be much less helpful, since it has been shown to actually stimulate TH-2 cells. This could trigger a worsening of the situation for TH-2-dominant cases of Hashimoto’s disease.

The research on CBD for inflammation is a little less clear. While widely acknowledged as an inflammation reducer in general, research on CBD has been inconsistent when it comes to increasing or decreasing TH-1 and TH-2 activity.

If you have TH-1-dominant Hashimoto’s disease, you may want to think twice before taking CBD.

3. THC Is a Pain Reliever

Cannabis can also help relieve pain related to Hashimoto’s disease. Studies say that up to 97% of cannabis consumers take marijuana for pain.

While both THC and CBD can help reduce pain, THC is likely a better choice for those with Hashimoto’s disease, since CBD has the potential to worsen the condition in other ways.

Consuming Cannabis for Hashimoto’s Disease

If you’re interested in taking cannabis for Hashimoto’s disease, be sure to check with your doctor before you give it a try. You should definitely find out whether you have TH-1- or TH-2-dominant Hashimoto’s disease, because the research suggests THC may be more helpful for those with TH-1 dominant Hashimoto’s. Meanwhile, it may actually be harmful for folks with TH-2 dominant Hashimoto’s.

If you have the TH-1-dominant variety, THC could be a great option for you. You can try out inhaled or edible methods on a regular basis to see if it reduces your inflammation and other symptoms.

Either way, you may want to hold off on consuming CBD, since the results around its efficacy are still unclear. And for some of those with Hashimoto’s disease, CBD may have the potential to worsen the condition.

We’ll have to wait on the research to find out more, but what we have so far suggests that high-THC cannabis could be a big help for some folks dealing with this difficult disease.

Photo credit: taramara78/Shutterstock.com

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.

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It turns out THC can help with one type of Hashimoto’s disease, but make another kind worse. Meanwhile, CBD may adversely affect those with the disease.

Hashimoto’s encephalopathy as a treatable cause of corticobasal disease

Sasi Kumar Sheetal

Department of Neurology, Pushpagiri Institute for Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

Robert Mathew

Department of Neurology, Pushpagiri Institute for Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

Byju Peethambaran

Department of Neurology, Pushpagiri Institute for Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India

A 66-year-old retired school teacher presented with difficulty in finding words, amnesia for recent events, inattention, and difficulty in walking for the last 2 years. She had jerky movements of right upper and lower limbs for 1.5 years. Three months prior to admission she showed psychomotor withdrawal and in 1 month she became bradykinetic and mute. She appeared withdrawn and apathetic with markedly reduced word output. Her speech was effortful and agrammatical with impaired sentence comprehension and relatively preserved single word comprehension. She scored 11/30 on the mini–mental state examination (MMSE) and had frontal and parietal lobe dysfunction. She had marked rigidity of all four limbs, more on the right side. Focal myoclonic jerks was seen over the right upper lower limbs during rest, aggravated by action and postures. She had severe postural instability. She had prominent and asymmetric parkinsonian features with predominant rigidity. She satisfied criteria for probable corticobasal degeneration (consensus criteria 2013[1]). A progressive nonfluent aphasia phenotype of corticobasal degeneration was considered. However, evaluation for a rapidly progressive dementia was done. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of brain was normal except for a small right thalamic hematoma of size 0.5 cm × 0.5 cm. Electroencephalogram (EEG), serum vasculitis profile, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)test, vitamin B12 deficiency test, and Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test were negative. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) study showed normal protein (51 mg%) and sugar (161 mg%) levels and absent cells. CSF N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antibody and paraneoplastic panel, including antineuronal antibodies (ANA-1, 2, 3), Purkinje cell cytoplasmic antibodies, anti-glial nuclear antibody (AGNA-1), amphiphysin, collapsing response mediator protein (CRMP-5), Ma, Ta, were negative. Thyroid function tests revealed normal T3 (0.98 IU), T4 (14.8 IU), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) (3.09 IU). Anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody titers were raised to 660 units (normal value being Armstrong MJ, Litvan I, Lang AE, Bak TH, Bhatia KP, Borroni B, et al. Criteria for the diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration. Neurology. 2013; 80 :496–503. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Hashimoto’s encephalopathy as a treatable cause of corticobasal disease Sasi Kumar Sheetal Department of Neurology, Pushpagiri Institute for Medical Sciences, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India