How does medical cannabis affect your hormones?

Medical cannabis interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) to maintainhomeostasis in your body. Homeostasis is defined as a self-regulating process where a living being can maintain internal stability while adjusting to external conditions. For instance, if external forces like pain from an injury disrupt your body’s homeostasis, your ECS activates to help your body return to its normal functioning.

The interaction between medical cannabis and your ECS also increases the production of hormones in your body, which can positively impact your mental and physical well-being. To learn more about how this works, keep reading.

Medical cannabis and the body’s hormones


The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is a well-known hormonal system that is often associated with the fight-or-flight response and stress. It produces cortisol, which helps regulate blood sugar levels, metabolism, inflammation, blood pressure, and memory formation.

However, having high cortisol levels can be harmful, especially in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this regard, both THC and CBD, which are found in medical cannabis, can help reduce the amount of cortisol produced by lowering the body’s stress response. By taking the right dosage of THC and CBD, it is also possible to decrease anxiety.

Using THC can also suppress the morning surge of cortisol, known as Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR), which is why you may feel drowsy after waking up. This property of THC makes it an effective treatment for insomnia.

Cortisol and Serotonin


Serotonin is a hormone that is released by the HPA axis and plays an important role in regulating mood, memory, sleep, digestion, and some muscular functions.

When serotonin levels are low, it can result in agitation, migraines, insomnia, and carbohydrate cravings. Conversely, high serotonin levels can lead to agitation, confusion, and sedation.

Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a balance in serotonin levels to treat conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. THC in the right dosage can help with the production of serotonin and in treating symptoms of anxiety, PTSD, and other associated disorders.


Endorphins are natural painkillers that are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in response to pain or stress. This group of hormones not only relieves pain but also creates a general feeling of well-being. When you experience pain, nerve cells send signals to your brain which releases endorphins to block those pain signals. Individuals with low endorphin levels can often struggle with depression, anxiety, body aches, chronic pain, and issues with sleep.

Endorphins can be boosted by various activities such as exercising, eating, getting a massage, and through the use of medical cannabis. CBD and THC act upon your endocannabinoid system and increase the action of feel-good chemicals similar to endorphins. CBD helps to reduce pain by mimicking endorphins without suppressing them, as it modulates other receptors in the body.


Fun fact: Certain foods can trigger the brain to release endorphins, including dark chocolate!

Endorphins and Dopamine


While endorphins produce that ‘feel-good’ sensation, they also boost the release of dopamine in your body. Endorphins and dopamine are two hormones in your body that contribute to happiness. However, they function differently.

Endorphins act as natural pain relievers. They bind to opioid receptors in the reward centres of your brain, which then triggers the release of dopamine.

For instance, endorphins naturally soothe a runner’s achy muscles, while dopamine release creates a runner’s high, motivating repetition of the activity. So, both endorphins and dopamine hormones work in combination with each other.

The release of dopamine affects your mood and has a role to play in controlling memory, sleep, learning, concentration, movement, and other body functions. People with a lack of endorphins may show signs of depression.

This is because less dopamine is released as a result. Medical cannabis has been shown to raise dopamine levels as doses of THC cause the neurons in your system to fire more, helping to increase the amount of dopamine in the body.

Looking to regulate your hormones? Here’s how Mamedica can help

It is important to speak to a specialist doctor, like those at Mamedica, to understand the right THC:CBD ratio for you and your symptoms, to help regulate your hormones and manage your condition effectively.

Our clinic offers tailored treatments for various conditions in areas such as pain management, psychiatry, neurology, palliative care, and cancer. Discover the conditions we support here.

To find out if medical cannabis could be an option for you, a loved one, or a patient, take our free eligibility test in under 60 seconds.