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How Could Cannabidiol Benefit the Gut?

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Diagram of the digestive system to show areas affected by IBD

The digestive system. While Crohn’s disease can affect any area, ulcerative colitis is confined to the colon and/or rectum (Tortora & Derrickson) Source: Leysi24

How Could Cannabidiol Benefit the Gut? Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 18, Dan McMahon has years of experience with gut issues and many of the ways to treat it. Even with 22 pills a day, including steroids, bi-monthly injections and dietary advice from his gastroenterologist, the pain and discomfort was always there. However, a few years ago, his father suggested that he try cannabis, but simply smoking “regular” cannabis had no positive effects. Then one day, a friend gave him a CBD oil-infused blueberry muffin, and after his initial disappointment over the lack of “buzz”, realised that he wasn’t really in any pain, for the first time in years. How Could Cannabidiol Benefit the Gut? He states that CBD has given him back quality of life that he never thought he would see again and has enabled him to avoid prescription medications, and takes CBD products almost every day now. Another patient with Crohn’s disease has stated that cannabis use along with pharmaceutical medications has allowed him to have only one other flare-up of his symptoms in five years, and avoid surgery. Crohn’s disease, along with ulcerative colitis, is known as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), after the root cause of the disease.

But what evidence is there to back up these claims? In one study of 30 Crohn’s disease patients before and after cannabis use, 21 patients “improved significantly” and were able to reduce usage of pharmaceutical medications. At first, 15 of the 30 patients needed a collective total of 19 surgeries over an average period of 9 years before cannabis use. During an average period of 3 years of cannabis use, only 2 patients needed surgery. In comparison, the National Institute of Health estimates that 70-90% of patients with Crohn’s disease will need surgery. Almost two-fifths, 39%, will need repeat surgeries.  All 30 patients reported improvements in their symptoms, the number of patients requiring steroids fell from 26 to 4, and the mean number of bowel movements fell from 8 to 5 daily. This was thought to be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids, which can regulate immune cells and the amount of inflammatory chemicals they produce. In another, placebo-controlled trial, 10 of the 11 patients who received cannabis cigarettes showed a clinical response, with 5 reaching “remission”.

But how could Cannabidiol benefit the gut? And what about CBD itself? A study on both mice with intestinal inflammation and biopsies of patients with ulcerative colitis, the other IBD, found that CBD could ease inflammation in both by reducing the activation of glial cells. These are a type of nerve cell that communicate with the immune system. In the biopsies of human patients, CBD significantly reduced glial cell activation and inflammatory activity of other immune cells in a dose-dependent manner. That means a higher dose of CBD produced a stronger effect. This could be seen in both biopsies of patients who were in “remission”, and those having flare-ups. The strongest effects were seen on the glial cells. Other components of hemp, including other cannabinoids and some of the many terpenes, have also demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects. However, more research on low-THC, whole hemp extracts is required for the management of IBD.

References

http://www.honeycolony.com/article/cbd_crohns_disease/

http://unitedpatientsgroup.com/blog/2015/01/13/a-cannabis-patients-guide-to-crohns-disease-by-crohns-patient-daniel-towns/

http://www.ima.org.il/FilesUpload/IMAJ/0/39/19985.pdf

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0028159

What Do Bioavailability and Sublingual Mean For Me?

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There are many reasons why we may want to take CBD-rich hemp extracts, whether it be to manage a chronic condition, prevent illness or just for general health maintenance and wellbeing. In all cases, we want to get as much out of every dose as possible. For this, the bioavailability of CBD and other cannabinoids must be maximised. Bioavailability means how much of a substance is able to enter the bloodstream unchanged.

So how can we maximise bioavailability1? When a drug is given intravenously, the bioavailability is 100%, because it gets past barriers such as the intestinal wall, as well as liver metabolism. When a medicine is taken orally, it may not be absorbed through the intestines because of insufficient time. Being highly water soluble or not dissolving enough are two reasons why a drug may take longer to be absorbed. Poor digestion, binding to other substances and use by the intestinal bacteria are other reasons why it may not be absorbed. After a nutrient, medicine or something else is absorbed into the bloodstream, it passes through the liver2. In the liver, a portion of an absorbed substance is changed, which makes the affected substance more water soluble. This is to prepare it for the next time it enters the liver, where it is readied for excretion.

So what does sublingual mean, and what does it have to do with bioavailability? Sublingual administration of medicines is when it is designed for absorption under the tongue3, not in the stomach and intestines like food. “Sub” means “under”, and “lingual” means “relating to the tongue”. As this also means direct transfer into the blood, it avoids issues relating to the intestinal barrier. These include inability to be absorbed, interaction with other nutrients or drugs, or use by normal intestinal bacteria. It also avoids being directly shuttled to the liver and resulting changes to its structure.

Of course, CBD is also vulnerable to issues that can affect intestinal absorption, as well as being processed by the liver. Because of this, a small study4 in 2003 set out to find any differences in the bioavailability of CBD and THC when taken in different ways. The dosage methods tested were oral, oro-pharyngeal (throat), buccal (inside of the cheek) and sublingual. When CBD was taken sublingually, the half-life was 86 minutes, while oral use had a half-life of 65 minutes. The term “half-life” means the time taken for half of the tested substance to be removed from the body. Another measure of bioavailability, known as “area under the curve” (AUC), also showed a superior score for sublingual CBD. The two AUC scores for sublingual use were 408.53 and 427.33. However, the scores for oral use were 345.68 and 362.04. The AUC measurement shows the total exposure of the body to a medicine once it is given. Therefore, a higher AUC can mean a greater potential to be effective.

Liposomal hemp extracts may be even more bioavailable, as the type of fat that the hemp extract would be surrounded by can enable easy, efficient absorption. While more human trials are needed, sublingual CBD and CBD-rich hemp extracts may be better than taking a regular capsule, as it could bypass many obstacles between the cannabinoids and their intended destination.

References

1: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/clinical-pharmacology/pharmacokinetics/drug-bioavailability

Preston, A, 2014, Nutritional Biochemistry Explained, Lulu Press.

3: http://www.pharmtech.com/considerations-developing-sublingual-tablets-overview

4: http://www.cannabis-med.org/data/pdf/2003-03-04-4_0.pdf

Cannabinoids, Hemp and Severe Nausea

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Cannabinoids, Hemp and Severe Nausea is an interesting topic indeed. One of the most common reasons why medical cannabis is prescribed is to relieve nausea, and may be why you purchase Elixinol. Nausea can be caused by many things: physical illness, pharmaceutical drugs, too much alcohol or psychological stimuli. But how can hemp and cannabinoids work to treat nausea and vomiting?

The psychoactive cannabinoid THC, which is drastically reduced in hemp plants, has been studied for years for its effects in relieving the nausea and vomiting that many cancer patients experience1. In an early trial from 19752, 14 out of 20 patients taking THC experienced reduced nausea and vomiting. Of those who finished the study, THC was effective in 12 of 15 cases. In another3 trial from the 1980s, THC reduced nausea and vomiting in 23 of the 36 patients assigned to receive it. Only one of the 36 patients taking the pharmaceutical control experienced relief. It works by stimulating our cannabinoid receptors, but not everyone can tolerate the “high”.

Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t cause a high, but research on shrews showed that it can also reduce nausea and vomiting1. Its non-heated form, CBDA, was able to produce this effect at a much lower dose, 0.1 and 0.5 mg/kg of body weight instead of 5 and 10mg/kg doses. This effect was partly explained by stimulation of receptors called 5-HT

CBDV, which may relieve nausea.

A CBDV molecule.

1A receptors. CBD also does not directly stimulate the cannabinoid receptors. However, it can increase the levels of our own, naturally occurring cannabinoids, by reducing their breakdown and uptake into cells. Additionally, beta-caryophyllene, one of the terpenes in hemp4, has also been found to stimulate the cannabinoid receptors. While its anti-nausea abilities have not been specifically tested, this action may mean it has supporting effects.

 

Another cannabinoid known as CBDV5 may also reduce nausea and vomiting. CBDV is the “raw” version of CBD, which turns into the more well-known cannabinoid after heating. Research on rats found that it was able to prevent nausea caused by a toxin, by stimulating the cannabinoid receptors. This was unlike the drug Rimonabant, which works against cannabinoid receptors and increased nausea.

CBD and CBDA can both relieve nausea caused by toxins and prevent anticipatory nausea, which is caused by psychological conditioning1. Other terpenes4 present in hemp besides beta-caryophyllene may also be able to play a role in reducing anticipatory nausea. This is typically treated by prescription of benzodiazepines, which increase a neurotransmitter called GABA, but may be too sedating and addictive. Linalool, a terpene present in both hemp and lavender, has been found to reduce anxiety and promote mild sedation by increasing GABA. It also reduces glutamate, a neurotransmitter which can be overstimulating in excess. Myrcene is another terpene which has shown sedative effects; it is also found in hops, a plant often used to aid sleep in Germany.

Unfortunately, while there is abundant research on THC and relief of nausea and vomiting, CBD and other non-psychoactive components of hemp have largely been neglected. However, the currently available research and reported experiences suggest that CBD-rich hemp oil could be a promising preventative for vomiting.

References

1: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4960260/

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1099449/

3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2847994/

4: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/

5: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3792004/

Could Vaping Cannabinoids Help Me Quit Smoking?

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Could Vaping Cannabinoids Help Me Quit Smoking? Vaping, with the use of e-cigarettes, is a popular alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes because of the belief that it is non-toxic. However, e-cigarettes still contain nicotine as well as other potentially harmful chemicals1. Researchers have found that e-cig vapour can contain formaldehyde, the “probable carcinogen” glycidiol, and the irritant acrolein. Increasing voltage, heat and usage of the device may also worsen the levels of these toxins. Fortunately, vaping hemp oil rich in cannabinoids could help kick nicotine addiction, while still providing something to “smoke”.

Cannabidiol (CBD), the primary cannabinoid in hemp oil, may be useful in fighting nicotine dependence2. This is because the CB1 cannabinoid receptors may control how “rewarding” nicotine and other drugs feel to the user. These findings have led to trials testing the effects of Rimonabant, a drug which acts against the CB1 receptors. Rimonabant has since been withdrawn from the market and clinical trials after it was discovered that the medication increased the risk of depression and suicide. CBD, however, has a much better safety profile.

Pre-clinical research has suggested that CBD may assist in recovery from addiction. In rats, CBD was able to reduce cue-induced drug seeking, even 14 days after administration. But what about us humans? Studies have shown that smoking

cannabis high in CBD significantly reduced the reinforcing effect of stimuli related to THC-containing cannabis in those who were addicted. Because of this research, another trial was published in 2013 testing the effect of CBD inhalers on cigarette use for one week. Twenty-four smokers received either an inhaler containing CBD, or a placebo inhaler, which they were instructed to use whenever they were craving a cigarette. Among volunteers inhaling CBD, there was a significant drop in the number of cigarettes smoked during the week; the much smaller drop seen in the placebo group was insignificant2.

CBD and other cannabinoids may help to reduce withdrawal symptoms when quitting smoking, such as anxiety or a depressed mood3. A study on 24 patients with social anxiety found that a dose of CBD before a public speaking test significantly reduced anxiety during the speech4. When compared to 12 other people without social anxiety, there were no differences in anxiety, cognitive impairment or discomfort.

Other components of hemp, such as the terpenes5, may also help relieve the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine. Limonene, a terpene also found in citrus oils, was able to dramatically reduce depression in hospitalised patients in one trial. Even though researchers just diffused the oil into the air, some patients experienced a normalisation of depression scores and could even discontinue antidepressants. Beta-myrcene, another terpene, has been recognised as a sedative as part of hops, which is often used to aid sleep. Also found in lavender, linalool may contribute to the sedative and anxiolytic abilities of the hemp plant. Overall, CBD-rich hemp oil could be a helpful tool in kicking a nicotine addiction, although more clinical trials are needed to reach a definitive conclusion. It is important to always consult a qualified professional when looking at treatment options for quitting cigarette smoking.

References

1: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160727090350.htm

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23685330

3: http://www.quit.org.au/about/frequently-asked-questions/faq-smoking-withdrawal/faq-withdrawal-symptoms.html

4: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079847/

5: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21749363

Could Inhaled Cannabinoids Help Neuropathic Pain?

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Neuropathic pain is a complex and chronic set of pain conditions caused by damage to the nerves, which penetrate all areas of our bodies. The worst part? Chronic neuropathic pain, or neuropathy, often responds poorly to the standard, well-known ways to treat pain. It can get worse over time, and even lead to serious disability. But if you do suffer from neuropathy, there may be some good news. A new clinical trial has recently been published, which suggests that cannabinoids could be an effective alternative way to manage neuropathy1.

In this trial, 16 participants were administered cannabis at one of three different potencies (1%, 4% or 7% THC) or a placebo, which they took by aerosol inhaler. Use of an inhaler may mean that consuming cannabinoids or hemp extract by the increasingly popular method of vaping could be effective. All of the participants had diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes. Currently, diabetes affects around 387 million people around the world1. At each increasing dose, there was a greater reduction in spontaneous pain – pain without anything even touching them. At the highest dose, there was even a reduction in induced pain. Unfortunately, it also caused a drop in mental performance.

Negative effects on mental performance is one of several reasons why many choose CBD-rich hemp extracts, such as Elixinol, over THC-containing products. But can CBD, and other components of hemp extracts, also help relieve the pain seen in neuropathy? Another trial, this time on 177 patients2 with advanced cancer pain, tested the effects of THC and CBD together versus THC alone and a placebo. Only those taking the THC and CBD together saw a significant reduction in pain. The THC alone did not show a significant difference from the placebo. In the THC and CBD group, 43% showed at least a 30% improvement in pain scores. Both the THC only and placebo group had 12% of patients experiencing an at least 30% reduction in pain. This may mean that not only does CBD have its own pain relieving abilities, but also that THC requires its presence in order to have any effect on many people.

CBD may fight neuropathic pain in a different way to just acting on our cannabinoid receptors. A study on rats with neuropathy showed that CBD was working on a type of receptor called the vanilloid receptors, but did not need the cannabinoid receptors3. The vanilloid receptors control pain sensation, and if you’ve ever heard of chilli being able to reduce pain, they are why it works. CBD also reduced activity of the inflammatory PGE-2 substances. Inflammation contributes to pain and sometimes even long-term tissue damage.

Other cannabinoids may also help to relieve neuropathic pain4. CBC and CBG are both anti-inflammatory and analgesic, but have not been studied as much as THC or CBD. CBC is weaker in these respects than THC, but CBG has stronger analgesic ability, and a stronger ability to block an inflammatory enzyme called lipoxygenase. Even flavonoids found in hemp could assist in relieving neuropathy. Cannflavin A, which is unique to hemp and cannabis, can inhibit PGE-2 30 times more potently than aspirin in the laboratory, but has not been thoroughly studied. Some terpenes, such as myrcene and beta-caryophyllene, are also anti-inflammatory. Overall, CBD-rich hemp may be an effective way to relieve neuropathic pain, but clinical trials are needed specifically on high-CBD, no-THC hemp oil.

References

1: https://www.medicaljane.com/2015/07/07/study-supports-efficacy-of-inhaled-cannabis-for-neuropathic-pain-caused-by-diabetes/

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19896326

3: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17157290

4: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18728714

High-CBD Hemp Oil and Acne: A Review

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High-CBD Hemp Oil and Acne: A Review.

In a post published in July, I discussed research suggesting that CBD-rich hemp extracts could be a great topical treatment for acne. But when I started taking Elixinol’s liposomal extract, initially for inflammation and depressive tendencies, I found that it was also an internal treatment for acne, at least in my case.

Ever since I was 10 years old, just beginning to enter womanhood, I have always had mild acne. There would always be many tiny spots on my face, and at least one or two painful, red cystic spots. The reason why it was so persistent – for the majority of my life – was that nothing seemed to work. Not wearing makeup, or changing the brand, did not work. Creams containing benzoyl peroxide and various cleansers, natural or not, had very little benefit, with the greatest temporary benefit coming from a diatomaceous clay mask I bought in Germany. A friend recommended that I mix zinc and vitamin C powder into cream, and put it on my face. My face looked better in a general sense, but not in the sense of acne. Abandoning gluten helped me in a neurological sense, but my skin did not improve. Limiting milk and yellow cheese has reduced the number of cystic spots on my face, but the greatest reduction in acne for me has been from taking a daily dose of liposomal hemp extract.

Within a week, I stopped getting any more new cystic acne spots, and the number of tiny spots is continually decreasing. Additionally, the dark circles under my eyes are fading more than what they did when I stopped eating gluten. This is often a sign of inflammation. My brother, my fraternal twin, has also suffered from acne since puberty, although his is much more severe, which is at least partly because of his higher dairy intake. I am glad I did not write it off as “genetic”, even though I only found that internal use of hemp oil could clear my skin by accident.

So how does it work? As I wrote in my previous post, CBD and some of the terpenes in hemp may have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and sebum-reducing properties that could work together to fight acne. CBD can increase the levels of our own cannabinoids, such as AEA, by stopping them from breaking down. AEA, at high levels, has been found to reduce the production of sebum. Sebum keeps our skin in good condition at normal levels, but in excess it blocks the pores of our skin and can cause acne. The terpenes known as pinene, limonene and linalool, which are found in hemp, have show antibacterial effects against Propionibacterium acnes, the most common bacterial cause of acne. Limonene and linalool also demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects, which is handy too in cases of infective acne because P. acnes produces the inflammatory substance known as TNF-alpha.

While I am just one person, and I would like to see clinical trials on topical or internal hemp oil and acne, my verdict is that, if you are suffering from acne, hemp oil is worth a try. Particularly if you want to use it topically, liposomal hemp oil looks like the best option in terms of absorption.

Could Hemp and Cannabinoids Help With Autism?

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Research into high-cannabidiol (CBD) hemp extracts continues to march on in Israel, with a paediatrician launching a clinical trial to test the extract on autistic children and adults1. Dr Adi Eran is now obtaining permits from the Israeli Ministry of Health for the trial, which will involve 120 low to medium-functioning autistic people aged 4 to 30. The study will focus on changes in behavioural symptoms such as physical aggression and anxiety. Despite autism not being on the country’s list of “qualifying” conditions for medical cannabis, several Israelis have obtained permits to treat their autism with the plant. However, cannabis has been approved in Israel since 2014 for children and adults with drug-resistant epilepsy. It was while treating patients with both epilepsy and autism that improvements in behavioural symptoms were observed.

Autism Awareness Ribbon.

Source: Melesse

 

Autism is a disorder characterised by problems with communication and social interaction, as well as repetitive behaviours2. Immune system dysfunction has been seen in children with the condition, including altered responses by a certain type of immune cell called “peripheral blood mono-nuclear cells” (PBMCs). Like many cells in the body, these have cannabinoid receptors, both CB1 and CB2, because we produce our own cannabinoids. A study on the PBMCs of autistic children found that activity of the CB2 receptors was 500% higher – six times higher – compared to those of children without autism. When the body increases levels of certain receptors, it is often an attempt to bring things back into balance. It could also mean that there is not enough of the hormone or other chemical that interacts with it. For example, a rapid rise in our own cannabinoids appears after inflammation in order to control the immune response. Autism is related to inflammation, so this may be why these children’s immune cells needed more cannabinoids. A news report3 from 2015 details the story of Kalel Santiago, a boy who only began to speak at the age of nine after taking high-CBD hemp oil. At the time of reporting, he was beginning to add new words to his vocabulary and make eye contact, things that his psychologist could not achieve. His other treatment involved a surf-therapy program, run by the psychologist.

So how does hemp oil work? CBD is able to both reduce uptake of AEA, one of the body’s cannabinoids, and slow its breakdown4. Other cannabinoids may also benefit people with autism. Cannabichromene (CBC) has demonstrated its own ability to reduce AEA uptake into cells.  Cannabigerol (CBG) has also shown this ability. One of the terpenes in hemp, known as beta-caryophyllene, has been found to stimulate CB2 receptors, and so may produce anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Both CBC and CBG may be anti-inflammatory too. Some terpenes, such as limonene and linalool, may have a calming effect and improve mood. Alpha-pinene, which is another terpene, could be another anti-inflammatory phytochemical in hemp. Interestingly, it may be a base for the body to produce some types of substances which act on the CB2 receptors. Overall, hemp extracts look like a promising natural treatment for autism, but this clinical trial is necessary to confirm efficacy and maybe even help tailor treatments to the individual.

References

1: http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2016/08/30/israeli-doctor-to-use-medical-cannabis-to-treat-autism-in-first-of-its-kind-study-report/

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23585028

3: https://www.yahoo.com/news/controversial-cannabis-treatment-helps-9-year-old-120157532312.html

4: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/

Elixinol Earns the Realm of Caring Seal of Approval!

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Elixinol Earns the Realm of Caring Seal of Approval! Elixinol has become the first company to receive the seal of approval for its high-cannabidiol (CBD) products from Realm of Caring, a non-profit group that provides support for those who need hemp and cannabis medicines1. This is two firsts in one, as the Realm of Caring’s seal of approval is the first of its kind in the hemp industry. It is awarded to companies after a long, independent review of manufacturing and sourcing practices, and provides hemp extract users with a way of identifying the highest quality products.

The seal will be included on all Elixinol products from October 1, 2016. Paul Benhaim, CEO of Elixinol, responded:

“We’re honored to have our organic, whole-plant CBD be the first awarded this prestigious recognition of high quality CBD by Realm of Caring, an industry leader and educator. We know it’s important for those using CBD to be able to trust the product. To see our efforts, which are setting the global standard for the CBD industry, recognized is truly rewarding”

Elixinol is now partnering with Realm of Caring clients in CBD research conducted at the John Hopkins URealm-of-caring-approvedniversity. This includes those affected by epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other diseases. As the Realm of Caring serves over 25,000 clients and counting, and are known by many more, their seal of approval means a lot. In fact, their advocacy work has been featured in Time, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, on NBC and on two CNN specials by Dr Sanjay Gupta.

The Realm of Caring was founded by the Stanley brothers, Paige Figi and Heather Jackson2. In 2012, Paige’s daughter, Charlotte Figi, along with Heather’s son, Zaki, were the first success stories from the Charlotte’s Web strain of hemp. Charlotte Figi’s story is one of the most famous success stories3 After years of suffering from a severe form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome, her condition got to a point where she couldn’t walk, talk or feed herself. Her mother then learnt of the Stanley brothers, who were cross-breeding strains of cannabis to produce one with high levels of CBD and low THC. After Charlotte started taking twice daily doses of oil from this strain, she began to “thrive” – finally, over time, able to walk, talk, feed herself and ride a bicycle. Her father said that he could see her brain making connections that hadn’t been made in years. Her mother said that she had not heard Charlotte laugh for six months, not hearing her voice at all. Today, Paige Figi is serving as the Executive Director of the organization Coalition for Access Now, which is dedicated to education on the health benefits linked with natural hemp medicines. The Stanley brothers are now focusing on manufacturing and the development of new products. Heather Jackson, however, is still a part of the Realm of Caring – as the CEO. As the Realm of Caring and Elixinol continue their work, even more children and adults could benefit from high-CBD hemp oil.

References

1: https://www.newcannabisventures.com/elixinol-cbd-products-first-to-earn-realm-of-caring-seal-of-approval/

2: https://www.theroc.us/

3: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/

Cannabinoids Could Help Migraine Sufferers Find Relief

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Cannabinoids Could Help Migraine Sufferers Find Relief. In the USA alone, over 37 million people suffer from migraines, with an estimated 2-3 million experiencing chronic migraines1. Around 5 million have at least one migraine per month, and 11 million say that it causes them moderate to severe disability. Over 90% say that it interferes with work or everyday functioning, and most say that their migraines cause relationship problems. But a migraine is just a headache, right? Actually, migraines can involve severe, painful headaches, over-sensitivity to light, nausea, vision impairment, disorientation and problems with co-ordination – much more than just feeling uncomfortable2. Sometimes, these symptoms can last for several days.

Could-CBD-Prevent-and-Stop-Migraine

So how could cannabidiol (CBD) and the other cannabinoids help? If cannabinoids could help migraine sufferers find relief how would it work? The human body produces its own cannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG); together with the cannabinoid receptors, they make the endocannabinoid system. This regulates many processes in the body, such as blood vessel dilation. When cannabinoids interact with their receptors, they reduce blood vessel dilation, which is important in migraines because the expansion of blood vessels in an area with no extra space (ie the brain) creates pressure, and therefore pain. The endocannabinoid receptors known as CB1 receptors are also present in higher than usual levels in an area of the brain strongly associated with migraines3. While our own cannabinoids regulate our bodies in ways that prevent migraines, levels of AEA have been found to be lower in people who suffer from migraines4. Also, women with migraines may have

Cannabidiol.

higher levels of the enzyme that degrades AEA.

 

Cannabinoids such as CBD may also directly relieve the pain seen in migraines. The stimulating neurotransmitter known as glutamate is responsible for the secondary and tertiary (horrible) pain in both migraines and fibromyalgia5, but cannabinoids can block the release of glutamate from nerve cells. Cannabinoids may also stabilize the platelets, which are responsible for blood clots, and inhibit serotonin release, which in excess can amplify pain4.

Although the scientific evidence behind the use of hemp and cannabinoids to relieve migraines is largely lab studies, hemp medicines have a long history in migraine treatment4. Dr Clendinning in London was the first Western physician to prescribe cannabis (which had a much lower THC content back then) for migraines in the 1840s. In the 1870s, another doctor, Dr R. Greene, was recommending daily doses of cannabis to prevent migraines. In 1890, Sir John Russell Reynolds, physician to the British royal family, highlighted migraines as an indication for the prescription of cannabis in a review of his 30 years of clinical experience. In more modern times4, a case was reported where a patient suffering from migraines found relief in small doses of smoked cannabis, after failing conventional therapies. The author had previously encountered multiple patients with migraines who had failed pharmaceutical drugs, but responded positively to cannabis. Other case reports described patients finding relief from other types of chronic headache. Overall, the evidence behind using CBD-rich hemp oil to manage migraines is in need of clinical trials, but laboratory studies, historical use and case reports do show a potential benefit.

References

1: https://migraine.com/migraine-statistics/

2: https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-and-migraine-treatment/

3: http://theroc.us/images/Clinical%20endocannabinoid%20deficiency%20(CECD)%20revisited%20Can%20this%20concept%20explain%20the%20therapeutic%20benefits%20of%20cannabis%20in%20migraine,%20fibromyalgia,%20irritable%20bowel%20syndrome%20and%20other%20treatment-resistant%20conditions.pdf

4: http://theroc.us/images/Comprehensive%20Review%20of%20Medicinal%20Marijuana,%20Cannabinoids,%20and%20Therapeutic%20Implications%20in%20Medicine%20and%20Headache-%20What%20a%20Long%20Strange%20Trip%20It%E2%80%99s%20Been.pdf

5: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/

Could Hemp Oil Help With Glaucoma?

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 Could Hemp Oil Help With Glaucoma? Although we depend on our eyes every day for almost everything that we need or want to do, we often take them for granted – until we are threatened with loss of vision. Glaucoma is one such threat, which often causes optic nerve damage and may lead to blindness if left untreated1. It affects over three million Americans, and around 60 million worldwide; it is one of the leading causes of permanent blindness. So, could Hemp Oil Help With Glaucoma? While surgical and pharmaceutical treatments have halved the risk of blindness over the years, could hemp and cannabinoids be a less invasive, more natural approach?
A depiction of advanced glaucoma.

A depiction of advanced glaucoma.

Most US states where cannabis is legal for medical use include glaucoma, especially in its advanced stages, on the lists of permitted conditions. The damage that glaucoma does to vision is caused by the increased int
raocular pressure (IOP), which means the pressure inside the eye. A small study performed in 1971 found that smoking cannabis was able to reduce IOP by 25-30%, thus sparing their eyes from damage. However, this effect lasted for only 3-4 hours, meaning that you would have to smoke cannabis 6-8 times every day. This would be understandably unpleasant to most people because of the psychoactive effects of THC and risk of dependence.

Hemp-Cannabinoids

Fortunately other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), can reduce IOP without getting a patient “high”2. They could be effective either systemically or applied directly to the eye, which would bypass many issues with absorption. The remaining problem with absorption that has been reported in research is the poor ability of cannabinoids to mix with water, which resulted in less than 5% of one medication actually reaching the inside of the eyes. Use of liposomes, which increase absorption through watery areas and fatty tissues, may be a way to get around this. In a study on cats, CBG3 was found to have a mild effect on IOP after the first dose, but this became much more significant with long-term use. Unlike the cannabinol that was also tested, CBG did not cause eye redness. Cannabichromene (CBC) may also4 be able to reduce IOP without causing redness in the eye, while THC carries this negative effect.

So how do cannabinoids relieve the raised IOP seen in glaucoma? While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, there are several ways2 that cannabinoids seem to work to relieve pressure. Some studies have found that they can reduce production of the fluid inside our eyes, and may even increase the outflow of this fluid. Cannabinoids, particularly CBD, can also act as antioxidants, directly protecting the nerves from damage. Another way that they may protect the nerve cells is by reducing production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that can over-stimulate the cells in excess. Additionally, the blood vessel-dilating properties of some cannabinoids may help to relieve excess IOP. While the ability of THC-containing cannabis to relieve the symptoms of glaucoma has been well-documented and recognized, clinical trials are needed to test the abilities of high-CBD, low-THC hemp, and whether the whole extract or only certain cannabinoids could be used to prevent irritation by some components such as terpenes.

References

1: https://www.leafly.com/news/health/cannabis-for-glaucoma-treatment/

2: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772142/

3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6499952/

4: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6323206/