But now, as more and more people are turning to the drug to treat ailments, the science of cannabis is experiencing a rebirth. We’re finding surprises, and possibly miracles, concealed inside this once forbidden plant. Although marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, recently expressed interest in what science will learn about marijuana, noting that preliminary data show that “for certain medical conditions and symptoms” it can be “helpful.”
CBD is available in oils, or it can be added to creams, ointments and beauty products. It can also be used in a vape pen or even consumed through food like CBD gummies. Joel Greengrass, CEO of Theramu, a company that creates non-THC CBD oil, said he has observed a huge increase in interest and popularity of CBD for skin and wellness complaints, as well as for the treatment of a range of anxiety conditions.
Dosage: It is relatively difficult to determine the optimal dosage of CBD for anxiety. CBD is thought to have an extremely low bioavailability when administered orally as a standalone agent. The standard dosage used in research is around 600 mg for anxiolytic effects, but this is in an oral format which has a bioavailability of around 6%. Perhaps even higher dosages and/or cofactors are necessary to improve oral absorption. (Source: www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/5/5/529/pdf).
Cannabidiol also works with anxiety by boosting our own endocannabinoid levels, meaning that we can naturally produce more of the things inside of us that put us in a good mood without needing extra things like CBD. Another interesting side effect of CBD with anxiety is that CBD actually boosts our own natural production of endocannabinoids such as anandamide.
Then one day in 1963 a young organic chemist in Israel named Raphael Mechoulam, working at the Weizmann Institute of Science outside Tel Aviv, decided to peer into the plant’s chemical composition. It struck him as odd that even though morphine had been teased from opium in 1805 and cocaine from coca leaves in 1855, scientists had no idea what the principal psychoactive ingredient was in marijuana. “It was just a plant,” says Mechoulam, now 84. “It was a mess, a mélange of unidentified compounds.”
Cannabidiol (300 mg), 99.9% purity without THC (kindly supplied by STI-Pharm, Brentwood, United Kingdom) was dissolved in corn oil (Zuardi et al., 1993, 2017; Crippa et al., 2004). The same amount of corn oil was used as placebo. The drug and placebo were packed in identical gelatin capsules. The 300 mg dose was chosen based on previous studies that detected the acute anxiolytic effect of this dose (Zuardi et al., 1993, 2017) and the studies by Chagas et al. (2014b) and Chagas et al. (2014c), in which this dose caused a reduction in the frequency of REM sleep behavioral events and improving quality of life (including sleep) in patients with Parkinson’s disease, respectively. The time of drug delivery was based on previous studies that showed that the peak plasma concentration of an oral dose of CBD normally occurs 1–2 h after ingestion (Agurell et al., 1981; Crippa et al., 2004, 2010; Borgwardt et al., 2008; Fusar-Poli et al., 2009; Zuardi et al., 2017).
“It can affect everything from emotion to pain to appetite to energy metabolism to brain function to even the immune system and inflammation,” says Hector Lopez, M.D., a consultant to PlusCBD Oil, one of the top-selling brands. “When you have a system that cross talks with all those pathways, then there are very few things the endocannabinoid system does not influence.”
Cannabidiol (CBD) is just one of over 85 scientifically-identified cannabinoids (or chemical compounds) derived from the flowering plant cannabis. Each of the cannabinoids within cannabis elicit unique neurophysiological effects. Most people are well-aware of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the predominant cannabinoid within cannabis that is ingested by upwards of 230 million people per year as a psychoactive euphoriant.
The eCB system regulates diverse physiological functions, including caloric energy balance and immune function . The eCB system is also integral to regulation of emotional behavior, being essential to forms of synaptic plasticity that determine learning and response to emotionally salient, particularly highly aversive events [29, 30]. Activation of CB1Rs produces anxiolytic effects in various models of unconditioned fear, relevant to multiple anxiety disorder symptom domains (reviewed in [30–33]). Regarding conditioned fear, the effect of CB1R activation is complex: CB1R activation may enhance or reduce fear expression, depending on brain locus and the eCB ligand ; however, CB1R activation potently enhances fear extinction , and can prevent fear reconsolidation. Genetic manipulations that impede CB1R activation are anxiogenic , and individuals with eCB system gene polymorphisms that reduce eCB tone—for example, FAAH gene polymorphisms—exhibit physiological, psychological, and neuroimaging features consistent with impaired fear regulation . Reduction of AEA–CB1R signaling in the amygdala mediates the anxiogenic effects of corticotropin-releasing hormone , and CB1R activation is essential to negative feedback of the neuroendocrine stress response, and protects against the adverse effects of chronic stress [38, 39]. Finally, chronic stress impairs eCB signaling in the hippocampus and amygdala, leading to anxiety [40, 41], and people with PTSD show elevated CB1R availability and reduced peripheral AEA, suggestive of reduced eCB tone .
Doesn’t affect cognition: A major drawback associated with anxiolytics is that many affect cognitive function. Sure it helps to take a pill and have less anxiety, but what if it compromises your cognitive abilities (e.g. critical thinking, problem solving, planning, etc.)? Agents such as benzodiazepines are linked to memory problems and generally impair functionality despite reducing anxiety. Research has highlighted CBD’s ability to reduce anxiety without impairing cognitive function.
Unknown long-term: The long-term effects of cannabidiol aren’t well understood. In just the past few years, the substance has received more mainstream attention and is increasing in popularity. As more scientific studies support its safety and efficacy as a treatment for medical conditions, more data will be gathered from long-term users. As of now, we aren’t sure whether there could be any detrimental long-term effects of cannabidiol – especially when used by minors.
In an initial experiment, the male Wistar rats received injections of CBD and were exposed to 60 minutes of restraint stress – with cardiovascular responses recorded. In a second experiment designed to determine effects of CBD on the 5-HT1A receptor, researchers administered a 5-HT1A antagonist prior to the CBD. Precisely 24 hours after CBD administration, the Wistar rats were tested in an elevated plus-maze to gauge anxiety.
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"It's important to know that the research in this area is in its infancy, partly because we haven't really understood much about CBD until relatively recently," said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. He pointed out that the classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA makes it difficult to get material to use in laboratory studies. Schedule 1 drugs have a high potential for abuse, according to the DEA, and are illegal under federal law.
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