11 Things to Know About Pot and Your Health

Author ArticleAs more states legalize marijuana, it’s important to know the pros and cons of pot—and what exactly it might do for your health.

Health looked at recent research and spoke with several experts about who might want to try it, who should avoid it, and what any marijuana user should know.

It may help with anxiety and PTSD
The relaxing effects of marijuana are well known, so it’s not surprising that a 2016 paper in the journal Clinical Psychology Review concluded that it may have benefits for people with depression, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence also found that a very low dose of THC, one of the main compounds in marijuana, helped people feel less nervous about a public-speaking task.

But it may not be that simple: That dose was equivalent to only a few puffs on a marijuana cigarette, say the study authors. They also found that slightly higher amounts of TCH—anything that would produce even a mild high—actually made anxiety worse. Other research has also suggested that marijuana may be more harmful than helpful for people with certain mental health conditions, like psychosis or bipolar disorder.

The research “indicates cannabinoids could be helpful for people with anxiety,” lead author Emma Childs, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, tells Health. But more research is needed, she says, to determine appropriate dosages and delivery methods, and to prevent the opposite effects from happening.

It can relieve chronic pain and nausea
Pain relief is a common use for medical marijuana, and the National Academies of Sciences concluded there is indeed good evidence to support this practice. Marijuana products also appear to be effective at calming muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and easing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, the report stated.

The National Academies also determined that there is moderate evidence that cannabis or cannabis-derived products may help people who have trouble sleeping due to sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain.

RELATED: 13 Surprising Reasons You’re Nauseous

People with epilepsy may benefit—even kids
In a New England Journal of Medicine study, cannabidiol oil—a derivative of marijuana—reduced seizures by 39% in children with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. That was big news for parents who have been using medical marijuana for years, often illegally, to help their kids suffering from this debilitating condition.

The cannabidiol oil used in the study—approved by the FDA in 2018 and marketed as Epidiolex—won’t make people high, because it doesn’t contain THC. Experts say that results may be riskier and more unpredictable with other marijuana products.

It may be a safer alternative to opioids
Despite beliefs that marijuana is a “gateway drug,” research suggests that the use of medical marijuana may actually reduce dependence on dangerous prescription painkillers like those fueling the nation’s opioid epidemic.

In a 2016 study in the journal Health Affairs, researchers found that there were 1,826 fewer daily doses of painkillers prescribed per year, on average, in states where medical marijuana was legal compared to states it’s not. And in a review article published in Trends in Neuroscience, researchers wrote that cannabinoids may help people recover from opioid addiction. Human trials have been limited because of marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug—but the authors argue that more studies are urgently needed.

RELATED: 19 Things You Didn’t Know About the Opioid Epidemic

It may have anti-cancer effects, but research is limited
Olivia Newton John uses cannabiodiol oil (along with conventional medicine) to fight her metastatic breast cancer, the actress’s daughter recently revealed. Studies have shown that the oil may inhibit the growth of cancer cells outside of the human body, but there haven’t been any real-life trials to back up these findings.

Gregory Gerdeman, PhD, assistant professor of biology at Eckerd College, told Time that there have also been anecdotal patient reports and “increasing numbers of legitimate clinical case studies … that all indicate tumor-fighting activities of cannabinoids.” It’s still unknown, however, whether traditional forms of marijuana would be an effective cancer therapy, or what cancer types it might actually work against.

Parents (and expectant parents) should know the risks
As pot use becomes more prevalent, more pregnant women are getting high, according to a 2016 JAMA study—either for recreational use or, sometimes, to treat morning sickness. But evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to marijuana is associated with developmental and health problems in children, including low birth weight, anemia, and impaired impulse control, memory, and attention, the authors wrote. Until more is known for sure, they say women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should be “advised to avoid using marijuana or other cannabinoids.”

Current parents should also use marijuana with caution, University of Washington researchers suggest. Their study in Prevention Science found that people tend to cut back on marijuana use once they have kids, but they don’t always quit. That’s concerning, says lead author and research scientist Marina Epstien, PhD, because parental marijuana use is strongly related to children’s use—and children’s use is associated with higher rates of health problems.

“Children watch what their parents do,” Epstein tells Health. “I would encourage parents to be talking to their kids and be clear about expectations for their kids about using or not using marijuana and the amount, especially with their teenagers.”

RELATED: Marijuana Use Linked to Higher Sperm Count, Suggests Surprising New Study

Heart problems could make it extra risky
In 2014, a study in Forensic Science International documented what German researchers claimed to be the first known deaths directly attributed by intoxication from marijuana. The authors pointed out that, during autopsies, it was discovered that one of the two young men had a serious but undetected heart problem, and that the other had a history of drug and alcohol use.

The researchers concluded that the absolute risk of cannabis-related cardiovascular effects is low, especially for healthy people. But they say that people who are at high risk for heart-related complications should avoid the use of cannabis, since it can have temporary effects on the cardiovascular system.

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It’s not safe to use marijuana and drive
A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that insurance claim rates for motor vehicle accidents from 2012 to 2016 were about 3% higher in states with legalized marijuana than in states without. But other studies have found no such increase in fatal car crashes in states with legalized marijuana, compared to similar states without.

Experts say it’s possible that driving under the influence of marijuana may increase the risk of minor fender benders—but may also reduce rates of alcohol consumption and therefore help prevent more serious, deadly crashes. The bottom line? Driving while stoned may be less dangerous than driving drunk, but it’s still riskier than driving sober.

Weed smoke is still smoke—and still has health risks
The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse published a set of “lower-risk cannabis use guidelines,” aimed at helping people who use marijuana make responsible decisions about their health. (The drug was legalized for recreational use in Canada in 2018.) Among other advice, the guidelines urge people to “avoid smoking burnt cannabis,” which can harm the lungs and respiratory system—especially when combined with tobacco.

They recommend choosing vaporizers or edibles instead, but caution that these methods also come with some risks. And if you do smoke cannabis, the guidelines say, “avoid ‘deep inhalation’ or ‘breath-holding,’” which increase the amount of toxic materials absorbed by the body.

It’s not just lung-health that frequent weed smokers should worry about, either. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that frequent marijuana users were twice as likely as people who didn’t use frequently to have gum disease, even after controlling for other factors such as cigarette smoke. The research didn’t distinguish between methods of marijuana use, but they do point out that smoking is the most common form of recreational use.

RELATED: Can Smoking Pot Cause Lung Cancer?

For recreational users, less is safer
Canada’s low-risk guidelines may sum it up best with this statement: “To avoid all risks, do not use cannabis. If you decide to use, you could experience immediate, as well as long-term risks to your health and well-being.” The guidelines also recommend avoiding marijuana use during adolescence, because the later in life people start using the drug, the less likely they are to experience these problems.

Finally, the guidelines recommend adults choose natural cannabis over dangerous synthetic versions, and limit themselves to “occasional use, such as on weekends or one day a week at most.”

Some marijuana users develop a condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) causes some marijuana users to experience severe nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that, among study participants, 18.4% of people who inhaled cannabis and ended up in the emergency room of a Colorado hospital and 8.4% of those who ate edible cannabis and ended up in the emergency room had CHS symptoms.

CHS hasn’t been studied extensively, says Joseph Habboushe, MD, who specializes in emergency medicine at NYU Langone. While it’s possible to use marijuana for years without experiencing symptoms of CHS, once a person does experience CHS symptoms, the symptoms tend to stick around as long as the person continues using marijuana. Stopping marijuana use is the only known way to permanently alleviate CHS symptoms, but it takes time. “We know that if you stop smoking you get better, but it takes days to weeks,” Dr. Habboushe says.

This post was originally published on June 29, 2017 and has been updated for accuracy.

How CBD Can Positively Impact Borderline Personality Disorder

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Photo by Laryssa Suaid via Pexels

Approximately 1.6% of adults in the U.S. suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a condition characterized by difficulty regulating emotions, impulsivity, low self-image, and problems creating and maintaining personal relationships. BPD is notoriously difficult to treat. Medications don’t often provide relief from symptoms, only intense and specifically-designed psychotherapy has proven any help.

Cannabidiol (CBD), however, shows promise as a possible treatment option for those who struggle with BPD.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

People with BPD exhibit most or all of the following symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends or family
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between extreme idealization and devaluation
  • Distorted and unstable self-image
  • Impulsive, dangerous behavior (e.g., overspending, substance abuse, unsafe sex, etc.)
  • Self-harming behavior including suicidal threats and attempts
  • Periods of intense depression, irritability, or anxiety, which can last for just a few hours to a several days
  • Chronic feelings of boredom and/or emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense, and uncontrollable anger, which is often followed by equally intense shame or guilt
  • Dissociation and/or stress-related paranoia

Because BPD is a personality disorder, treatment options are limited. Behavioral therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are the most effective treatment options for BPD. There are no medications designed specifically for BPD, but antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and antipsychotic medications are often prescribed to Borderline patients to address certain symptoms like depression, anxiety, dissociation, paranoia, and intense anger. The benefit of these medications for people with BPD, however, remain unclear, and talk-therapy is often the first line of treatment for BPD.

How CBD Can Help

This is where CBD comes into the picture. When you ingest CBD, you ingest certain plant-derived cannabinoids, which act like the endocannabinoids your body produces naturally. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) produces endocannabinoids to regulate the body’s internal functions and control how we think, feel, and react to things happening in the world around us.

Endocannabinoids do not follow what is considered the typical path of a chemical synaptic signaling, which is for a neurotransmitter to flow from a presynaptic neuron to a postsynaptic neuron and bind to a specific receptor. Instead, endocannabinoids flow backward from postsynaptic neurons to presynaptic neurons in a process called retrograde inhibition.

Endocannabinoids are sent throughout the body by the ECS to achieve and maintain the body’s internal homeostasis, or balance, among all of is working parts. In many psychiatric disorders, symptomatic or episodic behaviors can be traced back to overactive neurons, which send too many neurotransmitters from presynapse to postsynapse and overload receptors.

RELATED: Is CBD A Rising Star Or Just Popular Fad?

Since endocannabinoids follow the inverse of this process, they actually block and mediate the transfer of neurotransmitters to ensure the appropriate amount of neurotransmitters are being sent and binding to receptors. And, since the plant-derived cannabinoids that enter your body when you use CBD act like the endocannabinoids your body produces, they also work to mitigate the transfer of neurotransmitters and to combat overactive neural transfer associated with many of the BPD symptoms like anxiety, anger, impulsivity, and even paranoia.

One of the endocannabinoid receptors that CBD activates are 5-HT1A serotonin receptorsSerotonin, informally known as the “happy chemical,” is a chemical the body produces that’s important for mood regulation. People suffering from depression and anxiety, for instance, seem to exhibit lower levels of serotonin that do people who are not. People with BPD exhibit the same lowered serotonin levels. When CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, they bind to 5-HT serotonin neurotransmitters and increase serotonin production, which in turn combats the negative effects of depression and anxiety that come along with BPD.

Products To Use

CBD products made from or with hemp oil can also be beneficial to people struggling with BPD. Hemp oil is high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which could have an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain and help cognitive function. And many psychiatric disorders, including BPD, correlate with a deficiency in Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the body. Research on Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation found it to be an effective treatment method for both children and adults with BPD.

RELATED: Pete Davidson Discusses Marijuana And Borderline Personality Disorder

There is no single, miracle fix for BPD. Managing BPD is incredibly difficult and requires hours of therapy and hard work. With the right treatment combination, though, people with BPD can still lead wonderful and fulfilling lives. This article is not to suggest that CBD can replace existing BPD treatment, or to guarantee that CBD will even work for everyone with BPD who tries it.

Everybody’s different, and so the way BPD manifests in different people and the way CBD affects different people is entirely relative to the individual. But CBD looks promising for BPD patients as a possible treatment option to supplement talk therapy and to target specific BPD symptoms that get in the way of everyday life.

CBD 101: How Does It Work?

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As many of you might already know, CBD oil is a miracle, anti-inflammatory drug that is, according to user reports, able to cure or at least alleviate certain symptoms and conditions, such as muscle and joint pain, as well as anxiety. Nevertheless, it seems that we still don’t know which exact medical issues it can cure.

So how can we then know if it works or not? Well, even though CBD is still quite mysterious, science has determined how it can affect the brain. What’s more, scientists believe in its positive effects. Thus, we can use that knowledge to determine how it can be used for medical purposes.

How CBD affects the human body

CBD, just like all other cannabinoids, actually attaches itself to the brain’s endocannabinoid system. The two important types of receptors we should remember here are CB1 and CB2.

THC usually binds to both of these receptors, which affect various bodily functions that medical marijuana may treat. In fact, the “high” feeling we get after using psychoactive marijuana products is due to the neurotransmitters that the CB1 receptors release.

Meanwhile, CBD also attaches itself to those same receptors, but its MO is a bit different. It can reduce inflammation, pain and even manage our body temperature. Once it finds itself in the brain, it stimulates other receptors, including:

  • Serotonin receptors — these alleviate depression symptoms and regulate our mood
  • Adenosine receptor — does wonders for our heart and bone health
  • Capsaicin receptor — the same receptor that’s at play when we eat spicy food.

Now, we know what everyone’s thinking: can we get high from CBD? The answer is — no. In fact, once our bodies start breaking it down, it becomes a FAAH inhibitor, short for fatty acid amide hydrolase.

Since CBD can inhibit the activity of the said enzyme and block it, it will essentially disrupt CB1 receptors, which may bring about various health benefits. As a result, the non-psychoactive CBD can squash the “high” most of us feel when we ingest THC.

So will it help us cure our health problems or not?

No one is 100% sure whether CBD has real health benefits, but we do have some user reports and studies. These suggest it can alleviate or possibly even cure certain conditions.

For example, people with epilepsy can use CBD to keep their seizures under control, and the same goes for those who have arthritis. Arthritis patients could benefit from a CBD tincture or a topical product, although results are still inconclusive.

In addition, one study even said that this compound could help addicts, especially those who are addicted to nicotine. If a cigarette addict turns to a CBD inhaler, it will smoke 40% fewer cigarettes, all because of the effect CBD has on CB1 receptors. The study also suggests it can even help animals get over addictive behavior, especially in the case of drugs such as methamphetamine, which are harder to shake off.

Mental health

We’ve seen that CBD may cure physical conditions, but when it comes to mental health, we still don’t understand its effects fully. However, some users say it has helped them with their focus, depression and even anxiety, lowering the overall pressure they usually feel and the risk of experiencing side effects that come with prescription pills.

Nevertheless, not all doctors are convinced in CBD’s superpowers. Some say that patients should try it and see if it works for them. Others, however, are wary and need more proof of its success. Yet, what’s certain is that, if one wants to try it, they have to get it from a reputable manufacturer. Otherwise, even the effects we are aware of might not happen, and we might even endanger our health.

Cannabis Cafes are Popping Up Across the Country

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On April 10, 2018, Eric Cahan and his friends started the art café Mamacha in East Village, Manhattan. Ten days later Mamacha decided to include cannabidiol (CBD) in their drinks to celebrate 420, a unique and famous holiday to celebrate marijuana and the culture around it.

The marijuana theme started to attract customers to the café, and a lot of people are waiting outside of the door in a line. Mamacha’s business was booming during that day.

Cahan and his business partners realized that it could be an opportunity to keep their business successful. They tried to learn all that they can about cannabidiol. Soon, the Mamacha café incorporated CBD into its drinks. It also sells tinctures, curated oils, and other products to its customers.

Mamacha owes half of its total sales to its CBD products and beverages. The other half of the sales come from coffee and matcha drinks. The art café is making a move to introduce “functional elixirs” that will have positive effects on a person’s sleeping problems, inability to focus, and pain.

A phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants contains the benefits of marijuana like inducing tranquility and sleepiness without registering the high feeling THC can give. Many companies are starting to get into the CBD-mania by adding the compound to just about everything. The trend will grow at an increasing rate as interests grow and rules on CBD use start to ease.

CBD BECOMES LEGAL
President Trump’s decision to sign the farm bill makes CBD legal. Companies are adding the compound to drinks, supplements, and food despite knowing that it is still awaiting approval. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is starting to make plans to enforce the ban while trying to find a new way for the products with CBD to arrive on the market.

Research company Brightfield Group predicts that the CBD market will reach about $22 billion after three years. A lot of CBD users shares that the compound helps ease pain or lessen anxiety. Some people believe that it makes it easier for them to sleep. The list of CBD users is starting to include pets and mothers.

While a majority of users stand by the benefits of CBD, it has yet to be proven scientifically. CBD products have yet to receive regulation, which means that the quality of products varies.

John Hopkins professor Ryan Vandrey is studying cannabis’ behavioral pharmacology. Vandrey believes that the interest that CBD is garnering is making people push the product forcefully while concluding its benefits without proper studies.

LACK OF EVIDENCE
Psychological and Brain Sciences professor Ken Mackie of Indiana University shares that the precise effect of how CBD interacts with the body and the brain remains uncertain. Mackie also adds that researches are leaning towards CBD having the ability to lessen abnormal signaling in a person’s brain. The finding can help explain how CBD is giving people the idea that it mitigates suffering from sleep problems, depression, anxiety, and epilepsy.

Compounds like ketamine, nicotine, and opioids turn systems in the body on and off. Cannabis compounds like CBD tweak the systems, which Mackie believes is a process that is comparable to lower their volume.

Studying cannabis remains a problematic field because federal law still maintains that it is illegal. There are not a lot of clinical studies about the safety of using CBD as well as its effects. Researchers struggle to conduct proper research for CBD without breaking any law, which makes it harder for them to prove anecdotal evidence that the compound is helping people with pain, sleep, and anxiety.

The Epidiolex, a formulation of CBD, is taking strides in the medical market after the FDA approved its use on patients suffering from Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Dravet syndrome is an uncommon genetic condition that shows up mostly among infants. Symptoms of Dravet syndrome include fever and different types of severe seizures. Dravet syndrome patients experience poor development in motor skills and language. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome patients have intellectual disability starting at ages three to five.

Epidiolex helps treat or lessen epilepsy, returning children suffering from Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome back to normal function. According to studies, Epidiolex will provide an essential improvement to the approach of therapy and treatment for people with the said conditions. The substance is already legal in 29 US States as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. GW Pharma studied the effects of Epidiolex in clinical trials, which provides proper evidence of its benefits for the FDA to proceed with its approval.

Cannabis and Pain

Author Article

This could be the delicious anti-inflammatory treat you’ve been looking for.

Cannabis and Pain

For more than 20 percent of Americans, chronic pain is part of daily life. Many aren’t getting the relief they need.

Pain treatments have been typically limited to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioid medications, which carry the risk of addiction. Both have risks of side effects. With opioids frequently in the headlines, many people with chronic pain can’t get access to the medication they depend on to get through the day without intense pain.

As a possible alternative to long-term opioid use for chronic pain, many people are turning to cannabis. Cannabis has a long history of medical use and is especially effective in the treatment of pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained mainstream attention for its effectiveness in treating a number of conditions including pain, both acute and chronic.

Combining CBD and THC

In states where medical marijuana is legal, a combination of CBD and THC can be used for pain to great effect, and is more potent than when CBD is used alone. The complementary nature of the compounds is known as the entourage effect.

Best 3 Recommended CBD Oils

If medical marijuana isn’t available legally in your state, you might still be able to find relief from chronic or acute pain by using hemp-derived CBD.

CBD extracts are available in multiple forms, but the most popular is an oil base. CBD oils can be mixed into many different recipes for ingestion or added to lotions, massage oils, or balms at different concentrations to match your need.

Below are CBD oils recommended by Green Flower Media and CannaInsider:

CBD Mango Smoothie Recipe for Pain Relief

Author and cannabis advocate Sandra Hinchcliffe shares a favorite smoothie recipe from her forthcoming book “CBD Every Day.”

CBD oil is mixed with mango and orange juice for a refreshing drink to ease your aches and pains.

Research has shown that mango can heighten the effects of cannabinoids because they share a compound called myrcene which is a terpene found in both cannabis and mango.

The result? A more effective, longer-lasting experience.

Citrus fruits also contain a large quantity of antioxidants, giving them anti-inflammatory properties. That makes this smoothie the perfect vehicle for your pain-relieving CBD oil dose.

Sandra’s Mango Canna-Booster Smoothie

Serves: 2 smoothies (8 oz each)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, room temperature (you can substitute any fresh-squeezed orange juice)
  • ⅓ cup fresh coconut milk
  • Preferred or specific dose of CBD oil
  • 2 large or 3 medium mangoes, sliced and partially frozen
  • ½ cup ice

Directions

  1. To a blender, add the orange juice, coconut milk, and CBD oil. Blend until creamy.
  2. Add the frozen mango and ice into the blender. Blend until icy and creamy.
  3. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law. While there are some claims that CBD derived from hemp (rather than a cannabis plant) is legal in all 50 states, other reports point out legality isn’t so straightforward. We suggest checking your state’s laws regarding CBD oil.

Kristi is a freelance writer and mother who spends most of her time caring for people other than herself. She’s frequently exhausted and compensates with an intense caffeine addiction. Find her on Twitter.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

CBD Oil for Depression, Schizophrenia, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar & More

Psych Central Article Here
By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

You can extract more than 70 different components from a marijuana plant, technically known as cannabis sativa. Two of the most common constituents are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (known colloquially as THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Because CBD is not as regulated as THC (though it may be technically illegal under federal laws), nor does it provide any accompanying “high” as THC does, it has become increasingly marketed as a cure-all for virtually any ailment. You can now find CBD oil products online to treat everything from back pain and sleep problems, to anxiety and mental health concerns.

How effective is CBD oil in the treatment of mental disorder symptoms?

Unlike it’s sister THC, CBD doesn’t have any of the associated negative side effects of tolerance or withdrawal (Loflin et al., 2017). CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, and shouldn’t be confused with synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists like K2 or spice.

Because of its relatively benign nature and more lax legal status, CBD has been more widely studied by researchers in both animals and humans. As researchers Campos et al. (2016) noted, “The investigation of the possible positive impact of CBD in neuropsychiatric disorders began in the 1970s. After a slow progress, this subject has been showing an exponential growth in the last decade.”

Research has shown that CBD oil may be effective as a treatment for a variety of conditions and health concerns. Scientific studies demonstrate the effectiveness of CBD to help relieve some of the symptoms associated with: glaucoma, epilepsy, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and Alzheimer’s. It appears to help some people with gut diseases, such as gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome as well (Maurya & Velmurugan, 2018).

You can find low-end and high-end CBD oil products. The most popular CBD oil product on Amazon.com retails for around $25 and contains only 250 mg of CBD extract.

ADHD

In a pilot randomized placebo-controlled study of adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a positive effect was only found on the measurements of hyperactivity and impulsivity, but not on the measurement of attention and cognitive performance (Poleg et al., 2019). The treatment used was a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD, one of the common CBD treatments being studied along with CBD oil on its own. This finding suggests more research is needed before using CBD oil for help with ADHD symptoms.

Anxiety

There are a number of studies that have found that CBD reduces self-reported anxiety and sympathetic arousal in non-clinical populations (those without a mental disorder). Research also suggests it may reduce anxiety that was artificially induced in an experiment with patients with social phobia, according to Loflin et al. (2017).

Depression

A review of the literature published in 2017 (Loflin et al.) could find no study that examined CBD as a treatment for depression specifically. A mouse study the researchers examined found that mice treated with CBD acted in a way similar to the way they acted after receiving an antidepressant medication. Therefore, there is virtually little to no research support for the use of CBD oil as a treatment for depression.

Sleep

Loflin et al. (2017) only found a single CBD study conducted on sleep quality:

Specifically, 40, 80, and 160 mg CBD capsules were administered to 15 individuals with insomnia. Results suggested that 160 mg CBD was associated with an overall improvement in self-reported sleep quality.

PTSD

There are two human trials currently underway that are examining the impact of both THC and CBD on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. One is entitled Study of Four Different Potencies of Smoked Marijuana in 76 Veterans With PTSD and the second is entitled Evaluating Safety and Efficacy of Cannabis in Participants With Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The first study is expected to be completed this month, while the second should be completed by year’s end. It can take up to a year (or more) after a study has been completed before its results are published in a journal.

Bipolar Disorder & Mania

The depressive episode of bipolar disorder has already been covered in the depression section (above). What about CBD oil’s impact on bipolar disorder’s manic or hypomanic episodes?

Sadly, this has not yet been studied. What has been studied is cannabis use on the effect of bipolar disorder symptoms. More than 70 percent of people with bipolar disorder have reported trying cannabis, and around 30 percent use it regularly. However, such regular use is associated with earlier onset of bipolar disorder, poorer outcomes, and fluctuations in a person’s cycling patterns and severity of manic or hypomanic episodes (Bally et al., 2014).

More research is needed to see whether supplementing CBD oil might help alleviate some of the negative impact of cannabis use. And additional research is needed to examine whether CBD oil on its own might provide some benefits to people with bipolar disorder.

Schizophrenia

Compared to the general population, individuals with schizophrenia are twice as likely to use cannabis. This tends to result in a worsening in psychotic symptoms in most people. It can also increase relapse and result in poorer treatment outcomes (Osborne et al., 2017). CBD has been shown to help alleviate the worse symptoms produced by THC in some research.

In a review of CBD research to date on its impact on schizophrenia, Osborne and associates (2017) found:

In conclusion, the studies presented in the current review demonstrate that CBD has the potential to limit delta-9-THC-induced cognitive impairment and improve cognitive function in various pathological conditions.

Human studies suggest that CBD may have a protective role in delta-9-THC-induced cognitive impairments; however, there is limited human evidence for CBD treatment effects in pathological states (e.g. schizophrenia).

In short, they found that CBD may help alleviate the negative impact of a person with schizophrenia from taking cannabis, both in the psychotic and cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia. They did not find, however, any positive use of CBD alone in the treatment of schizophrenia symptoms.

Improved Thinking and Memory

There is little to no scientific evidence that CBD oil has any beneficial impact on cognitive function or memory in healthy people:

“Importantly, studies generally show no impact of CBD on cognitive function in a ‘healthy’ model, that is, outside drug-induced or pathological states (Osborne et al., 2017).”

If you’re taking CBD oil to help you study or for some other cognitive reason, chances are you’re experiencing a placebo effect.

CBD Summary

As you can see, CBD research is still in its early stages for many mental health concerns. There is limited support for the use of CBD oil for some mental disorders. Some disorders, including autism and anorexia, have had little research done to see whether CBD might help with the associated symptoms.

One of the interesting findings from research to date is that the dosing found to have some possible beneficial effects in research tends to be much higher than what is found in products typically sold to consumers today. For instance, most over-the-counter CBD oils and supplements are in bottles that contain a total of 250 to 1000 mg.

But the science suggests that an effective daily treatment dose might be anywhere from 30 to 160 mg, depending on the symptoms a person is seeking to alleviate.

This suggests that the way most people are using CBD oil today is not likely to be clinically effective. Instead, at doses of just 2 to 10 mg per day, people are likely mostly benefiting from a placebo effect of these oils and supplements.

Before starting or trying any type of supplement — including CBD oil or other CBD products — please first consult your prescribing physician or psychiatrist. CBD may interact with psychiatric medications in a way that is unintended and could cause negative side effects or health problems.

We also do not really understand the long-term effects and impact of CBD oil use on a daily basis over the course of years, as such longitudinal research simply hasn’t yet been done. There have been some reported negative side effects experienced in the use of cannabis, but it’s hard to generalize such research findings to CBD alone.

In short, CBD shows promise in helping to alleviate some symptoms of some mental disorders. Much of the human-based research is still in its infancy, however, but early signs are promising.

 

For further information

Reason Magazine: Is CBD a Miracle Cure or a Marketing Scam? (Both.)

Thanks to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect service in providing access to the primary research necessary to write this article.

 

References

Bally, N., Zullino, D, Aubry, JM. (2014). Cannabis use and first manic episode. Journal of Affective Disorders, 165, 103-108.

Campos, AC., Fogaça, M.V., Sonego, A.B., & Guimarães, F.S. (2016). Cannabidiol, neuroprotection and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pharmacological Research, 112, 119-127.

Loflin, MJE, Babson, K.A., & Bonn-Miller, M.O. (2017). Cannabinoids as therapeutic for PTSD
Current Opinion in Psychology, 14, 78-83.

Maurya, N. & Velmurugan, B.K. (2018). Therapeutic applications of cannabinoids. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 293, 77-88.

Osborne, A.L., Solowij, N., & Weston-Green, K. (2017). A systematic review of the effect of cannabidiol on cognitive function: Relevance to schizophrenia. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 72, 310-324.

Poleg, S., Golubchik, P., Offen, D., & Weizman, A. (2019). Cannabidiol as a suggested candidate for treatment of autism spectrum disorder. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 89, 90-96.

Here’s What We Actually Know About CBD Oil And Anxiety

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By  TAMIM ALNUWEIRI

Over the last few years, cannabis has (slowly) started going through a transformation as it becomes destigmatized and increasingly legalized around the country. There’s more information, research, and interest in it than ever before, and one of the buzziest aspects of the booming cannabis industry is a compound it contains called cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD. The phytocannabinoid, which was discovered in 1940, can be found in many plants but is most commonly extracted these days from cannabis and hemp.

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the full potential, side effects, and benefits of CBD. Or, as J. H. Atkinson, MD, of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diegotold us earlier this year: “There is very little data from rigorous scientific research on the therapeutic effects of CBD.” That said, Dr. Atkinson did go on to say that some of the early research does show that CBD could be beneficial in treating anxiety.

Still, finding out what’s real and what’s false about CBD oil and anxiety can be difficult. To clear up some of the confusion, I spoke to Brooke Alpert, RD, a holistic cannabis practitioner, and Cayla Rosenblum, a healthcare informatics specialist at PotBotics, on the topic to see what experts know (and don’t) about the cannabidiol and mental health.

The first thing they both tell me is that should you have anxiety, you should always speak to a qualified medical and mental health professional before incorporating new supplements or products into your routine. There aren’t any known downsides to taking CBD if you have anxiety, at this point, but “the dangers of CBD as a treatment plan comes from patients who take this treatment plan upon themselves” Rosenblum says. So proper oversight is a must.

Beyond that, “since the oversight of CBD products is not as strict as many other pharmaceuticals on the market, it is imperative that patients are well informed about the product they are using and the exact cannabinoids within the products” Rosenblum says adding that things may become more clear and regulated now that CBD products have been legalized.

Here is everything the pros know about CBD oil and anxiety so far.

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1. WE’RE IN THE VERY EARLY STAGES OF RESEARCH

Because of the red tape surrounding cannabis, the research currently available on all aspects and compounds is somewhat limited. Most of the clinical trials and studies that have been executed so far have been done on mice and rats or small sample sizes of human subjects.

To prove “a relationship between CBD use and positive benefits on anxiety treatment, the medical community still needs more large scale randomized clinical trials using CBD. However, with new legislation legalizing hemp and CBD products, it is to be expected that these much-needed, large-scale trials will be conducted soon, providing even more clinically based evidence” Rosenblum says.

2. RESEARCH SHOWS A CONNECTION BETWEEN CBD AND SEROTONIN

A study published in 2016 found that CBD has a noticeable impact on serotonin levels. Alpert explains that the study demonstrates that CBD could work “similar to how SSRIs work by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed in the brain, allowing for more of that feel good hormone to be present.”

The study, however, does have a major caveat, which is that it was conducted on mice and not humans. Additional studies using human trials have been inconclusive. A study published in 2018 found that CBD can, in fact, behave somewhat like an anti-depressant but only when there are certain levels of serotonin found in the central nervous system.

3. CBD COULD EXPAND THE HIPPOCAMPUS

Another study with promising results (though conducted on mice) found an interesting and beneficial relationship between CBD and the hippocampus. The research published in 2013 showed that “CBD can stimulate neurogenesis, or the generation of new neurons, in the area of the brain associated with anxiety. More neurons mean a bigger hippocampus, which is associated with better moods,” Alpert explains.

4. IT COULD BE ESPECIALLY EFFECTIVE FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY

In 2011 a small study was conducted on two groups of people, patients with a generalized social anxiety disorder (SAD) who had never undergone treatment before, and those without a social anxiety disorder. The study examined how CBD affected their social anxiety with promising positive results. “In both the social anxiety disorder and healthy subject groups, when tested with the CBD treatment, a large positive difference in the reduction of stress measures were seen in both groups. It was indicated that even in the healthy control group, the stress measurement levels were almost abolished in the CBD treatment group,” Rosenblum says.

Insomnia Series: A New CBD Product For Insomnia

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The buzz surrounding cannabidiol is strong, but folks in the wellness community are whispering about a different cannabinoid compound, one that might help you sleep at night. You may have heard of the murmurs, but what is CBN?

The most dominant cannabis compounds, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), steal all the attention, but cannabinol, or CBN, could be the next big thing. According to Bon Appetit, as marijuana oxidizes, the THC converts to CBN. In other words, old weed is high in CBN. But can you get high on it? Not really. The CB1 receptors are weaker than with THC, but it definitely still has the potential to make you drowsy, which is why more people are turning to it before they turn in for the night.

Scientific evidence is sparse, but CBN has been studied on mice, though it should be noted that researchers used synthetic derivatives of CBN. When rodents were given the lab-made cannabinol, they were more likely to stay asleep. There’s a chance it could even be used to fight the signs of aging, so look out for CBN as an ingredient in sleep aids and night cream. But here’s the kicker: Most studies suggest it works best when combined with other cannabinoid compounds, like THC or CBD. Anecdotal evidence still dominates in conversations pertaining to uses for CBN. In any case, it’s worth noting that if your friend says it works for them that doesn’t mean it will work for you. As always, consult your doctor about your options and possible interactions with other medications.

Currently, the health benefits of CBN and its effectiveness as a sleep aid are still largely unknown. But with the booming CBD industry expected to be worth $1.15 billion by 2020, it’s a good bet that more companies will begin to experiment with CBN, perhaps by pairing it with CBD to discover if it does indeed lead to a better night’s sleep.

Is cannabinol the answer to our restless nights? We can dream.

In the meantime, here are some foods that can help put you to sleep and others that might be keeping you up at night.

WHY IS IT SUCH A TURNOFF WHEN SOMEONE TRULY, REALLY, ACTUALLY WANTS TO DATE ME?


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One of my father’s favorite refrains about my love life is that I only like men who don’t like me. He’s constantly joking that the easiest way for a man to turn me off is for him to show interest. Based on history, I do see where he’s coming from, but I’m still not totally convinced. Still, he does point out a polarizing, age-old issue: Is it true that the more someone is into us, the less into them we are? And if so, is a silly game of hard to get actually effective?
Apparently, the basis of playing it cool in dating—in which there’s an unspoken contest of sorts where whoever cares less wins—has a lot to do with human nature in general. “Part of it is about a primal desire that we have as humans for things that are valuable,” says therapist Daniel Olavarria, LCSW. “When someone plays it cool, the subtle message is that they are difficult to attain. If we’re relying on our most basic primal instincts, this will make them feel even more desirable.”

Furthermore, since it’s so easy to assume a potential love interest’s attitude applies to their entire disposition and life, being aggressively open and vulnerable off the bat isn’t the best look.  “When someone seems too available, it can give the impression that they don’t have much going on in their own life to contribute to the relationship,” Olvarria says. Plus, one person feeling like they are the center of a their love interest’s schedule can add a lot of pressure to a new relationship . “In short, having your own life is sexy,” he adds.

“Do your best to be authentic in expressing your interest, but try to avoid folding your whole life around a new person you’re looking to get to know.” —Daniel Olavarria, LCSW

The answer here isn’t to be fake, but rather to communicate your interest without seeming needy or tooavailable. “Do your best to be authentic in expressing your interest, but try to avoid folding your whole life around a new person you’re looking to get to know,” Olavarria advises. So if, for example, you have plans with friends and your new potential S.O. texts, don’t clear your schedule to hang. “Being too available in this way can send the message that you don’t have your own life, which makes things a lot less interesting for your date,” Olavarria says.

Share that you’re busy, but suggest a follow-up date to make clear that you’re still into them. By the time you actually get together, your date may be even more attracted to you and your full life.

 

5 Cannabis Pairings for the Perfect Night In

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1. Have the Best Board Game Night Ever With Blueberry

Board games are trendy again, which means you can invite a group of friends over to play Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride without feeling like a giant nerd. Board games are great because they’re both incredibly fun and relaxing, while still requiring you to use your mental energy.

For this reason, when choosing a cannabis strain to go with game night, you need something that can mellow you out, while keeping your mind sharp. Blueberry is one of the best strains for achieving this balance. This hybrid will give your mind the focus required to steal your best friend’s Boardwalk hotel, without sweating for a second over whether she’ll forgive you for it.

2. Choose Lamb’s Bread to Chill Out & Listen to Records

While we’re on the topic of retro activities that are cool again, why not try the tried-and-true evening classic of consuming some marijuana and listening to vinyl records? Cannabis truly enhances the music-listening experience. Indeed, I could write an entire article dedicated to pairing particular strains with specific music genres and artists.

RELATED: 8 ALBUMS THAT’LL CALM YOU DOWN WHEN YOU’RE TOO HIGH

But whatever your musical tastes, you can’t go wrong with the marijuana strain Lamb’s Bread. This sativa strain was reportedly Bob Marley’s favourite, and it has a high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 19–25%.

Lamb’s Bread is a great strain for feeling calm and introspective—just what you need when listening to vintage hits. However, the high THC component does mean that cannabis newbies may want to start off with a small dose.

3. Sit Back, Relax & Enjoy a Great Movie Night With Skunk #1

Movie night is another classic way to spend an evening in, whether you’re flying solo or hanging with others. Just like music, the cinematic experience is heightened when paired with the right cannabis strain. Skunk #1, a beloved hybrid cannabis strain, is an optimal choice for movie night for several reasons.

For one, the moderate THC content of about 14¬–19% means you can enjoy its relaxed high while still being able to follow the movie plot. If you’re passing around a joint filled with Skunk #1, the moderate THC level makes this strain easy to share with friends, who may not all have a high tolerance.

Plus, Skunk #1 is famous for inducing the munchies—and who doesn’t love a good movie paired with cannabis and popcorn?

4. Cinex Can Help You Finally Finish That Creative Project

Have you been telling your friends for years that you’re working on a novel, but still don’t have any pages to show them? Well, a night in is the perfect opportunity to finally stop putting off your grand creative ambitions and make them happen—and cannabis can definitely help.

RELATED: HOW CANNABIS CAN HELP YOU GET OVER A CREATIVE BLOCK

Artists, writers and musicians have long used cannabis to help get their creative juices flowing. Cinex is a favourite for creative types, because it imparts a cerebral boost along with a nice sense of relaxation. While the THC content is high, consumers tend to find it promotes philosophical thinking and unlocks the mind’s innovative energy.

5. Use the Energizing Properties of Green Crack to Cook a New Recipe

Of course, creativity doesn’t just belong in the studio or at your desk. If you’ve always wanted to become a master chef—or just learn how to cook a new recipe—an evening with cannabis is a perfect way to get started. You could even use your night in to learn how to cook or bake cannabis edibles.

RELATED: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN GOURMET CANNABIS EDIBLES

Since cooking requires equal parts creativity, concentration and energy, you’ll want a marijuana strain that promotes all of these qualities. Green Crack—its name was supposedly bestowed upon it by Snoop Dogg—is a sativa strain that has all of these properties, making it a superb choice in the kitchen.

Plus, Green Crack’s mild THC content of around 13¬–20% will (hopefully) ensure you don’t lose focus and leave your brilliant new creation in the oven for too long. But even if you do, don’t worry. Green Crack is known for its euphoric high that will help make any mishap in the kitchen seem like nothing more than a creative detour.

Photo credit: Daria Shevtsova