Three Substances That May Be Making Your Adrenal Glands Exhausted

Three Substances That May Be Making Your Adrenal Glands Exhausted

Most people either need their coffee, cigarette, or toke to get them through the day. All three of these daily habits have substances in them that worsen adrenal fatigue. Those substances include caffeine, nicotine, and THC.

These important substances people use on a daily basis all have their list of pros and cons for their use in improving our everyday lives and our health. Most people can use caffeine, nicotine, or THC within moderation and develop no adrenal issues whatsoever. Some people with overuse of these substances can develop adrenal fatigue, or the use of any of these substances make their adrenal fatigue worse.


Caffeine is an interesting alkaloid. Caffeine is found in coffee, chocolate, tea, caffeinated soda, and yerba mate. 1 Most people know the health benefits of ingesting caffeine occasionally, but few people understand that the caffeine has a strong effect on the adrenals. Caffeine over activates the HPA axis 2 and increases both catecholamines production (adrenaline is a prime example) 3 and cortisol. One study though indicates that in healthy people the adrenal glands might adapt to consistent consumption of caffeine; but moderate amounts of cortisol are still released over time though instead of larger spikes. 4 I recommend that if you have adrenal fatigue, no matter how hard it can be to withdraw, you do not need your daily caffeine in the morning to get out of bed once you break the cycle. Most people I have coached with adrenal fatigue actually see higher energy levels in a week after they have quit using caffeine and have gotten past the withdraw. Taper down daily for a week if you have to so you will not get headaches.


The problem with telling people to stop using nicotine, unlike caffeine, is not convincing people that constant use of this alkaloid is bad for your adrenals. The main reason it is hard to get people to quit smoking or using nicotine is because it is heavily addictive. Nicotine strongly activates the dopamine reward pathway of the brain. The strong feeling of reward and pleasure (large increases of dopamine and acetylcholine in the brain) a person gets from taking in nicotine makes the drug one of the most addictive in the world. 5 Nicotine is worse on the adrenals than caffeine. Nicotine strongly over activates the HPA axis 6 and greatly increases both catecholamines and cortisol. 7 Use clean sources of nicotine like patches, toothpicks, or non-aspartame containing gum and ween off your habit so you can let your adrenal glands recover.


I love the medicinal purposes of Marijuana; I believe that they are almost endless! There is one drawback however, I believe to the use of recommendation of THC containing products to improve one’s health. THC increases cortisol levels. THC, unlike caffeine and nicotine, appears to be easier on the adrenal glands though in its defense. In THC studies in rats (causative caution with the studies has to be used since rats and humans are different animals,) THC appeared to not cause a large epinephrine spike which can be harmful to adrenal recovery. There is some possible bad news about the use THC in those rat studies, it appears that in rats, THC use greatly reduces thyroid function by reducing thyroxine levels in some cases by 90%! 8

CBD, on the other hand, reduces cortisol levels and seems to be good for the HPA axis. 9

I believe the use of marijuana is safer than nicotine or caffeine, but it should be used with caution in people with adrenal fatigue.

  1. I am currently recovering from an Adrenal crash. I’m not going to go into all the details here, but using Rick Simpson oil and a desiccated adrenal supplement is what brought on the crash. What I have learned is this: you can take all the supplements you want but until you fix your diet and lifestyle issues that created your current situation, your body will not heal. In fact, many of those supplements can make things worse by over stimulating already taxed adrenals – even the adaptogenic ones. I found it interesting that if you take a supplement and it makes you feel better quickly, it is probably doing the opposite of what you want. I cannot recommend The Schwarzbein Principle II enough. The author is an endocrinologist who had to dig herself out of a pretty big hole while she was in medical school. It is now the focus of her career helping others. She’s crazy expensive, but her book is amazing. And no, I am in no way affiliated with this author or the book. I’m just so happy to be able to get out of bed. Also, there is no shortcut. When you remove all the things that have been bolstering you, your adrenals will show you just how bad they are. HTH!

    • I’m glad for your success but promoting any kind of high-cholesterol diet is very dangerous, as we are not biogically adapted to handle any amount beyond what our bodies naturally produce. There is a massive amount of data showing the dangers of diets high in cholesterol. Even saturated fat has been linked to poor health. A whole foods, plant-based diet is the only diet ever shown to reverse heart disease as well as type II diabetes, while being statistically shown to promote the most weightloss of any diet, all without contributing other risk factors. This all essentially proves that that is the body’s most natural and healthy diet.

      Whole foods plant-based doesn’t mean high carb or low carb; it can be modified to accommodate any diet. Someone with weak adrenals may deem a low carb diet the best, but if you are following a strictly whole foods plant-based lifestyle, then you probably won’t even need to make that modification.

  2. I have found that THC has helped my Adrenal issue tremendously, albeit I take one hit of pure Indica and have a strict sleeping routine but I wake up feeling great!
    My nightly routine for the past month has been (and this sounds nuts but if you had insomnia like I did you would do anything!) Additionally I cut out gluten and sugar from my diet, also coffee and alcohol. Every night I make an Adrenal Cocktail with the collagen peptides and add 10 drops of chlorophyll. I take lysine and arginie for additional support. I then take one hit of indica. I take a shower and afterwards use magenisum spray. And then Im in bed at 9 for some light reading and lights out at 9:30. I get the most restoratative sleep and wake up with no alarm at 5:30-6:00am. I wake up full of energy and have not felt this great in years. Next month I will switch it up to smoking every other day and then eventually stop it but Im never giving up the Adrenal cocktail!

    • May I ask what is collagen peptides? Is there a certain brand u take and why do u put it in the adrenal cocktail? I know of the other ingredients u mentioned. Why do u think u have adrenal insufficiency? I am on prednisone and hydrocortisone due to a wrong diagnosis by a rheumatologist if he only knew what he has done to me.when I saw him I didn’t know all my symptoms were caused by Lyme disease and bartonella. And my adrenals were shot because of all the pain and symptoms from the Lyme over the 20 yrs I have had it. But after having my son and then having my gall bladder out and catching cDiff in the hospital was the the end point for my immune system and my adrenals were done. Long story short even though my labs were normal because I had broken out into a small this rheumatologist figured I had lupus and put me on steroids. Steroids are poison for people with any type of bacteria infection because they compromise the immune system making it not work as well and the bacteria takes full advantage of this. So now I’m totally bedridden with adrenals that I can’t get to work again because once u r in steroids the adrenal glands think they don’t need to make any cortisol. And they go to sleep. And it’s close to impossible to get off steroids and wake adrenals back up esp if u have any stress in your life at all. Unfortunately I don’t have a trust fund and can’t go lay on an island somewhere with no worries . Anyway I have severe pain it’s atrocious, horrific deep bone pain in my legs and feet. I can’t walk opiates aren’t working anymore. So I have tried MJ amd it takes the pain away u have no idea what it’s like to get pain relief but my first goal if I’m ever going to beat this disease is to get off steroids. So now I don’t know what to do. Do I sit in excruciating pain rocking and crying 80% of the time which pulls from the adrenals all pain does. Esp chronic or do I take MJ and help the pain but everywhere I read it says MJ is horrible for the adrenals so I don’t want to make them worse. And it seems like any Dr I go to knows nothing about this. My naturopath had no idea that MJ was hard on the adrenals. My blood pressure runs too low which is what happens when your adrenals go into the last stage of failure. But I may have recovered if that Dr hadn’t given me steroids. So do I take the MJ to help the pain and pray I can still taper the steroids and get my adrenals back or do I stop using MJ for the pain and be miserable. I’m living a nightmare. Suffering terribly. I was so thankful for the pain relief from the MJ it’s legal in my state. Then I started reading how it is awful and will make adrenal fatigue worse. I can’t win. Now if it raises cortisol levels that would be a good thing for me. In the sense that I could use it in place of the steroids slowly. I just can’t have THC casuing release of epinephrine which is the worst thing for adrenals that are not working. I keep trying to only use strains that are high in CBD because then less head high I hate that feeling. MJ would be perfect pain killer if it didn’t cause the head high feeling. I just want pain control I don’t want to feel stoned. Or unable to think. I want to read and do research all which u can’t do when u have that head high feeling. So I finally think I found something that wouldn’t hurt my adrenals anymore then they are already and then I started to see all of this research saying how horrible it is for adrenals. Anyway if u could let me know what collagen peptides u r taking and why u r taking them I would greatly appreciate it. I’m at my wits end losing hope. I have no life. And this disease will kill you it just does it slowly. Attacks all of the organs esp heart. I was just interested because u said u thought the adrenal cocktail u are making is helping. Did a Dr give u this recipe? What led u to start making it? How do u know u have adrenal insufficiency? I’m scared terrified. These steroids are going to kill me because they make my immune system weak. And then it says MJ does also. Like I said I can’t win. I just wish I had never taken those steroids. But I had to keep going I had young child to care for and I couldn’t function at all due to fatigue and pain. I wish Dr’s were more educated on adrenals considering adrenals control so many body functions and if they don’t work u die. U can’t live without them yet Dr’s know nothing about them. That Dr literally has destroyed my life by saying I needed to go on steroids do not ever take steroids unless u are having some kind of acute allergic reaction. But I’m the idiot who took them. Now I don’t know what to do about the MJ. I’m at a total loss. Any info from anyone would help please. And if u could tell me about your adrenal cocktail that would be great. Thank you

      • You need to check out Dr Robert Morse’s youtube videos right away! He knows so much more than these conventional doctors. He’s a biochemist, a naturopath and degreed in more things too. Very wise man. He also recommends glandulars and herbs instead of the steroids. Also fruit diet. It is helping me loads!

      • You poor thing. I’ve had adrenal problems for years and have been taking herbal supplements to support it. Ashwaganda, rhodiola,macca, Dr. wilsons super adrenal stress formula and many other things that have really helped but not cured it, probably due to my crazy life style. Any way i recently got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis due to antibiotics. I got recommended Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Video and book.

        After two weeks of taking bone broth and cutting out all carbs I have started to sleep naturally longer, which i haven’t for years and i came off all adrenal support. I feel more energised than i have in years. Turns out that this diet I’m on doesn’t just fix colitis but a multitude of other disorders/diseases including adrenal problems. Vitality is at an all time hight. I’m 50 by the way and am bouncing around like a 30 year old after only a short time on it. check it out.

    • Hi sounds great to me what is ur “adrenal cocktail with collagen peptides” where do u purchase?? I have low cortisol .76
      This may be due t chronic back and sacroiliac pain for 3 yes

    • I can use your cocktail recipe Man

  3. THC raises cortisol and increases stress, no way. From not using cannabis for a while cortisol has increased, I feel the mental stress and increased weight. Cannabis was keeping things in check easing my mind and maintaining the metabolism. So that’s bs of how they critique cannabis.

    • That’s because you’re addicted. The rise in cortisol is due to the fact you stopped providing your body with a drug it had become accustomed to. You may not realize it, but everytime you smoked you were raising cortisol anyway. This is a proven fact.

      I just quit smoking after 10 years of heavy abuse and I know it’s hard…I’m straight up depressed…but there are herbs we can take to ease our withdrawals: ashwagandha, holy basil, rhodiala, brahmi, American and Asian ginseng. Also, adding cayenne pepper can increase the effectiveness of these herbs by increasing blood flow. CBD oil is also great at reducing cortisol. If man wasn’t fucking up the natural balance of THC and CBD in marijuana, it would be perfectly safe…CBD prevents THC frok causing damage…but when you jack the THC content through the roof, the CBD can’t keep up.
      And finally, exercise is a great way to reintroduce your body to natural dopamine uptake.

      Quit now before it’s too late friend.

      • Yes <3 good job

      • You said what’s on my mind, my friend! Well friggin’ said. I just gave up the greens a couple months back trying to figure out this adrenal fatigue issue. Colds sweats for a week sucked ass, same with coffee headaches. It’s all shit, but nobody realizes they’re addicted until it’s their time to quit.

    • lol. It is just like alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. It initially makes you feel sedated and chill but a few hours after the cortisol rises and that’s why you want another toke. all stoners will say it isn’t addicted and yet will never stop smoking.

  4. I have recently started using CBD oil orally and was wondering where I could find more research. Just want to ensure that it will not worsen my severe adrenal fatigue

    • Hello Mike. I was wondering if you could help me. There is not many information about adrenal fatigue. I wanted to ask people who actually has it and find out What has really worked for them ( suplements or anything that has helped you would be useful) thank you very much, i hope you can help me :)

      • I’m not sure if you’re here for the same reason but start with this.
        Quit cigs, pot , caffeine and most of all…. Gluten and msg (salty foods).
        I stopped having too much sex and switched to an almost vegan diet.
        I’ve been turning around. Really the weed cigs made a huge difference.

      • There is a lot of information on YouTube and google. Dr axe is good.
        Gaia herbs brand Adrenal Health
        Is amazing, plus vitamin D3
        NO GLUTEN
        NO ALCOHOL
        NO SUGAR
        No cigs or weed
        it feels effing amazing to be completely sober for the first time since age 15.. or since age one if you count the gluten
        I sleep deep..
        My dreams are vivid… finally finding balance

    • I personally take one hit of THC at night after rushing adrenals constantly & crashes a couple times a week. It’s very calming. I can finally give my body rest. Although I don’t use during the day (because I’m too relaxed, stoned we might say) but it gives me comfort knowing peace is on its way. I actually get decent sleep and wake with no hangovers. Besides, laugher is good medicine and things get pretty funny.

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