Taking CBD oil is like drinking milk and calling it calcium, Hernandez said: There’s some in there, but at very low concentrations dispersed among a host of other ingredients. And what those other ingredients are is anyone’s guess. “The thing to know is that CBD hasn’t gone through the safety controls, the efficacy controls that we usually use, the clinical trials,” Hernandez said. “The jury is still out regarding how safe this drug is.”
Though it's derived from marijuana, CBD doesn't contain any psychoactive elements like pot. "What CBD does is help balance our endocannabinoid system, the main job of which is to keep our body in homeostasis," says Aimée Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor at Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine. In addition to affecting the receptors in our brain that impact our stress response, mood, inflammation, and pain, Shunney says, "it also prevents our major endocannabinoid, which is called anandamide, from being broken down—and when we have plenty of our own endocannabinoids circulating, not only are we not going to respond as much to a stress, but we're going to return to baseline faster, so it's like a recovery system." (Related: The Best Health and Wellness CBD Products)
In 1992 Mechoulam’s quest for quantification led him from the plant itself to the inner recesses of the human brain. That year he and several colleagues made an extraordinary discovery. They isolated the chemical made by the human body that binds to the same receptor in the brain that THC does. Mechoulam named it anandamide—from the Sanskrit for “supreme joy.” (When asked why he didn’t give it a Hebrew name, he replies, “Because in Hebrew there are not so many words for happiness. Jews don’t like being happy.”)
I still have the same bottle that my friend gave me, and at the rate that I’m going I imagine it will be lasting me a really long time. If (when) I do run out, though, I’ll certainly be ordering another bottle of the same exact thing. I’m sure there are lots of other good brands out there, but my experience with the 300 mg Pure Kana was about as good as I could have hoped for, so I don’t see any reason to try anything different (I think the 600 mg and 1000 mg bottles are more suited for pain relief, i.e. arthritis, inflammation, etc). I also think that if you are looking to treat pain, you will have to take it more frequently that what I do.
Nervous system reset: When we experience a freeze-fight-flight response, activity in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is altered. Anxiety and fear-inducing situations skew activation of the ANS so that the sympathetic branch is more active than the parasympathetic branch. Administration of CBD has been shown to prevent overactivity in the sympathetic branch via 5-HT1A partial agonism. This means that administration of CBD prior to or after a highly stressful event may prevent a full-blown nervous breakdown.
Most acutely, the discomfort and stiffness I’d felt for months from a meniscus tear (confirmed by MRI) went away. The occasional twinges I had been getting on runs stopped. More significantly, what had been the tear’s near-constant presence in daily life, such as when getting up from sitting, has disappeared. For now I’ve postponed surgery on the tear. It’s impossible to know if CBD was the key factor in any of these changes. Still, at the end of the month I decided to keep taking CBD daily.
He blinks thoughtfully, then turns to his computer. “However, let me show you something.” On his screen flash two MRIs of a rat’s brain. The animal has a large mass lodged in the right hemisphere, caused by human brain tumor cells Guzmán’s researchers injected. He zooms in. The mass bulges hideously. The rat, I think, is a goner. “This particular animal was treated with THC for one week,” Guzmán continues. “And this is what happened afterward.” The two images that now fill his screen are normal. The mass has not only shrunk—it’s disappeared. “As you can see, no tumor at all.”
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a natural phyto-cannabinoid (or plant-based chemical compound) found in cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana. Unlike other cannabinoids — namely tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects, and will actually counteract these effects to a degree. CBD will induce feelings of sleepiness; for this reason, it can be an effective soporific for people who struggle to fall and/or remain asleep due to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
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As of now, researchers understand that sleep is divided into multiple cycles with different phases, and it is generally regarded that CBD oil increases sleep in the third phase, which is the “deep sleep” phase. Furthermore, it has been shown that CBD decreases the duration of REM sleep, which is a phase of light sleep and is also the phase where dreams occur.
When is the best time to take the CBD for sleep problems? The local “authority” maintains that it must be taken in 3 doses throughout the day or will have no effect whatsoever, but I find nothing online to substantiate this claim. Can it be taken as a supplement to prescription medications for sleep disorders? All sites say to consult your physician but physicians (and pharmacists) claim to know nothing about CBD.
Hemp-based CBD, on the other hand, is most often sourced from legal industrial hemp plants that contain very small amounts of THC. This type of CBD can be grown under the United States Farm Bill. If you are going to be buying oils for anxiety from an online seller, for example, then you will likely be purchasing a product that has been sourced from hemp, rather than marijuana. This is perfectly fine, because even though industrial hemp lacks the mind-altering THC compound, it contains functional amounts of CBD.
Evidence indicates that CBD is an effective intervention for neuropsychiatric anxiety disorders such as: generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, PTSD, and OCD. Researchers believe that its anxiolytic effects are principally a result of its affinity for 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors. While further research is warranted regarding long-term use of CBD oil for anxiety, authors note that it does not increase anxiety, has minimal sedation, and is extremely safe when used over a short-term.
Antipsychotic: Those suffering from anxiety as a result of a condition like schizophrenia may benefit from utilization of CBD oil. While the phytocannabinoid THC may exacerbate positive symptoms of schizophrenia (due to its psychotomimetic properties), CBD is understood to have antipsychotic properties. It isn’t fully elucidated as to how CBD reduces psychotic symptoms, but some believe its indirect modulation of dopaminergic transmission plays a role.
Blake Pearson, founder of GreenlyMed and a practicing doctor in Ontario, Canada, specializes in cannabinoid medicine and said he has personally seen patients who have lowered their intake of prescription medications or reduced the negative side effects of taking other medications. However, Pearson would like to see more robust research, including random controlled trials.
Over the past two years, 17 states have passed laws legalizing CBD so that patients can obtain the drug without fear of prosecution from local authorities. For intractable childhood epilepsies—the sorts of seizure disorders that for centuries have ruined lives and shattered families, the ones even specialists like Hernandez dread—CBD could be a miracle cure.
Hemp oil has never been as popular as other marijuana products. With little to no THC, CBD-rich strains of cannabis don’t deliver the pleasant buzz recreational users seek out in marijuana. In the 1970s, however, scientists found that cannabidiol was effective in reducing seizures. The brain’s endocannabinoid system contains receptors that respond to CBD, producing anticonvulsant effects. Being plant-derived and native to the brain’s own chemistry, CBD is therefore one of the most natural options for seizure treatment available today. Still, not many people took interest in CBD until 2013, when a CNN documentary special, Weed, hosted by the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, highlighted CBD’s effectiveness in combating seizures. Since then, demand for hemp oil products has exploded.
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The second scenario involved anxiety associated with socializing, unknown strangers, a party going on, etc. I also had been experiencing anxiety related to a health issue that’s been plaguing me for awhile and has yet to get corrected. The health anxiety prompted me to run the second CBD experiment, and I went extra crazy with the dosing when the friend asked me to hang out.
CBD molecules can bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found most densely in the central and peripheral nervous system. CB2 receptors are found in the brain, the immune system, and the gastrointestinal systems. Basically, these receptors are found all throughout your body and in part, describe why CBD can impact many different conditions.
The relative representativeness of the small sample size and the use of a single dose of CBD can perhaps be regarded as a limitation of our study, as it does not allow the assessment of the effects of chronic treatment with CBD on sleep. In the study by Chagas et al. (2014b), for example, CBD was chronically administered for 6 weeks to patients with Parkinson’s disease and REM sleep behavior disorder. Since the effects of CBD are biphasic (Zuardi et al., 2017), the use of a single dose also limits the interpretation of the present findings. Moreover, monitoring changes in sleep using a conventional polysomnography presents some intrinsic limitations, as it is insufficient alone to detect drug-induced changes of the sleep EEG. For this purpose, a spectral analysis or a similar procedure is also needed. Conversely, the use of preclinical polysomnography to characterize drug-induced sleep disturbances has been increasingly recommended in the regulatory context (Authier et al., 2016). Finally, it is essential to evaluate the effects of CBD in a larger sample and in individuals diagnosed with sleep disorders in addition to healthy volunteers.
And the products on the shelf aren't all the same, Ward said. "There can be many, many different varieties, and if you're thinking about doing this for medical reasons, you want to find a trusted source and do your research," she said. "Where does that oil come from, and how confident can you be that you know the exact percentages of the different cannabinoids in the product?"
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