While the science behind CBD oil assuaged many of my concerns, Charlotte Figi's inspiring story was the kicker. Figi, a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with a rare and resistant form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, was actually placed on hospice care and given a "do not resuscitate" order when her parents, desperate and frustrated with pharmaceutical medication, considered medical marijuana. Charlotte is now 99% seizure-free since she began supplementing with Charlotte Web's CBD oil, which the brand named after Figi.
The American public is starting to see the light when it comes to CBD as a safe and effective treatment option for a long list of medical problems. While THC and similar oils have been used for their health benefits going back to the dawn of civilization (even before the Great Wall of China was built!), people are just recently rediscovering the profound positive impact these oils can have on treating ailments.
Administration of CBD reduced the anxiogenic effects of THC, suggesting that it is capable of decreasing anxiety in animal models. It was also documented that standalone CBD treatment reduced expression of c-Fos in the central nucleus of the amygdala. Reduction in c-Fos is understood to yield anxiolytic effects – possibly another mechanism by which cannabidiol attenuates symptoms of anxiety.
Crippa et al. (2011) published a study investigating the effects of CBD on neural activation among those with social anxiety disorders. For the study, researchers recruited 10 treatment-naïve patients with social anxiety disorders. To determine how CBD influenced neural activity, they utilized functional neuroimaging to assess regional cerebral blood flow at rest with a SPECT scan incorporating an L-ethylcysteinate dimer (ECD) tracer.
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”.
Certain individuals may be more prone to anxiety than others as a result of mu-opioid receptor expression and/or activation. Research indicates that mu-opioid receptors participate in the modulation of anxiety based on the specific region of the brain in which they are stimulated. What’s more, a report published in 2015 indicated that the neural circuitry associated with the DOR (delta opioid receptor) can induce OR inhibit anxiety.
It's a little more uniform when the product is absorbed by smoking or vaping the oil, Ward said. But, "there are obvious concerns about smoking something." A 2007 review published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that smoking marijuana resulted in similar declines in respiratory system health as smoking tobacco. A similar review published in 2014 in The American Journal of Cardiology found that marijuana smoke inhalation can increase the chances of heart attack or stroke. Neither review analyzed the effects of vaping cannabis oil alone, so it's unclear if it has the same health risks as smoking other marijuana products.
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