In the past few years, just such a cure has seemingly presented itself. Amid the less common remedies that can be found on the internet—special diets, meditation, biofeedback, surgical implants—a new product has recently gained prominence: CBD oil (sometimes known simply as “hemp oil”), so named for its chief chemical compound, cannabidiol, which occurs naturally in cannabis plants. In online forums and news articles, CBD has been hailed as a new frontier in epilepsy treatment, with parents testifying that it managed to stop their children’s seizures when nothing else could.
Phillip Hague, the chief horticulturist at a Denver cannabis company called Mindful, sniffs the roots of a plant to check on their health. He’s grown cannabis most of his life and has traveled the world researching its many varieties. He’s interested in developing new strains with higher concentrations of marijuana’s lesser known compounds that appear to have medical uses. “Cannabis speaks to me,” he says.
One of the most popular and well-known uses of pure cannabis essential oil is to get relief from stress and anxiety, according to a report published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. The natural compounds found in this oil, including the famed THC, which is what gives cannabis the distinction of a drug in many countries, are very good for releasing pleasure hormones and relaxing the mind. It also helps in reducing stress and inducing a sense of calmness and relaxation.
For patients suffering from seizures, the legalization of cannabis would be a decisive turning point. Epilepsy makes you desperate. Seizures are painful, sometimes debilitating. And then there are the aftershocks: broken teeth, bruises and cuts, lost time, humiliation. People with epilepsy are often depressed, and have more than double the suicide rate of the population at large. Epilepsy is also associated with a syndrome known as Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, wherein a previously healthy person with epilepsy simply dies without warning or explanation. Grinding on without relief isn’t an option, but getting help is enormously expensive. Research conducted by Charles Begley, a professor of public health at the University of Texas, found that epilepsy treatment costs between $8,500 and $11,000 per year. Real Scientific Hemp Oil is no less expensive than its pharmaceutical counterparts, with no assistance from insurance. A single three-gram vial costs $149, while a six-pack of 10-gram tubes can cost $1,999 (or $1,599 on sale). HempMedsPx suggests a “serving size” of 0.5 ml twice daily. Only when these drugs are recognized as such will insurance pick up the tab.
Although the science is still unclear on the subject, cannabis oil is being considered as a natural cancer treatment as well as cancer preventer option because it may decrease the size of tumors and alleviate nausea, pain, lack of appetite and weakness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved alternative cannabis oil cancer treatment or use of cannabis oil for any other medical condition, but research shows that it has some anti-cancer properties.
Guzmán leads me around his cramped lab—centrifuges, microscopes, beakers, petri dishes, a postdoc researcher in a white smock extracting tissue from a mouse corpse pinned under bright lights. It’s your typical bioresearch lab, except that everything is devoted to the effects of cannabis on the body and brain. The lab focuses not just on cancer but also on neurodegenerative diseases and on how cannabinoids affect early brain development. On this last topic the Guzmán group’s research is unequivocal: Mice born of mothers regularly given high doses of THC during pregnancy show pronounced problems. They’re uncoordinated, have difficulty with social interactions, and have a low anxiety threshold—they’re often paralyzed with fear at stimuli, such as a cat puppet placed near their cage, that don’t upset other juvenile mice.
Cannabis has shown to have positive effects on people suffering from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. A research conducted in the University College of London, it is also effective in dealing with multiple other neurological conditions like the Dravet syndrome and Parkinson’s disease. It prevents neurodegeneration and cognitive decline, thereby helping those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
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.
Stephanie, generally, I have patients take 20 to 150mg a day for sleep +/- anxiety. Start low and go slow. Know the dosages of your product. Usually 2/3 to 3/4 of the daily dose is 1-2 hours before bedtime, and the other portion is upon waking (to improve wakefulness during the day). Other factors such as stress, hormone replacement, other meds & medical conditions, etc. play a role along with individual differences. I own a compounding pharmacy, so we see a lot of unique needs. I can't give more specific advice in this forum, but there is help!
I decided to try CBD when I was withdrawing from Tramadol, a synthetic opiate I had been taking for pain (with 2 other medications) for over a year. As I began slowly reducing my use, I experienced a lot of anxiety and muscle tremors in my legs especially. I know that using a marijuana medication meant that my pain doctor would not prescribe for me again, but I was getting off the pain medications one by one anyway, so I don't care.
“This is a really powerful compound,” says Mikhail Kogan, the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine. “I’ve seen it work for a lot of my patients.” He prescribes high-CBD strains of cannabis regularly for such illnesses as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism and insomnia.
Anti-inflammatory: Many individuals with neuropsychiatric disorders have severe inflammation, particularly neuroinflammation. Neuroinflammation is associated with many causative underpinnings including: air pollution, brain injuries, viruses, and even standard aging. This increase in inflammation can lead to glial cell and cytokine abnormalities, each of which could contribute to anxiety disorders. CBD has been shown to reduce neuroinflammation, which in turn may directly improve anxiety, as well as cognitive function and mood.
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.
A geneticist, Kane studies cannabis from a unique perspective—he probes its DNA. He’s an affable, outdoorsy guy with a bright face and eyes that wander and dart inquisitively when he talks. He has studied chocolate and for many years the sunflower, eventually mapping its genome, a sequence of more than three and a half billion nucleotides. Now he’s moved on to marijuana. Though its sequence is much shorter, roughly 800 million nucleotides, he considers it a far more intriguing plant.
CBD Oil for Anxiety
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