There are two types of cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are located in the central and peripheral nervous system and are credited with creating homeostasis with health and disease. CB2 receptors are located in the immune system, gastrointestinal system, and the brain. In a 2001 study, researchers from Vanderbilt conducted a study on mice to search for CB1 receptors in the central amygdala — an area of the brain associated with anxiety and stress responses. They found the presence of receptors in the mouse brain and furthermore, discovered that when endocannabinoids interacted with them that the excitability of these brain cells decreased. Further studies are needed to prove this finding.
Critics contend that the Realm of Caring parents are using their kids as guinea pigs, that not enough studies have been done, that many, if not most, of the claims can be dismissed as the result of the placebo effect. “It’s true, we don’t know the long-term effects of CBD, and we should study it,” Meagan says. “But I can tell you this. Without it, our Addy would be a sack of potatoes.” No one asks, she notes, about the long-term effects of a widely used pharmaceutical that has been routinely prescribed for her two-year-old. “Our insurance pays for it, no questions asked,” she says. “But it’s highly addictive, highly toxic, turns you into a zombie, and can actually kill you. And yet it’s perfectly legal.”
Likewise, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may interfere with sleep architecture and decrease restorative sleep, leading to increased awakenings, reduced REM sleep, increased REM latency, as well as increased periodic limb movement during sleep (Feige et al., 2002). In addition, SSRIs and SNRIs have been associated with REM sleep without atonia, characterized by increased tonic or phasic motor activity in electromyographic channels during REM sleep (Schenck et al., 1992; American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2014; Lee et al., 2016).
The interesting thing about CBD and sleep is that in small to medium doses, CBD is mildly alerting – stimulating the same receptors as caffeine. However, several patients with insomnia report that consuming CBD oil (in tincture or extract form) a few hours before bed leads to a great night’s sleep. So why do the anecdotal results contradict the reported medical studies?
CBD for sleep has shown to hold significant benefits, with findings suggesting CBD to have powerful anxiolytic effects in both animal and human test subjects. In a human study, researchers investigated the possible anxiolytic action of CBD in experimentally-induced anxiety in healthy volunteers, using the simulated public speaking (SPS) model. When CBD and a placebo were administered to two test groups with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), they found that levels of anxiety in the group who were given the placebo were far higher than those who received CBD; whom performed similarly to healthy controls in some measures.
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.
In most countries it is forbidden to create oil from cannabis, because cannabis is a controlled substance (i.e. illegal drug). However, CBD, unlike THC, is not a controlled drug, and regulations are minimal by comparison in many places around the world. This has led to the appearance of numerous CBD-rich extracts on the international market. Most of these extracts contain low levels of CBD and high levels of CBD-acid, the natural constituent of the fresh cannabis plant before it is heated.
Typical treatments for anxiety usually center around either therapy, medication or both. This includes talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications like benzodiazepines, antidepressants, beta blockers and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). But non-pharmaceutical solutions are also becoming more popular, especially as new research on them emerges. Case in point: CBD products.
A wealth of marketing material, blogs and anecdotes claim that cannabis oils can cure whatever ails you, even cancer. But the limited research doesn't suggest that cannabis oil should take the place of conventional medication, except for in two very rare forms of epilepsy (and even then, it's recommended only as a last-resort treatment). And, experts caution that because cannabis oil and other cannabis-based products are not regulated or tested for safety by the government or any third-party agency, it's difficult for consumers to know exactly what they're getting.
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