What ails you?
Conditions in which Medical Cannabis are indicated:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Attention Deficit Disorder, ADHD
Digestive Disorders: IBS, SIBO, IBD
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Ulcerative Colitis, Crones Disease
High Blood Pressure
People undergoing palliative care who have Nausea, Vomiting, Low appetite
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Cancer: kills off cancer cells
Boosts Immune System
Aid in Appetite
Frequently Asked Questions
Medical Cannabis, THC, Cannabidiol, and Hemp Health Impact and Usage
Introduction to Medical Cannabis:
Medical cannabis, which is also referred to as medical marijuana, pot, or weed, is undoubtedly becoming more commonplace in the United States.
Medical cannabis simply represents the utilization of the entire marijuana or cannabis plant and all the extracts as natural medicine to remedy unpleasant symptoms or improve a condition. This plant must be classified as medical grade and produced without the use of fertilizers or pesticides, which may contain toxins.
The healing component of medical cannabis comes from its concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) and specific flavonoid and terpene content.
Another part of the cannabis plant that is well-known for its psychotropic effect on the brain is tetrahydrocannabinol, which is usually referred to as THC.
Those seeking marijuana for recreational purposes are drawn to higher THC levels, whereas Medical Cannabis has lower levels of THC but a high CBD content.
Until 1942, marijuana was classified as a medicinal plant. Around 50% of Americans have tried it. There are about 200 medical conditions that have been noted to improve by the use of cannabis.
History of Medical Cannabis:
Since medical marijuana has become more widespread, it’s sometimes believed to be a recent trend. This notion that medical cannabis is relatively novel is inaccurate, however, as it’s use can be dated back to at least 5,000 years ago.
Cannabis is a type of hemp plant that is used to make fiber, food, oil, paper, biofuel, clothing, and medicine. A spiritual instructor called Zoroaster wrote a book that covered almost 10,000 plants around 2,700 years ago. This author considered hemp to be one of the more valuable plants in his collection. A famous Greek physician named Hippocrates, one of the architects of western medicine, even endorsed extracts from the cannabis plant.
Even the physician who served Queen Victoria offered medical cannabis for her majesty’s menstrual cramps. This physician, Russell Reynolds, was a leader in the medical field and boasted that, when it comes to medicine, cannabis was one of the most beneficial. During this same era, cannabis was effectively used by other well-known doctors for the correction of depression and migraines, things that it is still widely used for today.
Soldiers of the American Revolutionary War were given compensation via cannabis. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington even urged farmers to produce more hemp for goods such as ship sails, paper, and more. Hemp is also a useful alternative to plastic and is better for the environment.
How Medical Cannabis Works and What It Can Help With:
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve cannabis, but a growing number of physicians are in favor of this drug for its value and benefit to health.
Cannabis is made up of many compounds. Two of these, CBD and THC, are referred to as cannabinoids. There have been approximately 80 of these cannabinoids identified, and they represent almost half of the plant.
Most of these cannabinoids work in the body by binding to cannabinoid receptors that exist in the body naturally.
Cannabinoid receptors can be found in the kidneys, liver, immune system, lungs, and brain. Researchers now consider cannabinoid receptors to be the most extensive receptor system in the body.
Cannabinoid receptors are involved in how the body addresses pain, immune function, regulation of metabolism, food cravings, bone growth, and anxiety. The endocannabinoid system is believed to play a role in almost all physiological activities. It helps to ensure homeostasis, and it supports energy storage and intake, cell communication, emotional balance, memory, sleep, reproduction, and more. The body produces natural cannabinoids that play a role in operating signals that mimic serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.
Cancer patients that use medical cannabis see a decrease in nausea, insomnia, and pain that are side effects of chemotherapy. There’s also a possibility that cannabis can function as a natural form of chemotherapy in two ways. First, it can trigger suicide of cancer cells, and unlike traditional chemotherapy, it allows healthy cells to remain intact. Second, cannabis has been shown to possess anti-angiogenic properties, which restrict blood supply to cancer tumors.
Medical cannabis has also been used in the correction of mental and mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions, obesity, seizure disorders, heart conditions, degenerative types of neurological disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.
Methods for Using Medical Cannabis
The following list explains some of the many different methods of administration:
Smoking – Cannabis can be smoked using a joint, pipe, or water bong (pipe). This high heat method could cause some of the medicinal compounds and terpenes to be lost since it can burnt with a marijuana cigarette or joint. Utilizing a water pipe can prevent some of the airway irritation that can be caused by using a pipe or joint as well but still is not ideal or safe for the lungs.
Vaporization – When medical cannabis is heated to a designated temperature, the medication will be released into vapors that can then be breathed.
Oromucosal or sublingual – Cannabis can be produced in a form that can be placed in the mouth or under the tongue to deliver immediate relief. This is an attractive option for those who do not wish to smoke.
Edibles – Cannabis can be found in pre-made cookies, brownies, or teas that are designed to be eaten. While there could be complications with absorption due to cannabinoids affinity for fat, this is another option for non-smokers.
Topical products – Cannabis comes in many topical forms, such as lotion and ointment to help with muscle pain, inflammation of the skin, and arthritis.
Cannabis can be used to help remedy a wide variety of conditions. Although administration methods vary with this drug, it’s critical that medical grade cannabis is utilized, that it lacks any type of pesticides or synthetic chemicals.
CBD vs. THC:
The part of the plant that proves therapeutic stems from the cannabidiol (CBD) content. CBD works in the human body by serving as an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor, which is responsible for neuromodulation. Neuromodulation on this receptor is involved in dilating vessels to in turn decrease heart rate and blood pressure. This type of receptor agonist also functions as an antidepressant that provides anti-anxiety properties.
The American Stroke Association has found that CBD offers neuroprotective benefits. CBD is also classified as an allosteric modulator of receptors of opioid, and it allows for pain reduction and decreases the effects of chronic inflammation on the body.
CBD functions as a powerful antioxidant and was found to decrease inflammation in the intestine. It has also been proven to decrease barrier disruption and inflammation in endothelial cells as a result of high glucose, which is important to diabetes research.
Medical cannabis typically has low levels of THC and high levels of CBD. This is achieved by allowing male cannabis plants to pollinate the female plants. When the two are separated and female plants are not pollinated, the concentration of THC increases dramatically. In order to obtain high levels of CBD, it is also possible to extract it from the cannabis plants and take it as a singular ingredient.
THC, in contrast to CBD, has been suspected of being a potentially addictive component in the marijuana plant. THC binds mostly to receptors called CB1, which simply stands for cannabinoid receptor type 1. CB1 receptors can be found mainly in the peripheral and central nervous system. These systems include the brain (minus the brainstem), liver, kidneys, lungs, heart, and pancreas.
CBD can help to dispel some of the psychoactive symptoms of THC and helps prevent the memory loss that can be associated with using the drug. It also has a very low toxicity level. No one has ever died while using CBD, which is in stark contrast to drugs such as aspirin or alcohol; responsible for 1,000 and 110,000 deaths every year respectively.
It is important to note that medical marijuana still contains both CBD and THC.
CBD that is extracted and isolated does not contain any THC. However, while medical cannabis is grown to ensure maximum CBD levels, THC levels can sometimes meet this level and their concentration can vary.
Medical cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and it is legal only in specific states. CBD that is produced from hemp oil, however, unlike CBD produced from medical marijuana, is perfectly legal for purchase without a prescription and is widely available.
Difference between CBD from Cannabis and Hemp Oil:
CBD can be made from either medically produced cannabis plants, or industrially produced hemp plants. Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, whereas CBD is made from the leaves, flowers, or stems of the plant. CBD produced from the cannabis plant, on the other hand, can contain high and low levels of THC, which can help a number of conditions but does have drawbacks with regard to psychotropic side effects or feelings of anxiety.
Hemp CBD is safe for all ages due to its insignificant levels of THC. Hemp has a THC concentration of less than 1 percent, lacks flavonoids and terpenes used in healing, and has a CBD concentration of around 4 percent. This means that CBD from hemp is safer to use for certain medical ailments.
Cannabis’ Cousin, Hemp:
Similar to Medical Cannabis, hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is low in THC and contains CBD. Both marijuana and hemp stem from the same cannabis origin and share a scientific classification of Cannabis sativa. Hemp can be thought of as a so-called “cousin” to the marijuana plant, as they are actually two different types of cannabis plants. However, hemp is low in THC, and there is very little possibility of it producing THC after pollination.
Production of hemp seeds has more than tripled around the world since the 1990s . Because the United States specifically has grouped hemp into the same category as pot since the ‘70s with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act, it can be confusing to understand that it is not dangerous. In fact, hemp is one of the most holistic products available today and throughout history. Because of this law, the U.S. does not cultivate or grow hemp. However, that does not mean it is not used or sold here; the U.S. actually is the leading consumer of products made from hemp. Hemp has recently been allowed to be grown in certain states for the sake of research, and more than 25 states are interested in pursuing production of hemp. Thirty-nine states have introduced hemp-supporting bills into their state legislature.
Hemp can be used to produce oil and hemp seeds for consumption, CBD, and to create fiber to be used for items such as wood, cotton, and plastic alternative.
In ancient China, hemp seeds were given to the poor to be used for growing and food. Hemp seeds provide numerous minerals, unsaturated fats, and protein. When the seeds are shelled, soft and nutritious hemp hearts are exposed.
Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to sustaining health. Nutrition & Metabolism published research that stated hemp seeds contains an ideal proportion of linoleic acid (omega-6s or LA) and a-linoleic acid (omega-3s or ALA) for a wholesome diet.
Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is also prevalent in hemp seeds, which supports healthy organs, nerves, muscles, cell function and growth. GLA offsets some of the side effects of the prolactin hormone, which can worsen unpleasant side effects of PMS and menopause. The only raw food source of GLA is hemp.
It is important to note that these unsaturated fatty acids do not provide a source of energy to the body, but rather are the building blocks for cells and biosynthesis. Skin conditions may arise when the body has inadequate levels of fatty acids. Because of the fatty acid concentration in hemp products, it can prevent things like eczema and inflammation. Hemp seeds contain about 30 percent healthy and essential fats, in addition to protein and other nutrients.
Hemp seeds are also a fantastic source of protein, comparable to beef. This can be especially important in a diet that lacks meat from animal sources, such as for vegetarians and vegans. For every couple of tablespoons of this nutritious food, it supplies around 10 grams of protein. The amino acid composition of hemp is similar to egg whites and soy. Hemp is also easily digested, which is rare for a high-protein plant food.
Hemp seeds support a healthy heart by way of the amino acid L-arginine, which gives way to nitric oxide, and increases the flow of blood and supports healthy blood pressure. The nitric oxide element is important because it assists in the dilation of blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily through the body and heart. Risk for coronary artery conditions rises when nitric oxide levels are low or insufficient. Hemp seeds have been found to decrease blood pressure and blood clot risk, and improve the recovery of the heart after a heart attack according to research.
Fiber is extremely important to overall digestive, skin, and heart health. Some research even shows that fiber may play a role in weight regulation and the management of blood sugar. Intact hemp seeds provide a high concentration of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber breaks down in the intestines, slowing digestion and allowing the body to go longer periods without food. This is beneficial for weight management. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve as readily in the tract, allowing for optimal digestive movement and elimination. A diet high in fiber can also lower cholesterol.
Additionally, the dietary consumption of hemp seeds and oil have anti-inflammatory properties and increase brain function, improve energy levels, and decrease stroke risk. Research has shown that hemp consumption can help with vomiting and nausea, cancer cells and tumors, degenerative neurological disorders, seizures, psychotic disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Cannabis: The Pros and Cons:
Medical cannabis has been found to be an effective medicine for many health problems and symptoms, and it does so in a more natural and less hazardous way, compared to pharmaceutics. States that have approved the use of medical marijuana have seen a 25% drop in overdoses due to prescription pain medicine.
Marijuana also boasts extremely low toxicity levels and can be an alternative to prescription drugs taken for similar nagging symptoms. Medical cannabis used for chemotherapy, instead of traditional methods, is much less toxic and may produce better results.
Dangers of Cannabis:
However, there can also be negative side effects while using this drug. When marijuana is discontinued abruptly, withdrawal can manifest as symptoms similar to nicotine withdrawal, depression, insomnia, and more. The use of medical cannabis with high THC can lead to memory problems, coordination and balance issues, a weakened immune system, abnormal hormone levels and reproductive function, an increased risk of heart conditions, adrenal fatigue, irregular or rapid heartbeat and increased risk of heart attack, higher risk for cancer of the lung, cough, and more.
Research has shown that regular use of marijuana with high THC leads to reduced cognitive abilities as well.
High THC in medical cannabis also increases cortisol levels, which is critical knowledge to those suffering from adrenal fatigue. *Cadmium found in the leaves of high THC marijuana can actually accumulate in the body, which could lead to increased blood pressure, illness, and breakdown of the kidneys.
Marijuana addiction is a gray area due to the classification of dependence versus addiction. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30% of people who use cannabis with high THC show some level of marijuana use disorder.
This disorder is associated with withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not used, such as headaches, changes in mood, sleep, and appetite. Those who use cannabis before they are 18 years old are more likely (by 4 to 7 times) to acquire a marijuana use disorder than adults.
NIDA claims that around nine percent of medical cannabis with high THC users will become addicted.
How Medical Cannabis, THC, and CBD Affect the Body:
Cannabis, THC, and CBD affect many areas of the body in important ways. Here is some of the current research:
Hormones – THC raises cortisol levels, and in rat studies, it reduced levels of thyroxine (thyroid hormone) by 90% in some subjects. However, CBD was found to reduce levels of cortisol. THC also lowers prolactin, which is made in the pituitary gland and manages the development of breasts and breast milk.
Central nervous system – THC promotes a large release of dopamine, which represents the feeling of “high.” Judgment and memory can become impaired with THC use. THC negatively affects basal ganglia and the cerebellum, which function in coordination, reflexes, and balance. THC can also promote hallucinations and could lead to schizophrenic episodes for those who are predisposed to this condition. Medical cannabis can function to eliminate pain, inflammation, and seizures. Fetal brain development is highly affected when the mother uses this drug during pregnancy, which can put them at risk for problems with concentration, memory, and problem solving. THC is still being assessed for its ability to correct glaucoma, as it can decrease pressure in the eyes.
Endocrine system – CBD can shield against excess stress since it can prevent activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
*THC delays male puberty, inhibits the release of eggs from ovaries, disrupts menstrual cycles, and negatively affects sperm*
Liver – CBD and THC reduce levels of fat in the liver. Cannabis was once believed to cause cirrhosis or fibrosis of the liver, but this was later found to be inaccurate. However, plant material and possible toxins could cause damage to this organ.
Metabolism – THC can increase blood sugar, while CBD can decrease insulin levels. Medical cannabis users have fewer cases of type 2 diabetes and obesity than those who do not use the drug.
CBD and THC increase metabolism and decrease cholesterol in the blood. These two components of cannabis were also found to increase insulin sensitivity, protect insulin-producing cells, boost metabolic rate, and cause appetite suppression in rodents.
Inflammation – CBD is proven to lessen acute as well as chronic inflammation, surpassing other well-known inflammation fighters like antioxidants and vitamin C. Gut, colon, and joint inflammation are some examples of conditions CBD can help with.
Sleep – The CBD in cannabis can fight insomnia and improve sleep. Although cannabis has been found to prevent sleep with dreams (REM sleep), it improves deep and overall sleep. People who discontinue cannabis use report problems with disruption of sleep.
Anxiety – *Cannabis high in THC and low in CBD can actually increase stress and anxiety. A well-balanced type or types high in CBD, on the other hand, lower stress levels and anxiety.
Medical Cannabis and Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome: Pros and Cons:
The use of medical cannabis, as with any drug, stimulates the adrenal glands because it interrupts homeostasis. The cannabis creates an environment where the liver detects toxins, which also involves energy expenditure from the adrenal glands. The more often high THC cannabis is used, the more the adrenals are activated, which can lead to their decreased function or eventual exhaustion. This can worsen adrenal gland fatigue if it is already present.
Using this drug can cause a short-lived feeling of energy and absence of anxiety, pain, etc.
THC, compared to other stimulants that are commonly used such as nicotine and caffeine, may actually cause less stress on the adrenals. As cannabis is used continually over a long time period, however, it can cause the user to become tired due to the strain put on adrenals. This restarts the cycle of drug-use to alter energy level or feelings.
In earlier stages of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), high cortisol is common as the body tries to fight stress. Since cortisol is made by adrenal glands, cannabis with high amounts of THC could cause increase already high cortisol levels, causing additional stress on the overworked adrenals of those affected by AFS. In adrenal fatigue, this internal cortisol can cause multiple organ resistance, which can include issues such as ovary and thyroid imbalance (by way of an ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) imbalance in females or adrenal-thyroid axis imbalance in males).
This thyroid piece of adrenal fatigue is also important to cannabis use, as research has shown that high stain THC cannabis can decrease thyroid function in rat studies, some by 90%.
*Hypothyroidism, whether or not it is detected, is common in AFS, which could be made worse by high THC intake.
On the other hand, CBD has been found to have the opposite effect of THC on cortisol levels. CBD, higher in medical cannabis, can actually lower cortisol levels. Since the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal HPA axis modulates cortisol levels in response to the body’s need for the hormone, CBD proves beneficial to this system as well. In decreasing cortisol levels, CBD could, in turn, benefit insulin sensitivity, the immune system, bone strength and mineralization, fat loss, and more.
In early stages of AFS, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia are all common. The use of medical cannabis has been proven to be effective in reversing all of these symptoms. The removal of stressors and increasing sleep are two of the most important steps to take when trying to reverse AFS.
Cannabis could provide temporary relief to some emotional stressors that take time to solve, such as problems with family, finances, relationships, or marriage. Medical cannabis could assist in falling asleep faster and providing a deeper, albeit dreamless, rest which could help with AFS recovery.
Medical cannabis can greatly affect metabolism because cortisol is tied to insulin function in the body. When adrenals are overworked, blood sugar levels can drop, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness. In this way, CBD could help those suffering from AFS by decreasing insulin levels. Insulin drives glucose from the blood into the cells. Decreasing insulin can help sustain a balanced blood sugar level and even out absorption of glucose into the cells. *High THC consumption, on the other hand, could lead to blood sugar spikes.
*Cannabis with high THC could negatively affect heart function, as it can cause symptoms like heart palpitations and blood pressure changes, some of the same symptoms that are associated with adrenal fatigue. Changes in heart rate and rhythm are more likely associated with THC.
The use of high THC cannabis on a long-term basis has been associated with adrenal fatigue and damage to the endocrine system. Cannabinoid receptors are abundant in the body, including in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands contain CB1 receptors, which is what THC binds with that causes cortisol and adrenaline release. Chronic or excessive stress, a central cause of AFS, may even result in a semi-permanent state of hypoglycemia and can cause adverse reactions to marijuana since problems with the control of cortisol and adrenaline are associated with this syndrome. Blood sugar levels should be monitored for those with AFS if cannabis is to be used.
In later stages of AFS, anti-inflammation mechanisms are lacking in the body due to the decreased output of cortisol by adrenals. Cannabis has effectively balanced all different kinds of body inflammation and could help fulfill this function.
Immune system function is suppressed with high levels of cortisol as the body tries to protect itself. The use of cannabis has been known to have a similar effect, which could lead to weakened state and increase the likelihood of infection. This adds to stress on the body and causes more fatigue.
Cannabis use could combat excess weight gain and inability to lose weight, which is common when the body is stressed and in AFS.
In the beginning phases of AFS, cannabis use could also help with offsetting high blood pressure. As AFS progresses, blood pressure drops and could be made worse with the use of cannabis.
Overall, medical cannabis with a high content of CBD and a lower level of THC would cause less physical stress and more benefit to someone suffering from AFS.
Because CBD uses completely different receptors than THC, it can cause beneficial effects on anxiety, stress, and depression, which are some of the major causes of AFS and therefore play a huge role in recovery. CBD in cannabis is safer and does not possess the same addictive potential that THC does. CBD also works to balance hormones in the body. Since the adrenal glands are responsible for the production of over 50 hormones, this could be a major benefit to people with adrenal problems.
Because cannabis is a natural drug, it could also be a safer alternative for remedying AFS than pharmaceuticals. However, use of cannabis with high THC, especially long term, could lead to dependency or recovery failure if not first evaluated by a healthcare professional.
Cannabis and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response
The NEM is made up of a neuroendocrine unit comprised of the heart, adrenals, thyroid, brain, autonomic nervous system, and gut or GI tract. The bioenergetic unit of the NEM is made up of the immune system, microbiome, pancreas, liver, and extra-cellular matrix.
When stress is experienced in the body, the NEM will use its arsenal of defenses to maintain homeostasis. However, prolonged stress disrupts the web of systems and organs, and sends a cascade of responses in motion from both neuroendocrine and metabolic units. These responses can be hormonal, cardionomic, neuroaffective, bioenergetic, detoxification, and inflammatory, among others.
Cannabis is a powerful drug in the sense that it affects nearly all organ systems in the body. Cannabis can cause a disruption in the entire endocrine system. The use of cannabis affects several glandular hormones, as discussed above. These include the adrenal glands and the production of cortisol, and the OAT axis in women and the adrenal-thyroid hormonal axis in men.
A reduction in thyroid function can change body temperature and determine the rate at which it can respond to stress. This decrease ultimately results in fatigue. This type of hormonal imbalance leads to adverse effects on the other systems and can result in exercise intolerance, infertility, loss of hair, afternoon slump, low libido, and more.
The thyroid, pancreas, and liver are all key components in this snowball response, the metabolic component of the NEM. The effects of cannabis on the thyroid are interconnected, as a decrease in thyroid function will decelerate metabolic pathways. The pancreas produces insulin, which regulates our body’s energy source, glucose. The liver clears all toxins from our body.
Disruption of the bioenergetic circuit presents early warning signals like craving sugar, central obesity, and dyslipidemia, common in stages 1 and 2 of adrenal fatigue. More advanced disruption symptoms can include weight gain and hypoglycemia.
Cannabis can disrupt thyroid function with chronic use. Increased metabolism, lower blood cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity, improved metabolic rate, and decreased issues with type 2 diabetes and obesity levels are all seen among cannabis users as well.
As both hormonal and metabolic components of the NEM become involved in addressing stress, the central nervous system joins in, and symptoms like depression, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, and brain fog begin to appear. This neuro-affect response is maintained by the brain, gut, and autonomic nervous system.
Medical cannabis, specifically THC, alters dopamine levels in the brain, which is associated with feeling good and “high.” Although users can experience relief from neuroaffective responses like depression or anxiety, brain structure could change as a result of using marijuana. This, in turn, could cause temporary or permanent changes to homeostasis.
Cannabis is simultaneously effective in correcting neurological disorders and symptoms, as well as inflammation.
The body and NEM respond to interrupted homeostasis with inflammation. The immune system and cells, gut, and microbiome become involved in this response.
For example, the risk for candida, a type of yeast that is the most common culprit for fungal infections, increases with high THC cannabis use. The immune system is a major player in this response, and it employs macrophages (a Greek word meaning ‘big eaters’) to assist in cleaning up after an infection by swallowing any type of unwanted or damaging cell in the body. These macrophages are not equipped to fight candida well, and THC promotes the growth of this yeast throughout certain areas of the body (such as the vagina and oral cavity). The body reacts with inflammation to these toxic types of cells, thus causing an even more intense reaction from the body.
However, CBD was found to be especially effective in correcting candida infections. It was also effective against gut and colon inflammation, which play a large role in depression, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune conditions, and pain throughout the body. Thus, it could act to protect the immune system in regard to inflammation.
The ability of the body to detox is essential for homeostasis, and being unable to do so can lead to congestion in the extracellular matrix. Cannabis has been found to be potentially detrimental to the liver, responsible for detoxifying the body. In those with a compromised liver, such as hepatitis C patients, cannabis was found to worsen fibrosis of the liver.
Oftentimes in adrenal fatigue, the liver is found to be functioning below optimal levels. Therefore, it would be prudent to approach cannabis with caution if you are displaying signs of a congested liver and body. These signs can include, brain fog, generalized muscle aches or pains, and chemical sensitivities.
When cannabis utilizes the receptor sites that are designed for cell signaling and the transport of messages between cells, congestion can occur. This can result in the cells becoming overloaded. When detoxification is not able to occur, the immune system becomes compromised and can lead to premature cell death.
This can cause symptoms of hypersensitivity, intolerance of medications and supplements, sensitivities to chemicals, and a number of paradoxical reactions that can be extremely difficult to normalize.
However, because the cannabinoid system is involved in so many other systems, there is a huge potential for cannabis to be used as a healing agent as well. If cannabinoids like THC and CBD can offer improvement in autoimmune conditions, obesity, neurological degenerative conditions, PTSD, obesity, mental and mood disorders, as well as many others, then perhaps the body is actually wired to accept cannabis as a medicine.
Research is still limited, as cannabis is not approved for medical use at the federal level, which is where most of the funding for studies is sourced. It appears that although cannabis could cause a disruption in the body, it also provides a plethora of holistic benefits. Compared to other types of medications, medical cannabis could prove to be one of the healthier options.
Introduction to the EndoCannabinoid System.
by Dustin Sulak, DO Healer.com
As you read this review of the scientific literature regarding the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing will become quickly evident: cannabis has a profound influence on the human body. This one herb and its variety of therapeutic compounds seem to affect every aspect of our bodies and minds. How is this possible?
At our integrative medical clinics in Maine and Massachusetts, my colleagues and I treat over 18,000 patients with a huge diversity of diseases and symptoms. In one day I might see cancer, Crohn's disease, epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, Tourette syndrome and eczema, just to name a few. All of these conditions have different causes, different physiologic states, and vastly different symptoms. The patients are old and young. Some are undergoing conventional therapy. Others are on a decidedly alternative path. Yet despite their differences, almost all of my patients would agree on one point: cannabis helps their condition.
As a physician, I am naturally wary of any medicine that purports to cure-all. Panaceas, snake-oil remedies, and expensive fads often come and go, with big claims but little scientific or clinical evidence to support their efficacy. As I explore the therapeutic potential of cannabis, however, I find no lack of evidence. In fact, I find an explosion of scientific research on the therapeutic potential of cannabis, more evidence than one can find on some of the most widely used therapies of conventional medicine.
At the time of this writing (February 2015), a PubMed search for scientific journal articles published in the last 20 years containing the word "cannabis" revealed 8,637 results. Add the word "cannabinoid," and the results increase to 20,991 articles. That's an average of more than two scientific publications per day over the last 20 years! These numbers not only illustrate the present scientific interest and financial investment in understanding more about cannabis and its components, but they also emphasize the need for high quality reviews and summaries such as the document you are about to read.
How can one herb help so many different conditions? How can it provide both palliative and curative actions? How can it be so safe while offering such powerful effects? The search to answer these questions has led scientists to the discovery of a previously unknown physiologic system, a central component of the health and healing of every human and almost every animal: the endocannabinoid system.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond. Here's one example: autophagy, a process in which a cell sequesters part of its contents to be self-digested and recycled, is mediated by the cannabinoid system. While this process keeps normal cells alive, allowing them to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products, it has a deadly effect on malignant tumor cells, causing them to consume themselves in a programmed cellular suicide. The death of cancer cells, of course, promotes homeostasis and survival at the level of the entire organism.
Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are also found at the intersection of the body's various systems, allowing communication and coordination between different cell types. At the site of an injury, for example, cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing, and calming nearby immune cells to prevent release of pro-inflammatory substances. Three different mechanisms of action on three different cell types for a single purpose: minimize the pain and damage caused by the injury.
The endocannabinoid system, with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body's organs, is literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system we begin to see a mechanism that explains how states of consciousness can promote health or disease.
In addition to regulating our internal and cellular homeostasis, cannabinoids influence a person's relationship with the external environment. Socially, the administration of cannabinoids clearly alters human behavior, often promoting sharing, humor, and creativity. By mediating neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity, and learning, cannabinoids may directly influence a person's open-mindedness and ability to move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior from past situations. Reformatting these old patterns is an essential part of health in our quickly changing environment.
What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?
Sea squirts, tiny nematodes, and all vertebrate species share the endocannabinoid system as an essential part of life and adaptation to environmental changes. By comparing the genetics of cannabinoid receptors in different species, scientists estimate that the endocannabinoid system evolved in primitive animals over 600 million years ago.
While it may seem we know a lot about cannabinoids, the estimated twenty thousand scientific articles have just begun to shed light on the subject. Large gaps likely exist in our current understanding, and the complexity of interactions between various cannabinoids, cell types, systems and individual organisms challenges scientists to think about physiology and health in new ways. The following brief overview summarizes what we do know.
Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body, embedded in cell membranes, and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system. When cannabinoid receptors are stimulated, a variety of physiologic processes ensue. Researchers have identified two cannabinoid receptors: CB1, predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; and CB2, predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures.
Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action. Researchers speculate there may be a third cannabinoid receptor waiting to be discovered.
Endocannabinoids are the substances our bodies naturally make to stimulate these receptors. The two most well understood of these molecules are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They are synthesized on-demand from cell membrane arachidonic acid derivatives, have a local effect and short half-life before being degraded by the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL).
Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate cannabinoid receptors. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the most psychoactive and certainly the most famous of these substances, but other cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) are gaining the interest of researchers due to a variety of healing properties. Most phytocannabinoids have been isolated from cannabis sativa, but other medical herbs, such as echinacea purpura, have been found to contain non-psychoactive cannabinoids as well.
Interestingly, the cannabis plant also uses THC and other cannabinoids to promote its own health and prevent disease. Cannabinoids have antioxidant properties that protect the leaves and flowering structures from ultraviolet radiation - cannabinoids neutralize the harmful free radicals generated by UV rays, protecting the cells. In humans, free radicals cause aging, cancer, and impaired healing. Antioxidants found in plants have long been promoted as natural supplements to prevent free radical harm.
Laboratories can also produce cannabinoids. Synthetic THC, marketed as dronabinol (Marinol), and nabilone (Cesamet), a THC analog, are both FDA approved drugs for the treatment of severe nausea and wasting syndrome. Some clinicians have found them helpful in the off-label treatment of chronic pain, migraine, and other serious conditions. Many other synthetic cannabinoids are used in animal research, and some have potency up to 600 times that of THC.
Cannabis, The Endocannabinoid System, And Good Health
As we continue to sort through the emerging science of cannabis and cannabinoids, one thing remains clear: a functional cannabinoid system is essential for health. From embryonic implantation on the wall of our mother's uterus, to nursing and growth, to responding to injuries, endocannabinoids help us survive in a quickly changing and increasingly hostile environment. As I realized this, I began to wonder: can an individual enhance his/her cannabinoid system by taking supplemental cannabis?
Beyond treating symptoms, beyond even curing disease, can cannabis help us prevent disease and promote health by stimulating an ancient system that is hard-wired into all of us?
I now believe the answer is yes. Research has shown that small doses of cannabinoids from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. This is why many first-time cannabis users don't feel an effect, but by their second or third time using the herb they have built more cannabinoid receptors and are ready to respond. More receptors increase a person's sensitivity to cannabinoids; smaller doses have larger effects, and the individual has an enhanced baseline of endocannabinoid activity. I believe that small, regular doses of cannabis might act as a tonic to our most central physiologic healing system.
Many physicians cringe at the thought of recommending a botanical substance, and are outright mortified by the idea of smoking a medicine. Our medical system is more comfortable with single, isolated substances that can be swallowed or injected. Unfortunately, this model significantly limits the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.
Unlike synthetic derivatives, herbal cannabis may contain over one hundred different cannabinoids, including THC, which all work synergistically to produce better medical effects and less side effects than THC alone. While cannabis is safe and works well when smoked, many patients prefer to avoid respiratory irritation and instead use a vaporizer, cannabis tincture, or topical salve. Scientific inquiry and patient testimonials both indicate that herbal cannabis has superior medical qualities to synthetic cannabinoids.
In 1902 Thomas Edison said, "There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of disease as now, and all their discoveries are tending toward the simple truth that you can't improve on nature." Cannabinoid research has proven this statement is still valid.
So, is it possible that medical cannabis could be the most useful remedy to treat the widest variety of human diseases and conditions, a component of preventative healthcare, and an adaptive support in our increasingly toxic, carcinogenic environment? Yes. This was well known to the indigenous medical systems of ancient India, China, and Tibet, and as you will find in this report, is becoming increasingly well known by Western science. Of course, we need more human-based research studying the effectiveness of cannabis, but the evidence base is already large and growing constantly, despite the DEA's best efforts to discourage cannabis-related research.
Does your doctor understand the benefit of medical cannabis? Can he or she advise you in the proper indications, dosage, and route of administration? Likely not. Despite the two largest U.S. physician associations (American Medical Association and American College of Physicians) calling for more research, the U.S. Congress prohibiting federal interference in states' medical cannabis programs, a 5,000 year history of safe therapeutic use, and a huge amount of published research, most doctors know little or nothing about medical cannabis.
This is changing, in part because the public is demanding it. People want safe, natural and inexpensive treatments that stimulate our bodies' ability to self-heal and help our population improve its quality of life. Medical cannabis is one such solution. This summary is an excellent tool for spreading the knowledge and helping to educate patients and healthcare providers on the scientific evidence behind the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids.
What is CBD and what does it do and what are the effects to the brain?
October 10, 2016 NICK JIKOMES
This article is sponsored by PureCBDvapors.com, your trusted CBD experts dealing in effective pain relief through the use of legal hemp derived cannabidiol products.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many cannabinoid molecules produced by Cannabis, second only to THC in abundance. These plant-derived cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids (phyto = plant in Greek), are characterized by their ability to act on the cannabinoid receptors that are part of our endocannabinoid system. While THC is the principal psychoactive component of Cannabis and has certain medical uses, CBD stands out because it is both non-intoxicating and displays a broad range of potential medical applications. These properties make it especially attractive as a therapeutic agent.
Evaluating CBD Clinical Trial Evidence
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about CBD is the sheer number and variety of its potential therapeutic applications. It is important to recognize that each application may be supported by different levels of evidence. These range from ongoing clinical trials evaluating its efficacy in the treatment of human disorders, to animal studies investigating its behavioral and physiological effects, to in vitro work (test tube experiments) measuring its pharmacological interactions and mechanisms of action. Each type of study comes with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Clinical trials allow us to draw conclusions about the safety and effectiveness of potential therapeutic agents in humans, while animal studies and in-vitro experiments allow researchers to explore their biological actions in greater detail. However, because the latter class of studies are not conducted in humans, the results don’t always lead to the clinical application that we hope for—the majority of drugs that start in human clinical trials never become approved. Nonetheless, animal studies provide us with a strong foundation of biological knowledge, and are where the initial breakthroughs in research are made.
Why Does CBD Have So Many Potential Therapeutic Benefits?
CBD is famous for the promise it holds for treating treatment-resistant forms of childhood epilepsy. A number of clinical trials, testing the efficacy of CBD in human epilepsy patients, are currently underway. But there is also evidence, mainly from animal studies and in vitro experiments, that CBD may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, and potential therapeutic value in the treatment of motivational disorders like depression, anxiety, and addiction.
What’s the biological basis for this wide range of potential medical uses? A key part of the answer lies in CBD’s promiscuous pharmacology—its ability to influence a wide range of receptor systems in the brain and body, including not only cannabinoid receptors but a host of others.
Receptor Systems in the Brain
The brain contains large numbers of highly specialized cells called neurons. Each neuron connects to many others through structures called synapses. These are sites where one neuron communicates to another by releasing chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters (Figure 1).
A neuron’s sensitivity to a specific neurotransmitter depends on whether or not it contains a receptor that “fits” that transmitter, like an electrical socket fits a plug. If a neuron contains receptors that match a particular neurotransmitter, then it can respond directly to that transmitter. Otherwise, it generally can’t. All neurons contain multiple neurotransmitter receptors, allowing them to respond to some neurotransmitters but not others.
Figure 1. Neurons Communicate Using Neurotransmitters
Right: The brain contains a huge a number of brain cells (neurons). Each neuron, represented here as a hexagon, is connected to many others. Left: The synapse is the site where two neurons communicate with each other. The “sender neuron” releases chemical signals called neurotransmitters, which stimulate receptors on the “receiver neuron.” There are many different receptor types in the brain, each one sensitive to different neurotransmitters.
Brain receptors are not only sensitive to neurotransmitters produced naturally within the brain, like dopamine or serotonin, but also chemical messengers produced outside the body, such as plant cannabinoids like THC or CBD. So when you ingest an edible or inhale some vapor, you’re allowing compounds originally produced by a plant to enter your body, travel through your bloodstream, and enter your brain. Once they arrive, these plant-derived compounds can influence brain activity by interacting with receptors on neurons. But they don’t interact with all neurons, just the ones that have the appropriate receptors.
CBD Has Effects on Many Different Receptor Systems
Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD does not directly interact with the two classical cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2). Instead, it affects signaling through CB1 and CB2 receptors indirectly. This partly explains why, in contrast to THC, CBD is non-intoxicating. In addition to its indirect influence on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD can increase levels of the body’s own naturally-produced cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids) by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down.
Even more intriguing: CBD also influences many non-cannabinoid receptor systems in the brain, interacting with receptors sensitive to a variety of drugs and neurotransmitters (Figure 2). These include opioid receptors, known for their role in pain regulation. Opioid receptors are the key targets of pharmaceutical pain killers and drugs of abuse such as morphine, heroin, and fentanyl. CBD can also interact with dopamine receptors, which play a crucial role in regulating many aspects of behavior and cognition, including motivation and reward-seeking behavior.
This raises the intriguing possibility that CBD’s ability to influence either opioid or dopamine receptors may underlie its ability to dampen drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, effects directly relevant to the treatment of addiction. However, we can’t say for sure at this point; more research on CBD’s interactions with the opioid and dopamine receptor systems is still needed.
CBD’s therapeutic potential with respect to addiction also extends to the serotonin system. Animal studies have demonstrated that CBD directly activates multiple serotonin receptors in the brain. These interactions have been implicated in its ability to reduce drug-seeking behavior. CBD’s influence on the serotonin system may also account in part for its anti-anxiety properties, which have been robustly demonstrated across both human and animal studies.
CBD and the Serotonin System: Exciting Possibilities
CBD’s ability to target a specific serotonin receptor, the serotonin 1A receptor, is associated with a remarkable range of therapeutic possibilities. Professor Roger Pertwee, an English pharmacologist renowned for his research on cannabinoids, spoke with Leafly about this aspect of CBD biology.
“It’s apparent ability to enhance the activation of serotonin 1A receptors supports the possibility that it could be used to ameliorate disorders that include: opioid dependence, neuropathic pain, depression and anxiety disorders, nausea and vomiting (e.g. from chemotherapy), and negative symptoms of schizophrenia,” he said. “One big unanswered question is what the human clinical relevance and importance of each of these potential therapeutic uses of CBD, identified solely by examining data from non-human preclinical research, actually is.”
Given that these possibilities come mainly from animal studies, more research will be needed before we can think seriously about human applications.
Figure 2. Receptor Systems Involved in CBD’s Potential Therapeutic Applications. CBD interacts, either directly or indirectly, with many different receptor systems in the brain. It indirectly influences the major cannabinoid receptor in the brain by decreasing THC’s ability to stimulate this receptor. It also interacts with a variety of other receptors. A subset of these are shown here. Each red shape represents a different brain receptor that might be found on a neuron. Some of the potential therapeutic applications associated with CBD’s interaction with each receptor system are listed below each receptor.
CBD: Psychiatric Utility From Complex Pharmacology?
Understanding CBD’s neurological effects is a complicated business, because of the wide variety of receptors with which it interacts. But that complexity may be the key to its promise as a therapeutic agent. Motivational disorders like addiction and anxiety are themselves highly complex; they arise from incompletely understood causes that span multiple receptor systems and neural networks in the brain. CBD’s complex, multi-target effects may therefore be crucial to its potential for aiding the treatment of such disorders. Over the coming years, researchers will continue to further understand this complexity and uncover the full scope of CBD’s therapeutic potential.
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-36. [PDF]
Mechoulam R, Parker LA. The Endocannabinoid System and the Brain. Annu Rev Psychology. 2013;64:21-47. [PDF]
Morgan CJ, Schafer G, Freeman TP, Curran HV. Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: naturalistic study: naturalistic study. Br J Psychiatry. 2010;197(4):285-90. [PDF]
Parsons LH, Hurd YL. Endocannabinoid signalling in reward and addiction. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2015;16(10):579-94. PDF
Zlebnik NE, Cheer JF. Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2016;39:1-17. PDF
How Cannabidiol (CBD) works for Treating Anxiety, Stress, PTSD and more.
SPONSORED BY PLUSCBD OIL
February 29, 2016
While we don’t normally think of anxiety as desirable, it’s actually a critical adaptive response that can help us cope with threats to our (or a loved one’s) safety and welfare. These responses help us recognize and avert potential threats; they can also help motivate us to take action to better our situation (work harder, pay bills, improve relationships, etc.). However, when we don’t manage these natural responses effectively, they can become maladaptive and impact our work and relationships. This can lead to clinically diagnosable anxiety-related disorders. We’ve all heard the saying, “stress kills.” It’s true!
Anxiety-related disorders affect a huge segment of our population—40 million adults (18%) in the United States age 18 and older. In response, Big Pharma has developed numerous drugs to treat anxiety-related disorders, from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft to tranquilizers (the most popular class being benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax).
While these drugs can be effective for many patients, some don’t respond favorably. Certain patients don’t see much improvement, or they can’t tolerate the side effects. Moreover, tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax can be highly addictive. Clearly, alternative treatments are warranted. Could cannabidiol (CBD), the most prominent non-intoxicating constituent in cannabis, provide a viable alternative for currently available anxiety medications? Quite possibly!
In recent years, CBD has generated a tremendous amount of interest among consumers, clinicians, and scientists. Why? Not only does evidence suggest CBD counteracts many of THC’s adverse effects, but numerous animal studies and accumulating evidence from human experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies suggest CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties. Administered acutely (“as needed”), it appears safe, well-tolerated, and may be beneficial to treat a number of anxiety-related disorders, including:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Mild to moderate depression
How Does CBD Work?
CBD exerts several actions in the brain that explain why it could be effective in treating anxiety. Before we dive in, it’s important to note that most research describing how CBD works is preclinical and based on animal studies. As the saying goes, “mice are not men” — and, results from animal studies don’t always neatly transfer to human therapies. However, preclinical studies provide insights that move us in the right direction:
5-HT1A agonist: 5-HT1A is a subtype of the serotonin receptor, which is important because anxiety and depression can sometimes be treated with medications that target the serotonin system. This is why drug companies developed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Zoloft. SSRIs work by blocking reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, which increases availability of serotonin in the synaptic space. This helps brain cells transmit more serotonin signals, which can reduce anxiety and boost mood in certain cases (although the full biological basis for this is more complicated and not fully understood).
Similar to SSRIs, CBD may boost signaling through serotonin receptors. In an animal study, Spanish researchers found that CBD enhances 5-HT1A transmission and may affect serotonin faster than SSRIs. Researchers noted:
“The fast onset of antidepressant action of CBD and the simultaneous anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect would solve some of the main limitations of current antidepressant therapies.”
Hippocampal neurogenesis: The hippocampus is a major brain area, and plays a critical role in a variety of brain functions. It’s most famous for its role in memory formation and cognition. Brain scans of patients suffering from depression or anxiety often show a smaller hippocampus, and successful treatment of depression is associated with the birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) in the hippocampus.
An animal study using mice found repeated administration of CBD may help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which could be useful for treating anxiety or depression. Research shows both SSRIs and CBD may promote neurogenesis. This is significant, because evidence suggests that severely impaired neuronal plasticity may influence suicidal behavior. Future research comparing CBD and SSRIs effect on neurogenesis could open up promising new avenues in how we understand depression and how to most effectively treat it.
How Can CBD Help Anxiety?
Building on the foundation of animal studies, human studies are starting to provide evidence to demonstrate that CBD can improve many commonly reported anxiety-disorder symptoms, including acute stress and anxiety.
Human Studies Show How CBD Reduces Anxiety
Brazilian researchers conducted a small double-blind study of patients afflicted with generalized social anxiety. After consuming CBD, participants reported a significant decrease in anxiety. Researchers validated patients’ subjective reports by performing brain scans showing cerebral blood flow patterns consistent with an anti-anxiety effect.
In another small study, researchers had patients suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder perform a simulated public speaking test. Participants reported significantly less anxiety, findings supported by objective anxiety indicators like heart rate and blood pressure.
Researchers concluded, “[CBD] significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance,” whereas the placebo group experienced “higher anxiety, cognitive impairment, [and] discomfort.”
Evidence from animal studies have begun to characterize the details of how CBD acts in the brain, and human studies of patients with and without anxiety disorders are starting to validate CBD’s efficacy as an anti-anxiety treatment. Given the huge social and financial costs of anxiety disorders in the U.S., CBD has the potential to play a significant role in treating a myriad of anxiety-related disorders.
While more research, including large randomized-control trials (RCTs), is clearly warranted to examine the long-term effects and potential for CBD, its demonstrated efficacy and highly favorable safety profile (particularly when compared to currently available drugs) make it a viable alternative or adjunct to currently available pharmaceuticals.
Blessing EM, Steenkamp MM, Manzanares J, Marmar CR. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-36. PDF
Malberg JE, Eisch AJ, Nestler EJ, Duman RS. Chronic antidepressant treatment increases neurogenesis in adult rat hippocampus. J Neurosci. 2000;20(24):9104-10. PDF
Zlebnik NE, Cheer JF. Beyond the CB1 Receptor: Is Cannabidiol the Answer for Disorders of Motivation?. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2016;39:1-17. PDF
What is the best CBD Dosage?
Aaron Cadena Feb 24 CB+Origin.com
Whether you’re a first-time user or an experienced user, understanding how CBD works and how to use it can be somewhat confusing, especially since the industry is so new. Every day, we answer dozens of questions from our readers, but one of the most frequently asked by first-time users and experienced users alike is: What’s the best CBD dosage?
While there are tons of articles about the benefits of CBD, there are few about properly dosing CBD. To make things more confusing, unlike with other supplements, The FDA has not created a Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for CBD, which means CBD does not have an official serving size.
Because of this, consumers are blindly estimating their dosages based on recommendations from brands and companies they buy their CBD from. Or even worse… friends who are uncertified and claim to be “experts” simply because they use CBD.
“Take one dropper of CBD per day,” is one of the most common dosage recommendations we hear. While this can definitely be a dosage, there’s no way to tell if its the right dosage for the given individual as it doesn’t take into account important factors such as:
The concentration of CBD
The weight of the individual
The individual’s body chemistry
The severity of the condition being treated
With that being said, there isn’t a “one size fits all” dosage, and there will be some trial and error while gauging your proper dosage.
Neuroscientist Nick Jikomes over at Leafly, explains that, as our body’s physiology changes, so do the receptors in our endocannabinoid system, which are directly responsible for interactions with CBD. As a result, optimal CBD dosages will shift throughout an individuals lifetime.
In other words, there isn’t a universal or static CBD dosage…
So how much CBD should you take then? Use these 3 simple tips to find out:
How to Choose Your CBD Dosage
1. Estimate your dosage based on your body weight
As with most substances, individuals with more body mass will require more CBD to experience its effects. With that being said, a good rule of thumb to determine your proper CBD dosage is to take 1–6MG of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight based on the individuals level of pain.
For example, 20MG-33MG would be a great starting dosage for a 200lb patient, while 15MG-25MG would be best for another who weighs 150lbs.
For reference, use Honest Marijuana’s Simple Dosage Calculator.
2. Start small and increase gradually
Let’s say you have a friend who weighs no more than 150 pounds and takes 50MG of CBD twice per day, which he claims provides all kinds of benefits. Since you guys are approximately the same weight, he recommends the same dosage for yourself.
Here’s why this isn’t the best way to choose your dosage:
Not only are we all made differently, we each have our own unique history with the use of substances, medications, supplements, and other things we put in our body. Because of this, we all have different body chemistry, and this will affect how our body reacts to CBD. As R.R Noall over at Herb puts it, “what works for your friend, may not work for you.”
With that being said, it is important to first determine your initial dosage based on your weight, gauge how your body reacted to that amount of CBD, then increase gradually while continuing to monitor your body’s reactions till you find the perfect dosage that works for your situation.
3. Consult your physician
When in doubt, consult your physician, especially if you have an existing medical condition. While there aren’t a ton of doctors who have experience with CBD, most doctors should have a good idea on how your body will react to CBD and can provide you a professional CBD dosage for your situation.
You’re Now a CBD Dosage Expert…almost…
So, now that you know how much CBD you should take, we face another important question:
How do you accurately measure your CBD dosage?
Think about it:
How much CBD is there in a single puff off your vaporizer, how much CBD is in a dropper from your CBD tincture?
Without understanding how to properly measure your dosage, knowing how much CBD you should take is pretty much pointless. Especially when it comes to all the different ways to consume CBD.
If you’re feeling a little confused, don’t worry. Let’s shed some light on the situation.
How to Measure Your CBD Tincture Dosage
Using a CBD tincture is one of the easiest ways to consume CBD. Simply fill the dropper, administer the oil under your tongue, then hold it there for 30 to 90 seconds before swallowing.
But, how many drops of CBD oil should you take?
With some simple mathematics, we can easily figure that out.
Being that the dropper is the tool we use to administer a CBD tincture, we need to find out how much CBD is in a single dropper. Once you know this, you can gauge how much CBD you’re taking.
So how do you figure out how much CBD is in a dropper?
Typically a dropper holds 1 ML of liquid. If you know how many milliliters are in a CBD tincture, you can use this simple formula to determine how much CBD is in its dropper:
[Total CBD in Bottle] ÷ [Number of Millileters in Bottle] = MGs of CBD in a Dropper
For example, let’s say you have a 30ml CBD tincture that has 1500MG of CBD:
1500 ÷ 30 = 50MG of CBD per dropper
Now, if you’re proper dosage of CBD is 25MG, and a single dropper of that 1500MG tincture contains 50MG, you’d simply fill the dropper halfway.
Of course, this method isn’t 100% accurate, but it is more accurate than not measuring at all. Remember, start with a small dosage and gradually increase until you find your perfect dosage.
How to Measure Your CBD Vape Dosage
Vaping CBD can be done using a CBD e-liquid or CBD cartridge system. Both methods are fairly easy and offer an enjoyable experience.
When using an e-liquid to vape CBD, you’d start by estimating how much CBD is in a dropper (just like with a tincture). Once you know this, you know how much CBD you are putting into a single tank. As you vape throughout the day, keep an eye on when you need to refill your tank, and how many times you need to refill your tank.
If your proper dosage of CBD is 25MG, and you are using a 1000MG bottle of CBD e-liquid, a single tank would contain approximately 33.33MG of CBD. That being said, to properly administer your dosage, you would vape a single tank periodically throughout the day.
Again, not 100% accurate; but with regular monitoring, you will be able to quickly gauge your CBD intake.
The Truly Accurate Way to Dose CBD
Since the methods we mentioned so far have only been semi-accurate, you’re probably wondering:
“So is there a 100% accurate way to take CBD?”
There certainly is. CBD Capsules.
Because CBD capsules are filled with an exact amount of CBD, they provide a truly accurate way to dose CBD. If your optimal CBD dosage is 16MG-25MG, then simply buy a bottle of 20MG or 25MG capsules and you’re good to go. Plus, it doesn’t get easier than taking a capsule.
Other consumption methods that are just as accurate include CBD applicators, CBD edibles, CBD Gummies, and CBD beverages; although they may not be as convenient as capsules.
We hope that the CBD dosage guide was helpful.
How Cannabis Edibles work longer than Smoking.
06.13.14 5:45 AM ET
Ever wondered why the effects of a pot brownie feel so much stronger than regular old smoking? Here’s the answer.
Eating marijuana tends to produce a stronger and much longer-lasting high than smoking it—one that is often scary to inexperienced users and can be disconcerting to regulars. This has created some controversy in Colorado, as cannabis neophytes consume newly legal “edibles” ranging from ganja brownies to pot-infused salsa.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that the pharmacokinetics of marijuana—the way it is absorbed and excreted by the body—are different for smoking and eating it. The second is “set and setting,” the way in which people use it and the expectations they bring—specifically, that it’s much easier to control the dose when smoking.
“In a nutshell, eaten cannabis gets metabolized by the liver, so delta-9 THC becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, which passes the blood-brain barrier more rapidly and has more of a psychedelic effect than standard THC,” says Understanding Marijuana author Mitch Earleywine, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Albany.
“Smoked or vaporized cannabis bypasses the liver and doesn’t create the same 11-hydroxy-THC.”
Smoking marijuana gets THC into the body much faster and at higher concentrations, but it stays there much longer after eating. With smoking, as much as 50 to 60 percent of the THC in a joint can get into the blood plasma, and peak concentrations come in 5 to 10 minutes. It “very quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier,” explains Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. With orally administered cannabis, only 10 to 20 percent of the cannabinoids reach the blood plasma, and they do so 60 to 120 minutes later, says Dr. Mark A. Ware, an associate professor of family health at McGill University in Montreal.
How long a drug stays in the body is usually measured—like radioactivity—by half-life, or how long it takes for half the drug to disappear from the blood. This is complicated to calculate with cannabis, explains Ware, because its metabolites are absorbed into body fat and then can be rereleased into the blood. But THC from smoked marijuana “rapidly dissipates,” while the effects of eating it can last 6 to 10 hours.
The key difference is in how it’s metabolized, says Ware. “Anything going through the stomach goes through the liver first,” before it gets into the blood, he explains, a process called first-pass metabolism. Cannabis absorbed through the lungs goes straight to the brain, but is only metabolized by the liver on the second pass. When the liver metabolizes delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC, users feel the “combined effect of the two.”
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s more intoxicating,” Ware adds. “It’s just different.”
Why people might perceive the effects of eating cannabis to be more intense also has to do with set and setting. As the effects of smoked marijuana can be felt within seconds, even mildly experienced users can generally pick the point where they’ve had enough, a process called “titration.” In contrast, those who eat cannabis have to estimate what the dose they’ve taken will do, and the length of the high means that any unpleasant effects take longer to go away.
“People using marijuana medicinally for long-lasting chronic pain often prefer oral ingestion because it lasts longer and they don’t have to consume as often,” says Amanda Reiman, policy manager of the California Drug Policy Alliance. “However, marijuana ingested orally is more difficult to properly titrate dosage due to the increased time of effect onset.”
Predicting the effects of an oral dose is “ultimately a crapshoot,” says Armentano. Herbal drugs are difficult to standardize; this was a main reason why the medical use of cannabis, common in the late 19th century, had largely faded by the time the U.S. government enacted prohibitive laws in 1937. In addition, cannabinoids have a “unique pharmacology,” and individuals can have widely varying responses to the same dose.
Despite those variations, Ware says, once the patients he’s observed have found a dose that works, they tend to stay with that dose—but they must go through the same trial-and-error process when they get a different batch of cannabis. He recommends “the lowest dose possible to achieve therapeutic effects.”
There have been some efforts at standardization. In 2013, Colorado government officials and cannabis-industry representatives agreed to set 10 milligrams of total cannabinoids—THC, CBD, and others—as a standard dosage unit for edibles, with a maximum of 100 mg per item, says Christie Lunsford, who spent six years manufacturing and marketing edibles such as truffles and cannabis-infused soda.
The 10-mg level is a reasonable dose for occasional users, she explains, and the levels are laboratory-tested both after the plants are harvested and after the products are manufactured. However, she adds, it is impossible to measure herbal medicines with the same precision as pharmaceuticals, and having to wait for lab results means baked goods can lose freshness. In addition, all edibles sold for the state’s recreational market have to be in child-resistant packaging, and the law will be extended to medical edibles next year.
Still, if people are having unpleasant experiences eating marijuana, Armentano urges the public to keep things in perspective. Unlike those who consume too much alcohol or prescription opioids, “they’re not going to suffer any long-term potential harm, toxicity, or lethal overdose,” he says. “It’s not as if people are going to the hospital and having their stomachs pumped.”
But to avoid jeopardizing pot’s newly legal status in Colorado and Washington, he advocates that users, growers, and retailers be responsible about what they’re doing. Users need to be aware of what they’re consuming and the effects of mixing it with alcohol, he says, and those in the industry “can’t assume that people are familiar with how to use it and the effects of different doses and methods.”