There is a dysfunction that is quite rare and of completely unknown origin that represents a disorder of the adrenal cortex. It is sometimes called Primary Adrenal Insufficiency, but is more commonly known as Addison’s Disease.
The condition is characterized by unstable mood, potential adrenal crisis, weight loss, general lack of appetite, and fatigue. When adrenal crisis is present, one will often observe a sharp drop in blood pressure accompanied by a state of dizziness, fainting, and pain in the lower half of the body. Such an attack can even be fatal, and emergency services should be contacted immediately.
Understanding Addison’s Disease
As noted above, this is an issue characterized by a dysfunction of the adrenal cortex, which is essentially made of two glandular organs that can be found on the roof of the kidneys in the human body.
All of this really comes down to what is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, also known as the HPA. This is essentially the nexus point that connects the human endocrine and central nervous systems.
The endocrine system is basically the regulatory system overseeing hormones and signaling molecules that are in charge of a number of different chemical processes of a regulatory nature in the systematic functionality of mammalian physiology.
The adrenal system is basically a part of this, and is in charge of things like our fight or flight reflex and our ability to ramp up bodily processes to respond to danger, stress, or high emotion situations. The pituitary gland is basically in charge of most of this. It does its work through the production of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids.
Addison’s disease is basically about a situation when the adrenal cortex undergoes an autoimmune assault or atrophies for unknown reasons. The net result is that it no longer produces the hormones necessary to allow the regulatory processes of the human body to function properly.
You can imagine why this could be such a problem. We need our regulatory systems in our body to maintain proper functioning of our physiological systems because so much going on in the body depends upon proper levels of different chemicals in any system at any given time. Various bodily systems work together, hand in hand, on so many different levels that a systematic breakdown of any one of these regulatory functions can be nearly or entirely impossible for medical science to treat.
While much of what we do to maintain our health on a daily basis is really about maintaining these systems and preventing problems, sometimes, for certain individuals, such regulatory breakdowns and physiological problems are inevitable, and so some sort of therapy or treatment is necessary.
CBD and Addison’s Disease
While this is a very uncommon disease, it may be tailor-made as an excellent candidate for treatment or therapy involving cannabidiol, or CBD.
As we have discussed at length, the endocannabinoid system is intimately tied into most of the body’s various regulatory functions. Because many cases of Addison’s disease derive in some way from an inflammatory autoimmune problem, CBD may play an important role in solving this dilemma. You see, much of the body’s inflammatory autoimmune reactions are governed by failures of the proper functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
As we have found through much anecdotal evidence and some research, introduction of cannabidiol can restore the proper functional balance of the endocannabinoid system in the human body, thereby allowing it to properly regulate an overly excited inflammatory autoimmune response.
As such, CBD may be excellent in preventing the onset of the more developed phase of Addison’s disease. However, this means it would need to be administered before higher-level symptoms have occurred, which could mean daily application by individuals who don’t even realize that there is risk of contracting this difficult disease.
In addition, CBD may also be able to relieve many of the symptoms, including mood instability, fatigue, vascular issues, and lack of appetite, that are often associated with Addison’s disease.
One enzyme pathway that may be intimately involved in the pathogenesis of this condition is cytochrome P450, or CYP450. One of the specific enzymes on this pathway, 21-hydroxylase, has been found to be involved in over 80% of all Addison’s cases.
As a strong indication of promise, CBD has been shown to block the autoimmune response to this vital enzyme. We don’t know exactly why this seems to work so well, but it’s good to know that it does.