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Can CBD help you get through Christmas?

The holiday season is not the easiest time of year for many. We ask if CBD could play a part in helping us to cope this Christmas

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Christmas: A side shot of a Christmas tree with all of its decorations

Not feeling the Christmas cheer this year? We examine if CBD could help with some of the more difficult aspects of the season.

Christmas isn’t always the most wonderful time of the year for everybody. It can be difficult to get through the season when you are struggling with depression, social anxiety or even facing a few days of holiday-related family arguments.

Here are some of the ways that CBD could help to combat Christmas stress.

Social anxiety

In non-Covid times, Christmas was always a time of celebration and extra parties. Although the Omicron variant may have cancelled a lot of Christmas cheer, and office parties, it can still be difficult when it comes to an increase in festivities.

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is a long term condition where people develop a fear of social situations. This can vary from being in crowded environments to parties or even meetings where there are multiple people. Those with SAD may avoid situations like this for fear of experiencing a panic attack.

While there are different tricks such as breathing techniques or grounding exercises that can help, CBD may also be an idea to avoid anxiety attacks.  In one study, patients with SAD were given an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD or a placebo. The patients on CBD reported a reduction in their levels of anxiety.

There isn’t a particular type of CBD which is perfect for anyone feeling anxious in social settings. However, having a small purse or pocket-sized CBD oil available or bringing a vape with you can help to get a quick dose of CBD when needed. Vapes are one of the more fast-acting methods for taking CBD.

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Christmas: A row of champagne flutes and sparkles

Christmas and depression

Christmas can be a really lonely time of year, especially if you are suffering from depression. This year, as plans are cancelled it could mean a rise in depression and anxiety as people may find they are struggling on their own.

CBD may help by interacting with the serotonin receptors in our brains. Serotonin is responsible for our mental health. Low levels are associated with depression although little is understood about how CBD interacts with these receptors.

Working a dose of CBD into a self-care routine can be really helpful when it comes to lifting our spirits. CBD can be found in hot chocolates, bath bombs, massage lotions or even edible treats such as brownies. While oil and vapes are more commonly used, baths can be a great way to treat yourself if you are feeling sad.

Christmas drinks

Christmas parties aren’t just about social interaction but for many, it means an increase in alcohol consumption. This can be difficult to navigate if you are opting to stay sober this year or this is your first Christmas in recovery.

There are a number of different CBD options on the market from gin, vodka or wine replacements. These drinks range from alcohol-free to low alcohol content. Some combine adaptogenic herbs and nootropics with CBD to create a drink that can give you a health boost.

The CBD may also help to calm any anxiety that you may feel about being in an environment where people are drinking.

These drinks often look identical to the alcoholic version so there is no need for anyone to know they are non-alcoholic. It is worth looking at the percentage content in each drink and the recommended allowance.

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Over time, CBD could help with alcohol abuse disorder which is a long term condition. It is thought that the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain may be associated with alcohol use disorder. CBD interacts with both of these receptors which is why it may help to reduce symptoms.

Colds and flu

There is nothing worse than catching a cold at Christmas right as you head off for family and friends homes.

CBD may have anti-inflammatory and also antibacterial properties which may help with cold or flu symptoms. Although it may be time to give up the vape if you are struggling with a cough.

A CBD topical could help with sore muscles that are aching. An animal study from 2016 revealed that applying topical-CBD may help alleviate arthritis pain. CBD topicals are also used frequently by athletes post-workout to stop muscle pain.

A review from 2017 revealed that it may have pain relief and also anti-inflammatory properties. As inflammation is the cause of sore throats and fever, it could help to ease these symptoms. As well as inflammation, sore throats can also benefit from anti-bacterial CBD oils. A study found that CBD inhibited the activity of different types of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus.

Adding CBD to hot drinks can help to ease a tickly cough or work as an anti-bacterial agent. Hot honey and lemon with a drop of CBD would be an ideal easy to make home remedy. Oils, tinctures and edibles can all be great for cold or flu symptoms. Although if you are struggling to swallow, then edibles may be difficult.

READ MORE  New data on opioid-related A&E visits debunks cannabis "gateway drug" theory

It is still important to get a PCR test if you are experiencing COVID symptoms rather than cold or flu.

Christmas: A cosy bed with a book, throw and hot chocolate with CBD

Family time at Christmas

Nothing can get tempers flared faster than a family game of Monopoly played on Christmas day.

CBD may help with keeping tempers under control with its calming properties. It works in a similar way to depression and anxiety in that CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain to reduce stress.

A review of studies reported that CBD may work as a stress-reliever while lifting depression symptoms.

It might be advisable to try a bowl of CBD snacks or gummies that people can treat themselves. Edibles are a slow release of CBD which can release in the system over time. The body has to break down CBD through the digestive system before absorbing it into the bloodstream. This means some of the CBD is also lost.

The calming effect should hopefully have an effect on keeping people calm, reducing mood swings and keeping tempers in check.

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New studies examine effects of THC and CBD on stroke

New data suggests both positive and negative effects of cannabis in stroke patients

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A new study has shown that pre-treatment CBD may have a neuroprotective effect in stroke patients.

The study aimed to investigate the effect of CBD on oxidative stress and cell death which occurs in ischemic stroke patients.

It revealed that the cannabinoid may reduce the destructive effects of cell damage associated with stroke.

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of stroke. They occur when a blood clot blocks a flow of oxygen or blood to the brain. This takes place in arteries that have been narrowed or blocked over time by fatty deposits (plaques). The most common symptoms of a stroke include facial drooping on one side, not being able to lift your arms and slurred speech.

If this occurs, it is vital that a person be taken to the emergency room immediately.

The National Institute of Health Care and Excellence (NICE) estimate that there are around 100,000 strokes every year in the UK. It is also thought that 1.3 million people live with the effects of a stroke.

Stroke recovery and CBD results

The Study showed that CBD reduced the amount of infarction in those samples which had been given the cannabinoid. Infarction refers to the death of tissue as a result of a lack of blood supply and is commonly due to a blood vessel being obstructed or narrowed.

There were also differences in malondialdehyde level (MDA) – a common marker of oxidative stress – between the brains of the CBD group and the vehicle group.

It also revealed that CBD may help to protect tissue by preventing further damage.

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THC and stroke risk

Another recent study examined the effect that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) could have on strokes. It found that it may increase the risk of a certain type of stroke among cannabis consumers.

According to findings, cannabis consumers who experience a stroke known as an aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage (aSAH), are twice as likely to develop further complications.

An aSAH occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts on the surface of the brain leading to bleeding between the brain and tissue that covers it. It can result in neurological disabilities, long-term slurred speech or even death. It is estimated that aSAH affects around eight people per 100,000 of the population each year, accounting for six per cent of first strokes.

The study by the American Stroke Association suggested there is twice the risk of developing delayed cerebral ischemia for cannabis consumers. The researchers analysed data from 1,000 patients who had received treatment for bleeding over a 12 year period. In the group of participants, 36 per cent developed cerebral ischemia and 50 per cent had moderate to severe disabilities.

When comparing the results of patients who tested positive for THC with those who did not, they found cannabis consumers were 2.7 times more likely to develop cerebral ischemia. They were also 2.8 times more likely to develop long-term moderate to severe physical disabilities.

However, compared to those who tested negative for THC, the cannabis group did not have larger aneurysms, higher blood pressures or worse stroke symptoms when admitted to the hospital. They did not have any higher cardiovascular risk factors than the negative group.

READ MORE  Government working to ‘find a way through’ as Brexit blocks access to medical cannabis

Researchers are now conducting further studies in which they hope to better understand if THC can impact aneurysm formation and rupture.

Stroke: A banner advert for cannabis health news sign ups

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New study shows CBD may prevent Covid-19 infection

Researchers are calling for more trials to determine if CBD could be a preventative or early treatment for the virus.

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Covid: A covid infection

Researchers are recommending clinical trials to examine if CBD could help to prevent Covid infection after more positive findings have been published.

Researchers from the University of Chicago have reported that CBD may stop the infection of Covid-19 by blocking its ability to replicate in the lungs.

A number of cannabinoids including CBD and THC were tested along with 7-Hydroxycannabidiol (7-OH-CBD) which is thought to be produced when cannabidiol is processed by the body.

The study found that CBD showed a significant negative association with SARS-CoV-2 positive tests in a national sample of patients who were taking  high doses of CBD, prescribed for epilepsy.

As a result of their findings, researchers are calling for more clinical trials to determine whether CBD could eventually be used as a preventative or early treatment for the virus.

Covid- Covid infection

Covid and CBD study

Researchers treated human lung cells with a non-toxic dose of CBD for two hours before exposing the cells to SARS-CoV-2 and monitoring them for the virus and the viral spike protein.

They found that, above a certain threshold concentration, CBD inhibited the virus’ ability to replicate.

Further investigation found that CBD had the same effect in two other types of cells and for three variants of SARS-CoV-2 in addition to the original strain.

CBD did not affect the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to enter the cell. Instead, CBD was effective at blocking replication early in the infection cycle and six hours after the virus had already infected the cell.

Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 affects the host cell by hijacking its gene expression machinery to produce more copies of itself and its viral proteins. This effect can be observed by tracking virus-induced changes in cellular RNAs. High concentrations of CBD almost completely eradicated the expression of viral RNAs.

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When it came to the other cannabinoids, CBD was found to be the only potentially potent agent. There was no or limited antiviral activity noted by the similar cannabinoids including THC, CBDA, CBDV, CBC or even CBG.

Marsha Rosner, PhD, professor and senior author of the study said it was a completely unexpected result, she commented: “CBD has anti-inflammatory effects, so we thought that maybe it would stop the second phase of COVID infection involving the immune system, the so-called ‘cytokine storm.’ Surprisingly, it directly inhibited viral replication in lung cells.

She added: “We just wanted to know if CBD would affect the immune system. No one in their right mind would have ever thought that it blocked viral replication, but that’s what it did.”

The researchers do caution that this is not possible with commercially available CBD. The CBD tested was high-purity and also medical grade.

However, Rosner cautioned:  “Going to your corner bakery and buying some CBD muffins or gummy bears probably won’t do anything. The commercially available CBD powder we looked at, which was off the shelf and something you could order online, was sometimes surprisingly of high purity but also of inconsistent quality. It is also hard to get into an oral solution that can be absorbed without the special, FDA-approved formulation.”

CBD and Covid studies

This is the second study to be released showing the potential for cannabinoids in Covid management and prevention.

A study by Oregon State University has revealed that the compounds cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), may have the ability to prevent the virus that causes Covid-19 from entering human cells.

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Researchers and scientists, led by Richard van Breedan, found that a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, blocking a step in the process the virus takes for infection.

Targeting compounds that block the virus-receptor interaction has been helpful for patients with other viral infections such as HIV-1 and hepatitis.

The researchers and scientists identified the two cannabinoid acids through a screening technique, developed previously in van Breeman’s laboratory. The team also screened different botanicals such as red clover, hops, wild yam and three types of liquorice.

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Partner of Irish politician “six years seizure free” faces charges over medical cannabis use

John Montaine uses medical cannabis to manage his epilepsy – and is said to be six years seizure free.

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Irish government medical cannabis
John Montaine, is the partner of Clare Sinn Fein TD Violet Ann Wynne.

The partner of a sitting Irish TD is contesting charges of cannabis possession, saying he uses it medicinally to manage his epilepsy.

John Montaine, who is the partner of Clare Sinn Fein TD Violet Ann Wynne, was charged with the alleged illegal possession of cannabis on February 11, 2021, at his family home, the Irish Independent reported.

Mr Montaine contests the charges and his partner Deputy Wynne has previously spoken publicly about how he uses cannabis medicinally to manage his epilepsy.

Speaking after the initial court hearing in November, Deputy Wynne said in March her partner would be “six years seizure free”.

She went on to say that it has improved his quality of life “100 per cent, without a doubt”.

“There was always some kind of issue – say John having a number of fits within the one month or losing teeth or suffering with severe migraine, but since John has been using the medicinal cannabis, he has had a better quality of life,” Deputy Wynne told the Independent.

She added: “It has also freed myself up. John would have been on disability allowance and I would have had to have been his carer but since using the medicinal cannabis, he doesn’t suffer from any of those issues any longer.”

Medical cannabis is legal in Ireland, but access to a prescription is limited.

Last year Ryan Gorman, a 26-year-old man, from Dublin, who also suffers from epilepsy, became the first patient to receive a cannabis-based medicine through the Medical Cannabis Access Programme.

Despite legislation being signed off in 2019, Ireland’s Health minister Stephen Donnelly only announced funding for it in January 2021, with the programme only becoming fully operational in November.

Four cannabis-based medicines are expected to be available through the MCAP, to people living with one of three qualifying conditions. These include intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, severe treatment-resistant epilepsy and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). 

Mr Montaine’s solicitor appeared in Kilrush District Court on behalf of his client this week, where his case was adjourned until 15 March.

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