It’s a truism to state that pain is an inevitable part of life. And it’s true that we all, from time to time, experience pain that is short-lived and treatable. But those who deal with chronic pain know the debilitating, life-sucking reality of this condition. And traditional medications often come with long lists of side effects which can be as debilitating as the pain itself.
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When Meagan’s in-laws suggested they look into medical marijuana, she recoiled. “This is a federally illegal drug we are talking about,” she recalls thinking. But she did her own research. A good deal of anecdotal evidence shows that high-CBD strains of cannabis can have a strong antiseizure effect. The medical literature, though scant, goes back surprisingly far. In 1843 a British doctor named William O’Shaughnessy published an article detailing how cannabis oil had arrested an infant’s relentless convulsions.
Elias Anderson, one of the owners of Going Green, said representatives from HempMedsPx approached him after Krenzler published the lab’s findings on his blog. “They were like, ‘What are we gonna do about it?’” Anderson recalled, “And I was like, ‘Nothing. We have standards, and I stand behind my test results.’” Still, the company’s representatives were insistent and advised Anderson to have Kenzler take down the lab’s findings. In an email to the New Republic, Hard, the Medical Marijuana, Inc. spokesman, contended that the sample of hemp oil that Going Green Labs tested had been “tampered with” by a competitor after Krenzler obtained it. “HempMedsPX, if anything, told the lab they cannot publish results from products [for which] they had no chain of custody tracked,” Hard said, “and if they did—that could prove to be very bad for the lab.” He also characterized Krenzler and Anderson as “haters” of Medical Marijuana, Inc., and suggested that much of the criticism of the company and its products comes from commercial competitors.
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.
For immediate medicinal effects, vaporizing or smoking work well. This can be helpful for either initial sleep onset or for wakefulness in the middle of a rest period but only lasts one to three hours. The medication effect is immediate, whereas most ingested products take thirty to sixty minutes before taking effect (faster on an empty stomach) and last six to eight hours. Vaporizers that use a cartridge filled with the CO2 concentrate are convenient and highly effective, and these are available in various ratios of CBD to THC. Herbal vaporizers that use the whole plant are also an effective delivery method. Sublingual sprays or tinctures taken as liquid drops also take effect quickly and last longer than inhaled products.
What did I experience? As was the case for Talansky, my sleep improved almost immediately. It wasn’t that I slept more; I felt like I slept better—more soundly, less waking during the night, more often getting out of bed feeling refreshed. By the second week I noticed less overall creakiness while going about daily activities; CBD advocates would say the products had lowered systemic inflammation. Those two changes made me feel like I was recovering better from training, which led to being more eager to train, and feeling better while doing so.
CBD may help reduces REM behavior disorder in people with Parkinson’s disease. REM behavior disorder is a condition that causes people to act out physically during dreaming and REM sleep. Typically, during REM, the body is largely paralyzed, a state known as REM atonia. This immobilization keeps sleepers from reacting physically to their dreams. In REM behavior disorder, this paralysis doesn’t occur, leaving people free to move—which can lead to disruptive sleep and to injuring themselves or their sleeping partners. Cannabis may also work to reduce pain and improve sleep quality in people with Parkinson’s disease.
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