CBD for Anxiety, Does it Work?

CBD for Anxiety, Does it Work?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental complications in the United States affecting more than 40 million adults in the U.S. or at least 18% of the population every year. Although anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only about 36% of anxiety patients receive treatment.

Several factors can lead to anxiety. Some of these factors include brain chemistry, genetics, personality, and drastic life changes. We are all, therefore, prone to anxiety.

Anxiety affects us differently. Some people might feel unprepared, unsure, or nervous when trying something new or before giving a speech. These feelings may manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, or clammy hands.

Anxiety is actually an adaptive response that can help us cope with challenges or day to day threats. These responses can help identify and avert potential threats, encourage us to work harder, etc. However, when we don’t respond well to these triggers, they can become maladaptive leading to clinical anxiety disorders.

There exist many medications to deal with this condition. Some of the common drugs include tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac. While some of these drugs may work, some people may not respond well. There have been cases where patients fail to see any changes or are unable to tolerate the side effects. Also, drugs such as Xanax and Valium can be highly addictive.

For this reason, more and more people are looking for natural alternatives that can help them cope with anxiety disorders. This is where CBD comes in. But the question is, can it work?

FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT IS CBD?

CBD (Cannabidiol) comes from the cannabis plant. It is one of the 120+ chemical compounds (cannabinoids) that are naturally produced by the plant. Unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), another popular compound in the cannabis plant, CBD is not psychoactive. This means that you won’t get the ‘high’ that is usually associated with cannabis consumption.

CAN CBD HELP WITH ANXIETY?

Cannabidiol has been touted for its many health benefits, including remedying chronic pain, depression, cancer symptoms, and now anxiety.

HOW DOES CBD WORK?

Before we delve deeper into this subject, it is worth noting that most studies describing how CBD works for anxiety are preclinical and based on animal models. This means that more research is still needed to ascertain the effectiveness of CBD as a natural remedy for anxiety.

That said, Cannabidiol exerts several actions on the brain that may help explain why it may be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders.

5-HT1A AGONIST

5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor. According to experts, anxiety can be treated using medications or drugs that target the serotonin system.


Findings indicate that CBD could represent a novel fast antidepressant drug.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as Zoloft and Prozac treat anxiety by inhibiting the re-absorption of serotonin in the brain. This ensures that serotonin is available in the synaptic space, which helps the brain cells to transmit more serotonin signals. It is believed that this can help boost moods and reduce anxiety. (Of course, the actual biological process is more complicated than this)

Just like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, Cannabidiol may boost serotonin transmission.

According to a study conducted by Spanish researchers, CBD can enhance 5-HT1A transmission and can actually affect serotonin faster than standard selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

HIPPOCAMPAL NEUROGENESIS

The hippocampal is a vital brain area responsible for critical roles such as cognition and brain formation. Scans on patients suffering from anxiety or depression have often shown a smaller hippocampus. Depression and anxiety medications, therefore, aim at triggering neurogenesis (birth of new neurons)

In a study involving mice, it was discovered that repeated application of Cannabidiol may help boost neurogenesis. A growing body of research suggests a link between CBD, SSRIs, neurogenesis and anxiety and depression.

Based on these findings, researchers are bringing forward data suggesting that CBD may help improve the common anxiety-disorders in humans.

HUMAN STUDIES SUGGESTING CBD MAY HELP TREAT ANXIETY

A study carried out in 2010 found out that CBD could help remedy symptoms in social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients. Follow up brain scans on the group revealed altered blood flow to the brain parts concerned with anxiety and mood regulation. In this study, CBD was not only found to be effective in making people feel better but also altered the way their brains responded to stress and anxiety.

In 2011, another study was conducted to find out whether CBD could remedy social anxiety disorder. In a public speaking test that followed, people who received 600mg CBD experienced less anxiety, had less cognitive impairment, were more relaxed and comfortable than their counterparts who received a placebo.


CBD inhibits the fear of speaking in public, a symptom of social anxiety disorder.

A 2015 analysis of existing studies concluded that Cannabidiol has great potential as a natural remedy for different forms of anxiety including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In 2017, researchers from Sao Paulo University in Brazil found out that CBD helped reduce anxiety in patients with social phobia.

WRAPPING UP

It is clear that more studies on human are still needed to ascertain the link between anxiety and CBD. However, preliminary findings validating CBD’s efficacy as a natural remedy for anxiety are promising.

It is important that all stakeholders in the health sector come together and see if there is a way to improve this natural compound to produce even better results. This should be treated as a matter of urgency, given the huge economic and social cost that anxiety impacts not only in the US but across the globe.


This story was originally posted on MedicalMarijuana411.com.

How to Advocate for Patients Seeking Medical Cannabis

How to Advocate for Patients Seeking Medical Cannabis

The use of medical cannabis is becoming more widespread now that it’s legalized in 33 states and the District of Columbia. If you’re a nurse or doctor who can legally prescribe medical cannabis, teaching your patients about this treatment and how it works can bring them one step closer toward achieving better health and improving their medical conditions.

The following tips can help you advocate for patients who may be seeking medical cannabis.

Explain How Medical Cannabis Works

The cannabis (marijuana) plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids—each of which produces different effects depending on which receptors they bind to in the body and brain. THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids when it comes to cannabis. THC offers therapeutic effects of reducing pain, nausea, and inflammation. CBD offers similar health benefits and more without producing a psychoactive high like THC.

When explaining to your patients how medical cannabis works, discuss the differences between different cannabinoid ratios and how that will affect their symptoms. If your patients are concerned about a psychoactive high, assure them that you can prescribe medical cannabis that can effectively improve their condition or symptoms without producing a psychoactive high. Recommend your patient discuss this concern with a licensed medical cannabis pharmacist for best results.

Talk About How Medical Cannabis Can Be Used

Medical cannabis can be smoked, vaporized, ingested, applied topically, or taken as a liquid extract. Each consumption method has a different onset time and depends on your patient’s tolerance level. Smoking or vaporizing medical cannabis produces near-immediate effects, while medical cannabis edibles can take up to 2 hours to start producing medical effects. Smoking cannabis is not medically recommended since this method burns off the majority of the therapeutic medical cannabinoids.

Talk to your patients about their options for using medical cannabis and about which method may be most ideal for them based on their personal preferences and medical condition.

Discuss Possible Drug Interactions

Medical cannabis is highly therapeutic when used on its own, but may cause unexpected adverse reactions when used with certain types of medications. When discussing medical cannabis with your patients, ask about the medications they’re currently using and help them stay safe by educating about possible drug interactions. Medications that may cause adverse reactions when used with medical cannabis include warfarin, pentobarbital, oxymorphone, and disulfiram. 

Want to learn more? Visit our new clinical cannabis channel

CBD, THE NEXT SUPERBUG TREATMENT?

CBD, THE NEXT SUPERBUG TREATMENT?

In recent years Cannabidiol (CBD) has been proven to help treat the symptoms of anxiety, epilepsy and pain. Now, new research is emerging that CBD may be part of the next wave of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.

Drug resistant diseases are on the rise and reaching a critical level affecting all countries. In April 2019, the World Health Organization released a groundbreaking report “demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.” If no action is taken, it is estimated that diseases that do not respond to drug treatment could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050. This epidemic will result in a global economic crisis similar to the 2008 financial crisis.

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Drug-resistant infections are the cause at least 700,000 deaths globally each year

This week new evidence came out that CBD could be one of the next new treatments to help fight the threat of drug resistant bacteria. Mark Blaskovich, PhD, presented research at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting. Blaskovich is a senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The results Blaskovich shared at ASM Microbe showed that CBD has a surprisingly powerful antibiotic effect against Gram-positive bacteria that was comparable to existing antibiotics, including vancomycin and daptomycin. The in vitro study led by Blaskovich found that CBD is active against Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Strep).


Mark Blaskovich, PhD, senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia

Even in low concentrations, CBD had positive effects in treating methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This bacterium is widely known for being the common cause of hospital-acquired infections and is resistant to some forms of antibiotics. The CDC reported that MRSA resulted in 20,000 deaths in 2017 and is considered a significant cause of mortality in the United States.

Blaskovich tweeted this week that “Cannabidiol shows promise against superbug infections.” He also stated that they reviewed CBD’s ability to kill bacteria. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.”

Though this research is unpublished it may be the next breakthrough to combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistant strains of bacterial infections. Blaskovich has received a grant from Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) to assist in the research to find ‘5 By 25’. The ambitious project’s goal is to develop and deliver five new treatments by 2025 in response to the growing burden of antibiotic resistant infections. According to GARDP “Alarming levels of resistance are now reported in countries of all income levels”. This is resulting in thousands of newborn deaths and patients that have infections that do not respond to any available antibiotics. “Drug-resistant infections already cause at least 700,000 deaths globally each year.”

As more countries legalize cannabis, and research restriction are lifted, clinical trials involving CBD and THC will be able to proceed similar to other drug trials. We are optimistic that similar to the FDA approval of cannabidiol to treat epilepsy, more research will emerge involving the medicinal properties of the various cannabinoids found in cannabis.


This story was originally posted on MedicalMarijuana411.com.

Medical Cannabis and PTSD

Medical Cannabis and PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a large portion of our population, in particular veterans and victims of sexual or physical assault. While the current standard is to treat PTSD with antidepressants, these medications are not always effective and are associated with low remission rates. This is especially true for combat veterans who are notably resistant to pharmacotherapy. As cannabinoid receptors play a big role in PTSD, the use of medical cannabis offers a novel mechanism of treatment.

“Cannabinoids help the mind with the natural process of forgetting painful memories. This has been extremely positive for those who have experienced traumatic events. The ability to forget the trauma helps with anxiety, night terrors, and depression. Many times, patients suffering from PTSD treat those symptoms with multiple medications that have their own side effects. Access to medical cannabis has helped patients improve their quality of life after major trauma,” says Nikki Wright, the COO and co-founder of Medical Marijuana 411.

Changes in brain pathophysiology are linked to PTSD, in which activity in the fear center of our brains, the amygdala, increases while areas associated with executive function and memory decreases, upsetting the body’s ability to respond to stress. PTSD is further marked by an imbalance of important neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and symptoms present as intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood, and alterations in arousal and impulsivity.

The active ingredient in cannabis is a class of compounds called cannabinoids. While we most often associate cannabis with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there is another cannabinoid at play that deserves our attention. Cannabidiol works to minimize the “high” from THC with neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that help mediate pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and anxiety. 

Our body has its own endocannabinoid system loaded with receptors that help us maintain homeostasis in response to change; they affect memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and more. Stimulation of cannabinoid receptors has been shown to increase behaviors that allow us to cope with stress, as well as fire off serotonin and norepinephrine, facilitating the release of both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters needed to maintain balance.

In PTSD, the role of cannabinoid receptors should not be underestimated. A decrease in active cannabinoid receptors has been observed in patients with PTSD, and using medical cannabis provides a different mechanism of action in which receptors found in altered regions can be activated. Stimulated cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala, for example, potentially decrease unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety, while receptors in the hippocampus decrease hypervigilance and hyperarousal.

Medical cannabis shows promise to provide significant relief from PTSD symptoms, but the concern of developing a cannabis use disorder should be weighed, especially among a vulnerable population. Additional hurdles for the medicinal use of marijuana is differences in state eligibility, non-standardized distribution policies among dispensaries, and financial barriers in which medical cannabis is not covered by insurance.

4 Scientifically-Based Benefits of CBD

4 Scientifically-Based Benefits of CBD

Touted for its many health benefits, CBD is growing in popularity every day.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the 100+ chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are produced by the cannabis plant.

Several years ago, very few people knew what the acronym CBD stood for let alone know its benefits. However, this narration has changed as rarely a day passes without the mention of CBD in connection to its many natural health benefits.

WHY IS CBD SO POPULAR?

As already mentioned, the cannabis plant boasts of more than 100 chemical compounds that interact with each other to bring about the various effects in the human body. However, CBD and THC are the most prevalent and well-understood of the cannabinoids.

THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive chemical compound in the cannabis plant. It is the main reason we get high after consuming cannabis.

CBD, on the other hand, won’t get you high. This makes it an ideal option for marijuana patients who want to enjoy the super-healing power of the cannabis plant without experiencing mind-altering effects.

Although more research still needs to be done, preliminary findings have portrayed CBD as a helpful compound in the treatment of many health conditions. In this post, we will look at some of the benefits and uses of Cannabidiol, as shown by research.

1. CBD CAN RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN

Did you know that the use of marijuana for pain dates back as far as 3000 years ago? However, the exact components responsible for its pain-relieving effect have just been discovered a few years ago. CBD is one of these compounds.

Our body is composed of a specialized system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates various body functions such as sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.

The human body produces endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters) that naturally bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.

CBD can help relieve pain by reducing inflammation

According to studies, CBD may help remedy chronic pain by either, interacting with neurotransmitters, reducing inflammation, or impacting the normal functioning of endocannabinoid receptors.

In a study involving 47 multiple sclerosis patients, it was discovered that those who received Sativex (a combination of CBD and THC) experienced considerable improvement in walking, muscle spasms and pain as compared to those who received a placebo.

Several studies have shown that a combination of THC and CBD can help treat pain in multiple sclerosis and arthritis patients.

In another study involving people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, it was discovered that Sativex helped improve sleep quality, pain at rest, and in movement for all the 58 participants.

2. CBD HELPS REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression. According to WHO, more than 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. Further, WHO states that depression is the largest single contributor to disability across the globe. Anxiety disorders are the sixth largest contributor to disability.

These simple statistics show that anxiety and depression are common medical disorders. You should therefore not feel alone since, as you have seen, more than 300 million people have gone through the same or similar things that you are experiencing right now.


Over 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression

Although most people still rely on pharmaceutical drugs to deal with these conditions, some of these drugs are not only ineffective but may also have severe side effects or lead to substance abuse. It is for this reason that most people have opted to take relief in medical marijuana.

A group of 24 people suffering from social anxiety disorder were either given a placebo or 600 mg of CBD just before a public speaking test.

It was discovered that the group that received CBD experienced less discomfort, cognitive impairment, and anxiety in their speech performance than their counterparts who received a placebo.

Several animal studies have also shown CBD to have antidepressant properties.

Researchers credit these properties of CBD to its ability to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating social behavior and mood changes.

3. CBD MAY HELP REDUCE ACNE

According to research, more than 9.4% of the global population suffers from acne. This is a skin condition that can be caused by several factors such as underlying inflammation, bacteria, genetics, and over secretion of sebum.

Researchers believe that due to its ability to reduce sebum secretion and its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may help treat acne.

According to a study on the effects of CBD on human sebocytes, it was discovered that the compound helped prevent the secretion of excessive sebum. It was also discovered that the compound inhibited the activation of pro-acne agents such as inflammatory cytokines.

A 2016 review highlighted the antifungal and antibacterial effects of the cannabis plant. It is believed that these properties may help reduce or prevent infections from pollutants or dirt on the skin.

Although the initial findings are promising, more study is still needed to verify the effectiveness of CBD as a natural remedy for acne.

4. CBD MAY HELP ALLEVIATE CANCER-RELATED SYMPTOMS

We can never talk about the health benefits of CBD without mentioning its effects on cancer symptoms. It is still too early to make claims about CBD for cancer, but preliminary findings show that the compound can help alleviate the side effects of various treatments associated with cancer treatments.

Another way through which CBD can help cancer patients is through its pain relieving properties. Both cancer and its treatment can lead to severe pain, mainly due to the inflammation, nerve injury, or pressure on internal organs. Too much pain can become resistant to powerful pain relievers such as opioids.

A study was conducted to find out the effect of both THC and CBD on cancer-patients who could not react to the standard pain-reducing techniques. It was discovered that those who received a combination of both THC and CBD experienced improved symptoms than those who were treated with THC only. By indirectly acting on CB2 receptors, CBD may help reduce inflammation, hence reducing the pain.

Another common effect of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting. Although you can always use pharmaceutical drugs to treat these symptoms, some of these drugs are ineffective hence prompting people to seek alternatives such as CBD.

CBD can help reduce the pain associated with cancer and its treatment

In a study involving 16 people undergoing chemo, it was discovered that a combination of both THC and CBD helped reduce chemo-related vomiting and nausea better than the standard treatments alone.

Some animal and test-tube studies show that CBD may actually have anticancer properties. In one of the test-tube studies, concentrated CBD helped castigate the death of cancerous breast cells in human. In another study, CBD was seen to inhibit the growth and spread of aggressive cancerous breast cells in mice.

However, more studies and research is needed. If you are a cancer patient and planning to use CBD for the symptoms, it is crucial that you talk with your doctor first as he will be able to advise you appropriately.

Other health benefits of CBD include improved heart health, a remedy against arthritis, muscles spasms, Crohn’s disease, etc.

It is clear that indeed, CBD can benefit human health in different ways. Pet owners are also turning to CBD for the health and well-being of their dogs and other pets.

Whatever you use CBD for, make sure to follow the right dosage instructions, this compound is after all a drug like any other. Seek professional advice if you have concerns about side effects of adding CBD to your treatment plan.


This story was originally posted on MedicalMarijuana411.com.

The Nurse’s Guide to CBD

The Nurse’s Guide to CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular cure-all that you may have seen hyped or scrutinized by the media. But what exactly is it, is it safe, and how is it different from the use of medical marijuana?

THC, CBD, and Hemp

Marijuana comes from the leaves of the Cannabis plant, which produces a variety of active chemical compounds referred to as cannabinoids. There are dozens of cannabinoids; THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD are two of the more widely studied. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that causes intoxication, or a high, by activating the brain’s reward and pleasure center, causing the release of dopamine. By contrast, CBD is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause a high. It is also not believed to be addictive.

Hemp also derives from Cannabis, but generally refers to plants cultivated for non-drug use. Hemp also contains much higher concentrations of CBD and a much lower concentration of THC (<0.3%). Historically, hemp has been used to make rope, fabrics, or textiles.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia. For recreational use, marijuana is legal in 10 US states and in DC. In recent years, the number of patients who are turning to Cannabis for medical treatment is increasing. Marijuana has been a therapeutic treatment for cancer patients; it has been shown to treat pain, nausea, and cachexia. Marijuana is also now used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, and many other conditions.

CBD Oil

CBD is generally sold formulated into an oil and has been touted as a solution to pain, insomnia, anxiety, and a wide range of other medical conditions. CBD oil is expected to become a billion-dollar industry in coming years. It is important to note, however, that despite the oil’s growing popularity, it remains largely unstudied and unregulated.  

CBD is readily available for purchase online, but it has varying levels of legality in the United States. Although several US states have specific laws regarding CBD, it remains a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency, and is classified as a Schedule I drug. This designation remains despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill (which legalized the broad cultivation of hemp, under outlined restrictions).

CBD Uses

There is a lack of high-quality, large-population studies on CBD use in humans. Large-scale, randomized clinical trials are needed, but it has been proposed as a potential therapy for a range of conditions, including anxiety, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis. Many users anecdotally claim it has pain-relieving benefits and use it as a treatment for muscle aches, inflammation, and pain. Other people use it to ease anxiety and insomnia.

There currently exists only one FDA approved medication that contains CBD: a seizure medication called Epidiolex, which is used to treat two particularly severe seizure disorders in children.  

CBD is most commonly available in the form of an oil or drops. It may also be formulated into a balm, patch, or topical. There are also edible formulations, such as chewing gum, gummies, cookies, and brownies.

Nursing Considerations

It is not likely that a patient will mention the use of CBD oil during a medication reconciliation, so it is important to ask patients about all products they use, including herbs, supplements, and oils. Patients should know that CBD oil may interact with other medications (such as blood thinners), and it could potentially increase the level of certain drugs in the bloodstream. Although side effects are anecdotally infrequent, it may cause sedation, fatigue, or nausea or diarrhea.

Patients should be informed that the concentrations of CBD oil vary widely, not just from product to product but also from bottle to bottle. A 2017 study published in JAMA found that of 84 different CBD oils purchased through online retailers, 18 actually contained THC. Moreover, 43% of the products were underlabeled (that is, the concentrations of CBD were lower than listed on the product), and 26% were overlabeled (the concentration was higher than listed).

Additionally, because there have been no large-scale studies of CBD in humans, there are no recommended safe or effective dosages. 

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