Marijuana can help regulate many of the human body’s functions due to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. So it is no surprise that cannabinoids might, if we follow the logic, also affect hormone levels.
We have a decent understanding of cannabis’ effect on the endocannabinoid system, the body’s network of neurons. The system is responsible for a host of critical bodily functions and cannabinoids help keep it conditioned and balanced. And we also know the cannabinoid THC well. Studies suggest that this THC alters neurotransmitters linked to the hypothalamus—of the brain that connects the nervous system to the endocrine system, which produces the body’s hormones.
Conclusive research suggests that it impacts reproductive hormones, with preclinical studies showing that THC prevents the release of a hormone, GnRH, which stimulates the production of other hormones, including testosterone. The study also found that THC limited growth hormone release, which is responsible for growing bone and muscle.
Over just ten days, the female rats in the experiment became much more tolerant to the euphoric effects of THC than the male rats. The observation would indicate that women are quicker to build a tolerance to marijuana than men. The cannabis also failed to disrupt the female rats’ reproductive cycles. It would appear that hormone levels determine cannabis’ potency for women, not the other way around.
There is plenty of room for additional research into marijuana’s hormonal impact but its clear already that if cannabis has a powerful influence on the endocannabinoid system, it should also have hormonal repercussions.
Alana seeks to see cannabis from the perspective of politicians, advocates, entrepreneurs, and consumers. She got her start with a byline in the arts and culture section and crossed over into cannabis after using it medicinally. Current projects include investigations into cannabis and wellness; entrepreneurs of the Green Rush; cannabis for athletes; and the evolution of cannabis laws and culture in Canada.