While CBD is most commonly used to treat physiological symptoms, there’s a growing body of research that indicates it can also be used in the therapy of a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety. A study by the University of São Paulo found that CBD significantly reduces subjective anxiety, leading investigators to conclude that “These results suggest that CBD reduces anxiety in [social anxiety disorder] and that this is related to its effects on activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas.”
In early June, I met with Penny Pennington Howard, a mother of three, who lives in Carrollton, Texas, about 25 minutes outside of Dallas. Posted in the glass of her front door are two signs you can’t quite make out from the sidewalk: one asking visitors not to smoke, as oxygen treatments are in use; the other a yellow diamond informing guests this is the home of a special needs child. Penny welcomed me inside, out of the glare of the sun, and led me through her living room into her kitchen, where her kids were gathered for lunch. Seth, then eight months old, was plucking cereal off the tray of his highchair, while Lily, seven, was darting back and forth between the countertop and table. Harper, a blond five-year-old with hot pink toenails, was reclining in her “tomato chair,” a molded plastic seat with straps to help keep her steady.
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, has risen dramatically in popularity as a treatment to reduce stress, and for good reason. It is available for internal use in many forms, including CBD oil, which is oil that contains a concentration of CBD. When placed and held under the tongue, CBD oil reaches the bloodstream quickly and begins offering benefits both relatively fast and, through consistent use, over time. Research is showing more and more ways CBD oil benefits the body by helping to reduce pain, resulting in a wide range of positive effects. These include the compound’s anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-epileptic, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic properties, although many users turn to the compound simply for everyday stress reduction without the mind-altering side effects of marijuana.
Critics contend that the Realm of Caring parents are using their kids as guinea pigs, that not enough studies have been done, that many, if not most, of the claims can be dismissed as the result of the placebo effect. “It’s true, we don’t know the long-term effects of CBD, and we should study it,” Meagan says. “But I can tell you this. Without it, our Addy would be a sack of potatoes.” No one asks, she notes, about the long-term effects of a widely used pharmaceutical that has been routinely prescribed for her two-year-old. “Our insurance pays for it, no questions asked,” she says. “But it’s highly addictive, highly toxic, turns you into a zombie, and can actually kill you. And yet it’s perfectly legal.”
CBD also encourages the body to convert white fat to brown fat. White fat is the kind of fat we typically think of when we think about body fat. Brown fat is fat that is in small deposits that behaves differently than white fat. Brown fat is said to improve health by enhancing the bodies ability to burn white fat, create heat, and even regulate blood sugar.
Every CBD product should make third-party lab results available, either online, in their packaging, or by request. At minimum, each tincture here offers lab results showing the levels of cannabinoids like CBD and THC, while others offer additional tests. The more information available to consumers the better. At the same time, we admit it isn’t always easy for newcomers to interpret these lab tests.
There are many websites claiming that their CBD oils can cure everything. This is not true! Reputable companies extract their CBD oils from specific strains, and remember that each strain has its own unique CBD/THC ratios. Also, some are Sativa and some are Indica; therefore, the oil extracts may work better on some conditions and some individuals than on others. Always read the fine print, and if a company offers a list of medical conditions the CBD oil treats best, just know that it’s completely bogus.
So, many of CBD's popularized benefits aren't well-proven. But are there any harms in trying CBD-containing products? In a word, yes. While any reported side effects from CBD alone are minor (think dry mouth and dizziness), they can be serious if the CBD products interact with other medications, experts say. Since CBD is metabolized by the same enzyme in the liver that metabolizes many conventional medicines and supplements, the chemical can cause the levels of other drugs in the system to rise; in some cases – like for those taking a drug to prevent their bodies from rejecting a donor organ – to a deadly level, Tishler says.
Indeed, hemp oil products have grown out of a market largely devoid of regulations or safety protocols. The state of the CBD industry harks back to the age of elixirs and potions hawked from covered wagons to the awed denizens of pioneer towns. There are no industrywide standards in place to ensure that CBD oils are consistently formulated batch-to-batch. There is no regulatory body screening products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residues, and other dangerous contaminants. The laboratories that companies contract to test their CBD products are themselves neither standardized nor consistently regulated. No medical research exists to recommend how much CBD a patient should take, nor is there detailed, reliable documentation of how CBD interacts with most epilepsy medications.
Schizophrenia is a complicated and serious disease that is typically managed through therapy and pharmaceutical drugs (that carry hefty side effects). Anecdotally, many folks have found that CBD oil has helped reduce hallucinations. Research is beginning to catch up too. A March 2015 review of available research found that CBD was a safe, effective, and well tolerated treatment for psychosis. But more research is needed to bring CBD into clinical practice.
Stephanie, generally, I have patients take 20 to 150mg a day for sleep +/- anxiety. Start low and go slow. Know the dosages of your product. Usually 2/3 to 3/4 of the daily dose is 1-2 hours before bedtime, and the other portion is upon waking (to improve wakefulness during the day). Other factors such as stress, hormone replacement, other meds & medical conditions, etc. play a role along with individual differences. I own a compounding pharmacy, so we see a lot of unique needs. I can't give more specific advice in this forum, but there is help!
There has been a fair amount of confusion surrounding the legality of CBD oil. But while the vast majority of cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act, rest assured that CBD oil is legal across the UK for medicinal purposes, provided it has been derived from an industrial hemp strain that is EU-approved. These strains contain very little to no THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid).
Raise your hand if you’re a victim of that afternoon slump that can happen between 2 and 5 p.m. If so, you’re not alone. (insert fact about how many people experience this, circadian rhythm, symptoms of this etc). Taking CBD oil can actually improve brain function, boosting memory and neural pathways involved in thought navigation. This can result in better mental clarity and ability to focus, which comes in handy during those particularly sleepy times of day at work.
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