Gender Transition: What Hormone Therapy Looks Like and How Phytocannabinoids Can Help.

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Barbara Arranz

Understand how gender transition hormone therapy works and how phytocannabinoids can help improve this process.

3 minutes read
Understand how gender transition hormone therapy works and how phytocannabinoids can help improve this process.

Gender transition is a very delicate process (and expected) by people who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Although the subject is currently being discussed more, there is still a great barrier for transgender people or people who want to make the transition to be accepted and welcomed both by their families and by society in general.

In Brazil, the situation is even worse due to the responsibility of some public figures who, instead of welcoming these people and guaranteeing them the right to be who they want to be, end up collaborating with prejudiced speeches that encourage discrimination.

As a result, Brazil remains at the top of the ranking as the country that kills the most transgender people in the world! According to the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra), 184 murders of transgender people were recorded in the country in 2020, the highest number in the world!

In addition to public policies and acceptance by the family and society, access to information also plays an important role in combating so much violence. Brazil still has a long way to go in the discussion on sexual diversity and respect for differences.

How does the gender transition occur?

Many people associate gender transition with sex reassignment surgery. Although this is the path chosen by a part of the transgender population when starting the transition, this is not the only alternative.

Some people choose to perform the gender transition through hormonal therapies, receiving hormones that match the gender they identify with.

It is important to clarify this because the sexual organ itself is not directly related to the gender that the person identifies with. Sex reassignment surgery is not a determining factor in whether or not a person is transgender.

Another essential piece of information that needs to be said is that the fact that a person does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth does not mean that they will automatically identify with the other. A person can place themselves somewhere along the spectrum between masculine and feminine, not necessarily identifying 100% with one or the other.

Many transgender people just opt ​​for hormone therapy and a name change. In fact, changing the registered name and also the gender that was registered at birth is already possible in Brazil. The process can be carried out at the civil registry office. Upon arrival, it will be necessary to request the rectification of the name and/or gender on the birth certificate.

How is hormone therapy?

Hormones are very important substances that are naturally produced by our body through a system of glands. These substances are released directly into the bloodstream and are transported throughout the body. This whole process is called the endocrine system.

Among the hormones we produce, two of them are responsible for people's physical and sexual characteristics: the hormone testosterone (produced by the testes and abundant in individuals who were born with the male gender) and the hormone estrogen (produced by the ovaries and abundant in individuals who were born male). with the female gender).

Men also produce small amounts of estrogen and women of testosterone. So these hormones aren't exclusive to one gender, just more abundant in one than the other.

Transgender people produce one of these types of hormone in abundance, but do not identify with the characteristics it brings. This is why hormone therapy is important. It has two main functions:

  1. block the production of the abundant hormone;
  2. apply the other sex hormone, which will help the person in their transition process.

In trans women, the application of estrogen decreases the growth of hair on the body, in addition to bringing other effects that accentuate the female appearance such as decreased muscle mass, accentuation of fat in the hips and possible decrease in the size of the reproductive organ.

In trans men, the application of testosterone increases hair production, favoring the appearance of a beard. There is also an increase in muscle mass, deepening of the voice and possible enlargement of the clitoris.

Treatment with hormone therapy should be done for the rest of your life. But the doses of the hormones applied can be continually adjusted. The endocrinologist is the physician responsible for prescribing hormone therapy and monitoring patients .

Phytocannabinoids may help with hormone therapy

Carrying out hormone treatment can have some side effects for people, especially at the beginning, when the body is getting used to blocking one type of hormone and applying another.

In this sense, phytocannabinoids, natural substances present in cannabis, can help. Phytocannabinoids like CBD (cannabidiol) react positively to a pair of receptors (called CB1 and CB2) that are present in the nervous system and elsewhere in the body.

As a result, this reaction can bring a series of benefits , which are being increasingly studied by researchers around the world.

It is known, for example, that THC (another phytocannabinoid in marijuana) is able to modulate different neurotransmitters within the hypothalamus – the lower-central section of the brain that connects the endocrine system with the central nervous system.

Many chemical substances are released in our body at all times, so that everything works correctly. There are chemical mediators that connect with the receptors, creating the state of homeostasis, which is the state of equilibrium in the organism. Homeostasis occurs when chemical mediators are regulated.

Phytocannabinoids play an auxiliary role in promoting this state of balance, helping to mitigate the side effects (physical and emotional) of hormone therapy.

Among the positive effects we can highlight: improved sleep quality, decreased anxiety and improved appetite.

In order to be efficient, cannabis must be used in the form of a full spectrum oil , that is, an oil that preserves all the components of the plant. What will define the beneficial effects of using phytocannabinoids is the dosage – different for each patient.

Although many doctors are still unaware of the power of medical cannabis, there is a growing community of healthcare professionals who are studying and prescribing phytocannabinoids.

As with hormone therapy, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes also has to deal with many prejudices. Investing in information and dialogue are an important part of the changes we want and need.

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