A good night’s sleep leaves us feeling rested and refreshed, ready to face the day ahead. But, for too many people, that’s nothing more than a pipe dream.
Insomnia is increasingly common, and, while it is often assumed to be a short-term response to stress or external factors, around 30 per cent of sufferers display chronic symptoms.
Chronic insomnia is characterised by sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or inability to return to sleep on waking, happening at least three nights per week and for at least three months. Such disturbances are often coupled with significant daytime impairments in social life, function levels and educational achievement; indeed, it is often the effects of the sleeplessness on daily life that prompt a sufferer to seek treatment.
While there are steps we can all take to improve our sleep, such as regular exercise, reducing stress and good sleep hygiene, sometimes sufferers turn to over-the-counter medications to help them drift off. However, these have a number of significant side effects, and are not seen as a sustainable solution.
Meanwhile, a growing body of research has found that CBD can have a positive effect on sleep, both by aiding relaxation and also by stimulating CBD receptors in the part of the brain responsible for maintaining sleep cycles.
However, most of the previous studies have focused on CBD as a standalone compound – until now…
A recent ongoing study reported in the British Medical Journal is investigating the effects of both CBD and THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis) on sleep and the resulting function levels the following morning.
The research aims to test the safety and efficacy of an oral oil solution containing 10mg of THC and 200mg CBD, and will use 20 participants diagnosed with chronic insomnia disorder.
The participants, who are all aged between 35 and 60, were recruited over an 18-month period and
each received both the active drug and matched placebo during two overnight study assessment visits.
The researchers’ primary aim is to assess total sleep time and wake after sleep onset assessed via polysomnography.
In addition, they will use MRI technology to examine the brain activation of the participants during sleep and wake periods, comparing the effects of CBD/THC versus the placebo.
Next-day cognitive function, alertness and simulated driving performance will also be investigated.
The study authors said: “Insomnia is a highly prevalent and costly condition that is associated with increased health risks and healthcare utilisation.
“Anecdotally, cannabis use is frequently reported by consumers to promote sleep. However, there is limited research on the effects of cannabis on sleep and daytime function in people with insomnia disorder using objective measures.
“This proof-of-concept study will evaluate the effects of a single dose of an oral cannabis-based medicine on sleep and daytime function in participants with chronic insomnia disorder.”
As we have seen, previous studies have appeared to show a positive effect of CBD on sleep, and, while further research such as the above is needed, there is certainly an appetite amongst consumers for a natural, effective sleep aid.
Tackling adult acne with the help of CBD
After suffering from acne since her teens, Suzanne was running out of options.
Mum-of-three, Suzanne, has struggled with acne for over a decade. She talks about CBD has helped clear up her skin after years of searching for a skincare product that works.
Suzanne, 31, has suffered from acne since she was a teenager.
The common skin condition affects most people at some point in their life. Many will remember living with the condition during their teenage years, but for some, it can continue into adulthood. It causes spots, oily skin and skin that can feel hot or painful to touch.
For Suzanne, a preschool teacher and mum-of-three, it has had a significant impact on her life.
“It’s one of those things where you just feel really rubbish,” Suzanne says.
“I’m not a shallow person but it does get to you after a while.
“It’s painful and it just really puts you down. I used to just go around thinking that people were looking at how bad my skin was.”
Although Suzanne’s skin did clear up for a period of time in her early 20s, the condition worsened as she approached the end of the decade.
“I used to suffer really badly as a teenager with horrible deep spots; the painful ones,” Suzanne says.
“When you’re a teenager, you think, ‘by the time I’m 30 I’m not going to have sports anymore’. Now at 31, I’m running out of things to try.”
Suzanne thinks she must have used almost every brand on the high street to help manage her acne, but none provided satisfying results. She has also have prescription medication from her doctor a go, but found that the product was too aggressive for her skin.
“It’s quite acidic and it takes a layer off your skin, so you can only use it for a certain amount of time,” she explains.
“When I stopped using it, my skin would flare up again and it wasn’t even completely getting rid of the acne anyway. I wanted something that was kinder to my skin.”
Last year, Suzanne’s sister suggested that she try CBD, but like many people, she was sceptical about the supplement due to its association with cannabis.
“She told me it might not only make my skin better but also chill me out to me out a little bit and help me sleep,” Suzanne recalls.
“I didn’t know anything about it, but I’ve had bad skin pretty much forever, so I thought it was worth a shot.”
After the first national lockdown in March last year, Suzanne noticed her skin was starting to flare up, so she decided to take her sister’s advice. She now uses a raw, unrefined oil and a CBD moisturiser daily to keep on top of her skin.
She found that the moisturiser worked a lot better than other products she had tried, which felt “heavy” and left her skin feeling greasy.
Suzanne didn’t see the benefits instantly, but after a few weeks, she noticed that her spots were less sore.
“I had to use it for a little while to see a big difference, but even if I was getting spots, they weren’t as painful,” she says.
“That in itself was better because I didn’t feel like my face was on fire.
“It does take a little while, it’s not an overnight solution. But if you keep going, it gets a lot better.”
After the pain subsided, her skin started to clear up and, in turn, Suzanne experienced a boost in her confidence as well.
“It sounds like a really silly thing to think, but I always felt like people were looking at my face,” Suzanne says.
“I don’t feel like that anymore. I went out on Friday, and wore makeup. A lot of people wear makeup to cover up their spots, but I [rarely] did because I didn’t want to make my skin worse.
“I can be a bit more girly now and know it’s not going to completely mess my skin up.”
Suzanne has also experienced improvements to her sleep.
Dealing with the pandemic along with stresses in her personal life, her sleeping pattern had taken a hit. Before taking CBD, she used to wake up at least every hour but now she finds she can sleep through a whole night.
Although Suzanne intends to continue using CBD, as a single mum of three kids, she says it can be hard to justify the cost of regularly using the supplement. A 500g tub of moisturiser, priced at £17.99, lasts a long time, she says, but CBD oil sets her back almost £40 every fortnight.
“I’m the kind of person that would give to others before thinking of myself so even spending this money on moisturiser seems selfish to me,” Suzanne adds.
“I feel guilty spending that on myself, but I have to weigh it up against how bad I was feeling.”
Suzanne has since gotten her friends and colleagues using the supplement too. Her boss, who suffers from similar issues with her skin has also noticed big improvements.
“I’d tell people who are unsure to definitely try it,” she adds.
“I think it’s important for people to be open to it.
“I still get a little flare like everyone does, it’s just one of those things. I don’t think I’ll ever not have some kind of skin issues, but it’s nowhere near as bad anymore.”
Why more people turned to cannabis during the pandemic
A new study has found that demand for medical cannabis in the US rose during the pandemic.
A new study has found that demand for medical cannabis in the United States rose during the pandemic, with most people using it for ‘mental stress’.
The findings revealed that Covid-19 case spikes, as well as events such as Black Lives Matter protests and attempted coup on the US Capitol, led to a surge in demand for medical cannabis.
The majority of applications for medical cannabis cards over the past year were for psychological purposes, with more than half of patients saying the main reason for using cannabis was “to feel happy.”
Veriheal, the enterprise behind the largest medical cannabis application platform in the US conducted the study in partnership with graduates from the London School of Economics, University of Southern California and University of Maryland and the CREA (Cultivating Research Education and Advocacy) Group.
It investigated medical cannabis interest and adoption across region, sex and age group, in relation to Covid-19 cases in America as reported by the official Covid-19 CDC data tracker, between January 2020 and March 2021.
Patient data was obtained from surveys on the Veriheal telemedicine platform, which connects prospective patients to state-certified cannabis doctors.
According to Veriheal, the most common reason for obtaining a medical card has historically been for chronic pain.
Millennials are most inclined to obtain a medical cannabis recommendation during Covid case spikes, according to the findings, followed by Gen X and Gen Z.
Data shows that sign-ups for medical cannabis consultations and appointments both rose in tandem with Covid-19 case spikes in spring 2020 and 2021, Black Lives Matter protests in summer 2020, the Presidential pre-election in late summer and the attempted coup at the US Capitol in January 2021.
“Medical cannabis has traditionally been viewed as an alternative treatment for relieving physical pain and chronic ailments,” said Maha Haq, CEO of CREA and graduate student at University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy.
“That most people are actually looking to the plant to ease psychological stressors, often related to external social upheaval, is an incredibly important discovery that helps medical professionals better understand evolving consumer relationships with cannabis, and from there, improve the quality of their treatment and related mental healthcare programs.”
Joshua Green, co-founder and CEO of Veriheal, added: “It’s incredible to see Veriheal’s patient database being leveraged for insights on the complexities of medical cannabis use in America.
“This is exactly the kind of application we dreamed of when we initially created our platform.”
The findings were officially presented to the American Chemical Society at their April 2021 national conference.
The Jiu Jitsu enthusiast tackling CBD stigma in black and Asian communities
Through his company, CBD Britanicare, Syed Dyas is tackling the taboo of CBD amongst black and Asian communities.
Syed Dyas, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu enthusiast, found CBD helped him recover from an arduous training regime and introduced his parents to it after they were involved in a serious car accident. Now through his company, CBD Britanicare, he’s tackling the taboo of CBD amongst black and Asian communities.
Nine years ago, Syed’s parents were involved in a major car accident. Amongst a number of serious injuries, his mother suffered from an open fracture in her forearm and underwent surgery on her wrist.
Syed recalls she was prescribed heavy medications, including gabapentin and Tramadol, which came with a range of crippling side effects, including severe anxiety which later led to suicidal thoughts.
“She wasn’t herself, she was in a daze most of the time and was really short tempered,” Syed tells Cannabis Health.
At this point, CBD was still relatively unknown. Syed first heard about the cannabidiol compound while studying for his Master’s degree in pharmaceutical science at University College London and later started using creams and oils after intense sessions of MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.
The 33-year-old has been practicing the martial art for six years, training as often as three or four times a week. He recently earned his purple belt, regarded as one of the toughest ranks to reach in the sport.
With such a physically demanding hobby, Syed has had his fair share of injuries over the years, but says CBD has helped him stay on top form and maintain his health and wellbeing. He uses oil to improve his sleep and aid his recovery, while CBD-infused creams offer more targeted relief when recovering from injuries, he says.
Several years after the accident, as his mother continued to suffer from the side effects of her medication, Syed suggested she try CBD.
“She had all these injuries and nothing was working for her,” he says.
“She suffered from a lot of anxiety just from travelling in a car and had nightmares and insomnia as well.”
He adds: “It was quite extreme at that point, so I was exploring alternatives to your typical over the counter and prescription medicines.”
It was an incredibly difficult time for his family, but Syed’s mother eventually did find relief with CBD, which allowed her to come off the opioid medications that were having such a detrimental impact on her life and wellbeing.
Seeing how much his mother had benefited from the supplement, Syed was “spurred on”, to start his own company, CBD Britanicare, and “share CBD with the nation”.
“It has really helped her and now I want to share that with as many people as possible,” he adds.
With a professional background in pharmaceutical regulation, Syed was well-equipped to start his own premium CBD company which he launched in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
He began his career working for the pharmaceutical giant, Nurofen in Hull, before moving on to work for niche pharmaceutical firms in London. He primarily dealt with patient safety, medical writing and substantiating patient information for a range of different medications and food supplements.
Having been embedded in pharmaceutical regulation for just under a decade, he says his background has helped him build CBD Britanicare on solid foundations.
“With my background, I think I was able to register all the information quicker and in greater depth,” Syed says.
“I’ve seen some people in the industry make mistakes, so I’m very careful with the advertising and marketing of the products.
“We want to reassure the public that we’re following regulations and guidelines from the government and the Food Standards Agency, while ensuring that all our products are lab tested and manufactured to the highest standard.”
CBD Britanicare produces a range of oils, from isolates to full spectrum using an olive oil base sourced from Greece and hemp from the UK. The family-run business also produces capsules, cosmetics, e-liquids and hemp-infused teas.
But although Syed’s mother was willing to give CBD a try, his father was sceptical.
Coming from an Asian background, Syed says CBD and medicinal cannabis is “looked down upon” in the British Asian community and his dad was against the idea of using a product associated with the illegal drug.
However, after being diagnosed with early-stage bowel cancer last year, he eventually came around to the idea and started taking his son’s own products to help him during treatment.
His father’s distrust of CBD is common amongst black and Asian communities, Syed says. With the launch of CBD Britanicare, one of his primary aims is to eradicate the taboo so more people like his parents can discover the benefits of CBD.
“Cannabis is obviously illegal in this country and it’s not really part of the culture,” he says.
“With CBD Britanicare, I really wanted to do away with that stigma and introduce CBD into these communities.”
CBD Britanicare is teaming up with influencers from black and Asian communities to help promote CBD, including Solomon Lefleur, Queensbury Boxing Champion & ISKA World Champion Kickboxer, and Ajmal Khurram, a social media influencer, personal trainer and wellness coach.
Alongside its new partners, CBD Britanicare aims to tackle the stigma and get more people using the supplement who may have otherwise dismissed it.
Syed adds: “We’ve already partnered with influencers across the country who have built up a big following; mainly people in the communities who are into sports, bodybuilding and MMA. They’ve used and reviewed our products, and many were surprised themselves at how much they benefitted.”
With the passion and determination to tackle misconceptions, CBD Britanicare is one to watch!
For more information about the company and products visit www.cbdbritanicare.co.uk and keep up to date
by following them on all social media platforms.
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- Tackling adult acne with the help of CBD
- Australia lists first subsidised medical cannabis drug
- Experts to explore the role of medical cannabis in women’s health
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- Why more people turned to cannabis during the pandemic
- The Jiu Jitsu enthusiast tackling CBD stigma in black and Asian communities
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