By Mary Biles
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Earlier this year we saw the announcement that THCa, another molecule found in the cannabis plant, has neuroprotective effects. Apart from flying in the face of the belief that cannabis damages brain cells, why should we care whether something is neuroprotective or not?The death of brain cells is a natural part of the ageing process. Cells die off and the body is also capable of making new ones through neurogenesis. But the older we get, the more susceptible we become to ‘inappropriate cell death’ through traumatic injury, environmental toxins, cardiovascular disorders, infectious agents, or genetic diseases. That’s why scientists are researching neuroprotective drugs to limit the damage caused to brain cells after acute events such as strokes, to slow down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases, and to even prevent unnecessary cell death from happening in the first place.Different molecules in the cannabis plant – called cannabinoids – are being investigated for their neuroprotective action, but in order to understand why, let’s first take a look at why brain cells die off in the first place.
What causes brain cell death?
1. Oxidative stress
Just being alive and burning energy creates oxidative stress – damage caused by free radicals which the body cannot remove. Dr Joseph Mercola describes the result a sort of ‘biological rusting’ where there is too much oxygen in our tissues leading to a host of age related diseases such as chronic inflammation, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and strokes.2. Excitotoxicity
Too much activity in the brain can cause neurons to die off. This is generally attributed to over stimulation by the neurotransmitter glutamate, a situation commonly found in many neurodegenerative diseases and following strokes.3. Inflammatory changes
Inflammation is usually a sign of the immune system going about its job of cleaning up after an injury or dealing with a foreign invasion such as a bacteria or a virus. However, too much inflammation can cause cell death. According to Gary Wenk, PhD, professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University, ‘PET imaging studies of humans have shown that after age thirty the brain gradually displays increasing evidence of inflammation. With advancing age, brain inflammation continues to worsen leading to a decline in the production of new neurons, called neurogenesis, that are important for making new memories’.4. Iron accumulation
Scientists believe excess iron in the brain plays a role in degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This iron build-up is may be part of the cycle of excitotoxicity and brain cell death.5. Brain proteins
While much is still to be learned about diseases such as Alzheimer’s, scientists now know that a common factor is the build up of proteins called beta-amyloid which form into plaques. It is thought these plaques may block cell-to-cell signalling at synapses and create excess inflammation as the immune system kicks in to attack the affected cells.A protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has also been found present in neurodegenerative diseases, and is further associated with excitotoxicity and high levels of glutamate.With all these pathological changes occurring in conditions related to a degeneration in the brain, it would make sense that scientists are looking for a pharmaceutical magic bullet that can address each and every one of them. But what if they didn’t have to look any further than the cannabis plant?Also see: Cannabis May Help Rejuvenate the Aging Brain and Ward Off Dementia
THCA an exciting neuroprotective prospective?
Let’s get back to the most recent discovery regarding the neuroprotective qualities of THCA. First things first, THCA is the acid precursor of THC, the most well known and generally abundant compound in cannabis. If you picked the leaves and flowers straight off a cannabis plant, you’d find barely any THC, what you’d get instead is plenty of THCA. That’s because in order to become THC, THCA must go through some sort of heat process or decarboxylation.Comparatively little research has been done on THCA. However, scientists do know is that it has no psychoactive effect and appears to be anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic and shows some anecdotal success in reducing seizures.
This latest research adds neuroprotection to the list. It studied the effect of the raw cannabinoid on cells and mice modified to elicit the symptoms of Huntington’s disease. In the cell cultures they found THCA caused an increase in mitochondrial mass as well as reducing cell toxicity, while in the mice, THCA improved their Huntington’s related restricted movement, prevented striatal degeneration and reduced the inflammation caused by the disease.Scientists noticed that these effects were elicited independently of the endocannabinoid system, concluding:
“THCA shows potent neuroprotective activity, worth consideration for the treatment of Huntington’s Disease and possibly other neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory diseases.”
While this further strengthens the growing health trend towards consuming raw cannabis, in a laboratory setting acid cannabinoids can be quite hard to work with due to their instability and transformation into their decarboxylated versions.Also see: The Chemistry of a Cannabis High – How THC’s Psychoactive Properties Protect the Brain
What about the other cannabinoids?
One of the great mystifying contradictions in the world of medical cannabis is how on the one hand it is a schedule 1 banned substance deemed bereft of any therapeutic value and yet the United States Federal Government holds a patent for the plant’s principal cannabinoids based on their antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. United States Patent US6630507 states how cannabinoids are:
“… useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”
Contradiction aside, this public proclamation based on obvious vested financial interests is hardly surprising when one considers that cannabinoids like THC and CBD provide a potentially unique multipronged approach to preventing, protecting and limiting the damage caused by strokes and neurodegenerative disease.One of the key reasons being that THC and CBD as considered powerful antioxidants, on a par with vitamins C and E. Studies have found that cannabinoids can reduce the excitotoxicity associated with too much glutamate production as well as protecting brain cells against the damage caused by excessive iron.Not only that, but cannabinoids have been found to promote the holy grail of the healthy ageing brain, neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells. Research has shown the administration of plant cannabinoids promoted hippocampal neurogenesis – new cell growth in the region of the brain associated both with memory and learning.Cannabinoids have also shown promise in reducing the neuro-inflammation found in rodents injected with the amyloid beta protein which as discussed before can lead to neuronal cell death in Alzheimer’s.And finally, CBD in particular is thought to limit the damage caused to the brain after a stroke by blocking the neurotransmitter, glutamate.Also see: Cannabis as Medicine: How CBD (Cannabidiol) Benefits the Brain and Nervous System
Cannabis – unique multiple targeted neuroprotection
To put this into perspective, so far most neuroprotective drugs under research are based on single therapeutic targets. They aim to protect the brain by doing one thing at a time.Explains Javier Fernandez Ruiz, Professor of Molecular Biology specialising in neurodegenerative diseases at the Complutense University in Madrid:
“This is one of the great advantages of cannabinoids. They have a very wide spectrum and are extremely varied compared to other neuroprotective agents that have been researched until now. These have consisted of anti-excitotoxins to improve the glutamate homeostasis, antioxidants or anti-inflammatories. But what we know is that the various stimuli that cause cell death work together. In other words, where there is excitotoxicity there is oxidative stress, the proteins become oxidized, they lose their function, they form together to make plaques, which causes an inflammatory response.“We are not going to halt neurodegenerative diseases unless we have neuroprotective strategies that work together by reducing inflammation while at the same time being antioxidants, inducing autophagy in order to eliminate the protein build up, and returning the glutamate levels to normal.“This is something that cannabinoids can do, either one cannabinoid or a number of cannabinoids together.”
So far, the field of neuroprotective pharmacological drugs is in its infancy, both in medical cannabis derivative research and further afield. However, the race is on to see who can crack the puzzle and find the combination of cannabinoids that will not only slow down neurodegenerative disease, but maybe even prevent us from getting them in the first place.Also see: Brain Regeneration: Why It’s Real and How To Do It
Thanks to: https://wakeup-world.com
By Susan Boskey
Last week I read an article titled, “Anti-anxiety meds could be next U.S. epidemic.”  I think a better title would have been: Anxiety: a U.S. Epidemic. How do we know anxiety is of epidemic proportions? We know because statistics reveal a dramatic bump in the number of antidepressant prescriptions between years 1996 and 2013.
Anna Lembke, MD, of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, and colleagues note that between 1996 and 2013, the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions filled by adults increased by 67%. 
I’m guessing the number of “benzo” prescriptions has continued to increase. Why? For several reasons.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 2018 surveyed 1000 adults about their anxiety. It showed that the national anxiety score rose to 51 on a scale from 0 to 100  which was a five-point jump from 2017. The greatest area of increase was indicated as paying bills, and the group with the biggest increase in anxiety was Baby Boomers with a seven-point increase over 2017 scores.
This is the first of a series about anxiety, antidepressants and CBD. Since it appears to me that anxiety has become normalized in today’s 1st world societies, I will highlight reason #3 above. I believe societal expectations in this Technological/Information Age have risen to a level beyond consideration of the facts of being human. Instead we now seem to be pitted against artificial intelligence (AI).
There are many facts inherent to being human. We have beliefs, opinions and feelings. We want to be safe. We make mistakes. We forget. We over-commit. We need rest. We’re not always healthy in body and/or mind. We age. We get overwhelmed. We have a unique experience of family. We tend to conform to peer pressure. We compare ourselves to others. We get distracted. We have expectations. We are social.
Perfection in the human form is but a utopian dream.
The Oxford English Dictionaries define anxiety :
1 A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
1.1(Psychiatry) A nervous disorder marked by excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behaviour or panic attacks.
2 (with infinitive) Strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen.
Anxiety falls into three categories according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
Generalized anxiety disorder includes symptoms of excessive and uncontrollable worry that can include muscle tension and irritability.
Social anxiety disorder, AKA social phobia, is about being seen in a negative light in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder fear judgment, embarrassment, rejection, etc.
Panic disorder is when someone has repeated, uncontrollable panic attacks that can include a pounding heart and intense fear or worry of an outcome ahead. NIMH cites risk factors for anxiety as:
Of course anxiety is normal in small, infrequent doses at different times in our life when we must be “on.” But as a steady diet . . . not so much. In Part II, we will explore the pharmaceutical antidepressant solution.
Susan is a 2018 graduate of the Holistic Cannabis Academy with over 45 years of personal involvement in the spectrum of wellness modalities. Her mission today is to intervene in the noise of modern life and help people identify and remove stressors that trigger their dis-ease while providing strategies towards a living experience of inner calmness, contentment and inspiration.
Her curiosity about life, and health in particular, fueled her determination to learn everything she could and help others. Susan’s private practice (in-person and on Zoom) is based on the paradigm of whole-person wellness, body, mind and soul, and includes addressing lifestyle issues. As a non-physician coach she enjoys the added flexibility of providing in-depth care plans for her clients. Visit her website: http://lifestylewellnessrx.com
Thanks to: https://www.naturalblaze.com
Exercise Data Reveals 2 Reasons Why Athletes Combine Weed and Workouts
At first glance, cannabis and endurance sports seem like an unlikely pairing. But a well-timed hit can break up the monotony of a long, grueling workout so effectively that the unlikely pairing has taken hold in some niche endurance running communities. A new survey published in Frontiers in Public Health suggests that using marijuana as a workout enhancer isn’t as niche of an idea as it once was, though.
This recent study, led by University of Colorado’s Angela Bryan, Ph.D., showed that 81.7 percent of 605 survey respondents in states where weed was legal reported using marijuana directly before or after exercise.
“We were stunned it was that high,” Bryan, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, said on Tuesday.
Her data helps fill a crucial gap in our understanding of weed-related workouts. Namely, why athletes turn to weed when they’re contemplating a workout. Amid evidence that marijuana will do little or nothing to improve athletic performance, her results suggest that people don’t actually smoke because they think it makes them better at their chosen sport. Rather, they believe it makes the experience more enjoyable and helps with recovery afterwards.
Some ultra-marathoners have reported taking edibles before long runs.
There are plenty of anecdotes that speak to the positive experiences of training while high. Endurance runner Avery Collins, a top finisher at some of America’s most grueling ultras, famously either “smokes a little” or pops an edible about 30 minutes before he takes off on a training run. This experience isn’t limited to elite-caliber runners. The notion of combining weed and workouts is also debated on the r/running subreddit.
“I notice that I usually run really well when I’m high, I stay so focused on the run and my body,” wrote u/PurpleMonkeyRunner in 2015. “I either run faster or I feel like a run faster, I haven’t fully tested if it helps me or not. I sure do enjoy the runs though and have never had a bad experience doing it.”
While Bryan’s paper can’t answer questions about whether cannabis affects athletic performance, it does show that most athletes in the sample who use marijuana do so because it makes their workouts feel better.
Most people in Bryan's survey believed that marijuana made their workouts more fun and aided in their recovery afterwards. Less than 40 percent thought it actually made them stronger.
Most people believed that marijuana strongly affected their enjoyment of the workout and their recovery afterward. Bryan came to this conclusion by asking her participants to rate a series of statements about mixing marijuana and exercise on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 meaning they “strongly agreed”). Asked if they felt that marijuana enhanced their enjoyment and recovery, participants gave average ratings of 5.3 and 5.7, respectively, indicating that they generally agreed that it enhanced each experience. When asked whether they felt marijuana impacted motivation or performance, their feelings were neutral.
As far as recovery goes, there is research pointing to the use of cannabis products for muscle recovery — in fact, the World Anti-Doping Agency actually allows cannabidiol (CBD), a minimally psychoactive component of marijuana, to be used during competition.
But from a public health standpoint, arguably the most important finding of this paper is that increased enjoyment leads to more exercise. Overall, people who combined exercise and marijuana (co-users) exercised an average of 159.7 minutes per week — far more than the 103.5 minutes per week typical of those who didn’t combine the two. Interestingly, the co-users tend to go harder in their workouts, reporting 30.2 more minutes of anaerobic exercise, the kind that is so intense that it leads lactic acid to accumulate in the muscles (causing pain the next day). The paper states that this new data, taken together, suggests marijuana may be a “useful tool for exercise among some users.”
The authors add that “this will be a fascinating research question as more states move toward legalization.” Many questions remain about combining exercise and cannabis, notably the potentially harmful effects that might come from combining the two. Nevertheless, in a society where people struggle to meet even minimum exercise guidelines, this early work suggests marijuana may be just what it takes to get some people moving and even make them enjoy the process — making it, in one sense, a performance-enhancing drug that some public health officials may actually get behind.
Abstract: Scientific literature examining cannabis use in the context of health behaviors, such as exercise engagement, is extremely sparse and has yielded inconsistent findings. This issue is becoming increasingly relevant as cannabis legalization continues, a situation that has been associated with increased initiation of use among adults, and increased potency of available products in legalized states. Physical activity is among the most important health behaviors, but many Americans do not meet minimum exercise recommendations for healthy living. Common issues surrounding low exercise rates include inadequate enjoyment of and motivation to exercise, and poor recovery from exercise. It is unclear whether cannabis use shortly before and/or after exercise impacts these issues, and whether this co-use affects exercise performance. The present online survey study examines attitudes and behaviors regarding cannabis use with exercise among adult cannabis users living in states with full legal access (N = 605). Results indicated that the majority (81.7%) of participants endorsed using cannabis concurrently with exercise, and those who did tended to be younger and more likely to be males (p < 0.0005 for both). Even after controlling for these differences, co-users reported engaging in more minutes of aerobic and anaerobic exercise per week (p < 0.01 and p < 0.05, respectively). In addition, the majority of participants who endorsed using cannabis shortly before/after exercise reported that doing so enhances their enjoyment of and recovery from exercise, and approximately half reported that it increases their motivation to exercise. This study represents an important step in clarifying cannabis use with exercise among adult users in states with legal cannabis markets, and provides guidance for future research directions.
Thanks to: https://www.inverse.com
Anybody whose has experienced a migraine headache knows they can be debilitating and painful. Moreover, the symptoms are often stubborn to pharmaceutical pain relievers. There is an effective plant-based alternative that also happens to be one of the most potent healing plants in the world.
Doctors have been treating migraines with medical cannabis since the 1840s, but U.S. marijuana prohibition has largely blocked the scientific community from doing much research on the subject until fairly recently.
The reason cannabis is so effective medicinally is directly related to its ability to interact with receptors in the body which inhibit inflammation and prevent disease. Cannabis does this so well, that few drugs can compete with its level of potency which come essentially with no side effects.
In 2006, German scientists reported that the administration of oral THC significantly reduced both chronic and experimentally induced pain.
Nearly all pharmaceuticals for migraines have toxic and potentially lethal side effects in the long-term. On the other hand, Marijuana in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.
Existing research shows marijuana to be an effective general pain reliever, and new evidence suggests migraine pain frequently responds quite well to certain marijuana strains.
A 2008 study published in Neuroendocrinology Letters found that migraines are deeply connected with endocannabinoid function. The study stated that the possible cause of migraines could be an endocannabinoid deficiency, meaning cannabis could be extremely helpful in decreasing migraines by supplementing the bodies natural endocannabinoids.
CBD has been found to be very effective at treating migraines because of its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. THC is also helpful at relieving migraine symptoms due to its ability to reduce pain. CBD heavy strains, however, help alleviate symptoms while keeping sufferers alert.
A 1987 study described an "unknown mechanism" that caused migraine headaches to develop in some long-term marijuana users shortly after they abruptly discontinued use.
The implication was that marijuana use had been keeping migraine symptoms at bay in vulnerable individuals, Dr. Gary L. Wenk explains in a Psychology Today post.
A number of studies have since echoed those findings that marijuana appears to relieve migraine pain and frequency.
A new study published this week from Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado looked at the effects of inhaled and ingested cannabis in migraine sufferers, and the results confirmed what previous studies had begun to unearth.
Inhalation methods appeared to provide the fastest effects and were more likely to stop migraine headaches in their tracks. As expected, edible cannabis took longer to provide relief and was more likely to induce negative side effects like sleepiness and overly intense euphoria (which was reported in 11.6% of participants).
TOP STRAINS FOR MIGRAINE RELIEF
1. Sour Diesel
Sour Diesel, sometimes called Sour D, is an invigorating sativa-dominant strain. This fast-acting strain delivers energizing, dreamy cerebral effects that have pushed Sour Diesel to its legendary status. It is very effective in reducing migraine pain, headaches and even depression.
Candyland, a gold medalist of the 2012 KushCon. Patients turn to Candyland to relieve pain, headaches and muscle tension. Strong sativa genetics give Candyland uplifting and stimulating effect.
3. White Widow
A balanced hybrid, White Widow is a classic strain from the Netherlands. Its buds are characterized by a frost white resin that cues its potency. Reports are that it is very effective for even severe migraines with energetic euphoria which settles into full body relaxation.
Cannatonic is known for its low THC content, which is often below 6%, and its high CBD content, which is normally at about 6-17% though it can sometimes be higher. It is known for having a relaxing and uplifting quality. Cannatonic is acclaimed as one of the top medical marijuana strains because it is great at treating pain and migraines with little to no psychoactive effects.
5. Hawaiian Dream
Hawaiian Dream is known to be an uplifting sativa strain with high levels of CBD. It usually has about double the amount of CBD as it does THC. Hawaiian dream is known to be a good remedy for treating pain, inflammation, and migraines. It is also known to provide relief without any brain fog, so it is extremely helpful at treating migraine symptoms in the day.
In 2016, we saw some important cannabis research on migraines and other disorders published in top medical journals -- research that flips the script on previously held beliefs and research that backs up what we’ve already seen anecdotally with medical cannabis. Aligned with this, the legalization gates sprang open as eight of the nine states with marijuana measures on their ballots voted to legalize it -- four on the retail side, four on the medical side.
It is only a matter of time before more research on Cannabis makes its way to those that need it most.
Thanks to: http://preventdisease.com
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