Does Marijuana Affect Hormones?
Hormones impact many aspects of your life from appetite, stress and mood regulation to sleep and body temperature. So, how does marijuana affect all these different hormones? Here’s what you need to know!
There are 50 different types of hormones in the body. They are the chemical messengers that travel to your tissues and organs. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is another system that helps regulate the body. Marijuana interacts with the ECS and the hormones which is why marijuana can affect appetite, stress and fertility.
Marijuana and appetite
Marijuana increases appetite and intensifies the pleasure we experience while eating. But why is that?
Marijuana appears to influence leptin hormones levels. Leptin helps regulate food intake, energy expenditure and the body’s natural body weight (also known as set point). Marijuana patients, in some studies, have been shown to have lower levels of leptin on average and; therefore, tend to have lower body fat percentages, obesity rates, BMIs and a smaller waist size. The higher your body fat percentage, the higher your leptin hormone levels are.
Marijuana and stress
Marijuana also impacts the cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is essentially our body’s alarm system. It is the main reactor that works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear. Consuming marijuana with a high THC amount will elevate cortisol levels. The effects of this vary based on frequency of marijuana use. For those that do not consume cannabis frequently, this spike in cortisol levels can increase blood pressure and heighten anxiety. For frequent cannabis users, this spike lowers their response to stress.
Cortisol is an important hormone used when getting up in the morning. A spike of cortisol is what helps get you out of bed. These levels slowly decline as the day goes on. The cortisol peak in the morning is reduced over time for frequent cannabis users, which can make it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Marijuana and fertility
When it comes to marijuana use and fertility, research is still somewhat limited and inconclusive.. A recent study illustrates that marijuana disrupts the gonadotropin-releasing hormone which leads to reduced estrogen and progesterone levels. This can negatively affect female fertility and make it difficult for some women to become pregnant.
However, another recent study shows that women who used marijuana before intercourse reported an increase in sex drive versus women who did not use marijuana. More research needs to be conducted in order for the medical community to fully understand the relationship between marijuana and fertility. While these studies are important to note, it is always important to speak with your doctor to understand your individualized treatment plan and potential effects it can have upon your body.
If you or someone you know has more questions about how medical marijuana can affect your hormones, reach out to us and we can get your questions answered by one of our doctors!
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