Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 30 percent of adults in the United States (that's 66 million people) and an estimated 25 percent of teenagers and preteens are affected by anxiety. As a functional medicine practitioner, I see many people who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, and from these statistics, it should be no surprise. But just because something is common doesn't make it normal. Fortunately, new insights into the cause of anxiety may help with the development of more effective treatment options.
The cannabinoids found in both CBD and THC oil mimic the endocannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce. Endocannabinoids are compounds that regulate vital functions such as internal stability, homeostasis, pain regulation, and immune system functioning. Whether they’re produced by the body or obtained from the cannabis plant, cannabinoids facilitate communication on a cellular level between cells to trigger various bodily processes. Therefore, a deficiency of cannabinoids can result in a system thrown out of balance, manifesting in unwanted symptoms and other health complications.
Former Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plaummer takes a dose of cannabidiol in Colorado in 2016. CBD oil, often dispensed under the tongue with a dropper, has been regulated as a supplement in the U.S., not a medicine. So strength and purity may vary from brand to brand, or even bottle to bottle, scientists say. Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post via Getty Images hide caption
It's a little more uniform when the product is absorbed by smoking or vaping the oil, Ward said. But, "there are obvious concerns about smoking something." A 2007 review published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that smoking marijuana resulted in similar declines in respiratory system health as smoking tobacco. A similar review published in 2014 in The American Journal of Cardiology found that marijuana smoke inhalation can increase the chances of heart attack or stroke. Neither review analyzed the effects of vaping cannabis oil alone, so it's unclear if it has the same health risks as smoking other marijuana products.
Overall, preclinical evidence supports systemic CBD as an acute treatment of GAD, SAD, PD, OCD, and PTSD, and suggests that CBD has the advantage of not producing anxiogenic effects at higher dose, as distinct from other agents that enhance CB1R activation. In particular, results show potential for the treatment of multiple PTSD symptom domains, including reducing arousal and avoidance, preventing the long-term adverse effects of stress, as well as enhancing the extinction and blocking the reconsolidation of persistent fear memories.
The list includes marijuana (undifferentiated by strain) and heroin. (While the federal government oversees marijuana research, marijuana use is regulated, in part, by state laws.) As a result, scientists who study the compound must follow a host of restrictive rules. Last year, responding to a request from several governors to change marijuana’s designation, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that all cannabis would remain a Schedule 1 drug.
While the science behind CBD oil assuaged many of my concerns, Charlotte Figi's inspiring story was the kicker. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was actually placed on hospice care and given a "do not resuscitate" order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana. Charlotte is now 99% seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web's CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.
Among the company’s many offerings is Real Scientific Hemp Oil, which it sells through its subsidiary HempMedsPx, also based in Poway. On its web site, HempMedsPx describes how its hemp “is grown in northern European microclimates, without the use of any pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers.” The company promises that it “continuously scrutinizes and improves the processes to meet all regulations and exceeds quality standards.”
Yet even those who believe in this power recognize that CBD medicine remains largely unexplored: Treatments are not systematized, many products are not standardized or tested, and patients (or their parents) are generally left to figure out dosing on their own. While some suppliers and dispensaries test the CBD and THC levels of their products, many do not. “We really need more research, and more evidence,” Kogan says. “This has to be done scientifically.”
...with due respect, your experience Locsta is almost precisely what happened with my....chihuahua. Degenerative disc disease, excruciating pain, prednisone worked, but couldn't keep her on it..pain killers and muscle relaxants didn't help, really thought I would have to put her down. Chi bloggers suggested CBD; gave PetReleaf a shot--like you, literally within minutes I could see the difference, in days she was pain free and now is back in charge of our world. The real key here is that with my dog, there is zero, nada, chance that there was any placebo effect...
All exposure to restraint stress resulted in increased blood pressure and heart rate, thereby significantly increasing anxiety in the elevated plus-maze 24 hour. However, administration of CBD alleviated the anxiety associated with the elevated plus-maze. Prior administration of the 5-HT1A antagonist inhibited the therapeutic effects of the cannabidiol.
Many who take prescription medication for insomnia or other sleep-related issues complain of feeling lethargic, nauseated, distracted, and unable to focus - and that’s just some of the side-effects. Many of those who take prescription medication are also unable to operate vehicles or machinery, which can mean the loss of mobility and even the loss of income. But how do you find something that helps you maintain a decent sleep without all the horrible side-effects of prescription medication?
Some users speculate about appropriate dosages or methods of application—including whether or not a small amount of THC boosts CBD’s effects, or whether different methods of administration lead to quicker or more significant effects. Some CBD producers also claim that it has a cumulative effect, and so needs to be used regularly to produce a benefit. But Grant says it’s tough to say at this point exactly how people should (or shouldn’t) be using CBD.
Designs: To accurately know whether CBD is an effective intervention for anxiety disorders, robust designs should be implemented in research. In other words, study designs should be placebo-controlled, double-blinded, randomized, and preferably with large sample sizes. Unfortunately, a majority of the published literature investigating the anxiolytic potential of CBD utilizes suboptimal designs, has limited numbers of participants, or both.
When appropriate doses of CBD are taken during the day (which should be determined in consultation with your doctor, but often include one dose in the morning and one in the evening), daytime performance is drastically improved, and in turn, both the “strength and consistency” of the sleep-wake cycle is also improved. Naturally, this enhances the ability of the body to enter the all-important non-REM sleep cycle at night.
Basically, CBD is a 100% natural chemical that’s found in the marijuana plant. It is what’s referred to as a “phytocannabinoid,” which means it belongs to a class of molecules that interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors belong to the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which is responsible for essentially all of our homeostatic functions.
Anxiety subtypes: While the literature confers therapeutic efficacy of CBD for anxiety disorders, it doesn’t mention whether CBD may be more effective for certain subtypes of anxiety compared to others. Although most types of anxiety share commonalities, not all are the same nor exhibit the same underlying neural abnormalities. Therefore, it is logical to assume that CBD may provide greater benefit to those diagnosed with one type of anxiety (e.g. social phobia) than another (e.g. OCD).
Both Bonn-Miller and Ward stress that it's up to the consumer to be well-educated about the material they're purchasing and the research that's out there. "The companies that are creating [cannabis oils] are offering lots of claims about its use that are not necessarily substantiated by any research," Bonn-Miller said. So "I think there needs to be, from a consumer standpoint, a lot of vigilance," he added.
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