Cannabis tolerance breaks: do they work?

Cannabis tolerance breaks: do they work?

Some people who have used cannabis frequently or for a prolonged period of time have encountered the same problem: it doesn’t work as well as it used to. While just a couple of hits used to get you where you want to be, in time you find your tolerance goes up and up, and so does your consumption.  At times it can feel almost like a snowball effect: your tolerance to the effects of marijuana increases, so you use more, which just boosts your tolerance even more.  And the inverse is also true. Regular marijuana users who have had to take a break in their consumption — perhaps because they’re cramming for final exams or starting a new job, or they’re pregnant or on some sort of deferred adjudication program — find that when they start using again, the old feelings come back, as do the giggles and the munchies and the euphoric effects that have you thinking “why can’t it always be like this.” But why do you build up a tolerance to THC in the first place? Why does THC tolerance happen? THC is the main cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychotropic, euphoric effects of pot, or what people typically refer to as the “high.” It works by activating a receptor in the central nervous system called CB1, part of the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a role in regulating crucial bodily functions such as sleep, pain, mood and appetite. It can be modulated by the body’s own endocannabinoids or those produced by cannabis (“phytocannabinoids”).  In a 2016 study looked at men who are heavy marijuana users and found that CB1 receptor availability “is decreased in most brain regions in chronic moderate daily pot smokers.  They then split the subjects into two groups, one of which was asked to abstain from weed use for two days and the other for 28 days. They also found that the receptor availability began to replenish within only two days of abstinence, and continued for more than four weeks. That said, they also noted that after four weeks of abstinence it “did not reach those of the healthy control group (HC) population.”  They did add however that the results may have something to do with the small sample size (11 chronic marijuana users and 19 non-users) and that it is unclear if CB1R upregulation continues beyond four weeks.  In other words, the researchers found that daily cannabis use decreases CB1 receptor availability — and thus the effects of THC — but that in as little as two days of abstinence, the receptor availability increases. However, the research only looked at the number of joints each participant consumed. Some marijuana varieties have higher levels of THC, which means that one joint of marijuana with higher THC levels can be the equivalent of two or even three joints with lower amounts of THC.  Reduced cognitive effects with frequent use According to a systematic review from 2018 “cognitive function is the domain showing the highest degree of tolerance,” in regular users, while the acute intoxicating, psychotomimetic (creating an effect similar to a psychotic state), and cardiac effects only show partial tolerance.  The frequency of weed use can have an effect on the strength of its effects, according to a 2016 study, which found that it “correlated significantly with change in subjective intoxication following cannabis administration.” The researchers found that “this suggests that subjective intoxication and psychomotor impairment following cannabis administration decrease with increasing frequency of pot use.”  ‘How come I can’t get high?’ Can you be immune to THC? You may have heard of people who don’t feel any effects from THC or say they are “immune” to it altogether. There is some research that has provided clues to how that happens. According to an article published in 2014 in Science, trials performed on rodents found that THC and other drugs increase the body’s levels of a hormone called pregnenolone, which “antagonized most of the known behavioral and somatic effects of THC.” The article stated that THC “substantially increases the synthesis of pregnenolone in the brain via activation of the type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptor. Pregnenolone then, acting as a signaling-specific inhibitor of the CB1 receptor, reduces several effects of THC.” The study found that when rodents were injected with high levels of THC their bodies produced the hormone to counteract the effects. The study could mean that some people’s bodies activate or produce this hormone at different levels, thus allowing them to counteract the effects of THC.  How can I lower my THC tolerance?  If you’re looking to rekindle those old effects of THC, then you may want to consider taking what is known as a “tolerance break” or “T-break.” Simply put, this is a short-term break from weed to help you get your tolerance back down or just to reduce it some.  As the above-mentioned study attests, within just a couple of days even a heavy smoker could notice a drop in their tolerance. And if you stretch it out longer, for a week or more, you might find that when you’re ready to get back on the saddle that it has a significantly stronger effect than before.  Tolerance breaks and medical cannabis  View this post on Instagram A post shared by Savikalpa Academy (@savikalpa.academy)   For medical marijuana patients treating conditions that may require heavier dosing, a tolerance break may not be as easy to pull off. That said, if you aren’t feeling the mind-altering effects of cannabis but are still getting relief for your condition, a tolerance break may not be necessary — tolerance in that sense could even be desirable.  Some health conditions don’t necessarily respond better to higher doses of THC. Chronic pain, for instance, may in fact respond just as well to smaller doses or “microdosing.” If your daily routine includes several sessions of pot consumption, then reducing this may require filling the gaps in your day a bit. Consider incorporating some exercise or outdoor activities if your health allows it, or find other hobbies and new routines to pass the time. Finally, if you do take a tolerance break, especially a significantly longer one, then make sure not to just dive back into your old intake levels. That first time after a week off should have a potent effect, so take things slow and like all things involving weed and dosing — listen to your body and do it the way that best suits you.   This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Cannabis tied to lower blood pressure in hypertension patients, study finds

Cannabis tied to lower blood pressure in hypertension patients, study finds

Using cannabis for several months is associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure among older adults with hypertension, according to a prospective study published last week.  The researchers took readings on 26 patients over the age of 60 both before and three months after starting to use medical cannabis, and found that the participants’ overall blood pressure — both systolic and diastolic — went slightly down after three months of cannabis treatment. At least as important, one in five subjects in the study, which was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, saw significant improvements in nighttime blood pressure. “The mean differences in 24-hours systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 5.0 mmHg and 4.5 mmHg, respectively,” the researchers wrote. That reduction in blood pressure is significant, researcher Dr. Ran Abuhasira told The Cannigma. It’s not enough of a reduction that it might be considered a treatment for high blood pressure on its own, he explained, “but rather something to consider as physicians while we review all the medications older adults are taking after prescribing cannabis for them.” Another finding of the study was that the proportion of normal “dippers” — people whose blood pressure falls at night compared to during daytime hours — rose from 27.3% before treatment to 45.5% after treatment.  Patients with reduced dipping or whose blood pressure rises at night are at increased risk for cardiovascular complications, Dr. Abuhasira said. “Therefore, an increased percentage of dippers is better, suggesting balanced blood pressure and reduced cardiovascular risk from the standpoint of hypertension,” noting however that those are merely assumptions and extrapolations. The team of six Israeli researchers set out to assess the medium-term effects of cannabis on hypertension and blood pressure, heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG), and metabolic parameters.  Prior research has shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating cardiovascular activity. In animal studies, researchers have noted that activating the endocannabinoid system can cause significant changes in heart rate, blood vessel constriction, inflammation, oxidation, and blood pressure — both increasing and decreasing blood pressure in different contexts. No relationship between THC, CBD levels and blood pressure change The current study did not find any evidence of a dose-dependant relationship between either CBD or THC and blood pressure. The researchers also posited that because chronic pain is associated with hypertension, the pain-relieving properties of cannabis could explain the reduction in blood pressure among most participants.  More than 75% of the participants used cannabis oil and only 15% smoked cannabis. The median daily dose of THC and CBD was 21.1mg and 21.3mg, respectively. Roughly one-third of the participants used cannabis once a day, another third reported using cannabis twice a day, and another third more than three times a day.  The participants were given a baseline evaluation including a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), ECG, blood tests, anthropometric measurements, demographics, and medical history. Three months later, each participant was given a follow-up evaluation that looked at the same measurements.  While there was a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, there were no significant changes in blood lipids, HbA1C, fasting insulin, C-reactive protein, kidney function tests, electrolytes, anthropometric measurements, or ECG parameters. Would it work for people not taking blood pressure meds? The researchers also clarified that because most of the participants were already treating their hypertension, they had normal or near-normal blood pressure values. “It is unknown whether this effect of cannabis on blood pressure will be the same with substantially elevated values of blood pressure,” the researchers wrote, or in other words, whether cannabis would lower blood pressure to the same extent in a hypertensive patient who wasn’t already on blood pressure medication. The study was limited in other ways as well. There was no control group nor were there measurements of actual levels of THC, CBD, or other substances in the participants. The sample size of the study may have been inadequate to assess cardiac arrhythmias and changes in metabolic parameters, the researchers noted. Finally, not all participants used the same types, doses, or formulations of cannabis. More research will be necessary to expand upon the findings of this study. Contradictory findings from different studies While some studies have indicated that cannabis use could be a helpful way to lower blood pressure and treat conditions like hypertension, other research came to conflicting results — that it could be a risk factor for higher blood pressure and hypertension. A 2008 review of existing literature found that chronic cannabis use was tied to lower blood pressure and heart rate overall. Research looking specifically at CBD, while limited, suggests that it can lower blood pressure directly and reduce stress that can cause increases in blood pressure in the first place. Some researchers have even suggested that CBD may be helpful for treating hypertension. Other studies have come to starkly different conclusions. An alarming — if limited — 2017 study found that “marijuana use may increase the risk for hypertension mortality.” A systematic review of research from 2012 stated that “increased heart effort, elevated levels of catecholamine and carboxyhemoglobin in the blood, as well as the occurrence of postural hypotension are among the most commonly reported factors of cardiovascular disease associated with intoxication by cannabis.” The study published this past week also cites a scientific statement put out by the American Health Association in August, 2020, which stated that “many of the concerning health implications of cannabis include cardiovascular diseases,” and that because polypharmacy is more common among older adults, there is a higher potential for drug interactions with cannabis.   This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Cannabis can have antidepressant effects — in the short term, study finds

Cannabis can have antidepressant effects — in the short term, study finds

Countless people turn to cannabis to help relieve stress, ease anxiety, or just put a smile on their face in good times and bad. But does it actually have a quantifiable antidepressive effect? According to an observational study published in late June, it does — at least in the short term. In the study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine in late June, researchers stated that their findings indicate “at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects,” although they added that the strength and duration of the effect depends on the chemical profile of the cannabis used. The study design did not include a control group, and the participants were already using cannabis to treat depression. The researchers also found that cannabis flower “is an effective and fast acting antidepressant medication,” and that the THC levels “are the strongest independent predictors of symptoms relief among the product characteristics that are generally available to the public.” The study used data compiled through the mobile phone app ReleafApp, which helps cannabis users “anonymously track real-time and historic experiences with specific cannabis & CBD products,” according to the company. Users send their input to the platform which then sends back reports to help inform their next purchase or treatment decision.  The parameters examined by the app include cannabis usage during each session, product types used, routes of administration, phenotypes, cannabinoid contents, and the users symptoms and changes in symptoms. The researchers said that the company provided them with confidential, anonymous user-level data.  The central parameter measured in the study was “symptom relief,” gauged by the difference between the symptom intensity at the beginning and ending of the session. On average, they found that 95.8% of users reported symptoms relief, 2.1% reported worsening systems, and 2.1% reported no changes.  The symptoms were rated on a scale of 0 to 10. On average, users suffering from depression reported a starting symptom intensity of 5.85 and an ending symptom of 2.08, resulting in a decrease in symptom intensity of 3.76, according to the study. The results show no statistical difference when the users reported using indica, sativa, or hybrid varieties of cannabis flower.   Out of a total of 5,182 sessions, hybrid strains were used 50% of the time and indica and sativa varieties were used 26% and 24% of the time, respectively. The most popular method of smoking was with a pipe (51%), followed by vape (33%), and joint (15%).  The testing showed a dramatic preference for higher THC products, with 48% of the sessions involving cannabis with 20-35% THC, and 35% using between 10-19% cannabis. Only 17% used below 10% THC products, and the average percentage in all sessions was 18.61%.  While the researchers concluded that THC potency levels are the strongest predictor of symptom relief, “the benefit of higher THC appears to plateau to some extent such that products with THC ranges of 10-19% and 20-35% offer greater relief than products with THC less than 10%, but increasing from 10-19% to 20-35% does not convey additional benefits in terms of symptom relief.” The researchers noted that the study is not without its shortcomings, namely, that did not include a control placebo group. In addition, they posit that people who choose to use cannabis to treat depression may be those most likely to benefit from it or people for whom other forms of treatment are less effective. There is also the question of who is more likely to use the app. They also note that because the study focused on short-term effects, it should not be used to assess long term-effects of using cannabis for depression.  Regardless, they state that the study did establish the clinically relevant finding that there is “widely experienced relief from depression within two hours or less,” with cannabis use, and that because traditional antidepressants take weeks to take effect “short-term cannabis use might be a solution to these delays in treatment or could be used to treat acute episodes associated with suicidal behavior and other forms of violence.” The study joins a number of previous reports that have asserted the effectiveness of cannabis in treating depression. At the same time, a number of other studies have found that cannabis can actually worsen the symptoms of depression, including a systematic review of research from 2013 which stated that “cannabis use, and particularly heavy cannabis use, may be associated with an increased risk for developing depressive disorders.” In addition, a clinical study published in 2017 recommended cannabis use reduction as a part of treatment for anxiety, depression, or sleep problems.   This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Can cannabis help type 2 diabetes?

Can cannabis help type 2 diabetes?

Overview Can cannabis help with type 2 diabetes mellitus? Research on the endocannabinoid system and diabetes shows a strong connection between an overactive endocannabinoid system and the incidence of diabetes and obesity, and using cannabinoids tends to stimulate this system. Despite this, study after study shows that cannabis users are less likely to experience diabetes or obesity than those who don’t use the drug. In addition studies on particular cannabinoids like THCV or CBD show these isolated compounds show promise for treating diabetes and its causes.  The Endocannabinoid System Cannabis’ effects are primarily caused by the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, an important system in the human body that maintains internal balance. This system is made up of endocannabinoids (natural chemical molecules in the body), endocannabinoid receptors (which endocannabinoids bind to and activate), and enzymes (which clear endocannabinoids from the body). This crucial system maintains homeostasis for many functions like sleep, pain, energy metabolism, memory, inflammation, hunger, and mood.  When working normally, endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors to activate a variety of different effects like reducing or increasing appetite, pain signaling, energy or hunger. Interestingly, the cannabinoids in cannabis, such as THC and CBD are also able to activate these receptors in a similar way to our internal endocannabinoids, and thus they can also cause this wide array of effects.   When it comes to diabetes mellitus, the endocannabinoid system also plays in important role. Specifically, an overactive endocannabinoid system can actually contribute to diabetes’ development in a number of ways. For one thing, obesity is a big risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and activation of the CB1 receptors is known for spurring on food intake, increasing appetite and a preference for highly palatable foods (such as fatty or sweet snacks). It can also lead to increased fat storage as it signals the body to reserve energy and store calories for later. In times when food supplies are low, which is common in our evolutionary history, this system is key for encouraging food intake when it is available and storing the energy for later on. But in diabetes, this system becomes dysregulated.  Unsurprisingly, we see overactive endocannabinoid systems in patients with abdominal obesity. To add to that, drugs that block CB1 activation have been shown to reduce food intake and weight, suggesting that too much CB1 activation may be related to the development of obesity.   In addition to leading to obesity, a dysregulated endocannabinoid system with too much CB1 activation can also negatively impact insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, ultimately increasing insulin sensitivity and creating the conditions for type 2 diabetes. Too much CB1 signaling may also be a factor in diabetic neuropathy, causing oxidative and inflammatory effects.  In clinical trials, a drug called rimonabant was found to be effective at reducing some of these CB1 related effects by blocking CB1 activity. It reduced body weight, and helped with lipid and glucose control. Unfortunately, it also led to severe psychological adverse effects like depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation so it was withdrawn from the market.  Later drugs were developed to block CB1 activity in the body but not in the central nervous system. These didn’t have the psychological side effects and did improve glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity, but didn’t reduce weight or food intake the way rimonabant did. Still, these new CB1 blockers give hope that blocking CB1 could be a viable treatment for diabetes and obesity.   While too much CB1 activity can be a problem, not enough CB2 activity can also negatively impact sufferers of diabetes. CB2 receptor activity actually seems to play a protective role in diabetic neuropathy, a common symptom of uncontrolled diabetes. Therefore, CB2 seems to counter the harmful effects from CB1 activity. Unfortunately, in patients with diabetes, this CB2 activity is diminished, furthering the imbalance. CB2 activation has also been found to provide an especially protective function for the kidneys, where we also see impaired CB2 receptors and overactive CB1 receptors. Diabetic nephropathy, or disease of the kidney secondary to diabetes is unfortunately all too common, and the therapeutic benefit of CB2 may be a promising therapeutic target in the future. On the other hand, CB2 activation isn’t always beneficial. Studies have shown that CB2 agonists may actually potentiate obesity-associated inflammation, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. And deficiencies in CB2 receptors can improve insulin sensitivity. CB2 receptor overexpression can even induce hyperglycemia in adult mice.  There are so many ways that the ECS can impact the development and progression of diabetes. So unsurprisingly, it has been targeted by scientists looking for a new diabetes treatment. Cannabinoids from cannabis are one notable way to interact with and modulate this important system. Cannabis Treatment Can cannabis help with type 2 diabetes? While the research is still somewhat conflicted, there is evidence suggesting that cannabis can provide a protective effect against this condition.  Since cannabis is known for activating CB1, and we’ve seen how CB1 activity can have a negative impact on diabetes, many researchers expected that cannabis use would be tied to increased levels of obesity and diabetes. But surprisingly, this isn’t what the research found. Multiple large scale studies show the exact opposite. Individuals who chronically use cannabis are statistically less likely to be diabetic or obese.  This has left researchers puzzled. Why would cannabis protect against obesity and diabetes when CB1 activation seems to cause so many problems?  One suggestion is that cannabis, known for being an antiinflammatory plant,  might be fighting against the low grade inflammation in diabetes.  Research has also found that cannabis users tend to have increased insulin sensitivity and lower fasting insulin levels. One study found that cannabis users’ insulin resistance levels were a full 17% lower on average than those who didn’t use cannabis, and fasting insulin levels were 16% lower. In this same study, researchers also noticed that cannabis use was associated with a smaller waist size.  These studies focus on cannabis in general, which suggests many respondents were consuming THC (cannabis’ most plentiful and popular active ingredient), in addition to lower levels of other cannabinoids and terpenes. So regular THC-heavy cannabis use may actually play a protective role in diabetes. Still, other studies have looked in depth at some different cannabinoids to find out whether they might be particularly helpful for diabetes.  For example, some researchers say CBD may play a role in treating diabetes. Studies have shown benefits for diabetes from using CBD, such as reducing retinopathy, cardiomyopathy and neuropathy, likely do to its antioxidant, anti‐inflammatory and tissue protective effects. Other studies have demonstrated CBD can improve mitochondrial function, reduce obesity, and protect against diabetic complications.  THCV is another cannabinoid that researchers are looking at as a diabetes treatment. In one  2016 study, people with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin were treated with this cannabinoid. The researchers found that THCV use caused significantly lower fasting blood glucose, improved production of insulin and increased levels of a protein that regulates blood sugar. They concluded that THCV could be a new therapeutic agent for glycemic control in those with type 2 diabetes.  A large pharmaceutical company with a CBD product called Epidiolex which is FDA approved for certain types of epilepsy, GW pharmaceuticals also believes THCV could be a helpful diabetes solution. GW is currently testing a THCV based medication for diabetes which may reduce fasting plasma glucose levels, increased fasting insulin, and increased insulin sensitivity, among other diabetes fighting effects.  Still, while the evidence points towards cannabis’ positive effects on diabetes – scientists caution there is no consensus as to why the clinical data conflicts with our understanding of how the ECS affects diabetes. Perhaps isolating individual components of the cannabis plant or certain combinations of different components may lead to an answer. Researchers agree that more research is needed in order to find out. Potential side effects of cannabis use Despite the positive potential for cannabis and diabetes, the side effects of cannabis can be a deterrent for some. Generally, cannabis can cause a wide array of side effects such as a temporary cognitive deficits, short term memory loss, anxiety or paranoia, impaired coordination and respiratory symptoms (such as coughing and increased phlegm production) when inhaled.  It can also have longer lasting risk factors for some — such as increasing risk of psychosis for schizophrenic patients, or increasing the risk of certain cardiac conditions. For a minority of patients, it can lead to addiction.  With diabetes, two side effects that might be particularly challenging are dry mouth (which is also associated with diabetes) and the appetite-inducing effects of cannabis (which can lead to craving foods that diabetic patients should avoid).    This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Can cannabis help treat psoriasis?

Can cannabis help treat psoriasis?

Cannabis is a popular alternative to standard medication, especially for chronic conditions resistant to standard treatment. One such condition is psoriasis, an inflammatory autoimmune disorder affecting the skin.  Some people report improvement in their psoriasis symptoms after using CBD oil and other cannabis-based preparations, particularly those applied directly to the skin. This may be the result of the interaction between cannabis-derived cannabinoids and the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Research shows that the ECS plays an important role in skin health, and that its dysfunction could contribute to psoriasis. There haven’t been many clinical studies on cannabis treatment of psoriasis, but those that have been done were promising.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by Savikalpa Academy (@savikalpa.academy)   How cannabis works on psoriasis Cannabis contains active compounds called cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD. Cannabinoids affect the body by interacting with the ECS, which is composed of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by the human body), cannabinoid receptors (primarily CB1 and CB2), and special enzymes that build and break down endocannabinoids.  The ECS regulates essential processes such as immunity, inflammation, mood, pain, stress, metabolism, appetite, and sleep in order to maintain a state of internal balance called homeostasis. The system is present in every part of the body, including the skin. Research suggests the endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in skin health, particularly by regulating skin cell growth and inflammation. Dysfunction in this system may contribute to the development of psoriasis and other skin diseases. Researchers have found that psoriasis sufferers have elevated endocannabinoid levels. People with psoriatic arthritis, which affects up to 30% of psoriasis patients, had higher levels of CB1 cannabinoid receptors, while those with regular psoriasis seem to have higher numbers of CB2 receptors.  A study of skin biopsies from psoriasis patients suggests that their skin cells differ in endocannabinoid-related gene expression (the process where cells read DNA to create proteins) from healthy cells. All of these findings imply that the endocannabinoid system is involved in psoriasis. Combined with the known regulatory effects of the endocannabinoid system on stress, inflammation, and immune system function — all processes that play a key role in psoriasis  — this evidence suggests that cannabinoid-based medicines can offer relief for the condition. Medical studies on cannabis and psoriasis Few studies have examined the use of cannabis and cannabinoids in psoriasis, but those that exist have yielded promising findings.  Most notably, a 2019 study human study looked at the beneficial effects of a topical ointment infused with CBD on chronic skin conditions. Twenty people (five with psoriasis, five with atopic dermatitis, and 10 with scarring from the two conditions) used the ointment daily for three months, resulting in significant improvement in their PASI index (a measure of psoriasis severity) as well as their symptoms and markers of skin health, including elasticity.  A 2007 study of isolated human skin cells reported that THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids reduced the hyper-proliferation (rapid growth) of keratinocyte skin cells, which are the main cause of psoriasis.  A 2016 study reported that cannabinoid-like compounds reduced skin inflammation in mice with dermatitis by reducing mast cell activation, an inflammatory process that also occurs in psoriasis.  There are also studies of cannabinoids in similar inflammatory skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and acne. In a 2013 study, researchers applied THC to the skin of mice with allergic atopic dermatitis, resulting in reduction of inflammation.  Similarly, a 2014 study of isolated skin cells found that CBD reduced inflammation and cell proliferation, two effects that are beneficial in psoriasis.  Studies also suggest that cannabinoids can help with itching, one of the symptoms of psoriasis. A 2002 clinical study reported that a THC-based medication called dronabinol suppressed itching caused by liver disease.  Cannabis may also help alleviate three other potential psychological symptoms of psoriasis: pain, depression, and anxiety. A 2015 review of 28 clinical studies finding concluded that there’s solid evidence to back the use of cannabinoids for pain.  There’s evidence that both of the major components of cannabis, CBD and THC, can improve mood and anxiety. A 2011 study found that CBD alleviated anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder, while a 2013 study reported that THC improved mood-related measures in healthy individuals, suggesting that it may be helpful for depression.  More human studies are needed to confirm that cannabis can treat psoriasis effectively, but current evidence suggests that it may help with some of its causes and symptoms. Potential side effects of cannabis use Cannabis does have potential side effects, which vary depending on what type of preparation you’re using. For example, standard, THC-rich cannabis can cause impaired memory and reaction time, increased heart rate, red eyes, dry mouth, sleepiness, and dizziness. It can also cause paranoia and anxiety in some people, especially at higher doses. Meanwhile, CBD-rich cannabis preparations such as CBD oil don’t contain enough THC to cause intoxication. They may cause minor side effects such as diarrhea, low blood pressure (hypotension), dry mouth, lightheadedness, sleepiness, and changes in appetite. However, these effects have only been reported in studies using high doses of CBD (300 mg and above). These symptoms only occur when cannabinoids are able to reach the bloodstream, as when you inhale, ingest, or apply a cannabis preparation under the tongue. Cannabinoids applied topically (to the skin) via a cream, ointment, or another method will not cause these effects, because they cannot penetrate deep enough to reach the bloodstream.   This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Can cannabis help stress?

Can cannabis help stress?

Overview Cannabis is already a popular option for patients looking to relax and reduce stress, but how much do we know about how it works? Research tells us that the two most prevalent cannabinoids, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), reduce stress and anxiety through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Stress is a normal reaction to demanding or threatening situations in life. Our bodies have psychological and physical reactions for dealing with stress—by releasing hormones that raise your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. When the stressful situation ends, according to the Mayo Clinic, “your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. Unfortunately, the nonstop complications of modern life mean that some people’s alarm systems rarely shut off.” When stress levels don’t abate, chronic stress can begin to cause health problems. Making things more complicated, stress has historically been used to describe dozens of different physical and mental phenomenon, such as frustration, overwork, anxiety, exhaustion, distress, fear, despair, premenstrual tension, over-focusing, confusion, and even mourning. With the growing body of a clinical study into cannabis and stress, plus the deeper understanding of the endocannabinoid system as a whole, it seems highly plausible that further research will help cement the role of cannabis as an effective natural compound for stress reduction, most likely when paired with other therapies and methods. The early research suggests CBD is especially effective, and in some cases, lower doses of THC may also be beneficial (and that higher doses of THC may trigger discomfort). Given that cannabis has a well-established safety profile with mild side effects, patients may find it is a useful tool for the treatment of stress and anxiety. The Endocannabinoid System The ECS manages many physiological and pathological processes necessary for human life. These include mood regulation, stress management, memory formation and retention, appetite, pain, and inflammation. The system functions through a body-wide network of receptors and chemical messengers. Both sets of endocannabinoid molecules are in a constant state of flux—activating and deactivating physiological responses throughout the body.  There are two known endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. The former is concentrated in the brain, central nervous system, and major organs like the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. The latter type is found throughout the immune system, the spleen, bones, and in the skin. There are also many areas where both exist. The ECS is best understood as a vast network of messengers, endocannabinoids, which are being sent out to endocannabinoid receptors. In response to physiological or pathological stressors, the human body attempts to bring the system back into balance by sending these endocannabinoid messengers to the necessary receptors. Endocannabinoids fit perfectly into endocannabinoid receptors, like a key in the right lock. These messengers deliver instructions which either activate or deactivate cellular activity. For example, they may activate an inflammatory response or mediate it. In addition to the cannabinoids produced inside the body, there are also phytocannabinoids (similar molecules produced by plants), which also interact with the ECS. Cannabis plants produce the most by far, with over 140 known cannabinoids. When they enter the body, these natural compounds travel through the ECS and mimic many of the body’s naturally occuring endocannabinoids. Two of the most common cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. Because of the way they interact with the ECS, they are the target of intense research for the possible treatment of chronic illness and disease. Because the ECS plays a crucial role in the body’s internal stress response, it’s an obvious therapeutic target. According to a 2005 analysis of the ECS and stress response published in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, “The stress response is a biological cascade of events that occurs in response to a real or perceived threat to homeostasis.” When it kicks into action, “it requires the coordinated activation of a constellation of physiological systems that act to promote the survival of the organism.” Acute and chronic stress trigger a rapid reaction within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, different areas of the brain and the adrenal glands that regulate the body’s response to stress. First there is an immediate reduction in two primary endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). Normally, AEA regulates dopamine levels, and can lead to a decrease in anxiety, and 2-AG is connected to pleasurable feelings and pain reduction. At the most basic level, stress-triggered reductions in both 2-AG and AEA generally lead to a decrease in pleasure. During—and after—exposure to stressful stimuli, the increases in endocannabinoid signaling eventually affect other areas controlled by the ECS, including anxiety, pain, memory, and reward-seeking behavior. Stress & Cannabis In survey after survey, medical cannabis patients list stress as a top reason for use. Stress can mean many things to many people, but the sheer numbers of patients reporting it is a strong indication that it has significant therapeutic value. Research does show that cannabis has the potential to modulate stress thanks to its interaction with the ECS. Of particular importance are the two most common cannabinoids: THC and CBD. Only the former is intoxicating.The cannabis-derived molecule THC is a CB1 agonist—meaning it binds perfectly to the CB1 receptors. While CBD is less direct in its mechanism, researchers believe it is a CB1 and CB2 receptor antagonist. This means it doesn’t bind directly with these receptors but instead inhibits their activity.  Strainprint, a mobile app tracking medical marijuana use, crunched the numbers from 11,953 medical cannabis use sessions. This included 8,802 sessions specifically for stress and anxiety. A paper published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2018 concluded that 58% of medical cannabis users experienced a reduction in stress and anxiety following cannabis use. High-THC/high-CBD strains appear especially useful for the treatment of stress and anxiety. In a famous study performed in Brazil and published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2011, researchers explored CBD’s impact on stress during a simulated public speech. The study looked at  24 patients with social anxiety disorder who were treatment naive (i.e., they had never undergone treatment for the condition), plus 12 control participants. The study found that “pretreatment with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in [the patients’] speech performance, and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech.” In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers investigated the effects of THC on emotional responses to acute psychosocial stress. Researchers subjected the 42 study participants to varying levels of THC, in combination with the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). The researchers also performed a control test. They found that low doses of THC “significantly reduced self-reported subjective distress after the TSST and attenuated post-task appraisals of the TSST as threatening and challenging.” The higher dose had a negative impact. Lower THC worked best during this controlled testing.  Are there risks of medical marijuana use for stress? Most experts agree with the findings of Caroline A. MacCallum and Ethan B. Russo that, “Cannabis has a superior safety profile in comparison to many other medications, with no reported deaths due to overdose.” Yet, cannabis is a psychoactive plant and should always be approached with caution. For example, children and youth are at a higher risk for adverse reactions due to high THC varieties. It’s important that all patients speak with their physician prior to use of cannabis. Conclusion Historically, cannabis has been a go-to therapeutic option for many people looking to reduce stress and regulate anxiety. It is always one of the top reported reasons for medical cannabis use, even if it hasn’t made the cut as a qualifying condition in the US, or at least not yet. With the growing body of a clinical study into cannabis and stress, plus the deeper understanding of the endocannabinoid system as a whole, it seems highly plausible that further research will help cement cannabis’ role is an effective natural compound for stress reduction, most likely when paired with other therapies and methods. The early research suggests CBD is especially effective, and in some cases, lower doses of THC may also be beneficial (and that higher doses of THC may trigger discomfort). Given that cannabis has a well-established safety profile with mild side effects, patients may find it is a useful tool for the treatment of stress and anxiety. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Savikalpa Academy (@savikalpa.academy)     This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Can cannabis help rheumatoid arthritis?

Can cannabis help rheumatoid arthritis?

Overview Cannabis affects the immune system and also can reduce pain levels. As a result, it has become increasingly of interest in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune disease — meaning the immune system is dysfunctional and overactive causing inflammation. RA classically causes joint damage and chronic musculoskeletal pain. There are numerous immune cells and signals involved in RA such as antibodies. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Savikalpa Academy (@savikalpa.academy)   How Cannabis Works on Rheumatoid Arthritis Medical cannabis comes from the plant cannabis sativa and affects the body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS system is broadly made up of cannabinoid molecules that activate the system, receptors that are distributed all over the body and are activated by the cannabinoid molecules and enzymes that play an important role in the synthesis and degradation of the cannabinoids. The ECS can be activated by cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body — “endocannabinoids” — or those produced externally (outside of the body) and consumed.  These external cannabinoids include plant-based cannabinoids from cannabis sativa known as “phytocannabinoids” or cannabinoids that are synthesized in a pharmaceutical setting for example Nabilone. Much of our understanding of the ECS on the body has come from studying the effects of endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids (cannabis) and synthetic cannabinoids. The most-studied phytocannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which are thought to cause the main effects of cannabis. Nonetheless, there are at least 140 phytocannabinoids identified in cannabis sativa and though these other cannabinoids are not as well studied as THC and CBD they are also likely to also have some effect on the body.  The enzymes of the ECS help regulate endocannabinoids levels and can clear the endocannabinoids very quickly, unlike phytocannabinoids which are usually longer lasting. Pharmaceutical companies have also started to develop drugs that can prevent the enzymes breaking down the endocannabinoids, so increasing and maintaining their levels.   ECS receptors & RA Two ECS specific receptors have been identified, though as research moves forward more are likely to be found. The receptors identified are called CB1 and CB2, and they are distributed differently around the body and also affect the body differently. Cannabinoid molecules may activate or block either receptor or both of them to varying degrees. THC and CBD each interact and affect CB1 and CB2 receptors. The ECS has receptors all over the body with high concentrations on immune cells and in the nervous system. This allows the ECS to influence inflammation and pain. There is ongoing research to try to establish the precise functions of both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors, which have higher concentrations in the nervous system, seem to be responsible for the psychoactive (feeling “high”) and neurological effects of the ECS, including its effects on pain. CB1 activation helps regulate neurotransmitter (signalling of the nervous system) release, and it is this action that results in a decrease in pain and also has positive effects on depression and anxiety. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are present in higher concentrations on the surface of immune cells. They also are expressed on bone cells and connective tissue cells. Studies have found that activating the CB2 receptors can reduce immune cell multiplication and movement, processes that are central in inflammation. This is why cannabis may act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation. CB2 activation also affects immune cell production of antibodies. This is especially relevant to RA as the majority of patients will be antibody positive.  A small study of 13 RA patients found both CB1 and CB2 receptors to be present on diseased joint tissue, and this was associated with increased endocannabinoid levels. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors have been identified on a type of cell in joints that is thought to be central to the rheumatoid disease process called “synovial fibroblasts.” The presence of the receptors in the diseased tissue suggest that they may have a role in the development and regulation of the disease. It is also possible that the presence of these receptors can be taken advantage of to directly affect diseased tissue. Despite evidence that activation of the ECS seems to decrease inflammation there are also studies showing that CB1 activation can lead to increased inflammation. Interestingly, a recent study showed that if a CB2 receptor is not functioning normally due to a genetic mutation, the person has a 10-fold increased risk of developing RA. This suggests that CB2 activation may play a role in immune regulation that helps prevent the development of RA. Endocannabinoids and synthetic cannabinoids have been shown to decrease the levels of immune and connective tissue cells that are thought to be involved in joint damage and destruction in RA(4).  Endocannabinoids are usually undetectable in healthy joints, however there seems to be increased levels in the joints of patients with RA. Synthetic cannabinoids have also been shown to decrease specific inflammatory signalling by cells taken from diseased joints in RA patients by activating the CB2 receptor.   Medical Studies on Cannabis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. There are broadly two equally important aims in RA treatment. The first is to control inflammation and prevent irreversible damage to the body – this is known as disease-modifying treatment. The other aim is to improve symptoms, especially pain and quality of life. THC and CBD, the main components of medical cannabis, have different effects on the ECS and therefore play different roles in achieving these goals. Nonetheless it is also thought that THC and CBD may have a synergistic effect (meaning that that CBD and THC can positively influence each other’s effects). This “entourage effect” is an advantage in medical cannabis that is not currently seen with the synthetic preparations.   One study has shown that ingestion of medical cannabis in humans decreased the activity of immune cells and reduced antibody levels. In studies using animal models CBD has also been shown to reduce antibody levels.   THC’s effect on immune cells is unclear, and the effects it has on immunity may not be through the cannabinoid receptors but rather through a different mechanism entirely (non-cannabinoid receptors). In studies, high concentrations of THC were required in order to have an impact on inflammatory response. In addition, when medications were added that block the cannabinoid receptors, these anti-inflammatory actions were not affected. This suggests that the THC was having its effect on inflammation via a different non-cannabinoid pathway. CBD, on the other hand, has shown encouraging results influencing inflammation in RA. Some of these anti-inflammatory effects are due to activation of the cannabinoid system and some are likely to be through activation of receptors other than CB1 & CB2 receptors, involving different receptors and pathways. The hope is that further research will shed light on this, potentially opening up the potential for new types of therapies.   Different studies have also examined the effects of treatment with cannabinoids in arthritis in mouse models. CBD and synthetic cannabinoids that activated the CB2 receptor all reduced the arthritis severity and the amount of inflammation and musculoskeletal damage.  A small five-week randomised control trial (high quality methodology) was conducted with 58 RA patients. The patients were divided into groups and received either Nabiximols or placebo. Nabiximols is an oral spray which contains cannabis extracts of CBD and THC in equal quantities, while the placebo was a spray that looked the same but contained no active components. After 5 weeks, the patients that received Nabiximols reported significantly improved pain on movement and rest, quality of sleep, and disease activity scores compared to those patients that received the placebo. In terms of adverse effects, the most common were dizziness, lightheadedness and dry mouth. The side effects were all mild to moderate and did not cause any of the patients to stop taking the medication. This is currently the only clinical randomised control trial that has been performed examining the use of cannabinoids in patients with RA. However, there is a larger European study underway examining both CBD and THC in patients with RA.  There is increasing evidence that ECS plays a role in balancing the immune system in rheumatoid arthritis. There is currently only one high quality randomized clinical trial examining using cannabinoids as a treatment for RA in people; it has encouraging results and further trials are being conducted. Aside from potential beneficial effects that cannabis may have on inflammation there is also its well-known effects on pain. When deciding whether to start a new medication it is always a balance between potential benefits and harms. The majority of side effects from cannabis tend to be mild to moderate and usually do not result in the need to stop treatment. However, there are concerns regarding the potential psychotropic effects, and other possible complications including psychiatric complications.   This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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Can cannabis help insomnia?

Can cannabis help insomnia?

How Cannabis Works There is a fair bit of interest in treating insomnia with cannabis, and the initial research shows that cannabis certainly has a significant impact on sleep. This seems to be in large part because of the way in which cannabis affects the human body’s endocannabinoid system.  The endocannabinoid system is one of the key systems in the human body, and it plays the important role of maintaining our body’s homeostasis (or internal balance). It can stimulate some of our bodies’ most important functions, such as:  stress response inflammation energy mood memory building  muscle control hunger pain and sleep  Made of three main components, the endocannabinoid system is composed of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and endocannabinoid receptors. The endocannabinoids are chemicals produced by the human body, but interestingly, they have a lot of structural similarities to the cannabinoids in cannabis. When functioning properly, these endocannabinoids bond with endocannabinoid receptors (referred to as CB1 and CB2 receptors), which are found throughout the body on the surface of cells. Then, enzymes break down endocannabinoids, and clear them from our system.  Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system can also be stimulated by phytocannabinoids (some of cannabis’s active ingredients – usually just called cannabinoids). These molecules can also activate CB1 and CB2 receptors to stimulate these crucial bodily functions and restore balance. This is how cannabis can offer so many diverse and medicinal health benefits.   When it comes to sleep, activating these receptors could be particularly helpful, since endocannabinoid system signaling seems to regulate some aspects of our sleep. For instance, researchers have noted that the activation of CB1 receptors tends to induce sleep. Studies on mice have also found that CB1 activation was associated with changes in the stability and length of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) stages, which are crucial for getting a good night’s rest.  In addition, researchers also tested whether CB1 signaling was necessary for sleep homeostasis — the way in which humans account for lost sleep by sleeping more deeply and for longer periods when they are behind on rest. To do this, mice subjects were sleep deprived and had their CB1 signaling blocked. Still, blocking CB1 did not seem to reduce the amount of rebound NREM sleep after deprivation. When they were allowed to sleep, these mice still slept longer to account for the lost sleep. The authors say this work supports the idea that endocannabinoid signaling via CB1 is necessary for long and stable NREM sleep stages, but may not be necessary for sleep homeostasis in general.  So it’s clear that endocannabinoid signaling — particularly via CB1 — plays an important role in sleep regulation. Still, it’s not clear from this research exactly how cannabis might affect the sleep of humans when used to treat insomnia. For that, we will need to look at the clinical research. Insomnia & cannabis When it comes to cannabis and insomnia, there is a long history of people utilizing cannabis for better sleep. Since ancient times, people have noticed the sedating effects that come with some types of cannabis and have utilized it as a sleep aid.  Recent surveys of cannabis users also report similar trends. One 2018 survey of 1,000 cannabis users who purchase recreational cannabis found that 74% used marijuana to help them sleep, with 84% stating that it helped. Importantly, more than 83% also said they had reduced or stopped taking other sleep aids after switching to cannabis.  Still, the research on cannabis and sleep is still in early stages and experts are conflicted on whether it is a helpful solution, or one that may have long term negative effects. The dearth of research in this important topic is in large part due to the regulatory and legal status of cannabis until recently.   Some research points to cannabis’ ability to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep. For example, one study on physically healthy insomniacs tested the effects of THC on sleep patterns over a six week period. They found that THC significantly decreased the time it takes healthy insomniacs to fall asleep, and decreased the amount of time subjects woke up in the first half of the night.  In this study, subjects did experience one adverse effect — a hangover or continued high the next day. Since this increased with increased dosage, researchers recommended doses lower than 30mgs of THC.  Other research suggests that lower doses might be better for other reasons as well. One study found that cannabis has a dose dependant effect on the time it takes to fall asleep — decreasing time to sleep at lower doses, but increasing it at higher doses.  In addition to dose, strain and chemical composition may also have an effect on how cannabis impacts sleep. In one study, researchers examined cannabis strain preferences among cannabis users with sleep disturbances, and found that there were some notable trends. Those using cannabis to alleviate nightmares, for example, preferred sativa’s to indicas, while those who had current insomnia and also took longer to fall asleep tended to prefer strains with higher CBD. We should probably take any research on sativa/indica distinctions with a grain of salt, since it is often noted that the sativa/indica distinction doesn’t really mean much in terms of genetic or chemotype differences — this does point to the fact that some chemical profiles may work better for one aspect of sleep regulation, while another profile might work better for others.  Both these factors, along with genetic differences among medical marijuana users, might help to explain why some studies report benefits for sleep, while others say it might cause problems.   For example, some researchers argue that while THC may help some get to sleep faster, it could negatively impact sleep overall. One survey that supports this idea found that cannabis users tended to have more sleep disturbances than those who didn’t use cannabis.  Studies have also indicated the CBD could be helpful for sleep. A 2017 review of the literature found that CBD might be helpful for the treatment of both REM sleep behavior disorder (where people act out their dreams physically during REM sleep), and excessive daytime sleepiness.  While more research needs to be done to understand the different ways that cannabis can affect sleep, most of the reviews of the literature say that there is evidence that cannabis can help — particularly for those with sleep issues related to other conditions. For example, the National Academy of Sciences meta-review on cannabis from 2017 reported finding moderate evidence that cannabinoids can improve short-term sleep outcomes in patients with sleep disturbances associated with obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or multiple sclerosis. So integration of cannabis into their regimen could help in multiple ways, including helping improve their sleep, which indirectly may improve their outcomes for the underlying condition, while also alleviating symptoms of chronic pain and other symptoms they may have. A 2017 review from University of Pennsylvania agrees that cannabis can improve sleep for those with obstructive sleep apnea, and chronic pain, and also notes that cannabis may reduce nightmares associated with PTSD.  Still, both reviews caution that more research is sorely needed. While there is good evidence to point towards cannabis’ helpful abilities for sleep, we need more clinical trials on patients with insomnia to develop reliable cannabis treatments. This article was originally published on The Cannigma, and shared here with permission.

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The Endocannabinoid System Explained – Series Vol 02 – Cannabinoid Receptors

The Endocannabinoid System Explained – Series Vol 02 – Cannabinoid Receptors

Welcome back to our ongoing series on the introduction to the Endocannabinoid System. In our previous segment, we provided a basic introduction to the ECS. In this segment we will be discussing the different receptors of the ECS, including their locations, functions, and signalling.   CANNABINOID RECEPTORS As mentioned in our previous segment the first cannabinoid receptor, aptly named the CB1 receptor, was first discovered in the late 1980s. Since then, researchers have learned a great deal about cannabinoid receptors, with the two most discussed and most abundantly found in the human body being the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These cannabinoid receptors fall under a classification of cell membrane receptors known as G protein coupled receptors.  Cannabinoid receptor activation occurs following the introduction of ligands from one or more of three groups.  Endocannabinoids – Cannabinoids produced and released within the body. Phytocannabinoids – Plant based cannabinoids such as those found in cannabis. Synthetic cannabinoids – Manufactured pharmaceutical synthetic THC and CBD. What makes the process of cannabinoid receptor signalling unique is that it is presynaptic. This means that unlike in the case of neurotransmitters that travel from a neuron to a postsynaptic cell, cannabinoids attach to cannabinoid receptors located on the presynaptic neuron. Due to this presynaptic process, cannabinoids can lead to a direct effect on neurotransmission. LOCATIONS & FUNCTIONS In a slight over-simplification, cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors work similar to a lock and a key in that certain cannabinoids will ‘fit’ or bind with their matching receptors. The body’s ECS consists of a vast network of these cannabinoid receptors or ‘locks’, in fact, the CB1 receptor is one of the most abundant receptors found in the brain and in the central nervous system.  Cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the body, and are primarily concentrated in the brain, spinal cord, and the tissues of the immune system.  Much is still to be explored to fully understand the functional processes of the ECS and its network of receptors. While there is still ongoing investigation and debate, research has shown that activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors can influence many of the different systems and functions of the body. CB1 RECEPTORS Pain Inflammation Metabolism / Appetite Sleep Cycle Cardiovascular Functions Mood Learning & Memory Neurodegeneration Addiction Musculoskeletal Disorders Reward Liver Function Neuroinflammation Bone Mass Reproductive Functions CB2 RECEPTORS Immune Response Pain Inflammation Neurological Function Stress Responses Mood Addiction Reproductive Function   SECONDARY CANNABINOID RECEPTORS While research is limited on receptors of the ECS other than the CB1 and CB2 receptors, other receptors do exist, with the two most notable being: Transient Receptor Potential Channels (TRPV-1) – Membrane proteins involved in the modulation of ion entry. Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors (PPARS) – A group of nuclear hormone receptors. UP NEXT – In the next segment of our series covering the Endocannabinoid System, we will be discussing the endocannabinoids Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). To begin your cannabis medicine journey today, book an appointment now with the Savikalpa Virtual Clinic for an online doctor consultation, or request more information from a member of our highly trained clinic staff (eclinic@savikalpa.com). We pride ourselves on being one of India’s most qualified sources of fast, friendly, and professional access to cannabinoid medicine online! Interested in learning more? Send us your questions (eclinic@savikalpa.com). It is our mission to educate patients in any way we can, and we would be delighted to hear from you. Research regarding the endocannabinoid system: Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/can.2016.0009 CB1 and CB2 Receptor Pharmacology https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1054358917300340?via%3Dihub Neurobiological Interactions Between Stress and the Endocannabinoid System https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26068727/  The endocannabinoid system in guarding against fear, anxiety and stress https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871913/  Endocannabinoid system and stress and anxiety responses https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091305705001346  Endocannabinoid system and pain: an introduction https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24148358/  The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685274/  Endocannabinoid system in irritable bowel syndrome and cannabis as a therapy https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0965229919310179  CB2 receptors in reproduction https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/sj.bjp.0707444 Endocannabinoids in the regulation of appetite and body weight https://journals.lww.com/behaviouralpharm/Abstract/2005/09000/Endocannabinoids_in_the_regulation_of_appetite_and.4.aspx  The endocannabinoid system: directing eating behavior and macronutrient metabolism https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01506/full Endocannabinoids and immune regulation https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S104366180900108X?via%3Dihub  Endocannabinoid Catabolic Enzymes Play Differential Roles in Thermal Homeostasis in Response to Environmental or Immune Challenge https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11481-015-9593-1 Antidepressants and Changes in Concentration of Endocannabinoids and N-Acylethanolamines in Rat Brain Structures https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4067538/ Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/ Cannabinoid Receptors in the Central Nervous System: Their Signaling and Roles in Disease https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2016.00294/full Endocannabinoid Binding to the Cannabinoid Receptors: What Is Known and What Remains Unknown https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4120766/ Cannabinoid CB1 and CB2 Receptor Signaling and Bias https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2016.0037 DISCLAIMER – All individuals accessing this site undertake full responsibility for their own assessment of the accuracy/relevance of any and all content found herein. The content found on this site is not intended to serve as a substitute for medical advice/diagnosis/treatment from a qualified and licensed health care provider. This information should also in no way be misconstrued as professional legal advice regarding legislative, regulatory or any other matters. Individuals should always seek guidance of fully qualified professionals.

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Cannabis Oils (edible) - The Basics

Cannabis Oils (edible) - The Basics

Sifting through the clutter of information on cannabis oil on the internet can be exhausting and confusing. The best thing to do is to try and have a fundamental understanding of how cannabis oil works, how it's made, and what it exactly does to your. Only then will you find yourself in a position to see how one is different from the other.   Infused edible cannabis oils are among the most common and most highly recommended cannabis medicine products in the world. The vast majority of medications are administered orally, thus it is only natural that an edible form of cannabis medicine become the most widely used format. Not only are infused oils relatively simple to produce, they also provide a safe and convenient alternative to the old ways of smoking cannabis.  What is cannabis oil? Cannabis oil is the resulting product created when an extraction of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant (Vijaya, or full spectrum cannabis extract) is ‘activated’ and then infused with a carrier oil, such as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT).  Infused Oils vs Tinctures – What’s the difference? Tinctures differ from infused cannabis oils. Rather than using a carrier oil for infusion, a cannabis tincture is created by dissolving cannabis extract into a solvent such as alcohol.  How is cannabis oil made? The manufacturing of cannabis oil is typically a three-step process: Extraction – The process of creating a highly concentrated cannabis extract, containing a high volume of chemical compounds found in cannabis such as cannabinoids and terpenes.  Decarboxylation – Raw dry cannabis materials primarily contain the cannabinoids THC-A and CBD-A. Prior to infusion, these cannabinoids are ‘activated’ through the precise application of heat in order to convert them into the cannabinoids delta9-THC and CBD (the two most common cannabinoids used in cannabis medicine therapy).  Infusion – For cannabinoids to be effectively absorbed by the body, they must first be infused with a fatty-oil. This is accomplished by gently heating and agitating a mixture of cannabis extract with a carrier oil until a consistent potency and thickness is achieved.    How do you use cannabis oil? The simplest and most effective way to consume an infused edible cannabis oil is to just put it in your mouth and swallow. While it is common to find cannabis oil and hemp-derived oil products that recommend placing the oil beneath the tongue, these types of infusions are not well suited for sublingual absorption, as that would require the use of specialized nano-emulsion technologies. Nano-emulsion products are not yet common in most markets. When ingested, cannabis oil is metabolized by the liver, leading to a gradual onset and prolonged duration of effects. One can typically expect to begin experiencing the onset of effects within 60-90 minutes following ingestion. However, it is not uncommon for this process to take up to 2 hours. Effects can then be expected to last for a duration of approx. 6-8 hours. Can I cook with cannabis oil? Cannabis oil is medicine. While it is possible to use cannabis oil in everyday cooking, it is not recommended for several reasons: It can become far more difficult to achieve an accurate and consistent dosage. It can result in the degradation of cannabinoids and the evaporation of terpenes when heated beyond initial decarboxylation.  It can substantially increase the chances of accidental exposure of friends and family. To begin your cannabis medicine journey today, book an appointment now with the Savikalpa Virtual Clinic for an online doctor consultation, or request more information from a member of our highly trained clinic staff (eclinic@savikalpa.com). We pride ourselves on being one of India’s most qualified sources of fast, friendly, and professional access to cannabinoid medicine online! THE SHUNYATA LINE OF CANNABIS MEDICINE OILS SHUNYATA PAIN 10% Vijaya Extract  Common Indications: Cancer Related Pain Chronic Pain Endometriosis Fibromyalgia Inflammation Migraines Neuropathic Pain / Nerve Damage Severe Arthritis SHUNYATA CALM 7.5% Vijaya Extract Common Indications: Acute Pain Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Arthritis Crohn's Disease Depression Epilepsy Inflammation Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Insomnia / Sleep Disorders Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Menstrual Pain/Cramping Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Palliative Care Parkinson’s Disease Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Seizure Disorders Spasticity Spinal Injuries SHUNYATA BALANCE 5% Vijaya Extract Common Indications: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Anxiety Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Autoimmune Disorder Bipolar Disorder Cachexia / Poor Appetite Chronic Fatigue HIV / AIDS Inflammation Mood Disorders Nausea and Vomiting Stress Interested in learning more? Send us your questions (eclinic@savikalpa.com). It is our mission to educate patients in any way we can, and we would be delighted to hear from you. DISCLAIMER – All individuals accessing this site undertake full responsibility for their own assessment of the accuracy/relevance of any and all content found herein. The content found on this site is not intended to serve as a substitute for medical advice/diagnosis/treatment from a qualified and licensed health care provider. This information should also in no way be misconstrued as professional legal advice regarding legislative, regulatory or any other matters. Individuals should always seek guidance of fully qualified professionals.

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Cannabis as a medicine – remedies of the past rediscovered

Cannabis as a medicine – remedies of the past rediscovered

Perception of something changes with new evidence and facts. One can see that happen for ayurvedic cannabis medicine now as new research points to the many therapeutic applications of cannabis products.   What is cannabis? A grouping of plant species found to grow naturally in various regions across the globe. Mature cannabis plants produce highly resinous buds that are utilized for their therapeutic medicinal value. What is hemp? A variety of plant species closely related to cannabis. Hemp is primarily cultivated for the creation of therapeutic cannabinoid extracts, nutritional supplements, and its strong fibers used in fabrics, rope and other industrial applications.  A great many cultures from different regions across the globe have a long history of utilizing cannabis and hemp as a natural remedy for anxiety, pain, insomnia, and the treatment of several other ailments. However, despite this storied and shared cultural heritage, an overall lack of scientific understanding coupled with a perceived potential for societal harm has resulted in decades of strict prohibitions worldwide.   Fortunately, the accumulation of a slow but steady trickle of evidence-based research has begun to rapidly change perceptions regarding cannabis, and the wide range of therapeutic applications for cannabis and hemp products. COMMON SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS FOR CANNABIS MEDICINE THERAPY Acute Pain Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Anxiety Arthritis ADHD Autism Spectrum Disorder Autoimmune Disorder Bipolar Disorder Cachexia / Poor Appetite Cancer Related Pain Chronic Fatigue Chronic Pain  Crohn's Disease Depression Endometriosis  Epilepsy Fibromyalgia Headache / Migraines HIV / AIDS Inflammatory Bowel Disease Irritable Bowel Syndrome Inflammation Insomnia / Sleep Disorders Menstrual Pain / Cramping  Mood Disorders Multiple Sclerosis Muscle Spasticity Nausea and Vomiting Neuropathic Pain / Nerve Damage Palliative Care Parkinson’s Disease Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder  Seizure Disorders Spinal Injuries Stress This research has helped to fuel recent regulatory and social changes across the globe, leading to a resurgence in the use of cannabis as a medicine, and redefining our understanding of its therapeutic potentials.  Countries such as India, Canada, the USA, Uruguay, Australia, Germany, the UK and many more have enabled pathways for patients and health care providers to access cannabis medicine-based therapies. This has rapidly accelerated advancements in research into the many applications of cannabis medicine, and has subsequently led to the creation of an entirely new generation of products and consumption methods. All of which have been designed to maximize efficacy while minimizing any potential harm/side-effects. COMMONLY AVAILABLE PRODUCTS IN THE GLOBAL CANNABIS MARKET Full Spectrum Extracts THC Distillate CBD Isolate Synthetic Cannabinoids Infused Edible Oils  Gel Capsules Tinctures Sublingual Sprays / Patches Topical Creams Transdermal Patches Dry Whole Flower Vaporizer Cartridges For patients in India, cannabis is recognised as a potent plant ingredient in Ayurveda, and cannabis medicine has earned ratification from India’s Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). As with other medications, patients can speak with their doctor about the appropriateness of cannabis medicine therapy for their needs. One can also seek out the advice of an ayurvedic doctor who specializes in the use of cannabis medicine. If deemed appropriate, patients will be provided with a prescription to be fulfilled by a manufacturer of approved cannabis medicine products.  Due to restrictions imposed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, cannabis medicine products currently available in India are required to be made only from the leaves of the cannabis plant. Once harvested, the leaves undergo an extraction process resulting in a highly concentrated mixture of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the cannabis plant. This concentrated extract is then used by manufactures of cannabis medicines to create infused edible oils, topical creams/lotions and other form factors. COMMONLY AVAILABLE PRODUCTS IN INDIA Infused Edible Oils Gel Capsules Tinctures Full Spectrum Infused Oils Topical Creams Hemp Oil Hemp Seed To begin your cannabis medicine journey today, book an appointment now with the Savikalpa Virtual Clinic[hyperlink] for an online doctor consultation, or request more information from a member of our highly trained clinic staff (eclinic@savikalpa.com). We pride ourselves on being one of India’s most qualified sources of fast, friendly, and professional access to cannabinoid medicine online! Interested in learning more? Send us your questions (eclinic@savikalpa.com). It is our mission to educate patients in any way we can, and we would be delighted to hear from you. DISCLAIMER – All individuals accessing this site undertake full responsibility for their own assessment of the accuracy/relevance of any and all content found herein. The content found on this site is not intended to serve as a substitute for medical advice/diagnosis/treatment from a qualified and licensed health care provider. This information should also in no way be misconstrued as professional legal advice regarding legislative, regulatory or any other matters. Individuals should always seek guidance of fully qualified professionals.

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