Medical cannabis expert Dr Julie Moltke, discusses how by making changes to our lifestyle, we could modulate the endocannabinoid system to make us more resilient to stress.
Danish medical cannabis prescriber, Dr Julie Moltke is a specialist in pain, anxiety and stress, as well as a yoga teacher and mindfulness instructor.
Through her recent investigations into stress and the endocannabinoid system, she found that making several relatively small lifestyle changes could help people cope better with stress and anxiety.
How the endocannabinoid system works
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered in 1992 when researchers were trying to uncover the receptor mediating the effects of THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid from cannabis, responsible for many of the behavioural, emotional and physiological actions of recreational cannabis in humans.
Since then, the ECS has emerged as one of the most important regulators of general human homeostasis (a stable internal environment). It regulates reward, appetite, mood, memory, immune function, fertility, pain, and neuroprotection, among others. The endocannabinoid receptors (primarily CB1R or CB2R) have been found almost in every organ system in the body.
The density of these receptors is particularly high in parts of the brain involved with fear, memory, and emotional processing – namely the amygdala, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and hypothalamus. These brain areas are not only interconnected in the brain, but they are also involved in regulating the physiological stress response and the release of cortisol and adrenaline.
The body of evidence suggesting that the ECS is involved in the regulation of the behavioural aspects of the stress response, such as anxiety, learned fear and stress-coping, is growing and the field of cannabinoid-based medicine is attempting to use this understanding to use medicinal cannabis to treat many mental health issues.
It is well documented that people with higher levels of anandamide (the endogenous molecule of the endocannabinoid receptor CB1R) are more resilient to stress whereas lower levels are associated with several psychopathologies including depression, PTSD and suicide.
How does lifestyle affect the endocannabinoid system?
It has been shown that running can increase circulating levels of anandamide, as well as endorphins. This seems to be partly responsible for the so-called runners high, a feeling of wellbeing and elevated mood, often following moderate-intensity running.
Activation of the endocannabinoid system is also hypothesized to be involved with the reduction of pain perception which tends to accompany running. Further studies into this interesting field have shown that the above applies only for moderate intensity exercise, whereas low and high-intensity workouts do not seem to have the same effects.
Moderate intensity cycling seemed to raise anandamide levels in a study conducted on healthy male athletes. Researchers found the same association and concluded that the endocannabinoid system might be responsible for the anti-depressant effects that exercise seems to have.
A similar study was conducted by O’Sullivan and colleagues with nine female volunteers from a local choir. This study did not show elevated levels of anandamide after cycling which indicates there might be some gender differences.
This generally seems to increase anandamide levels, but it is worth noting that research suggests that you will get the best effect in improving mood and decreasing anxiety when undertaking a type of exercise that you enjoy]. This might also explain why O’Sullivan and colleagues did not find an increase in anandamide and improved mood (the women were choir singers and not athletes).
The study mentioned above involving nine females also showed that singing increased circulating levels of anandamide and increased positive mood and emotions. The authors also found that the participants felt less hungry with higher levels of anandamide. This indicates that increasing levels of anandamide by either of the above methods will not only be able to improve mood but might also help decrease hunger and thereby maintain a stable body weight.
The study by O’Sullivan and colleagues also investigated the effects of dancing, though they did not find an increase in levels of anandamide. They suggest that singing when perceived as enjoyable, can help decrease anxiety and improve mood.
Some certain foods and ingredients are shown to be able to interact with the ECS and thereby potentially improve our resilience to stress, as well as improving inflammation and help balance our mental health. These have been named cannabimimetic molecules and can be found in certain vegetables like carrots and fava beans, turmeric, and coffee. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are precursors of endocannabinoids and a sufficient intake is important to help balance the ECS. They can be obtained either from food-sources or as supplements.
In an animal study, Wei and colleagues found that oxytocin (the social bonding hormone) increases levels of anandamide, which is involved in the regulation of social reward. The researchers suggest this oxytocin-driven anandamide signalling might be defective in autism spectrum disorders.
Read the full report and bibliography here
Find out more about Dr Julie Moltke and her work at www.drjuliemoltke.com/
CBD distillates, isolates & full spectrum – what’s the difference?
With so many CBD products on the market, do you know your distillates from your isolates? The experts at US manufacturer Fresh Bros break it down.
Las Vegas manufacturer Fresh Bros have nearly a decade of experience in the hemp industry.
But with so many products on the market Fresh Bros want to help consumers find the best products for their needs.
Here they explain the differences between CBD distillate, CBD isolate, and full-spectrum CBD products, as well as highlighting the key differences between Delta 8 THC and Delta 9 THC.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most researched compounds of all the known phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
CBD isolates are, unsurprisingly, isolated forms of CBD. During the extraction process, cannabidiols are removed or filtered out of the hemp plant except for CBD, resulting in a pure product.
CBD isolate is great for anyone who struggles with the original earthy flavors of other conventional oils or edibles, so if you’d prefer a high-potency CBD product that is tasty, doesn’t contain THC and or any “extra” cannabinoids that are found in a distillate or full-spectrum product — CBD isolate may be the way to go.
Unlike CBD isolate, CBD distillate (aka broad-spectrum CBD) typically contains an array of cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, and fatty acids that are very beneficial to the body. CBD distillate contains only negligible amounts of THC after going through special processing.
CBD isolate is an incredible healing source, of course, but there are hundreds of other beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant besides CBD – cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) to name a couple.
Therefore, if you want to reap all of the potential benefits of CBD without the high, and you don’t mind the stronger taste, CBD distillate may be the best option for you.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain all cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant materials – including the naturally occurring small amount of THC in hemp.
Delta 8 THC vs Delta 9 THC
The cannabis plant has more than 120 cannabinoids, but only a fraction of these have really been studied and marketed. Delta 9 THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, and has received a lot of attention over the last few years.
However, consumers are slowly noticing the lesser-known Delta 8 THC (a less available double-bond isomer of the more common Delta 9 THC, also derived from hemp) due to its unique properties. The main differences between these two types of THC are found in the molecular structures of both, and it’s worth noting that Delta 8 THC is capable of producing a milder, more manageable, and more enjoyable high compared to Delta 9.
Delta 8 also has added therapeutic benefits and less severe and functionality-impairing side effects.
Five ways CBD can help you cope with anxiety
With at least half of the population experiencing some anxiety since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s hardly surprising sales of CBD have soared. This is what the research says.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders, with an estimated four per cent of the population suffering from some form of the condition.
With global issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic causing the number of people with anxiety to continue to rise, many are left searching for solutions – so, could CBD be the key to alleviating symptoms?
Although more research is needed in the area, a 2019 Gallup poll found that 37 per cent of CBD users take the supplement to relieve anxiety. Here are five ways it could help…
While low serotonin levels are generally linked with depression, there is evidence to show it could also be a cause of anxiety. In conventional mental health care, cases of low serotonin are treated with a category of anti-depressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine (Prozac).
However, CBD may have the potential to change serotonin signals in the body through the interaction with CB1, a receptor found in the central nervous system, meaning it can ‘boost’ your overall mood by changing the way your body reacts to serotonin.
Anxiety and trouble sleeping have been linked for years, but recent studies have found that CBD could be a solution to both issues.
Research published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects experiencing anxiety and/or poor sleep. In the first month, 79.2 per cent of patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 per cent reported better sleep.
While research into this area is still ongoing, preliminary studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest that CBD has been shown to reduce stress in animals such as rates.
Study subjects were observed as having lower behavioural signs of anxiety, and physiological symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, also improved.
Help with relaxation
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. CBD, however, will not get you high, but may offer similar feelings when it comes to relaxation.
While THC activates CB1 receptors that are associated with euphoria, CBD is a CB1 antagonist and will block or modulate THC’s intoxicating effects. This has led many to believe that CBD is a good way to decrease the negative side effects of THC, such as anxiety, and help you relax and de-stress without feeling high.
Improve quality of life
In a 2020 study, researchers evaluated CBD’s effects in 397 adults living in New Zealand, with study participants receiving medical CBD prescriptions for a variety of ailments, including mental health symptoms.
All groups reported improvements in their overall quality of life after 3 weeks of CBD treatment. The individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reportedly experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduce pain and anxiety or depression symptoms.
Around 70 per cent of study participants reported some level of satisfaction with CBD treatment, ranging from good to excellent.
Self-care in 2021 – why it’s a big deal
Sweet Pink CBD shares tips for taking care of yourself in 2021.
Almost one-year ago, the UK was plunged into a national lockdown as the threat of Coronavirus reached our shores. The new virus caused shops, schools, leisure centres and most workplaces to close-down – the country came to a stand-still.
As so many people began to work from home, or faced a future of uncertainty due to extensive furlough periods or redundancies, health and well-being made a quick and bold move into lives.
While many people have always prioritised their self-care routines, it became clear that a large amount of people did not. Getting carried away with working late hours, spending the weekend going out on the town, or simply not eating or sleeping right, we all found something new – a better way to take care of ourselves.
So; as we approach the New Year, why is self-care in 2021 going to be such a big deal? Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere sometime soon; we all need to check-in with ourselves, and with others.
Look after your mental health
Your mind is just as important as your body; it needs to be kept happy and healthy. After the festive period, where so many of us have tried to make it as normal as possible, it is important to check-in with yourself before stepping back to reality.
Mental health isn’t just about looking for positives in everything or putting a smile on your face. No, it’s also about being more mindful. Practicing mindfulness is a way to live in the present, becoming more aware of your thoughts and what is happening around you, without feeling overwhelmed and worrying about tomorrow.
It’s also important to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. We don’t yet know how much longer we will be in lockdown, or in tier restricted areas, so keeping in touch via video calls or text messages is a must.
Keep your body active
Whatever your age, whatever your ability, it is important to keep active in some way. Exercise is one of the biggest methods of self-care. Why?
When we exercise – either by running a marathon, or enjoying a home workout on YouTube – we release endorphins. These chemicals are released into our brains and help to reduce pain or stress and boost our mood.
Regularly working out can also mean you find your mind becomes sharper. Exercise can help your memory in many different ways; often holding onto information for longer and having more accurate thoughts.
If you keep active the right way – for a prolonged period of time – you’ll probably find you’ll start to manage your weight. Either losing the few pounds you gained over Christmas, or building back the muscle you lost in lockdown. Whatever your reason for working out; you’ll feel so much better than if you don’t.
Improve your overall health and wellbeing
CBD use for health and wellbeing has slowly been increasing in popularity since medical cannabis became legalised in 2018. However, since the start of lockdown in March 2020, so many more people have turned to CBD.
The power of the plant has been developed into oils, beauty products, foods and even clothing.
What are people taking CBD for? It has been seen to help a variety of people throughout 2020, with health conditions including:
- Chronic pain
Such a versatile product, it is fast becoming an essential part of our day to day lives.
Remember, no amount of CBD will ‘get you high’. You are able to consume CBD Oil in each day, and use additional products in the afternoon or evening such as the massage oils or bath salts.
When purchasing CBD products, it is important to ensure the products you’re buying are from a safe, trusted brand. At Sweet Pink, our analytical reports are available for download, and all our products are developed with only natural, plant-based ingredients.
Available to buy online, Sweet Pink’s range of luxurious natural products make ideal presents for friends and family, or for your own self-care and wellness routine.
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