December 08, 2016
1 min read

Marijuana use not tied to thyroid dysfunction

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Thyroid dysfunction is not associated with recent marijuana use in adults, but recent marijuana users had lower levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone compared with nonusers and past users, recent findings show.

Roja Motaghedi, MD, pediatric endocrinologist at the Maimonides Infants & Children’s Hospital of Brooklyn, New York, and colleagues evaluated data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2012 on 5,280 adults aged 18 to 69 years who completed questionnaires related to marijuana use and had laboratory results related to thyroid parameters. Participants were divided into three groups based on their marijuana use: nonusers (never used; 45.5%), past users (> 30 days ago; 71.4%) and recent users (within the past 30 days; 28.5%).

Roja Motaghedi
Roja Motaghedi

Compared with recent users, past users and nonusers had higher rates of thyroid hormone intake, suggesting a higher prevalence of hypothyroidism among them (P = .009).

Researchers combined past users and nonusers to compare them with recent users to determine specific effects of current marijuana use. Compared with recent users, the combined group had a higher rate of participants who were thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) positive and a higher rate of participants with elevated TSH. No significant differences were found between the three groups for abnormal free triiodothyronine, free thyroxine and thyroglobulin autoantibody positivity.

Normal TSH values and TPOAb negativity were significantly predicted by recent marijuana use during the univariate logistic regression analysis.

“The single most important message from this study is that marijuana is being legalized at a very fast pace, but due to federal restriction, we really don’t have prospective well-designed controlled research studies in human subjects to examine the long- and short-term endocrine effects of marijuana in users,” Motaghedi told Endocrine Today. “It is urgent for the federal government to re-evaluate this matter and ease up on some of the restrictions related to human research on marijuana.” – by Amber Cox

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Roja Motaghedi, MD, can be reached at

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.