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CBD and anxiety: What the research says

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A number of studies suggest CBD could be useful for managing symptoms of anxiety

With more and more people reporting the use of CBD to ease stress and anxiety in these uncertain times, is the research there to back it up?

With a global pandemic raging, and many of us cut off from our friends and loved ones, it is no surprise that levels of anxiety and stress are at a high right now. 

With many of our traditional stress-relieving activities – going to the gym, seeing a friend, travelling –  out of bounds, and concern mounting about a rise in alcohol use, people are increasingly looking for alternative ways to relax.

A number of recent developments have once again highlighted the value of CBD in treating anxiety – so much so that a Canadian firm is developing a prescription drug based on the compound.

EmpowerPharm Inc is currently developing a unique prescription drug containing synthetic CBD as the active pharmaceutical ingredient to treat anxiety.

Pending the results of clinical research, it is thought the drug may help the thousands of Canadians who suffer from anxiety, as the firm has identified a growing need for innovative therapies as alternative treatments to avoid the addictive prescription products currently prescribed.

Meanwhile, CBD is also growing in popularity among those using it on a more recreational basis; almost half of UK users have increased their consumption since the pandemic.

A recent poll has found that more than a third (33 per cent) of Britons have tried CBD products, while 42 per cent have increased their usage since the outbreak of Covid-19, with anxiety the most common reason for using them.

While CBD has long had a reputation for promoting relaxation, research is still ongoing. 

A landmark study in the US – billed as the first of its kind – was launched in October last year to investigate CBD’s use as a formal anxiety treatment.

The Cannabinoid Anxiety Relief Education Study is targeting millions of CBD and cannabis users across the US to assess the potential role of cannabinoids in reducing anxiety and other co-morbid conditions, such as insomnia and depression.

Such large-scale research is especially relevant given high Covid-19-caused anxiety levels, with many state and local governments deeming cannabis businesses “essential” and thus able to remain open during restrictions.

However, there are concerns that, while CBD can certainly help to relieve anxiety in the short-term, it is nothing more than a ‘sticking plaster’ solution. 

Studies conducted by a team at Washington State University, led by phycology professor Dr Carrie Cuttler, analysed data from hundreds of people who recorded their symptoms before and after cannabis consumption.

Findings showed that in people who self-reported as having PTSD, cannabis reduced the severity of intrusive thoughts by about 62 per cent; for irritability it was 67 per cent and anxiety by 57 per cent.

However, researchers also found that there is no indication that cannabis reduced symptoms in the long-term.

Dr Cuttler cautioned: “We see a general theme that immediately after using cannabis most of the symptoms of these conditions are reduced by just over 50 percent.

“The bottom line is that it can work as an effective mask of the symptoms temporarily but it’s not benefiting the individuals in the long term.” 

Such research points to the fact that, whole CBD may not be a solution for long-term anxiety, it is a useful took for treating shorter spells of stress – such as those caused by the pandemic.

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Wellness

Find your balance with premium, vegan and cruelty-free CBD patches

Una Patches is an innovative CBD patch brand. Here, its founder reveals what makes it unique.

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Una Patches: Cbd patches
With patches, CBD is absorbed through the skin, releasing CBD over a 24-hour period.

Una Patches is an innovative CBD patch brand offering premium patches that are blissfully simple to use and truly sustainable. Here, its founder reveals what makes it unique.

Una Patches focus on doing CBD differently. With patches, CBD is absorbed through the skin, releasing CBD over a 24-hour period, which avoids any fluctuations that may arise from other delivery methods. 

The patches boast an impressive rap sheet; they are biodegradable, waterproof, vegan & cruelty-free. Plus, Una Patches are small, discreet and comfortable to wear- you won’t even realise you have one on.Una Patches: CBD patches

Una Patches is a WOC-owned business, founded by Annu, a medicinal chemist by training.

Annu speaks openly about her background and experience within business.

“I’m proud to be a WOC-owned business. I’m from a family of entrepreneurs so it feels very natural and fulfilling to step into this space,” she said.

The wellness and CBD space can be very whitewashed and often adopts eastern teachings for the benefit of others. I hope that Una Patches can continue to bring representation to this space and begin to educate and expand people’s knowledge.”

Annu wanted to launch CBD products with a difference. As a result, she delved into the science and conducted extensive market research. In doing so, she learnt all about the benefits of transdermal patch delivery versus other delivery methods which usually waste large amounts of CBD. 

This meant there was a quicker, easier and more convenient way for people to get more from their CBD. Plus, they have the credentials to back it up – with 3rd party lab tests and medical device rated patches to ensure quality and purity.

As well as their commitment to quality, sustainability is a core belief for Una Patches. Not only does their unique delivery method mean they have a zero-waste product, but they are also the first climate positive CBD brand.

Una Patches: CBd patches

The patches are completely biodegradable, and their packaging is fully recyclable. Their supply chain has also been designed to minimise carbon emissions by choosing local manufacturers wherever possible. 

Climate positivity means the brand doesn’t just offset their unavoidable carbon emissions, but they go above and beyond to contribute towards projects that positively impact people and the planet. 

This year, Una Patches chose to contribute towards the Kasigau Corridor project. The project, based in south-east Kenya, protects over 500,000 acres of forest. Whilst safeguarding the forest and wildlife, the project has also led to the creation of over 300 jobs, 15 new schools, safe drinking water and the formation of hundreds of women’s groups.  

Whilst only being launched in April 2021, Una Patches are already making waves within the industry, having won the ‘Best CBD Brand’ at the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards.

Una Patches: CBD patches

Annu speaks on the successes of this year: “I’m excited and proud when I reflect on this year. For Una Patches to enter the market as a new brand and win the Marie Claire Sustainability award is so rewarding and still a big pinch me moment for us! I know we can continue to make waves as a small independent brand. 

“Getting customer feedback is my favourite part of it all. It makes everything worth it and I hope to keep raising our voice to reach more people.”

So, whether you’re looking to ease away daily stresses, relax for a peaceful nights sleep or calm your aching muscles – Una Patches may be your new best friend.

A pack of 30 patches retails for just £29.99, they make for the perfect gift… or as a little treat for yourself! 

You can find out more about the brand here: unapatches.com

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Mental health

Long Covid: Experts explore the role of cannabinoids in treatment

Experts have explored the idea of cannabinoid therapy in the treatment of long Covid.

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Experts explored the idea of cannabinoid therapy in the treatment of long Covid, in a one-off webinar hosted by the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society.

Professor Mike Barnes, neurologist and director of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society (MCCS), was joined by Dr Anjali Didi, a general practitioner based in Australia and Dr Hosseini, chief scientific officer at BOD pharmaceuticals, to explore the role that cannabinoids could play in treating long Covid.

The webinar, which took place on Tuesday 30 November, was aimed at clinicians who may be treating patients experiencing long Covid patients and are keen to learn about alternative therapies or treatments.

It could not have been more timely, following the emergence of a new concerning variant in the UK, Omicron.

Dr Anjali Didi explained the importance that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has in the body and how this interacts with different cannabinoids, focusing on CBD, THC, CBG, CBC and CBDV. She highlighted the important role of the CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body.

Long covid: A banner advert for the medical cannabis clinics

Different cannabinoids may have different benefits associated with them. Studies have shown that CBG may produce a response in skin tumours, while CBC and CBDVA may potentially reduce seizures by up to 40 per cent.

Dr Didi said that although doctors can often feel nervous about prescribing cannabinoids such as THC, they needn’t be worried.

Dr Didi: “THC interacts with the CB1 receptor as an agonist. It’s responsible for intoxicating effects in high doses and that’s important to know when you prescribe. CBD is known to counteract that intoxicating effect, so even though that is something people worry about when they first start to prescribe in low or 50:50 doses, it’s unlikely. The rule is always start low, go slow.”

Dr Didi, who was originally based in the UK before relocating to Australia, has treated both British and Australian patients.

When she began to see long Covid patients at her clinic, she noted a particular set of symptoms occurring in patients around two months post-infection.

“Long Covid was something I was labelling a set of symptoms as, that I had seen in people typically around two months post the acute infection,” she explained.

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“The World Health Organisation is now calling it post Covid-19 syndrome or post-acute sequelae Covid (PASC). Some of the symptoms that have appeared in reports and my practice include insomnia, depression, anxiety, fatigue both mental and physical, shortness of breath and cough.”

Her patients also report pain in different places, including the joints, headaches, chest pain, myalgia, neurocognitive dysfunction, involuntary movement and anosmia that persists. Case reports also show repeated pyrexia, fever and dizziness.

It was original research on CBD and sleep that convinced Dr Didi to try prescribing cannabinoids for the treatment of long Covid. She explained her experience with prescribing cannabis for one of her patients.

Long Covid case study

The patient that Dr Didi chose to present was a 42-year-old British male patient who contacted Covid in March. He was diagnosed after losing his sense of smell.

“His initial infection was in another country in March, with an acute loss of smell when he couldn’t smell his coffee. He was quite well for three or four days with just that. He [then] started to present with a lot of diarrhoea and his acute infection with myalgia changed from day 10 to headaches, night sweats and breathlessness with a cough,” she said.

“The biggest thing was that it got worse when he was lying down, so he was sleeping on two or three pillows. He worked quite hard in the finance industry but he has never been well since the infection.”

Dr Didi explained that her patient experienced a lot of disturbance with muscle fasciculations [twitching] in the body which caused a lot of anxiety, resulting in an insomnia pattern that stopped him from being able to sleep.

While her patient was healthy with no chronic conditions, he had mentioned he had asthma and allergies as a child. He came to see the doctor after struggling for nine months after his initial infection. He had also been off work for some months as a result of the illness.

“He had some pill rolling tremors that were worrying him and he had learned to sit holding his right hand to prevent the fasciculations taking over from his thought process. He felt he couldn’t think as well as he used to be able to, but I had no way to measure that and neither did he. He was fatigued enough to not be able to walk his daughter to school which was around a 10 – 15-minute walk.”

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As well as brain fog and tiredness, Dr Didi’s patient also reported feeling pain in his muscles and stabbing chest pains which were quite debilitating. However, his biggest issue was lack of sleep and he had tried using prescription medication or alcohol to help.

Dr Didi said: “Since the PASC had started, he hadn’t been able to sleep, sometimes all night. He felt, looking back, that it was the fasciculations but also the speed of thoughts in his head, whether that was caused by lockdown or his worry about his symptoms. It could have been an amalgamation of things.”

Long COVID crash

In April, her patient experienced what he described as a ‘Covid crash.’

Dr Didi outlined the different medications that he had tried but it was after this that she suggested they discuss medical cannabis.

She explained: “He was able to walk a little bit but was very fatigued. In September, he had a two week period where he was unable to get out of bed, enough that his wife was bringing him makeshift bedpans. When he wakes up, he finds that his joints ache and he doesn’t have any balance.”

The doctor started him on a small dose of Seroquel to help improve his sleep, before starting him on a tiny dose of a BOD medical cannabis product with a ratio of 20mg of CBD and less than two per cent THC.

He began to feel less anxious but felt he wanted to reduce the SSRI due to experiencing issues with his libido. Dr Didi increased the medical cannabis but he began to feel increasingly sleepy. He found success with 20mg of Medcabilis [the BOD product] but felt the 40mg was too strong for him.

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“I wanted to try to support him in his decision to go back to work,” she added.

“I asked him to try a new SSRI but continue with the CBD which is something he never stopped. He felt that the one or two days he stopped it, he didn’t feel well in terms of fatigue. He was also able to complete 10-minute walks where he could take his daughter to school.”

Dr Didi also presented another case study of a woman with long Covid who struggled to sleep. She was prescribed a 50:50 ratio of THC and CBD. She reported that it helped her daytime anxiety so has been kept on her dose.

Dr Hosseini from BOD Medical Cannabis explained more about the two products used in both case studies.

“The two case studies mentioned included the Medicabilis five per cent, which is a pharmaceutical-grade product available in the UK by prescription,” she said.

“It has 50mg per ml of CBD but in addition, it does have other minor cannabinoids as well. It has less than 2mg per ml of THC which makes it relatively safe for prescribing to manage symptoms related to neurological or psychological effects such as anxiety.”

So can cannabinoids treat Covid-19?

Prof Barnes concluded the panel by touching on the recent research which suggests cannabinoids may help with lung inflammation experienced by Covid patients.

study from early 2021 revealed that some cannabis strains could potentially help to reduce a type of inflammatory distress referred to as a ‘cytokine storm’.

He suggested that as long Covid is sometimes caused by the cytokine storm, an overreaction of the immune system, through cannabinoids we may be able to reduce the numbers of patients suffering from symptoms.

“Cannabinoids – generally CBD – being anti-inflammatory may reduce the incidence of long Covid,” commented Prof Barnes.

“There are some early indicators from Israel and Canada, so people are looking around that more definitively.”

He added: “It’s a really important question for global health but we still can’t answer it yet.”

 

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Beauty & Skincare

David Beckham-backed CBG skincare line launches new products

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David Beckham-backed CBD brand, Cellular Goods, has launched a new collection of skincare and edibles that contain CBD and CBG.

The Cellular Goods launch is taking place nine months after the announcement of Beckham’s DB Ventures investment back in February 2021. The company managed to raise £13 million in their original public offering.

The Cellular Good skincare line contains serum, face oil and after-shave moisturiser. The ingestible collection includes a tincture, spray and capsules.

The skincare collection is the UK’s first CBG range. Their face oil contains ultra-pure, bio-synthetic CBG, hemp and grapeseed oil. The combination of all three is thought to hydrate, regenerate and smooth the skin while adding a source of essential fatty acids.

CBG is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties which may make it great for acne or blemishes. It may also be an anti-bacterial preventing infection. The essential fatty acids contained within different cannabinoids could have anti-ageing properties as they help to plump the skin and hydrate. All products are suitable for sensitive skin, dermatologically tested and dermatologist approved.

Cellular Good’s shaving gel contains some of the most popular skincare ingredients of the year including hyaluronic acid which locks in moisture to improve skin health and Niacinamide which is used to brighten the complexion.

CBG is the latest cannabinoid to gain interest, especially within the beauty and wellness sector. However, CBG is rarer and harder to extract than CBD which can make it more expensive.

 

Cellular goods: a hand holding a bottle of CBD spray

Cellular Goods range

The ingestible collection contains just CBD rather than CBG.

Cellular Goods was established in 2018 to develop research-backed and efficacy led products. The products are made using lab-created CBD and CBG which means the company do not need to cultivate cannabis which they believe is a greener alternative than field grown.

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Cannabis Health has reached out to Cellular Goods to determine the level of CBG within the skincare line. They had not replied at the time of publication.

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