It’s been a while since I shared about my cannabis journey. Especially the impact it’s had on my thyroid condition. I guess there always lies a conflict between my role as the nurse and how I share and show up to discuss my personal use of the plant. However, cannabis at this point relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, personal accounts and limited research. I’m hoping that through sharing this journey, I’ll inspire more research to occur and give hope to those experiencing similar or same issues.
Today I’m sharing a win. It’s been 2 years since I’ve been off my thyroid medication.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2010.
It was a relief in a sense. For a period of time, I feared I had cancer or some other condition. I was living with an eternal headache and sleeping at every possible moment.
Hashimotos Thyroiditis (hypothyroidism) is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks the thyroid gland. Doctors don’t know what causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland. Some scientists think a virus or bacteria might trigger the response, while others believe a genetic flaw may be involved.
At the time of my diagnosis, I was teaching nursing. I’d stand before the class teaching pharmacology and then poof the words and train of thought would just disappear. At the time I was going through many personal transitions and chucked this all up to being stressed and overwhelmed.
I was suffering from short term memory loss, extreme hair loss, depression-like symptoms and rapid weight gain. Once I was diagnosed, I took the prescribed medications. Not much was discussed with me about my condition, I would live. Take the medicine daily until death do us part. A life sentence.
Once I started the prescribed medications, I honestly didn’t see much relief until about a year on synthroid. There were so many fluctuations, and getting my thyroid levels to a normal range took a while. I suffered infertility issues and many other complications along the way. If you ever talk to a doctor about thyroid issues they seem just down to play any symptoms and often defer to this mindset of “it’s not going to kill you” and “it’s easy to manage, just take these pills for life.”
Really discouraging to have any conditions or symptoms minimized in this way. I had been on the symptom rollercoaster of headaches, cold/hot flashes, depression and exhaustion for 9 years, all while taking the medications. Then came cannabis.
Cannabis and Hypothyroidism
I didn’t go straight to cannabis for my thyroid condition. Cannabis was something I sought after experiencing postpartum depression and chronic pain. But when I started consuming cannabis daily for my pain issues I noticed some changes. I started feeling a rapid pacing heartbeat and experiencing hot flashes. Both of which I only felt when my thyroid was overactive in the past due to taking more of the synthetic thyroid hormone than what my body needed. I wondered if I was having a medication interaction with the cannabis and synthroid, so I spoke to my doctor. There was no real help from my MD and while she wasn’t anti-cannabis…she definitely had her opinions of what it could help with and thyroid wasn’t it.
I took matters into my own hands which let’s face it, it’s what humans do when they are desperate for relief. I started taking less of my thyroid medication and then completely weaned myself off of the medication. that was in 2019.
Today Hashimotos is listed as a past medical history and I agreed to continue monitoring my levels on future visits mostly because I love science and I like the data. But for now I’m off the pharmaceuticals and I’m so grateful I stayed the course. It’s easy to follow the MD orders but always listen and advocate for yourself. I have the labs to corroborate my story and folks this is the challenge with cannabis… many physicians are unable to guide or support you on your journey. Results may vary but no one can invalidate what healing looks like or feels like to you. Stay healthy friends.
I listed some research below which has many holes but some evidence exists to support cannabis can potentially help with hypothyroid condition. Researchers have also found that many humans experience endocannabinoid deficiency which presents as chronic health and autoimmune conditions. According to (Malhotra et al., 2017) “recent marijuana use associated with lower levels of TSH.
1.Effect of Marijuana Use on Thyroid Function and Autoimmunity
2. Evidence for functional CB1 cannabinoid receptor expressed in the rat thyroid