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
CAN CBD HELP WITH
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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 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).
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.
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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