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.
This has been the year medical cannabis hit the mainstream. The government has announced that it is relaxing laws on when cannabis medicines can be prescribed by doctors, following high-profile cases such as that of Billy Caldwell, the 13-year-old boy hospitalised by his epileptic seizures after he was denied legal access to the cannabis oil that helps control them. Meanwhile a new generation of cannabis medicines has shown great promise (both anecdotally and in early clinical trials) in treating a range of ills from anxiety, psychosis and epilepsy to pain, inflammation and acne. And you don’t have to get stoned to reap the health benefits.
First things first, I am not what you would probably call a chronic anxiety sufferer. I know there are people out there who suffer severely with anxiety on a daily basis, but my specific condition has never really been like that – I have gone through intermittent bouts of anxiety ranging from mild to severe over the past 10 or 15 years (I am 29 now and my first bouts started in high school), but it has never been what I would consider a chronic, day-to-day situation.
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McGuire published his own study in August, in which CBD was shown to reduce psychotic episodes in people with schizophrenia. The daily dose was 1,000mg of pure CBD. And a study in which CBD seemed to ease anxiety, published in Nature in 2011, administered a single dose of 600mg, an hour and a half before giving participants a public speaking task. These larger doses contrast with that found in, say, Botanical Labs’ CBD drink. Rebekah Hall, the company’s founder, says her drink is for recreational rather than medicinal purposes and “the amount of CBD per batch is constant and precise, at 2mg per bottle”. A daily dose of two hemp capsules made by Nature’s Plus offers 15mg of mixed “plant cannabinoids” without a specific CBD count.
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.
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The good news is that most of the official research done on CBD oil has shown that there are very few negative side effects from using it. However, CBD is not without some side effects. Most notably, in the clinical studies for epilepsy, sedation was one of the more common side effects. Decreased appetite and diarrhea were also seen in some patients. Depending on what other medicines they are taking, certain patients may need to have periodic blood tests to check on liver function.
The truth is that no one knows precisely what any of these molecules are doing to us. It is a case of finding the effects first and working backwards to understand the mechanisms. “There are a number of possible transmitter systems that CBD could act on,” says McGuire. “And it’s not 100% clear which ones are critical for anxiety, or psychosis or schizophrenia. But [the antipsychotic effect] is a different mechanism from existing treatments, which is a big deal because existing treatments aren’t working.”
“These studies mainly point to CBD’s ability to interact with ... serotonin receptors and GABA receptors in the brain,” she explained. “Serotonin plays an important role in mood and anxiety, and GABA is known as the main ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter, meaning it calms excess activity in the brain and promotes relaxation. GABA receptors are the target of benzodiazepines, which are a class of anti-anxiety drugs.”
My trouble falling asleep has never been a major problem. But when I recently learned that nearly 60 percent of people taking cannabidiol—better known as CBD, one of the over 80 compounds found in the marijuana plant—are doing it to help with sleep, I was intrigued. (That stat's according to a survey conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online community that brings doctors and cannabis patients together.)
Hey Linda. Thanks for your comment. I understand your frustration. Since you say you are taking Seroquel, I recommend checking with a doctor if you are mixing CBD with this and other medications. As far as dosage goes, always best to start low (0.5 mg to 20 mg of CBD) and then only add more if you need it and slowly increase your dose. A good guidebook I have been recommending lately which provides helpful information is called CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis–Healing without the High Check it out and let me know what you think and if you have more questions 🙂
If you’re like me, I think you’ll agree with me when I say that lack of sleep really interrupts your life. You can become cranky and irritable, snapping at friends and colleagues while your body is screaming for rest. Maybe you’ve gone down the laundry list of “fixes” — meditation, yoga, alcohol, exercise, an electronics detox before bed, you know the drill— but nothing seems to be working. It can be frustrating beyond measure.
Throughout the SPST, researchers utilized the Visual Analogue Mood Scale (VAMS), Negative Self-Statement scale (SSPS-N), and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductance) to determine the anxiolytic efficacy of CBD. Results indicated that those receiving the CBD exhibited significantly less anxiety, cognitive deficits, speech discomfort, and decreased alertness on the VAMS measure. Contrastingly, the individuals receiving the placebo exhibited high anxiety, cognitive deficits, high alertness, and overall discomfort on the VAMS.
As a consumer, you can look at the manufacturer's website to see whether they batch-test their products, or ask them directly. You could also send a sample of your CBD oil to a testing facility yourself, something Bonn-Miller says he would do if he were trying to treat someone with a severe issue such as epilepsy. Testing can also determine whether the product contains pesticides, heavy metals, or other toxins.
Because of this classification, it's not easy for researchers to get their hands on the drug. "That's not to say you can't do it, but there are hoops you need to jump through that can be a pain, which may deter researchers from going into this space," Bonn-Miller said. "Relatively speaking, it's a small group of people in the U.S. that do research on cannabinoids in humans."
Medical Disclaimer: Statements in any video or written content on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product. Representations regarding the efficacy and safety of CBD oil have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA only evaluates foods and drugs, not supplements like these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. The material on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult your physician before beginning any supplement program.
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