How does marijuana affect hormones?
Hormones are an extremely powerful system in the body. Hormones are the “body's chemical messengers [which] travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs.” They impact stress and mood regulations, appetite, sleep, body temperature and most of our bodily functions.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is another system that helps regulate the body. Cannabis interacts with both the ECS and hormones which is why marijuana has a direct impact on appetite, stress and fertility. So, if you are curious about how marijuana impacts hormones, keep reading!
Marijuana and appetite
We all know that the “munchies'' often come along with consuming marijuana. Marijuana increases appetite and intensifies the pleasure we experience while eating which is why medical marijuana is such a great treatment for cancer, HIV/AIDS and wasting syndrome patients.
Marijuana influences leptin hormone levels which helps regulate food intake, energy expenditure and the body’s natural body weight. The higher your body fat percentage, the higher your leptin hormone levels are. It has been shown that those who consume cannabis regularly have lower levels of leptin on average which points to why marijuana consumers tend to have lower body fat percentages, obesity rates, BMIs and even a smaller waist size.
Marijuana and stress
Cortisol is “nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.” Consuming marijuana with THC will increase your body’s cortisol levels. The effects of this elevation varies based on one's frequency of consumption. For those that consume occasionally, this spike in cortisol levels can increase blood pressure and heighten anxiety. For those who use cannabis more frequently, they can become habituated to this spike which lowers their response to stress.
A spike in cortisol is also an important hormone used when getting up in the morning. These levels slowly decline as the day goes on. For frequent cannabis consumers, this cortisol peak in the morning is dulled, sometimes making it harder to get out of bed in the morning.
Marijuana and fertility
When it comes to marijuana consumption and fertility, the findings are conflicting. A recent study shows that marijuana disrupts the gonadotropin-releasing hormone which leads to reduced estrogen and progesterone levels. This can make it difficult for women to get pregnant. It also has been shown that there is a positive link when it comes to female sex drive and marijuana which can actually help a woman get pregnant. Another recent study showed women who used marijuana before intercourse reported an increase in sex drive versus women who did not use marijuana. Overall, the research is inconclusive and more studies can illuminate the connection between marijuana and fertility.
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!
If you are a West Virginia resident suffering from a medical condition you think may benefit cannabis, you're likely eligible for medical marijuana treatment.
Click here to learn more about what West Virginia Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (877) 303-8424 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process and schedule you for an evaluation appointment.