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.

Study: Medical Cannabis Oil Helps Relieve Autism Symptoms in Kids

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Medical cannabis oil for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) appears to be a well-tolerated, safe and effective option to relieve symptoms including seizures, tics, depression, restlessness and rage attacks, according to a new study by Israeli researchers from Ben-Gurion University (BGU) of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center.

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also show that cannabis treatment can significantly improve sleep and concentration.

“Overall, more than 80 percent of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child,” said Lihi Bar-Lev Schleider of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.

Autistic spectrum disorder is an extensive developmental disorder that is expressed in almost all areas of a child’s development. ASD is commonly considered to be a wide range of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) in which there are various manifestations and symptoms.

For the study, researchers evaluated the data of 188 ASD children up to 18 years old who were treated with medical cannabis between 2015 and 2017.

“The treatment in the majority of patients was based on cannabis oil containing 30 percent cannabidiol oil (CBD) and 1.5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” said Dr. Gal Meiri of the Negev Autism Center at BGU. “Symptoms, patient global assessment and side effects at six months were primary outcomes of interest and were assessed by structured questionnaires.”

Overall, after six months of treatment, 30 percent of patients reported a significant improvement; 53.7 percent reported moderate improvement; and only 15 percent had slight or no change.

Quality of life, mood and ability to perform daily living activities were evaluated prior to treatment and at six months. Good quality of life was reported by 31.3 percent of patients prior to treatment initiation. At six months, good quality of life more than doubled to 66.8 percent. Positive mood was reported as 42 percent before treatment and 63.5 after six months.

In addition, the ability to dress and shower independently improved significantly from cannabis treatment. Only a quarter (26.4 percent) reported no difficulty prior to the treatment while 42.9 percent improved their ability to dress and shower independently at six months.

Medical cannabis oil also significantly improved sleep and concentration. Before treatment, good sleep and concentration had been reported by only 3.3 percent and zero percent respectively vs. 24.7 percent and 14 percent during active treatment.

“While this study suggests that cannabis treatment is safe and can improve ASD symptoms and improve ASD patients’ quality of life, we believe that double-blind, placebo-controlled trials are crucial for a better understanding of the cannabis effect on ASD patients,” says Dr. Victor Novack, of the BGU-Soroka Clinical Cannabis Research Institute.

Source: American associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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.