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Case study: How cannabis helped this mum battle MS

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Deb has been using medical cannabis to help manage symptoms of MS

Cannabis Health speaks to Chris, a chef from Lincolnshire, whose partner has been using CBD and full-spectrum oils for treating multiple sclerosis (MS) over the past three years.

Deb, 55, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS 10 years ago. A keen runner before her diagnosis, she took a bad fall on one of her 10-mile runs which she used to do several times a week.

The mum-of-two went to her GP, explained her symptoms and was referred to a specialist who later diagnosed her with MS.

Her condition resulted in scarring on her spinal cord and lesions on the brain which causes vision and balance issues, memory loss, trouble walking and bladder problems.

“She was fit and active with no symptoms apart from losing balance,” Chris says.

“She worked in a very good job at the Post Office in the finance department, she had two kids at school, she was married. Basically, that all fell apart.”

Chris and Deb got together two years after her diagnosis and four years later, as Chris noticed Debs’ condition getting “progressively worse”, the couple began researching cannabis-based medicines.

In addition to using two CBD oils from the UK company, Canaxen, Chris also grows several plants of his own to produce a full-spectrum oil containing THC.

Since she began consuming cannabis-based medicine, Deb’s condition has stopped progressing and although her symptoms have in no way been cured, they have stopped getting worse and she has seen noticeable improvements to the amount of pain she experiences and her quality of sleep.

Having previously taken painkillers twice every day, Deb no longer relies on these pills and only takes them in extreme cases.

Following a scan two years ago, Deb’s doctor told the couple that the MS had ‘burnt itself out’.

“It doesn’t take away the symptoms she already has,” Chris says.

“They will not go away, but hopefully they won’t get any worse.

“We’ve done some research into whether MS really can burn itself out and it seems to be that it can do, and I definitely think it’s because of the oil.

“[Life] is better for her. It hasn’t changed her quality of life too much; she still can’t walk much distance for example. It’s not a miracle cure, it’s not like Jesus puts a hand on her head or anything like that. But she hasn’t got worse, she sleeps better, and she doesn’t have as much pain.”

The improvements to Deb’s life and condition means  she and Chris are able to make the most out of their lives together. The couple, who are planning to get married on the Isle of Skye in April of this year, set up a new venture together during lockdown renovating furniture and frequently take trips in their campervan since Chris sold his catering business last year.

Chris says he first started growing his own plants by picking out hemp seeds from budgie feed.

Although he is aware of the potential legal repercussions of growing his own plants, Chris believes it is more important that Deb receives the medication she needs.

“The oil I make has THC in it because you need the full spectrum. You need the active ingredient because they work together symbiotically,” he says.

“I don’t use what I grow, of course; it’s purely for medicine. If I got busted for growing three or four plants, then it’s a very, very sad state of affairs.

“Real people are having a go at self-medicating and we’re making life better for ourselves. Deb’s health is the most important thing, so we’re being proactive instead of giving up and pushing her around in a wheelchair.”

As for many medical cannabis patients, private medical prescriptions are out of reach of Chris and Deb’s budget

“You can get a private prescription, which I think can be up to £1,500 a month, but who realistically can afford that?

“You hear stories of families of kids with severe epilepsy who go to get oil brought in from Holland and suddenly they become criminals for trying to help their kids, which is disgusting.”

He adds: “It needs to be decriminalised and the government needs to take control so you can go into a shop, pay tax and get something safe without putting money into the hands of criminals.”

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Do we really need CBD hand sanitiser?

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Sales of sanitising products are set to reach $17.2 Billion by 2026

A new antibacterial CBD and CBG infused hand sanitiser has launched on the US market – but can cannabinoids really help protect you from infection?

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic hand sanitiser has become everyone’s must-have accessory. 

During one week in February 2020, sales of hand gel in US pharmacies increased by more than 80 percent on the same period the previous year and the global hand sanitiser market is projected to grow significantly to reach $17.2 Billion by 2026.

Now US skin and personal care company Naturaholic has announced it is expanding into CBD –  it’s first product? Hand sanitiser infused with CBD and CBG.

Nahid LaCiura, the founder and lead product director of Naturaholic announced earlier this year that the company would put focus on adding different cannabinoids into their already successful natural product line.

“Early 2020, as our research into a new CBD skincare line began, Covid-19 struck which turned the company’s attention into a totally different direction in order to fill in the void in the marketplace and keep our community safe,” said Nahid.

“It only made sense for us to turn our focus to offering a hand sanitizer that would be strong and efficient enough yet gentle and moisturising.

“Also since we are an online company we could reach many people around the country in need of this high-demand product.”

Why use a CBD and CBG hand sanitiser? 

A Journal of Natural Products research article published in 2008 by the American Chemical Society reported that cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), two of the most abundant cannabinoids found in hemp, “showed potent activity against a variety of MRSA strains in mice.” 

Nahid added: “For those that don’t know, MRSA is the antibiotic resistant “superbug” that haunts the halls of many hospitals and healthcare facilities. 

“The infection caused by MRSA is very difficult to treat because of its resistance to most antibiotics.”

This issue has enormous clinical implications since MRSA is spreading throughout the world. In the United States MRSA accounts for killing nearly 19,000 Americans every year — more than the nation’s annual number of AIDS deaths (which is around 13,000).

“Although the use of cannabinoids as systemic antibacterial agents are still lacking rigorous clinical trials, they are well-suited antibiotic and sanitizing agents when applied topically, particularly against gram-positive pathogens including MRSA,” continued Nahid.

“For a hand sanitizer to have such a property, this could help many people through this hard time. The science behind this is CGB’s ability to stop the growth of biofilms by destroying the cell membrane of the microorganisms architecture, while also halting the growth of any new biofilms as well. The Paper published by McMaster University in Canada is a very interesting read if you’re into the science behind it.

“As it stands now, though it’s only been a few months, the CBD+CBG hand sanitizer is outselling most of our other products. 

“Of course, the Hyaluronic Acid and Skin Tightening Oil are still on top, but we can’t discount the amazing performance the hand sanitizer is having.”

The CBD+CBG hand sanitizer is available in 4 oz at a 1:1 ratio of CBD to CBG with 200mg potency. 

The formula uses ethanol alcohol at over a 60 percent potency in a gel formula with added Vitamin E and cannabinoids. This product is FDA registered and comes complete with 3rd party lab testing and COA (Certificate of Analysis) to guarantee potency.

Naturaholic is an artisanal line of skin and personal care products handcrafted in small batches  using high quality organic ingredients.

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Case Studies

“I’ve been given so many labels, but CBD made me feel normal again”

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Matthew Cobb and his family

Founder of the cannabidiol brand, Euphoria CBD, talks to Cannabis Health about how CBD has helped him turn his life around and move on from the trauma of his childhood.

23-year-old Matthew Cobb says he has seen “way too much” for someone his age.

At the age of 12, Matthew was taken into the care system, suffering from serious mental health issues stemming from traumatic events in his early youth.

Throughout the course of his childhood, he was diagnosed with PTSD, autism spectrum disorder, multiple personality disorder and bipolar and was given medication in an effort to treat his mental health.

“I took medication from a very young age,” Matthew says over the phone.

“I suppose a lot of it at the time was my mum trying to find a reason as to why my behaviour was the way it was.”

His doctors prescribed him medications such as Ritalin, Concerta XL, sertraline and olanzapine to cope but none of them worked for him and the side effects were, at times, crippling.

“Prescribed medication was very prominent in my childhood. They didn’t really do anything for me but I was forced to take them every day,” he says.

“There was not one [medication] that I could take and feel myself. Some of them made me angry, some of them absolutely tore me apart and made me borderline suicidal.”

Eventually, the side effects became too much, and Matthew decided to stop taking prescription medication at 15-years-old.

Having first encountered cannabis at the age of 13, he began to solely rely on “medicating” through the drug. In his late teenage years, Matthew says he would often consume upwards of £70 worth of cannabis in one day.

“It was the only thing that gave me some sense of normality at the time. The fact that ‘stoned’ was the closest to normality that I could get at 17-years-old was a problem,” he says.

At the age of 18, Matthew stumbled across CBD for the first time in a local convenience store where he saw a pack of CBD flower for sale.

“I saw this thing that ultimately looked like cannabis. I’d never heard of CBD before,” he recalls.

He bought the 0.5 g pack and went to the local park to roll a ‘CBD joint’ and was astounded by the effects.

“It was just a feeling of constant relaxation. I didn’t feel paranoid. I didn’t feel like anyone was judging me,” he says.

Later, Matthew began to experience more profound benefits as his consumption of CBD began to positively impact his mental health.

“I started to notice that my depression was easing off and I was starting to feel better in myself,” he continues.

“It was completely different to smoking cannabis. I wasn’t getting high anymore, but I was sleeping again and I was eating properly. My head didn’t feel so up in the air, I didn’t feel manic.”

For Matthew, smoking cannabis was never about getting high. He just wanted to feel “normal”, and cannabis was the only substance he could find that got him close to that feeling.

“I had a lot of issues that I didn’t understand, a lot of issues that didn’t make sense,” he says.

“I was heading in a massive downward spiral and [cannabis] was the only thing that took the edge off.

“It was about making me feel some sense of normality. I got that with CBD, so it almost made cannabis null and void.”

With a renewed clarity of mind, Matthew realised that he had to make a change in his life.

“In two years, you’re going to be in prison or you’re going to be dead,” he thought.

Matthew says he hasn’t picked up a cannabis joint since the first time he tried CBD and from that moment, he was himself for the first time in his life. He no longer recognises in himself the mental health issues that he was diagnosed with as a child.

“My view is I don’t have any mental health issues,” he says.

“I was given many different labels, but they would change week to week; ADHD, bipolar disorder, personality disorder this, personality disorder that, depression.

“I had had a label for everything, but my life now is pretty normal.

“CBD has taken those labels away. It has given me something that no medication could; it’s given me – me.”

Having experienced first-hand the benefits of CBD, Matthew launched his own brand, Euphoria CBD, in July 2020.

It is set to launch a range of new products throughout 2021, including e-liquids, soap bars, bath bombs, moisturiser creams.

Frustrated with the lofty costs of CBD products, he set out to make high-quality cannabidiol affordable. Recalling a time in his life where he was struggling to make ends meet and pay for the supplement that had such a huge impact on his life, Matthew aims to make CBD accessible to everyone, regardless of their income.

“CBD is something that comes with benefits for so many different people, but the problem is that people don’t realise how much poverty there actually is in this country,” he adds.

“People can’t afford this kind of product, it’s just not possible. My goal is to provide an affordable product that genuinely helps people.”

 

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Mental health

Five tips for coping with life after lockdown

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Social distancing restrictions are set to end in England on June 21st

As much as many of us can’t wait for life to return to normal, after over year of living with some form of restrictions, it’s normal to be feeling a little bit anxious about life after lockdown.

From March 8 onwards, the UK will start to slowly emerge from lockdown, with schools opening first, followed by non-essential shops and leisure facilities over the coming months.

And while there are things about the return to ‘normal’ that we will all be looking forward to, it’s not unusual to be feeling a little apprehensive, or even anxious, about re-entering society. 

Luckily, there are a number of ways you can manage your anxiety – and the sooner you start, the more effective it will be.

Take it slowly

If you’re feeling worried, it’s probably best not to book tickets for a festival or a round-the-world cruise. Instead, aim to maybe meet up with one person at a time, or have a coffee at an outside café. Whatever you choose, it’s best to do something, as the longer you leave it, the worse your anxiety will be.  

Keep in touch

While Zoom and text fatigue have definitely set in after 12 months of lockdowns and distancing, now is the time to rekindle some of those connections.

Even if you don’t meet up in person just yet, it can be good to chat through your anxiety with a friend – chances are, they’ll know exactly how you’re feeling.

Try something new

Try to vary your routine so you see different people and situations until you find what you’re comfortable with. Maybe your usual walking route is very busy in the mornings; now the nights are getting lighter, try going out in the early evening. 

Trying something different can also break any negative connections you may associate with lockdown; if your local streets were as far as you travelled during lockdown, a walk around a different neighbourhood gives your brain a clear signal that something has changed.

Have a plan

While you can’t control everything, you do have power over some aspects of returning to a more normal life. If you’re feeling worried or anxious about going out, make yourself an action plan of how you’re going to handle it – and how you’ll respond to anything unexpected.

A little extra help

CBD is well known for its calming effects, and many people use it to relieve symptoms of anxiety.  Although more research is needed to understand the science behind using CBD as a treatment for anxiety, plenty of people anecdotally report a positive impact on their symptoms. A 2019 Gallup Poll discovered that 37 percent of CBD users take the supplement for anxiety.

CBD is thought to work by changing serotonin signals in the body through the interaction with CB1, a receptor found in the central nervous system.

Low serotonin levels are generally linked with depression, however there is also evidence that it could be a cause of anxiety.

In another study from 2019, researchers gave 300mg of CBD (or a placebo) to 37 Japanese teenagers suffering from social anxiety.

The results found that the group who received CBD experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms and concluded that “the results indicate that CBD could be a useful option to treat social anxiety.”

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