Mood enhancement: While CBD isn’t known for provoking a euphoric high, there’s some evidence to suggest that it may enhance mood. Research in animal models notes that CBD yields a combination of anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. That said, this research cannot be generalize to humans. If you’re severely depressed, don’t expect CBD to treat your depression. However, the fact that the drug targets the 5-HT1A receptor and CB1/CB2 receptors suggests that it could improve mood in certain individuals.
So far, though, there’s scant clinical evidence for the claimed benefits of CBD. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD drug, Epidiolex, for treating seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. Otherwise, the FDA doesn’t consider CBD products to be dietary supplements—manufacturers can’t claim the products will diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. Instead, CBD product literature contains phrases like “restore vitality,” “relax and recover,” and “may keep healthy people healthy.”
Today, dozens of companies produce CBD in an array of forms. CBD can be inhaled through vape pens, applied in topical salves, ingested in edibles, or swallowed in oil-based tinctures. Oil has become the dominant CBD delivery method for kids with epilepsy, since it is easy to administer and ingest, and there is no shortage of it available for sale online. There are dozens of companies boasting names like Healthy Hemp Oil, Dose of Nature, and Natural Organic Solutions, each of them selling CBD products at prices ranging from trivial to dizzyingly steep. You don’t have to look hard to find them. If you have a PayPal account and $100 to spare, you could have a vial of hemp oil delivered to your doorstep.
All of this makes CBD remarkably difficult for even the most dedicated health care providers to manage safely. Dr. Kelly Knupp, an associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Colorado, and the director of the Dravet Syndrome program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said families of epileptic children have tried to bring CBD oils to the hospital for testing. “They’re just concerned that they don’t know exactly who’s growing [the hemp],” Knupp said. “They know it’s not being regulated.” But because CBD is a Schedule I controlled substance, high-tech, regulated laboratories, like those at the University of Colorado, can’t accept, store, or test CBD oils, lest they risk prosecution. “There is no such lab that can take that product,” Knupp said, which leaves any testing up to the unregulated testing centers that cater to the cannabis industry.
In general, the preparation methods for unregulated cannabis oil are relatively simple. They do not entail highly specialised equipment, and use easily accessible solvents such as petroleum ether, naphtha, alcohol and olive oil. For this reason, people who have access to cannabis plant material, from either legal or illegal sources, may prepare it at home by themselves.
Since then several other so-called endocannabinoids and their receptors have been discovered. Scientists have come to recognize that endocannabinoids interact with a specific neurological network—much the way that endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine do. Exercise, Mechoulam notes, has been shown to elevate endocannabinoid levels in the brain, and “this probably accounts for what jogging enthusiasts call runner’s high.” These compounds, he explains, apparently play an important role in such basic functions as memory, balance, movement, immune health, and neuroprotection.
No medication seemed to provide a great deal of relief for Harper’s symptoms. But in 2013, three years after their trip to Boston, Penny and Dustin caught an installment of CNN’s medical marijuana documentary and began researching what they could obtain in Texas, where medical marijuana is illegal. Their internet searches soon led them to HempMedsPx and Real Scientific Hemp Oil. The company sent Penny a vial of hemp oil, which she administered to Harper that September.
Those suffering from anxiety often undergo therapy to treat the condition as well. Cognitive-behavioral therapy gives people different ways of managing and coping with anxiety and teaches them the skills to help them identify and handle the root causes of their stress. Therapy combined with medication has proven to be a very effective way of treating anxiety disorders.
Whether any of these CBD products will do anyone any good (or bad) is moot. “Cannabidiol is the hottest new medicine in mental health because the proper clinical trials do suggest it has clinical effects,” says Philip McGuire, professor of psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience at King’s College London. “It is the No 1 new treatment we’re interested in. But although there’s tons of stuff in the news about it, there’s still not that much evidence.” Large, long-term studies are needed; a 2017 review paper into the safety profile of CBD concluded that “important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied; for example, if CBD has an effect on hormones”.
CBD oil extracted from hemp — no matter how it’s consumed — works with the body’s ECS system to replenish cannabinoids and regulate homeostasis. The substance is also anti-anxiolytic, meaning it reduces feelings of anxiety — a common source of sleep problems in adults. For these reasons, hemp-based CBD oil can be highly beneficial for people with insomnia whether they struggle with sleep onset (falling asleep) or sleep maintenance (staying asleep). In addition to insomnia, CBD oil may lead to improvements for the following sleep disorders:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like Celexa, Lexapro, and Zoloft, are primarily prescribed to treat depression. They work by preventing serotonin from being absorbed by the brain, increasing its availability. SSRIs are popular antidepressants that can be used long-term and are commonly prescribed to those who suffer from anxiety as well.
Results indicated that CBD significantly reduced subjective measures of anxiety as evidenced by changes in VAMS scores. Neuroimaging data revealed decreased ECD-tracer uptake when participants received the CBD compared to when they took the placebo. Particularly, activity in the left amygdala-hippocampal complex and the left posterior cingulate gyrus decreased following CBD administration.
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."
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