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The 7 Most Compelling CBD Studies from 2018

For nearly an entire century, cannabis was prohibited by federal law, and scientists and medical researchers who wanted to study it had to put their licenses, careers and livelihoods on the line. Not only has there historically been little to no funding available for clinical cannabis research, but the United States government has made it exceptionally difficult for scientists to use any form of cannabis in a lab.

Fortunately, thanks to rapidly changing legislation, more studies are coming out. Now that CBD and hemp are legal at the federal level and money is pouring into the cannabis sector, we can expect to see plenty of research in the United States. (Note that other countries have had an easier time studying CBD — Israel in particular has been a leader in cannabis research.)

2018 was a big year for CBD research thanks to the Farm Bill. Here are some of the most prominent pieces of research that came out in the past year, and what they mean for our understanding of this natural, plant-based medicine.

How CBD May Reverse the Effects of Epilepsy

In the spring of 2018, a significant study highlighted the pharmaceutical use of CBD to treat epilepsy. The British Journal of Pharmacology published the study, which was conducted on rats in the United Kingdom. The findings indicated that “CBD restores excitability and morphological impairments in epileptic models to pre‐epilepsy control levels through multiple mechanisms to reinstate normal network function.” In other words, the research suggests that CBD may reverse damage caused by epileptic seizures.

How CBD Might Prevent and Treat Effects of Schizophrenia

Frontiers in Pharmacology published a study in August 2018 that resulted in “pre-clinical evidence for a safe and beneficial effect of peripubertal and treatment with CBD on preventing positive and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.”

Conducted on rats, this study suggests that treating patients around the time of puberty has the potential to prevent schizophrenia. According to the study, past research indicated that “treatment with CBD in schizophrenia patients results in a significant clinical improvement.” The present study “reinforces and extends the beneficial and safe preventive effects of peripubertal treatment with CBD on halting the emergence of behavioral abnormalities that mimic the positive and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.”

How CBD Plays a Role in Reducing Anxiety and Improving Sleep

A study conducted in 2018 was published in January 2019 in Kaiser’s Permanente Journal. This one is particularly powerful because it observed humans, not rats (though it’s important to note that the study was not controlled). The group comprised 72 adults, and analyzed the effects of CBD on sleep and anxiety. In this group, anxiety scores decreased for nearly 80 percent of the patients, and sleep scores improved in roughly 67 percent of the patients. CBD was well tolerated in over 95 percent of the patients. Reported side effects included dry eye.

Another component that makes this study interesting is that the dose was considerably lower than in former trials — 25 to 175 milligrams per day, as opposed to 300 to 600 (or more), indicating that patients may not need an exorbitant amount of CBD to see favorable results.

How CBD Can Prevent Alcohol and Drug Relapse

Scientists and the global community alike are intrigued by suggestions that CBD may play a role in combating the opioid crisis. In 2018, the journal Neuropsychopharmacology reported that CBD could potentially reduce drug-seeking behaviors. The most exciting piece of information was that there were positive “long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.”

The study, which was performed on rats, concluded that “CBD reduced experimental anxiety and prevented the development of high impulsivity in rats with an alcohol dependence history.” In addition, “CBD attenuated context-induced and stress-induced drug seeking without tolerance, sedative effects, or interference with normal motivated behavior.” These results suggest CBD may be able to assist humans who struggle with addiction.

How CBD Can Mitigate the Intoxication of THC

If you’ve been wanting to try THC for medicinal purposes but don’t want to experience the euphoric intoxication (head high), then this study will be of particular interest. The journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research showed that patients who smoked cannabis, which includes the phytocannabinoid THC, reported “reduced euphoria when smoking cannabis” after they had used CBD. In effect, CBD may allow you to reap the benefits of THC without the high.

CBD Has Mild (or No) Side Effects, but Works Better with Food

GW Pharmaceuticals conducted research that was published in late 2018 to look at the potential side effects of CBD, and found that even extremely high doses were safe. The study noted that “CBD at doses up to 6000 mg was well tolerated,” and “most [adverse effects] were mild in severity; none were severe or serious.” It concluded that “the safety and [study] support twice-daily administration of CBD.”

The study also noted the impact of food on CBD’s absorption and efficacy: “Food increased the bioavailability of CBD and, as such, administering CBD with food would maximize bioavailability and likely reduce within-day fluctuation in systemic exposure to drug.”

How CBD Extract Differs from Isolate

Frontiers in Neurology published a study that focused on CBD solutions for treating epilepsy, which found that “treatment with CBD-based products significantly reduces seizure frequency, even for this otherwise treatment-resistant population.” The same study provided information on how CBD isolate differs from hemp/CBD extract.

Essentially, there were more side effects with CBD isolate than there were with extracts. “Mild adverse effects were more frequent in products containing purified CBD than in CBD-rich extracts,” the study found. “The most common adverse events reported were appetite alteration, sleepiness, gastrointestinal disturbances/diarrhea, weight changes, fatigue, and nausea.”

However, the findings when it came to epilepsy not only showed that seizures were reduced, but “reports about improvement in ‘secondary’ health aspects were very common.” Apparently, products containing CBD isolate “provide a significant improvement in quality of life for the patients and their family members,” including better sleep, improved mood, lowered aggression and improved awareness.

Find additional studies at the links below.

CANCER: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6099119/

PAIN AND ANXIETY RELIEF: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319597/

STROKE DAMAGE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6142691/

PTSD: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6066583/

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085417/

MOVEMENT DISORDERS: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958190/

DOGS: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6038832/

GVHD: https://www.projectcbd.org/science/icrs-2018-cbd-shines-leiden-part-1

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7 Ways CBD Helps With Workout Recovery

When it comes to exercise, some advocate sticking to a punishing regime no matter what, in order to get results. No one’s arguing that exercise doesn’t take discipline, but a backlash is growing against the workout-at-all-costs culture. Even the founders of intense (and competitive) workout fad CrossFit have warned athletes against pushing past their limits, responding to a surge in CrossFit-related injuries.

Exercise can be challenging without being dangerous. To find this healthy middle ground, athletes (whether they’re professionals or weekend warriors) should pay attention to their body and their limits, eat right, and take workout recovery seriously. Taking care of your body after exercise can maximize your workout’s benefits and minimize the risk of pain or injury.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid derivative of the cannabis plant that doesn’t generate the intense psychoactive high created by its more famous cannabinoid cousin, THC. Athletes can take CBD before, during, or after their workout and remain high-performing and alert. A growing number of professional athletes are taking their CBD use into the open: NFL linebacker Derrick Morgan, offensive tackle Eugene Monroe, and MMA fighter Nate Diaz are just a few of the sports world’s active and open CBD users.

Athletes of all experience levels now use CBD in their workout recoveries. Does this plant-based supplement actually help? Athletes claim it offers the following benefits.

1. Lessens Inflammation

A good workout will stress your muscles, creating microscopic damage even when you’re not overtraining. Your body responds by activating inflammation, an immune system response meant to help your body heal damage and fight off threats such as germs. The precise tradeoff of benefits and drawbacks to the inflammatory response after exercise still isn’t fully understood, but most experts agree inflammation is a “double-edged sword.”

Some amount of inflammation is healthy and can help the body recover and grow stronger, but runaway inflammation can cause more harm than good. Athletes who use ice baths and pharmaceuticals (which can have dangerous consequences when taken excessively) are now adding CBD to their inflammation-fighting toolkit. Multiple studies have shown that CBD can reduce and regulate inflammation.

2. Reduces Stress

There are few better coping mechanisms for stress than exercise. Experts agree that physical exertion can boost endorphin levels, regulate blood pressure, and even tackle anxiety and depression. But evidence also suggests that people experiencing mental stress may struggle more than their less-stressed counterparts to recover from workouts. Studies show that the stressed out take longer to recover physical strength after workouts, recover from exercise-related injuries, or adapt to new weightlifting practices. CBD could play a vital role in stress-reducing regimens that help athletes recover more effectively from exercise. Numerous studies have indicated that CBD has anti-anxiety and stress-fighting properties in rodent and human subjects.

3. Tackles Pain

Most athletes have to live with occasional pain or discomfort. Muscle soreness is a normal, albeit uncomfortable, consequence of a good workout. Sports injuries can cause significant pain while they heal, and many lead to flare-ups years later. Sharp or prolonged pain is an important message from your body, telling you to stop pushing through overuse or injury and take a proper recovery period.

Painkillers such as NSAIDs or acetaminophen have become common among athletes, but the consequences of overusing these pharmaceuticals are more severe than you’d think: NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, stroke, and other dangerous conditions, while acetaminophen increases the risk of liver damage. CBD could be a safer pain reliever for athletes and anyone else who needs it: CBD has proven an effective analgesic in several studies on rats, and the drug Sativex (which combines CBD and THC) is a government-approved pain medication in dozens of countries.

4. Aids Sleep

You don’t just feel bad when you don’t get enough sleep; you also have a harder time getting in shape. Adequate sleep helps athletes maintain the energy and motivation they need for a regular exercise regimen. During sleep, the body lowers its energy consumption levels and increases growth hormones, creating an ideal environment for muscle and brain repair.

Studies show that sleep deprivation is correlated with reduced muscle mass, even when subjects are consuming the same amount of calories. CBD is proving increasingly popular as a sleep aid, and research indicates that high doses of pure CBD can help fight insomnia.

5. Regulates Cortisol

Have you ever tried to build muscle with an intensive exercise routine and been frustrated by a lack of results? Cortisol may be to blame. Cortisol, a hormone released by the body in response to stress, encourages muscle breakdown and fat storage–the opposite of what exercise is trying to achieve.

Like inflammation, cortisol can be a double-edged sword. While it activates important processes that help the body withstand stress, perpetually high levels of cortisol (whether from stressful events, overtraining, or another factor) can inhibit muscle development and cause other adverse effects. CBD won’t singlehandedly regulate cortisol when factors such as excessive training are creating an imbalance, but it could play a role in a cortisol-aware lifestyle: at least one study has linked CBD use to lower cortisol secretion.

6. Contributes to Runner’s High

The famous “runner’s high” is known more as a phenomenon athletes experience during exercise than as an element of the recovery period, but its potential relationship with CBD is too interesting not to mention. The runner’s high is a sense of well-being or even euphoria that runners sometimes experience during medium-intensity runs. It’s a “groove” where positive feelings propel them forward, overriding exertion and fatigue.

The runner’s high likely gave early humans an evolutionary edge, and scientists believe it’s connected to the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD’s link to runner’s high is still being studied, but many runners use CBD to encourage the sensation without triggering the intense psychoactivity of THC.

7. Fights Oxidative Stress

Studies show that CBD has antioxidant properties. As a potent antioxidant, CBD could play a significant role in helping the body fight oxidative stress–an imbalance of reactive oxygen that has been shown to cause protein and lipid damage in muscles during intense exercise. The role of oxidative stress in helping the body recover from workouts is a topic of ongoing scientific debate, but studies suggest that CBD can help fight the oxidative stress contributing to disorders such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

There are few better things for your overall health than getting enough exercise, but being smart about your exercise regimen is still essential. CBD could play a vital role in a healthy workout-recovery routine.

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6 Things to Know When Shopping for CBD Oil

Shopping for CBD oil, especially when you’re new to all things hemp and cannabis, can feel overwhelming at first. Your questions might include the following: “Do I need CBD pills or CBD oil?” “What’s the best product?” “How many milligrams do I need?” And “Is there THC in this CBD oil?”

The good news: there are many good products on the market from reliable, reputable companies looking to help people find natural solutions to their medical issues. But on the flip side, you need to be a diligent consumer and know that there are also some shady sellers out there looking to make a quick buck from the green boom.

So what can you do? We’ve made a list of 6 key questions you should ask while shopping for CBD. This will allow to know you’re getting a safe, effective product, and one that’s perfect for your needs. Let’s dive into exactly how to shop for CBD, and how to make sure you’re getting a legitimate CBD product.

Where’s the Certificate of Analysis?

You might be thinking, “Wait, what’s a Certificate of Analysis?” Don’t stress! The COA is a document that shows where, when and how a particular product was scientifically tested to ensure safety and quality control. Any legitimate CBD brand will be more than happy to show their COA, which proves that the product you’re looking to purchase was tested by an independent, third-party (read: unbiased) lab. The report shows things like milligrams of CBD and THC, lead and toxin content, and provides details on the testing facilities.

Where was it grown?

There are many reasons to opt for homegrown, American-made products — especially when it comes to hemp. A lot of cheap hemp comes from China, which doesn’t have the highest standards when it comes to agriculture (unfortunately, toxins, lead and pollution get into the plants). Because hemp is a bioaccumulator, it absorbs everything from the soil it’s planted in — the good and the bad. If hemp that has absorbed lead and pollutants gets distilled into a little bottle of oil, guess what’s also in the tincture? Nothing you want to put in your body, that’s for sure.

This isn’t to say that all foreign-grown hemp is bad, but until there are regulations in place that can guarantee you’re getting a safe product, it’s best to opt for a product derived from hemp grown in the USA.

How many milligrams?

Figuring out dosages is tricky, even for experienced CBD users. While 5 milligrams a day works for some patients, some clinical trials have shown efficacy at 800 or even 1,000 milligrams. The rule of thumb from doctors and experts when it comes to cannabis is always this: start low and go slow.

When it comes to shopping, consider a few things: if you use an average of 10 milligrams a day, how many milligrams are in the bottle (whether it’s oil, capsules or a vaporizer cartridge). Consider how many days you’ll get out of the purchase and factor that into the price.

Isolate, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum?

Is your product made with CBD isolate? This means that the CBD compound (called a phytocannabinoid) was extracted and there are no other parts of the cannabis plant in your tincture. Some patients prefer this, as there’s no chance of getting any form of THC or other phytocannabinoids in the product. Furthermore, because they tend to be flavorless, isolates are often preferred for edible products. However, there is a U-shaped response rate with CBD isolate, meaning that after a certain threshold of milligrams, CBD isolate becomes less effective. Research is still ongoing on this subject.

There are benefits to full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD, despite the decidedly more herbaceous taste. Experts claim that the “entourage effect” of the other phytocannabinoids (sometimes including THC) may provide a more powerful synergistic effect. This means that the compounds of the plant work better together, and may deliver better results to the patient than if the CBD were extracted.

It ultimately comes down to preference and what works best for your body, but it’s important to be an informed consumer when making these decisions.

Is there any THC in the product?

Some patients get better results from CBD when it’s used in conjunction with THC, and some patients have an adverse reaction to THC or simply prefer to avoid it. A doctor may prescribe a 20:1 CBD:THC ratio tincture, as CBD may mitigate any of the head-high, euphoric effects of THC while delivering a more effective therapy (read: no high, better results). That said, if you’re looking to avoid THC, it’s best to ask if there’s any THC in the product. Most products have to adhere to the “less than 0.3 percent” rule, so check the COA and make sure that the product is exactly what you want it to be.

Do I need a tincture, oil, vaporizer, gummy or pill?

What’s the best delivery for your ailment? This depends on your body, your preferences and your medical needs. For instance, someone who has trouble swallowing pills may prefer a gummy, but if you need quicker delivery, a vaporizer or sublingual tincture may be the product for you.

Consider how the product gets into your system. A pill, gummy or any other kind of edible will be broken down in your digestive tract, allowing for slow release over time. A product that is absorbed into capillaries (such as tinctures and oils under the tongue and vaporizers into the lungs) will provide much quicker effects.

Oils tend to be in the sweet spot. Because they’re held sublingually and then swallowed, you get the quick delivery to the capillaries, followed by slow release from the remaining CBD that is swallowed and digested.