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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. CBD cannabis strains

    May 27, 2020 at 10:29 pm

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Synonyms and meanings of Cannabis in Ayurveda

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Synonyms and meanings of Cannabis in Ayurveda

What lies in the name? Well, it does, and this question becomes redundant when something or someone has scores of names to describe their functions. The functions of the subject what it does or effects on the object. The ancient Indian literature and mythology shares on record the myriads of names from Lord Shiva to Rama and from Krishna to Lord Dhanwantri if we mainly talk about Ayurveda. 

The reason for giving these lords numerous names is to describe their powers in their names.

Any subject or object of some importance carries synonyms, and more are the names, more is the importance it holds. Let us specifically discuss the case of Cannabis here. This plant might have attracted people from the western world in the 20th century, but its significance lies in Ayurveda literature since time immemorial. From ‘Sharangdhar Samhita to ‘Rasendra Sara Sangraha, and from ‘Bhavpraskahs to Rasendra Chintamani’ a total of 34 different names have been given in these ancient works of literature.

The synonyms carry the meaning and convey the functions that ‘Cannabis’ does in the body or mind. So, let us discuss some of the synonyms of Cannabis and their meanings/utilities that can enable you to learn and know about the wonder herb.

  1. Sivaluli– ‘Bhanga’ or Cannabis is known to be originated from Lord Shiva himself and therefore has been used in Shiva Poojan along with leaves of Indian bel. The offering of the leaves on ‘Shiv-Lingam’ shows the significance the herb carries.
  2. Vijaya– Cannabis is called ‘Vijaya’ as it can give you victory over the six desires of the mind.
  3. Bhangi– Cannabis is called ‘Bhangi’ as it treats ‘Taapa traya’ which is referred to 3 basic types of diseases, namely adhyātmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika.
  4. Ganja– Ganja is one of the oldest and common names of Cannabis Sativa. It is dried leaves of Cannabis Sativa and called ‘Hemp’ in English. Since it has the properties to intoxicate like alcohol, it is called Ganja.
  5. Vimrardini– ‘Vimradan’ in Sanskrit means pressing and squeezing, the Swaras or Juice of ‘Bhanga’ made with this pressing; hence, it is given this name.
  6. Divya– Cannabis is called as ‘Divya’ as the judicious use of ‘Bhanga’ gives exhilaration and pleasure.
  7. Siddha– ‘Cannabis’ is said to be a holy herb as it has been used as a sacrament and its usage in almost every known and unknown mind and body diseases.
  8. Siddida– Cannabis bestows enlightenment as even in the modern-day ‘Naga’ sadhus have been found using it for doing the practice of the hardest ‘Hatha’ yoga. The toughest form of ‘Yoga’ which requires practice with perseverance.
  9. Siddha muli– An ascetic is a person who follows the pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons. The cannabis plant does not require any efforts for its cultivation, and like a person who leads an austerely simple life, it grows humbly and only at its own.
  10. Manonmai– Cannabis accomplishes in winning over the problems of the mind.
  11. Madhu Drava– The consumption of Cannabis stimulates ‘Sudha Drava’ or happy hormones such as dopamine in the brain and gives a state of happiness.
  12. Pasupasavinasini– Cannabis restores health from non-human behaviour.
  13. Kalaghni– Under acute conditions like severe pain, acute abdomen, and cholera, the use of Cannabis has shown patients recovering from these conditions which make its name as ‘Kalaghni’ or victory from death quite apt.
  14. Sarvarogaghni– Cannabis is used in two hundred Ayurveda formulation, and its usage is mentioned in almost every disease that it is rightly being referred to as ‘Sarvarogaghni’ or a cure for diseases.
  15. Chidahlaada– Cannabis is called as ‘Chidahlaada’ as it has been used to give happiness and joy at every festive occasion.

Cannabis is the herb which has been used by Vaidyas, Rishis and ordinary citizens since times immemorial before it received a bad name and a taboo in the early 20th century. If we closely study its names and references from where it got its various names and shun the sceptical view to allow more scientific studies on it. The chances are there the world would accept Cannabis as the herbal medicinal plant, not as a roadside harmful and redundant grass.

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Tips to Buy the Best CBD Oil

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CBD OIL

As the popularity of medicinal cannabis grows, a number of people are substituting their medication with cannabis products. CBD or cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, is gaining popularity in today’s medical field due to its multiple benefits. Not only does CBD help treat certain ailments, it helps better the lifestyle of individuals as well. Do you wish to buy CBD oil? Are you unsure about where and how you should buy it? Well, then you’ve come to the right place for information. Here are some tips to buy the best CBD oil.

About CBD and CBD oil

CBD is one of the major compounds present in marijuana. This compound is well known for its therapeutic benefits. CBD helps lower anxiety, alleviates pain, overcome nervousness, reduces inflammation, etc. Unlike THC or tetrahydracannabinol, another dominant compound found in cannabis, CBD does not possess any psychoactive properties and thus, does not make consumers high. Due to its multiple benefits, CBD oil is available in the market and is in high demand. CBD oil helps ease symptoms related to conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, cancer, PTSD, etc.

Why you should be careful while purchasing CBD oil

Today, there are countless brands and product lines selling CBD products such as CBD oil. This makes it confusing for the buyers as to which products are worth buying. Sadly, all the products available in the market are not equally good, and it isn’t easy to be able to tell the good products from the bad ones.

A number of CBD oils and products available online are low-quality, and some are even fake. Some of these products contain THC, and some have toxic chemicals which can cause severe poisoning. Therefore, it is important to follow certain guidelines in order to select the best CBD oil before buying.

Tips for buying CBD oil

Here are some tips to help you buy the best CBD oil.

  1. Note the ingredients: One should always read the ingredients of the product and compare them with those of the other products available. For instance, some good quality CBD oils would include additional ingredients such as melatonin or MCT oils that provide more benefits to individuals. On the other hand, low quality oils would have harmful ingredients like vegetable glycerin and propylene. Therefore you should be on the lookout for the aforementioned components that could prove whether a product is good or bad.
  2. Check the THC content: Prior to buying the product, you should check the laws regarding CBD or CBD oil that apply in your state. Most of the states impose restrictions on the amount of THC that should be present in CBD oils. In a good quality effective oil, the THC concentration should be 0.3% or lower than that. Not only does a higher THC content limit the benefits of the oil, it can potentially be categorized as recreational marijuana.
  3. Google the brand and check reviews: It is necessary for you to google the brand name before buying the oil. Check whether the website seems legitimate enough. You should also check the reviews from other customers in order to analyze whether the product is good or not. Sometimes, there can be fake reviews as well; therefore, only trusted bloggers’ reviews should be considered. This step would help narrow down your choices along with the other tips.
  4. Check lab reports: It is essential to check whether a laboratory has tested the CBD oil. If the product has successful lab results, the information regarding that should be available on the brand’s website. An absence of lab reports could suggest that the product is suspicious. In the reports, it should be noted whether the laboratory is a known one or not, and whether the products are accredited with following the International Organizations for Standardization (ISO). It should also be checked if the reports were published less than 3 years ago, since they would be considered expired after that.
  5. Choose within your budget: Once you have checked for all of the above conditions and narrowed down your list of oils, you can choose the one that is within your budget. Sometimes, certain products are priced high because of their trendy packaging or outer looks, therefore you can cut the cost by choosing another oil with the same ingredients and a less attractive packaging.

Word from Hempsteet

Discussed above, are some important tips for buying the best CBD oil. If you think CBD oil could benefit you, it is recommended that you contact your medical health professional and get a prescription for the same. We advise against self-medication using cannabis.

References:

medium.com/alphagreen/how-to-buy-cbd-products-online-and-benefit-10-tips-to-remember-5df4de0e7094

www.healthline.com/health/best-cbd-oil

cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-oil-product-buying-tips/

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Cannabis and Ulcerative Colitis

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Cannabis

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a disease of the inflammatory bowel that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. In Ulcerative Colitis, the innermost lining of the intestine (colon) is affected. This disease affects the gastrointestinal tract and has a relapsing nature.

The symptoms of UC can be diarrhea, an urgency to defecate, abdominal pain, rectal pain, blood in the stool, fever, fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, etc. Severity of the inflammation can lead to serious health complications like increased risk of colon cancer, bleeding, bone loss, hole in the colon, etc. Though there is no exact reason for Ulcerative Colitis to happen, it is suspected to develop due to factors such as immune disorder, genetics, bacteria or viruses can spark the immune system, etc.

UC can be diagnosed with the help of different tests like colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, stool test, etc. UC can be of different types like proctosigmoiditis, ulcerative proctitis, left-sided colitis, pancolitis, and acute severe ulcerative colitis. There is no permanent cure for UC, but treatment can reduce symptoms and can bring long-term remission and prevents relapses.

UC or Pittaj Grahani in Ayurveda is a disease of purisha vaha srotas which is caused by Pitta Pradhana Vata doshas. Ayurveda works on the philosophy of doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha, any imbalance in the doshas creates health issues in one’s body. As per Ayurveda, treatment involves Shamana chikitsa (internal medicines), Shodana chikitsa (Panchakarma therapy), lifestyle modifications and stringent diet regime. In more severe case, Panchakarma therapy plays a vital role as it quickly detoxifies & rejuvenates the digestive system, controls the inflammation, rectal bleeding and heals the ulcerations.Past analysis has shown that by getting Ayurvedic treatment, patients can avoid the colon surgery. 

UC can be treated with a combination of treatment, i.e. diet, medication or in severe cases surgery. We’ll look at each of the treatments separately:

•    Diet

It is suggested that one suffering from UC should take low fibre and low-fat diet, the idea is to eat healthy and light, the fat will avoid flaring up the colon and fibre will reduce the number of stools one passes. One should have a good amount of fruits and vegetables and a diet that feeds ample nutrients and vitamins. Some medical practitioners may advise stopping the intake of dairy products if one is lactose intolerant.

There are some home remedies to treat UC; one can have probiotics that are filled with healthy bacteria avoiding inflammation. One can use turmeric in daily cooking; turmeric is an age-old herb that has antioxidant properties.

•    Medication

Various kinds of medicines are being used to treat UC that leads to controlling the symptoms. The medicines may include antibiotics.

•    Surgery

In severe case of UC, the patient has to undergo surgery; the surgery might involve the removal of the colon and the rectum. Due to the advancement of medical technology, an internal pouch is created and is linked to the anus, avoiding ileostomy.

Cannabis and Ulcerative Colitis

In some of the studies, cannabis has shown signs of decreased inflammation and maintain remission of the condition, so usage of cannabis to treat symptoms of UC such as abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, etc. might be helpful.

A professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester researched how cannabis stops inflammation.

They started the research by acknowledging an already known inflammation process that occurs when the body is infected with a pathogen. The neutrophil influx is a normal reaction of the immune system that sends neutrophils a type of white blood cell to fight against foreign microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria.

However, if the immune cells react disproportionately, they can also destroy the epithelium, which is the protective layer of cells that lines the inside of the intestine. So, to stop the overreaction of the immune response, particular molecules are “dispatched” and transported across the epithelium to stop the inflammation.

It was found that the second process requires endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), which are naturally produced by our bodies and have a similar effect to the cannabinoids in cannabis.

By performing experiments in mice and human cell lines, the team found that if endocannabinoids are lacking or are insufficient, the body cannot control the inflammation process anymore and the neutrophils attack the protective intestinal layer.  The scientists believe that cannabis makes up for the natural cannabinoids, inducing the same anti-inflammatory effect that endocannabinoids would have.

To conclude, all the arguments, discussion, debates reach one point, i.e. whether the studies that have been conducted are enough to consider the usage of medical cannabis to treat any ailment. Can one overlook the side effects of cannabis? It is always advisable to consult a medical practitioner before using cannabis to treat any illness.  And it is also vital for the medical practitioner to be well informed about medical cannabis and the studies available on it, to advise patients accordingly.


[1] https://charaka.org/ulcerative-colitis/

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322764#How-cannabinoids-stop-the-inflammation

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