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Effects of cannabis on mental health

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Effects of Cannabis on Mental Health

The twenty- first century has witnessed a change in attitudes towards the perception of mental illness. As a subject, which was earlier dismissed and highly stigmatized, mental health now has an open dialogue for discussion due to a shift in the mindsets wherein people are sensitized towards it. The de-stigmatization of mental health and the subsequent realization of its importance, has led to a number of researches seeking alternative and efficient forms of treatment for mental illnesses. A number of studies have explored medicinal cannabis as a potential form of treatment for a number of mental health conditions. But is it an efficient treatment for the same? Stay tuned to understand the effects of cannabis on mental health.

Understanding mental health conditions

While there exist a number of mental health conditions, the ones which medical marijuana is most commonly consumed for are depression, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Depression and PTSD share some common symptoms; however, they are essentially separate from one another. Despite anxiety disorder being a mental health issue of its own, it can often accompany depression or PTSD in patients struggling from either. Some commonly known symptoms of depression include; feeling numb or sad, loss of appetite, sleeping too much, disinterest in everyday activities, etc. PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) is a direct result of a traumatic event and causes behavioral changes, avoidance, anxiety due to continuous flashbacks of the events occurred, etc.

Depression, anxiety, and PTSD can often be interrelated. According to a study featuring in Jama Psychiatry, shared neural features can be identified among the aforementioned conditions. It was found that among the patients suffering from depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders there were common hypoactive regions in the brain: the inferior prefrontal cortex, the inferior parietal lobule, and the putamen. These areas of the brain play an important role in blocking cognitive processes and switching to alternate ones. Since they are hypoactive (less active) in those suffering from the aforementioned conditions, such individuals seem to be stuck in the negative states rather than being able to reject them and switch to happier states.

Effects of cannabis on mental health

The endocannabinoid system of the body comprises endocannabinoids and their receptors. This system helps regulate important aspects of our health, including our nervous and immune systems. Endocannabinoids activate the CB1and CB2 brain receptors. The CB1s are found in the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, amygdala, etc. Drawing parallels from the argument above, we find that the hypoactive regions common to patients of depression, anxiety, and PTSD are the very regions where the CB1 receptors are found. The CB1 receptors get blocked in the brain as a result of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Due to low levels of endocannabinoids, those suffering from the aforementioned conditions are unable to get out of negative mood states. 

Cannabis can prove to be helpful in dealing with depression, anxiety and PTSD because the cannabinoids found in it resemble the endocannabinoids. THC is found to enhance sleep, reduce nightmares, and mitigate other PTSD symptoms among the patients, however, there are mixed reviews on the topic. Additionally, cannabis reduces the propensity for inflammation and could be very helpful in psychological conditions which involve inflammation within the brain due to decreased endocannabinoids. Cannabis could also help block the traumatic memories associated with PTSD.

Medicinal Benefits of CBD

Some studies have shown CBD to be useful in the treatment of the aforementioned conditions. When tested on animal models, it was found that CBD can act as an antidepressant and reduce anxiety. This is because CBD does not contain the psychoactive compounds present in THC, and can therefore, have a calming effect on the patients.

Dosage

A study of Washington State University concluded that different strains that had different THC to CBD ratios had different effects on patients. For instance, in terms of depression, the study reported that individuals saw a decrease in their depression when they consumed strains with low levels of THC and high levels of CBD. High levels of CBD could also help with anxiety disorders because they help calm the patients and counteract the paranoia that THC might cause.

Word from Hempstreet

Though there is not enough research on cannabis and mental health but, it is apparent from the above information that it could be of help to those struggling. If you think that cannabis could help treat your mental health condition, it is advised that you consult your mental health professional for an appropriate prescription. We strongly advise against self-medication in order to get know about the effects of cannabis on mental health

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1 Comment

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  1. CBD cannabis strains

    May 27, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a
    whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

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Hemp in India

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Hemp In India

Hemp, also known as industrial cannabis, has a long standing relationship with India and it’s culture. From it’s mention in the ancient religious texts, the Vedas as one of the five sacred plants to it being the front runner in the legalisation movement till date, hemp has been a part of India’s history. One of the two primary species of cannabis- cannabis indica, traces the origin of it’s name to India. Hemp as a raw material can contribute in the production of 25,000 products, ranging from products in industries such as gas and oil, to textiles and bodycare.

With Himalayas and the state of Uttarakhand being a treasure trove of hemp and all other states in India betting on the quality of their respective hemp production, India is home to some of the best quality of hemp in the world. However, hemp in India is still not officially legal due to the stigmatization attached to the crop. The controversies revolving around it linking it to the controversial amount of THC and marijuana, have hindered its business growth, more than one can imagine.

Hemp in Indian states

Uttarakhand being the first Indian state to have secured the rights for industrial hemp cultivation in 2018, it was a marked victory in this long drawn battle of hemp legalisation. The state government of Uttarakhand also granted license to Indian Industrial Hemp Assosciation(IIHA) to establish and operate their non-profit organisation. Apart from the products that can be made using hemp, cultivation of industrial hemp is extremely eco friendly. It requires very little to no use of pesticides. Since India lies in the tropical region, temperature and environmental conditions of India are also suitable for hemp cultivation.

While the direct benefits of hemp cultivation will be extended towards poor famers, who otherwise had to spend a huge amount of money for the timely cultivation of the crop, the GDP share of agriculture sector will also see a rise. Hemp, being a stronger and more absorbent fibre than cotton, sustainable agriculture of hemp will take India a long way, who in fact is looking to diversify from its conventional methods of farming.

Followed by Uttarakhand, are states like Madhya Pradesh and Manipur, where ministers have come out stating the need for legalisation of cultivation of hemp. While Madhya Pradesh’s law minister had already made an announcement about allowing the cultivation of hemp for medical and industrial purposes, there has been no progress made following it. Chief Minister of Manipur on the other hand has taken a firm decision regarding this issue and mentioned that it is very important for the state to utilise it’s natural resources efficiently and use the revenue generated for the development of the state.

Growth map of hemp market

With the first cannabis clinic of India, Vedi Herbals, opening in Bangalore in February, 2020, established by an Odisha based startup HempCann Solutions, it is a win for the cannabis legalisation movement. With Vedi Herbals having been granted a pan India license, it remains to be seen how this would pave way for expansion of hemp market in India.

Apart from the newbie HempCann solutions, there are other companies such as Bombay Hemp Company(BoHeCo), Indian Hemp and Co., B.E.Hemp, that have somehow managed to sustain the idea of medicinal and industrial hemp thriving in India.

HempStreet, established in 2019, is another newbie in the hemp market and is India’s first research to retail venture in the ayurvedic cannabis sector. Having received a funding of 1 million dollars from US based pharmatech, Pharmacon Holdings and Romain Barberis, HempStreet primarily focuses on medicinal hemp and aims to source hemp based painkillers in the hemp market. These facts paint a picture of that of how hemp in India, as a market would experience a notable shift in the coming years. 

Final Word

Despite of being illegal, a study conducted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) in 2019 reported that there are 7.2 million consumers of industrial hemp within that year. This implies that hemp in India, already has an established consumer base. The need of the hour, is to lend wings to this miraculously healing and industrial crop, such that it’s benefits reach the less privileged and provide relief to those who need it.  

References

https://inc42.com/startups/hempstreet-bets-high-on-indias-medical-cannabis-potential-with-eye-on-blockchain/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/306962

https://www.iihaindia.org/about-ihemp/

https://www.bingedaily.in/article/marijuana-2020-the-possibilities-for-india

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Does CBD help or hinder sleep

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Does Cannabis Help or Hinder Sleep

Who doesn’t like a good night sleep? It is quite difficult for one to function without sleep in today’s stressful, fast- paced world. However, these are the very factors that often lead to people not getting enough sleep. For conditions like sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, etc. people are often prescribed over the counter medicines for instant relief. These medications; however, may have serious side effects on the patients. Due to this, many consumers try to explore medical cannabis as a potential sleep aid. Through this article, we would discuss whether Cannabis helps or hinders sleep.

CBD and sleep

CBD has become popular in the medical field, wherein, individuals are consuming it to treat a number of ailments, including insomnia. Due to this sudden increase in its popularity, a number of ongoing clinical and preclinical studies are trying to find whether CBD can help with various disorders. However, there are limited studies are centered on CBD and sleep.

A recent Consumer Reports survey that was conducted on CBD reported that 10% of its respondents were consuming CBD as a sleep aid. Most of them assured that it worked, however, the evidence is anecdotal. It is important for controlled studies to be conducted in order to gain some conclusive evidence about whether CBD really induces sleep.

High CBD strains often contain a terpene called myrcene. This terpene is said to have sedating effects. Therefore, myrcene has been used as a sleep aid since centuries. However, myrcene is found in several other plants apart from cannabis, such as hops. Therefore, researchers are unsure whether it is the myrcene in the CBD rich strains that helps people sleep or whether it is CBD itself. However, it can be noted that CBD is not generally consumed in a vaporized form, and therefore, does not contain much myrcene.

Another research conducted in 2017 extensive literature review titled: Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature, studies the effects of CBD in conjunction with THC on sleep. It concluded that both can be used as sleep aids.

Consuming multiple cannabinoids at the same time might have mixed effects. THC has certain sedative-like effects on individuals. It has multiple properties that help individuals sleep, for instance, it helps people feel comfortable while being able to remain still. This is called catalepsy. CBD, on the other hand, does not alter the consciousness of individuals like THC. As a result, it is difficult to ascertain whether CBD alone can act as a sleep aid.

Dosage

A Preliminary study showed that CBD doses ranging from 75 to 300 mg helped patients sleep. In one particular case, high dose CBD also helped a PTSD patient. Since CBD does not have any psychedelic properties, it is safe to consume higher doses of it for optimum effects. A study held in 2018 administered doses of 1500, 3000, and 6000 mg to healthy subjects for six days. It concluded that CBD was safe to be consumed at higher dosages.

Conclusion

Through the aforementioned argument, it can be assessed whether CBD helps or hinders sleep. It should be noted that CBD’s effect on sleep requires a great deal of further research. Despite the fact that CBD seems to help patients sleep, its effects are subjective and differ from person to person. It is a great alternative for those who wish to use a product with no side-effects. Additionally, CBD is worth exploring for those who want to avail the benefit of marijuana without the psychedelic effects of THC. If you have trouble sleeping, you can consult your medical practitioner before using CBD for your condition. We strongly advise against self-medication.

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Hemp seed: An Ayurvedic medication

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Hemp seed: An Ayurvedic medication

With most of the chaos around hemp being caluminous, have you ever tried to look beyond it? Well, if you haven’t, it’s your time now. Hemp, as a whole plant, is a gift of nature, that has been evaded for way too long now. First discovered in the foothills of Himalayas in India, hemp, also finds its mention in the vedas as one of the five sacred plants ‘bhang’. Since then, the only issue that has thwarted the reach of hemp in each household in the country, is the stigma that has latched onto it.

Weeding out this stigma would not be very hard, once its potential users are made aware of its benefits- be it on the health front or on the industrial front. Each part of hemp plant– seeds, stalk, fibre, flower- have incontestable benefits, which when unveiled would place it as a frontrunner for raw material, in almost every sector.

This article however, would primarily talk about hemp seeds, which lie at the heart of the plant. Hemp seeds in India have been a part of Ayurvedic medication for the good.

Let us explore how their role are interwoven and shed light upon Hemp seed: An Ayurvedic medication.

Hemp seeds and nutrition

Hemp seeds, having been a part of India’s history, is a legacy of its own, handed down over to the humankind by the Himalayas. Since then, from being used in the ropes to tie cattle to being used to cure ailments, hemp seeds have done it all.

Hemp is essentially a part of one of the eight clinical domains of Ayurveda, i.e, the Rasayana Tantra( the knowledge of rejuvenation). A great source of protein, the nutritional properties of hemp seeds have made this possible and thus, it is highly valued by the human society.  The nutritional properties are as follows:

  • Improve immunity
  • Smoothens muscle functions
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Boosts hormonal balance
  • Aids cardiovascular health
  • Helps in weight loss

In addition to the above properties, hemp oil obtained from hemp seeds, also called hemp seeds oil, is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamine B1 and Vitamine B2, essential fatty acids as well as minerals. Apart from being very effective as a medicinal aid, hemp seeds oil also works wonders for skin and hair.

In the circle of Ayurvedic medication, hemp seeds and hemp seeds oil are particularly beneficial for Vata(meaning, space and air) dosha and also helps in balancing the Pita(meaning, fire and water) dosha. These doshas, according to Ayurvedic teaching, are the different types of energies that lay the foundation of life. Hemp seeds, as Ayurveda believes, despite having no THC content, has tamasic(sedative) qualities, which make you feel rejuvenated, by releasing serotonin and inducing deep sleep. Hemp seeds are also nutritionally more efficient than flax and chia seeds. Hemp seeds, an ayurvedic medication, has more to it than nutritional properties.

Hemp seeds in industry

Industrial hemp, has contributed in an conducive way to diverse sectors such as- fabric or clothing, construction, bodycare products, biofuel, paper, amongst many others. Since agriculture of hemp plants requires

  • Negligible amount of pesticides
  • Is capable of returning the essential nutrients to the soil
  • Can be harvested within 3 months
  • Consumes minimal amount of water,

It is extremely environment friendly. As the top producer of biomass in the world and competent of producing the strongest fibre, hemp seeds is extremely popular in the industrial world.   

Ways of intake of hemp seeds

Few common ways being:

  • Blend to make hemp seed milk
  • Eat raw as snack
  • Powder it to consume as condiment
  • Sprinkle on top of dishes
  • Make a smoothie by adding few more ingredients

You can also innovate different ways of inculcating it into your diet and adding flavor. You can also choose from different type of hemp seeds available depending on the flavor, although the natural flavour is mostly nutty in taste.

Bottomline

Hemp seeds: an Ayurvedic medication, could also cause mild diarrhoea or inhibit platelet formation. Like everything in this world, these are amongst the very few side effects of hemp seeds. Hence, it is advisable to consult your doctor before beginning to consume it on a regular basis or including it in your medication. Although when it comes products constituting hemp seeds oil for hair and skin available in the market, those are scientifically proven. Thus, do not give a second thought before purchasing those products because what’s better than nature’s gifts for well being of humankind.

References

https://medium.com/@ministryofhemp/what-are-the-benefits-of-hemp-seeds-584fc352257c

https://bohecolife.com/blogs/hemp-health-nutrition/at-the-heart-of-hemp-all-you-need-to-know-about-hemp-seed-nutrition

https://somatheeram.org/en/vata/

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