This is a topic I am asked about all the time, and have been for years: how does cannabis help sleep and health? I’ve heard that the number-two reason why people smoke or use cannabis is for sleep. Considering the recent passing of the recreational use of cannabis in California and other several states I think it is high time (pun intended!) to look at CBD, one of the most active ingredients in medical cannabis.
These CBD-only laws also attempt to impose some regulation on CBD oils, such as establishing how much CBD and THC such products must contain. For example, on June 1, the day I sat down with Hernandez in Fort Worth, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed the state’s Compassionate Use Act into law in Austin. The law requires that all CBD products contain no more than 0.5 percent THC and at least 10 percent CBD. However, the bill does not specify how the state plans to enforce this requirement. The law contains no language outlining how laboratories can test CBD products, what kinds of standards they would use, or who would regulate them.
The exclusion criteria for the trial were: (i) presence of organic brain syndromes; (ii) use of psychoactive drugs, including nicotine; (iii) presence of general medical conditions, assessed by the patient’s report during the interview and/or through physical examination; (iv) presence of psychiatric disorders (assessed with the SCID-IV); (v) pregnancy; (vi) previous history of any sleep disorder (based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index - PSQI); and (vii) recent changes in sleep time (variation of more than 2 h in the last 7 days, measured through the sleep log). Thus, the volunteers were all non-smokers and had not taken any medications for at least 3 months before the study. Moreover, none of them had used marijuana more than five times in their lives (no use in the last year) and none had ever used any other illegal drug. All subjects gave their written consent to participate after being fully informed about the research procedures, which were approved by the Hospital das Clínicas de Ribeirão Preto of University of São Paulo ethics committee (HCRP No. 17912/2013).
CBD’s potential usefulness in treating certain conditions is yet another argument in favor of legalizing the entire cannabis plant. Removing cannabis from the federal list of Schedule I narcotics that are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act would allow scientists to research its full medical potential and pharmaceutical companies in the United States to develop marijuana-based drugs and submit them for FDA approval. Government-regulated labs could test products like CBD oil to ensure safety and quality. Doctors could prescribe marijuana- based medicines with full knowledge of potential side effects and drug interactions, and without fear of losing their medical licenses or being thrown in jail.
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I had come to meet Dr. Angel Hernandez, the director of the hospital’s pediatric epilepsy program. A trail of wall-mounted signs led me to the pediatric neurology ward, a bright and airy space with flat-screen TVs running cartoons nonstop. Decorative kites were strung up in the corridors, and rainbow curtains lined the windows. Some of the kids in the waiting area that morning were alert and awake, others groggy. Some were strapped into special strollers designed for children with mobility problems, and some had shaven heads and healing scars. Hernandez came out to greet me, and I was surprised he recognized me after what felt like a very long time. He had diagnosed me with epilepsy in 2004 and treated me for several years.
I put two drops in my coffee (yes, I realize mixing hemp oil with caffeine is a bananas thing to do, but I need coffee and it is recommended on the website). The oil is much less unpleasant to take this way, although it does hugely change the taste of your coffee, so perhaps save it for your instant coffee, rather than your $5 slow-roasted French drip latte.
Overall, existing preclinical evidence strongly supports the potential of CBD as a treatment for anxiety disorders. CBD exhibits a broad range of actions, relevant to multiple symptom domains, including anxiolytic, panicolytic, and anticompulsive actions, as well as a decrease in autonomic arousal, a decrease in conditioned fear expression, enhancement of fear extinction, reconsolidation blockade, and prevention of the long-term anxiogenic effects of stress. Activation of 5-HT1ARs appears to mediate anxiolytic and panicolytic effects, in addition to reducing conditioned fear expression, although CB1R activation may play a limited role. By contrast, CB1R activation appears to mediate CBD’s anticompulsive effects, enhancement of fear extinction, reconsolidation blockade, and capacity to prevent the long-term anxiogenic consequences of stress, with involvement of hippocampal neurogenesis.
Less than two weeks ago, JBS USA, one of our country's largest meat processors, announced a high-risk recall of nearly 7 million pounds of its raw beef, over concerns it may be contaminated with Salmonella Newport. Nearly 60 patients in 16 states have so far been made sick. This recent outbreak of infections tied to contaminated ground beef is especially worrisome because S. Newport is a strain of Salmonella that has often been resistant to antibiotics. It may also be the largest beef recall in history for Salmonella.
A review published in 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology described how CBD may work to protect the hippocampus — the part of the brain responsible for several important functions, such as learning, memory and navigation — during times of stress, and may also help prevent brain-cell destruction that results from schizophrenia. Another 2017 review published in the journal Annals of Palliative Medicine summarized a handful of studies that suggest cannabis oils containing THC or CBD, or both, may help with chronic pain management, but the mechanism is unclear.
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