However, the 2014 federal farm bill allowed for “research” cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp if those activities aren’t in violation of state laws. Only four states—Idaho, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas—have strict no-CBD laws. Since 2014, there has been little to no federal enforcement against commercial hemp products. The upshot: Functionally, hemp-derived CBD products are safe for interstate commerce.
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.”
Hash oil or cannabis oil is an oleoresin obtained by the extraction of cannabis or hashish. It is a concentrated form of the plant containing many of its resins and terpenes – in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids. There are a variety of extraction methods, but most involve a solvent such as butane or ethanol. Hash oil is usually consumed by smoking, vaporizing or eating but sometimes other methods are employed. Hash oil is sometimes sold in cartridges to be used with pen vaporizers.
In addition to fighting inflammation in the body, CBD oil may reduce anxiety by directly affecting the brain. Studies have found that CBD actually lowers activity in the amygdala and increases prefrontal cortex activation, two parts of the brain involved in anxiety. There is also evidence that CBD is able to activate hippocampus neurogenesis, aka regenerate new neurons! This activates CB1 receptors, which has a positive balancing impact on GABA and glutamate levels, associated with reducing anxiety.
Many people find CBD helpful in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia, insufficient sleep, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep disorders refer to changes in sleeping patterns or habits that negatively impact health. Sleep disorders are surprisingly common, affecting 50-70 million adults in the United States. Unfortunately, most physicians prescribe pharmaceuticals to combat sleep disorders rather than managing the disorder naturally. Medications like sleeping pills and allergy/cold medicine are habit forming, unhealthy, and induce negative side effects when taken regularly. Your body develops psychological dependency to sedative hypnotic drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, and they often leave you with residual feelings of grogginess in the morning, even after a full 8 hours of sleep. The good news is that natural, plant-based remedies like CBD have helped thousands get off pharmaceutical sleeping pills. In addition to making lifestyle changes that facilitate a better night’s sleep, ingesting CBD oil before bed will help provide you with a restful night’s sleep – naturally.
But all was not well. Harper has continued to experience health issues related to her condition. And seven months after starting to use CBD oil, Harper’s seizures returned— although not as frequently as before. Penny uses eleven iPhone reminders to keep track of Harper’s daily regimen of medications and food, and she records all of Harper’s seizures in a thickly bound black book. But as her parents continue to closely monitor Harper’s health and adjust her medications accordingly, her doctors are tightly limited in the advice they can offer when it comes to CBD oil. “There’s no research on this product, so they don’t say it’s good or bad. They just say, ‘Don’t stop giving it,’” Penny told me.
As anxiety is connected to the brain’s hippocampus regions. Symptoms of anxiety surface when neurons misfire. Recent research points to CBD oil assisting these neurons and thereby reducing symptoms of anxiety. CBD oil has also been proven to slow the heart rate and enhance relaxation. The combination of these three effects means that CBD does similar work to many of the medications that are prescribed for anxiety, except CBD does it naturally and organically, without a risk of side effects or dependency.
“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.”
Indeed, hemp oil products have grown out of a market largely devoid of regulations or safety protocols. The state of the CBD industry harks back to the age of elixirs and potions hawked from covered wagons to the awed denizens of pioneer towns. There are no industrywide standards in place to ensure that CBD oils are consistently formulated batch-to-batch. There is no regulatory body screening products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residues, and other dangerous contaminants. The laboratories that companies contract to test their CBD products are themselves neither standardized nor consistently regulated. No medical research exists to recommend how much CBD a patient should take, nor is there detailed, reliable documentation of how CBD interacts with most epilepsy medications.
Just like THC, CBD is a chemical compound extracted from hemp plants. Both hemp and cannabis contain cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive substance. THC, however, is the substance that gives users that “high” or psychoactive effect. CBD has many similarities to THC when it comes to potential health benefits, but the main difference is that it’s a non-psychoactive substance, so it doesn’t give a natural high to users. It also does not cause anxiety, paranoia, or the mouth and eye dryness associated with THC, even when CBD is consumed in higher concentrations. Due to these inherent advantages, most high-quality CBD oil products on the market today are extracted from the hemp plant. THC oil, on the other hand, is derived from the cannabis plant, so it contains high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. On the other hand, industrially produced hemp contains higher concentrations of CBD with only trace amounts of THC, so it’s safer and offers fewer symptoms for users.
“THC”—the more-famous, high-inducing compound in cannabis—“works directly on the cannabinoid system, meaning it attaches to receptors and mimics some of our own internal endocannabinoids,” says Igor Grant, a professor and chair of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. But CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system is subtler. “Normally, these endocannabinoid-signaling molecules are broken down by enzymes, and one thing CBD does is interfere with the actions of those enzymes.”
A survey led by the McGill University Health Centre in Canada revealed that cannabis use results in an improvement in non-cancer pain, sleep, and the mood patterns. In the same survey, it also revealed that ‘high’ and dry mouth were the most commonly reported side effects. People who suffer from cancer also turn to cannabis-related options, including therapeutic grade CBD oil, when the pain of chemotherapy or the disease itself becomes unbearable.
Another major reason people reported not being able to get to sleep, or maintain substantial sleep, was due to chronic pain. Many who suffer from insomnia say that they cannot find enough relief from pain to manage to get to sleep or at least to remain asleep through the night. A rodent study submitted to the European Journal of Pain noted a significant drop in inflammation and signs of pain in rats with arthritis after they received topical treatment of CBD for sleep.
Growing and producing CBD oil made from hemp may soon become fully legal. Lawmakers are working to finalize a 2018 Farm Bill sponsored by Sen. Mitch McConnell that removes hemp from the controlled substances list, allowing it to be grown legally on a large scale. Negotiators are hoping for a completed report this month and a vote on the bill by year's end.
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.”
CBD can be taken in a few ways. Oil is probably the most popular, but it can also be taken in capsule form, or even as a chocolate or gummy. After a week of taking CBD in oil form every night, it was clear I’d stumbled across something kind of remarkable. I often slept well the first few nights of trying something new before it stopped working its magic, which I partially attribute to the placebo effect. With CBD, however, the good nights of sleep kept on coming.
You may be familiar with a concept called the entourage effect. The entourage effect states that cannabinoids work better together than they do alone. In essence, CBD is more effective when combined with other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN, THC, and so on than it is in isolation. The terms “full-spectrum” and “whole-plant” are alluding to this concept. Biologically, a person gets high by having THC bind to CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD also binds to CB1 receptors in the brain and has been shown to actually counteract some of the effects of getting high by blocking the activation of THC in CB1 receptors. CBD changes the shape of the receptor so that there is less room for THC to bind to. CBD has even been shown to decrease the heightened heart rate that you feel from getting high. Therefore CBD can even have an impact on the anxiety that comes from the psychoactive effects of THC.
CBD = cannabidiol; HV = healthy controls; DBP = double-blind placebo; SAD = social anxiety disorder; HC = healthy controls; SPECT = single-photo emission computed tomography; rCBF = regional cerebral blood flow; fMRI = functional magnetic resonance imaging; HPC = hippocampus; HYP = hypothalamus; PHG = parahippocampal gyrus; STG = superior temporal gyrus; MTG = medial temporal gyrus; ACC = anterior cingulate cortex; PCC = posterior cingulate cortex
The scientific evidence for CBD's ability to quell anxiety, dampen psychosis, and lift the mood is patchy at the moment, although the National Institute on Drug Abuse is optimistic: "CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety."
One thing that I really really liked though, was that the effects seemed to last a long time. I have only taken the oil on four separate occasions now, and each time it’s seemed to last like 6-8 hours (or at least all evening). This makes sense too, because after doing a little reading up I found that the sublingual tinctures are much longer-lasting than CBD vape oils or e-juices.
Despite the fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, companies like HempMedsPx claim their CBD products are legal in all 50 states. According to a legal opinion written by Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s attorney and submitted to the New Republic, “HempMedsPx’s CBD hemp oil, containing naturally occurring CBD and miniscule amount of THC, is exempted from the definition of marijuana, is not a controlled substance, complies with the Controlled Substances Act, and is legal on the federal level.” The opinion is based in large part on a 2004 court ruling which allowed the importation of hemp food products derived from the mature stalks of cannabis plants.
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.
Out of the 17 states that have passed CBD-only laws, five— Missouri, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—would also establish licensed cultivation centers to grow high-CBD strains of cannabis, which could be turned into oils and other CBD products. This would cut down on the demand for CBD oil from unregulated manufacturers abroad. Even then, though, impediments remain. In Missouri, for example, two neurologists recently refused to prescribe CBD oil for an eight- year-old boy suffering from seizures, citing concerns over federal law and the safety of non-FDA approved products.
Although the 5-HT1A partial agonism exerted by CBD may not be an outright cure for anxiety, it is likely to help many individuals. Studies conducted on humans with panic disorder note impairments in 5-HT1A receptor function and poor 5-HT1A binding. The bottom line is that individuals with anxiety could have dysfunctional 5-HT1A activation and may resort to commercialized 5-HT1A partial agonists (e.g. Buspar) as treatments.
Preliminary research indicates that cannabidiol may reduce adverse effects of THC, particularly those causing intoxication and sedation, but only at high doses. Safety studies of cannabidiol showed it is well-tolerated, but may cause tiredness, diarrhea, or changes in appetite as common adverse effects. Epidiolex documentation lists sleepiness, insomnia and poor quality sleep, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.
The oral tincture from 4 Corners Cannabis is our pick for best full spectrum CBD oil. Rather than a tincture infused with heavy flavor, this product contains light hints of coconut and citrus. The result is a pleasant taste that satisfies those who prefer flavored oils, but it is subtle enough to appeal to those who do not liked flavored oils. The tincture is available in 250mg, 500mg, and 1,000mg concentrations. The Avocado Oil Tincture (1,000mg) is another option that is heavier on its flavors, which also include coconut.
“I just felt good,” he adds. “But I wasn’t high at all.” Joliat’s anecdotal experience with CBD is a common one. Some informal polling suggests a lot of people today are at least vaguely familiar with cannabidiol, and have either used it themselves or know someone who has. But even some people who use it don’t seem to know exactly what it is or whether there’s any hard science out there to back up its benefits.
CBD Oil for Sleep
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