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.

Time’s Up Healthcare: Advocating for Health Care Professionals

Time’s Up Healthcare: Advocating for Health Care Professionals

In the fall of 2017, the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements began in Hollywood. While lots of organizations were advocating to protect women in a number of fields, they weren’t solely based in health care. On March 1, 2019 that all changed when Time’s Up Healthcare launched.

According to Tiffany A. Love, PhD, FACHE, GNP, ANP-BC, CCA, CRLC, Regional Chief Nursing Officer with Coastal Healthcare Alliance as well as one of the organization’s founders, Time’s Up Healthcare was “established in response to the common experience of power inequity, unsafe work environments, and a lack of inclusion at every level of health care leadership. The aim is to drive new policies and decisions that result in more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership; address workplace harassment and other types of discrimination; and create equitable and safe work cultures within all facets of the health care industry.”

She took the time to answer our questions about the organization. What follows is an edited version of the interview.

You’re a founding member of the initiative. Why did you get involved?

I have worked in health care since the age of fifteen. I’ve experienced a lot of harassment and other types of discrimination over the years, and I had accepted it as a normal aspect of working in the health care environment. In more recent years, I decided that I would take a stand to create the change I wanted to see, and Time’s Up Healthcare offered me that opportunity.

What is the mission for Time’s Up Healthcare? What does the group hope to accomplish?

Our mission is to unify national efforts to bring safety, equity, and dignity to our workplace. We want to engage and support health care professionals and organizations from all disciplines to change policy and practices to support safe, equitable, and inclusive work environments. We want to raise awareness about the issues that health care professionals face. We also want to provide support for survivors through the Time’s Up Healthcare Legal Defense Fund.

Why is it important for this group to exist? How do you hope to change healthcare?

Time’s Up Healthcare is important because health care professionals need a group who will advocate for them without expecting anything in return. Time’s Up Healthcare is a 501(c)(3) foundation. Most of the work is done by volunteer health care professionals who donate their time and money to this important initiative.

As health care professionals, we are aware of the research that has proven patient safety is at risk when health care workers are forced to work in an environment that is not safe, equitable, or inclusive. The health of the employees as well as the patients is impacted by these conditions.

What do most health care workers not realize about harassment in the workplace? Or assault?

Many health care workers have been desensitized to harassment because it is so common. Harassment can be in the form of verbal aggression, exclusion, bullying behaviors, and the threat of physical violence. It can also take the form of assault through unwanted touching and even physical violence.

If nurses want to get involved with the group, what can they do?

We welcome you to join us at https://www.timesuphealthcare.org. You can sign up for our newsletter or purchase a pair of Time’s Up Healthcare scrubs under the shop tab. A portion of the proceeds will assist survivors through the Time’s Up Healthcare Foundation and Legal Defense Fund. You can also become a sponsor or encourage your organization to become a signatory who pledges commitment to align with Time’s Up Healthcare’s core statements.

You can also follow us on social media. We are on Twitter: @TIMESUPHC, Facebook: Time’s Up Healthcare, and Instagram: timesuphc. Look for Time’s Up Healthcare. You can also search the hashtags: #TimesUpHealthcare #TIMESUPHC and #TUHHERO.

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.

Dealing with Anxiety When New to Nursing

Dealing with Anxiety When New to Nursing

The day has finally come, and you’re about to embark on your long-awaited journey as a nurse. You’re excited and nervous as ever. After all those years of school and then searching for a job, the moment has come at last: Day 1 as a nurse. As you pull up your compression socks in the morning and put on your freshly ironed scrub set, your stomach is filled with butterflies, your mind has a million questions marks, and your hands are shaking from nervousness. How will you get through the first day?

Yet, somehow, you did. You made it through the first day! And yet, you may have come home with a splitting headache, and feeling more worried and nervous than ever. You are ready to quit. Sound familiar?

This uneasy feeling you are experiencing is called anxiety. You may have heard that anxiety is on the rise, but don’t worry! Almost all new nurses suffer from this. It is almost abnormal not to have some sort of anxiety. And great news to you — it will pass! It usually peaks at the beginning, but goes away after about a year.

Anxiety Defined

Anxiety is a condition that causes obsessive thinking, along with feelings of tension, restlessness, and the inability to set aside a worry or fear.

Common symptoms of anxiety include: constant worry, excessive sweating, knots in your stomach, constantly questioning and re-questioning yourself and your decisions, racing thoughts, unwanted thoughts, and insomnia.

Causes

It mostly comes from a lack of confidence, which comes from a lack of experience. You are thrown into a new environment with a new routine that you are totally not used to. Besides a few clinicals and beginning orientation, you are utterly on your own. You have to care and provide for sick patients while being overwhelmed by all the tasks you are required to finish while learning the ropes. This is all a huge challenge, and the fear of messing up on a patient just tops it all off. From time to time, you will have to deal with Code Blue situations, which require rapid response and your brain has to quickly remember all those critical skills you learned. Your lack of experience and the fear of the unknown can make anxiety-provoking situations even more stressful.

How to Deal with New Nurse Anxiety

To avoid experiencing burnout, it is crucial for you to deal with this almost unavoidable anxiety. You have spent so many days and years working for this stage of life — don’t let all that work go to waste!

1. Awareness

When you are aware of your problem and how normal and common it is, you’ve discovered half the solution already! If you are reading this, chances are that you know the problem and are looking for the second half of the solution. Read on…

2. Ask for Help!

Plain and simple as that. Although you might feel self-conscious at the beginning to constantly ask for help, just find yourself one go-to nurse. Explain to her you need someone to fall back on for all your questions and ask her if she minds. Most of the time, nurses understand how you feel and will be glad to help if they can. Just knowing you have someone to depend on will help your anxiety rate go down. When you need to scramble every time, trying to figure out who to ask your questions to this time, it can add much unwanted stress.

3. Find a Mentor and Support Group

The benefit of talking to peers who are going through the same thing as you can be two-fold. Firstly, you can vent your heart out. Sound foolish? But let me tell you: if you have a lot bubbled up inside you, it increases your anxiety. You feel alone, lost, and drowning in your own self. Talking it out will take lessen that uneasy feeling inside of you. Secondly, your mentor and support group will then be able to validate your feelings, and you will realize that what you are experiencing is normal. You’ll realize you are not alone, and together, you can come up with solutions. A mentor can give you tried and true tips for your specific nursing career, and can walk you through the beginning rough times.

4. Eat, Sleep, and Relax

Eating and sleeping well is a must! If you don’t eat and sleep well, you will simply not be able to focus and remember all of those skills you worked so hard to master. You will not have energy to deal with your patients and to stay awake during your shift. Make sure you take the time to take good care of yourself. Find the time to relax. Breath in and out a few times, and remember that this difficult time will pass. Repeat that over and over. It will calm your mind (and nerves) down.

If necessary, do it in front of a mirror. Breathe in, breathe out, and feel your whole body relax. Let your shoulders drop, and your fingers go loose, and repeat in your mind, “This too shall pass.”

In addition, limit caffeine intake since caffeine is a stimulant that causes the “fight or flight” response, and leads to unwanted anxiety. Although nurses are known to live on coffee, scrubs, and rubber gloves, avoid the coffee until you are used to nurse life and your anxiety has gone down.

5. Separate Work and Home Life

“One time I woke in the middle of the night panicked because I thought I had forgotten to give my husband insulin (he’s not diabetic),” recalls nurse Mack Marie. When at home, you should forget you are a nurse. Like I said before, focus on relaxing, eating, and sleeping well. Get in some exercise, and sweat out all the stress. Go out and spend time with loved ones, and forget all your work problems. Do the things you love, and leave your work at work.

6. Keep a Diary

Research has proven that writing helps alleviate stress and anxiety. Pour out your feelings and frustrations in your diary until you feel like a weight has been lifted from your heart. Initially, writing may upset you and cause you to get worked up, but eventually it will calm you down, and help get you through this difficult time period.

So, to conclude, you are human, and you will make mistakes. It will happen inevitably. Embrace your mistakes and don’t let them overwhelm you. You will grow and learn a tremendous amount from them. Realize what you are experiencing is so super normal. Try the tips, get yourself a support group, try to keep calm, and nurse on!

A Nurse I Know Tried to Commit Suicide

A Nurse I Know Tried to Commit Suicide

I knew something was wrong when she was late for work. She hadn’t called out and hadn’t texted anyone where she was. I peeked into her office. I wasn’t looking for any clues about where she was or anything; I was looking for her in an empty room. What struck me was how neat the otherwise messy work place was. It was as if she was going on a trip and wanted to leave the office orderly in case anyone came in while she was gone. The loose ends were tied up. Thankfully, she was not successful in her suicide attempt.

Everyone claimed to not know anything, but we knew the whole story, pieced together from social media posts. We were all quiet and looking at each other like we were examining each other to see if anyone else was at risk for committing suicide. One nurse said, in typical off-color nursing humor: “We know what we are going through ourselves, but you never know if the person next to you is circling the drain.” We all nervously giggled. The comment hurt to hear…but it was accurate, stripped down to the basic cutting truth. We really don’t listen to the answer of a tossed out “how are you”? We are so concerned with ourselves and our own issues that we rarely take the time to reach out to someone else.

Prompted by what happened, the hospital presented education on suicide prevention. I didn’t want to attend. Why bother? I’d been depressed after my mother died, I’d been through treatment, and you couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but a friend of mine did attend and she was very moved by what she had heard. She shared with everyone on the unit what she felt was the most important takeaway: do not be afraid to ask someone if they want to harm themselves or commit suicide.

During a private conversation, this friend came right out and asked me if I ever thought of commiting suicide, if I’d ever been depressed. I didn’t look her in the eye when I said that in the past I had thought of what the world would be like without me in it, particularly after my mother had died. I told her that I had felt like I was surrounded by blackness, like I was sitting in the bottom of a well and I couldn’t get out. I had sought help and was diagnosed with depression. When I saw tears in her eyes I immediately regretted what I had said because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had been depressed—that there was a chink in my armor. She told me that she had learned that people who are depressed verbalize that they are in a very dark place, feeling like they are surrounded by nothingness and blackness with no way out. My friend kept looking at me like she was really seeing me and asked me to make her a promise. She made me promise that if I ever felt like that again, that I would tell her. My mental fingers were crossed. Strong people don’t reveal weaknesses and we certainly don’t share feelings—we just tamp them down, deny them, and keep going. I didn’t need help and besides, I was thinking, what could you do for me? But the concern and the tears in her eyes really stayed with me.

The truth was that I was sitting at the bottom of that well. Work and life and just the energy required for living were becoming too much again, but my friend had opened the door to the darkness and a little bit of light had shone in. Several weeks went by and we were talking on the unit about work related issues and I causally asked my friend if she remembered making me promise to tell her if I ever felt like I was sitting in the blackness. Tears filled her eyes again when I told her that I was back in the well again. I watched as she went to the computer, made an entry, and handed me on a piece of paper: the link to the employee assistance program at our hospital. She stayed with me while I contacted them and I was seen by a counselor the next day.

I am aware that we all do not know someone we feel comfortable talking to, but in our busy days of being a nurse and caring for patients and caring for ourselves and our families, we need to be able to recognize when one of our colleagues is reaching out, however silently, for our help.

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