Harper was diagnosed as an infant with CDKL5, a rare genetic condition doctors only discovered in 2004 and that afflicts roughly 600 people worldwide. The disorder shares its name with the minute particle of DNA it affects, a gene responsible for the production of a protein crucial for neurological development. Symptoms of CDKL5 include intellectual disability, developmental delays, breathing and vision problems, limited or absent speech, poor muscle tone, and, perhaps worst of all, frequent seizures.
Francesca Fusco, MD, a dermatologist based in New York City, recently told Health that CBD oil is a rich source of fatty acids and other skin-healthy nutrients, and that it may improve hydration and minimize moisture loss. A few studies have also suggested that CBD oil may inhibit the growth of acne, although this hypothesis has only been tested in laboratory cell cultures—not in actual humans.
“I don’t like to take stuff like ibuprofen or prescription medications,” says Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlete from Napa, California, who, as an elite cyclist, rode in the Tour de France. “I’m always looking for natural alternatives.” When Talansky heard an increasing number of athletes talking about CBD, “I went from skepticism to being interested to asking advice on how to use it,” he says.
In 31 states and the District of Columbia cannabis is legal for some medical uses, and a majority of Americans favor legalization for recreational use. Other countries are rethinking their relationship to pot too. In Uruguay and Canada the drug is legal. Portugal has decriminalized it. Israel and the Netherlands have medical marijuana programs, and in recent years numerous countries have liberalized possession laws.
Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat nerves and anxiety, as well as other mood problems. CBD may help to improve both depression and anxiety, at least in part through its interactions with serotonin receptors in the brain. Research shows that CBD can reduce both mental and physical symptoms of anxiety. A study of CBD given to people before a public-speaking event indicates that CBD can help reduce stress—this and other research has shown that CBD can be an effective treatment for social anxiety.
But CBD (an acronym for cannabidiol) oil isn't a cure-all, despite what the best efforts of marketers the world over may tell you. "It doesn't work for everything," said Perry Solomon, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist and founder/chief medical officer of HelloMD. For example, "if you have a lung infection like bronchitis, you can't put a cream on your chest—you need to take a Z-pack. You're not going to cure something like that with cannabis."
For most people with epilepsy, diagnosis sets off a gauntlet of trial-and-error attempts to find the right medication. The process is tortuous, with seizures alternately dying down and flaring up while side effects— fatigue, nausea, liver damage, and more—develop without warning. This is partly due to the fact that “epilepsy” is actually a broad category that includes a number of distinct seizure disorders. About 30 medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are currently used to treat these conditions, and when a person first begins having seizures, there is often much tinkering with combinations and dosages. I spent years battling side effects like vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and severe headaches, which were alleviated only by yet another prescription medication. Parents who endure enough sleepless nights caring for a sick child can become desperate for a cure.
 M. H. N. Chagas, A. L. Eckeli, A. W. Zuardi, M. A. Pena-Pereira, M. A. Sobreira-Neto, E. T. Sobreira, M. R. Camilo, M. M. Bergamaschi, C. H. Schenck, J. E. C. Hallak, V. Tumas, and J. A. S. Crippa, “Cannabidiol Can Improve Complex Sleep-Related Behaviours Associated with Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder in Parkinson’s Disease Patients: A Case Series,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 39 (2014): 564–566. doi:10.1111/jcpt.12179.
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