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Cannabis Topicals: What They Are & How They Work

Cannabis Topicals

Cannabis topicals are gaining popularity and ridding a lot of public opinion regarding the use of cannabis and its effectiveness. Cannabis infused topicals are proving that you don’t have to get high for cannabis to be effective.
 

What Are Cannabis Topicals?

So what are they? Cannabis topicals are cannabis infused lotions, balms and oils that are absorbed through the skin and used as a localized treatment of ailments like pain, muscle soreness and inflammation.
 
Types Available:

  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Balms
  • Oils
  • Sprays
  • Patches
  • Lubricants
  • Suppositories

 
CANNABIS TOPICALS
 
Don’t just think of these topicals as a medical treatment. Cannabis topicals have come a long way and many manufacturers have included in there lines topicals for play. Which fits with the historical use of cannabis as an aphrodisiac, but don’t take our word for it.
 

How Cannabis Topicals Work

Cannabis infused topical products work through transdermal absorption. The cannabinoids found in the topicals bind to a network of CB2 receptors that are found all over the body – they can be activated naturally through the natural course of your endocannabinoid system or by introducing cannabinoids such as THC and/or CBD to the system.
 

Patients Who Use and What Are Its Uses?

The rise in topical popularity among cannabis users largely comes from patients who want the therapeutic benefits of marijuana without the cerebral euphoria from a high. It is a safe method of consumption for those that not only want to avoid the high, but for those who prefer not to smoke or consume edibles to get the healing found through cannabis use.
 
Commonly Treated Ailments Using Cannabis Topicals

  • Pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Tension
  • Inflammation
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Itching
  • Cramping

Different topicals have different benefits and target a variety of ailments depending on the specific cannabinoids they deliver and other ingredients used in the product.
 

Why Don’t Topicals Get You High?

Most cannabis infused topicals, even with active THC, cannot breach the bloodstream when absorbed transdermally and won’t cross the blood brain barrier as a result. Although feeling the relief from pain or surface level aches and inflammation might be euphoric, it isn’t a psychoactive effect from the topical product used.
 
Everything Has An Exception

Transdermal patches are the only exception to the non-ability to get you high. Why? Patches do deliver cannabinoids to your bloodstream and if there is enough THC in the product, it can yield psychoactive effects often associated with cannabis use.

Now that recreational use is legal in the state of California, it can be expected that we will only see a rise in innovation with consumption methods and for advancement in the effectiveness of existing consumption methods to happen.


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New Study Finds THC Kills Prostate Cancer Cells

prostate cancer blog - New Study Finds THC Kills Prostate Cancer Cells

Recent studies show that THC may play a powerful role in how we treat prostate cancer in the future. If you are asking yourself, “What can’t cannabis do?” Well, the results are in and THC kills cancer cells by inducing apoptosis in diseased cells.

Disclaimer: if you are battling cancer, this is not your cue to drop your current treatment in place of cannabis. Talk to your medical provider or find an ND that can help you tailor your treatment to include cannabis.

THC and How it Affects the Body

THC is the most commonly known cannabinoid found in marijuana and provides the mind and body with a broad spectrum of psychoactive and immuno-active effects.

 

Common effects of THC

Prostate Cancer - effects of THC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some are fun, some make you unproductive, and other times they are lifesavers. Here is a short list of commonly reported effects of THC:

  • Coordination and movement altered
  • Short-term memory
  • Canna-giggles
  • Stabilizes mood and emotion
  • Balance in biochemistry
  • Sleep aid
  • Aphrodisiac

 

The Endocannabinoid System

THC works in the body by binding to receptors found in the endocannabinoid system. Many of these receptors are found in the brain and in the tissues outside the central nervous system. So far there have been two receptors that have been identified:

  • CB1 – modulates the brain and the reproductive organs
  • CB2 – affects immune tissues

Many ailments have been attributed to an endocannabinoid deficiency and supplementation of the system through cannabinoids from marijuana has been found to be an effective treatment of those ailments.

Cancer and THC

In recent studies, cannabinoids – THC & CBD – have been shown to induce apoptosis, or cell suicide, in diseased cells. More notably, causing cell death in cancer cells.

 

How We Know a Cell is Dying

 

cell death in prostate cancer

 

The biochemical signals that indicate cell death are not well known, but some consider ceramide as an important regulator of cell death.

  • Reduction in size of cell
  • Condensed chromatin (molecule that packs your DNA in the nucleus)
  • Redistribution of plasma
  • Changes in the surface of the cell
Prostate Cancer & Treatment with THC

Why does THC help fight prostate cancer, specifically? Although, cannabinoids are mainly produced or received in the brain, recent findings show that they are also produced in the testis. (remember, CB1 receptors modulate the brain and reproductive organ function.)

This finding led researchers to test how powerful of an ally THC can be in the fight against prostate cancer. They studied PC-3 (prostate cancer cells), their growth factors and how they react to THC in comparison to ceramide, a commonly attributed trigger to cell death.

The study tested different doses of THC on prostate cancer cells to see if there was a link between cell death in prostate cancer cells treated with THC. Researchers found THC caused a dramatic drop in the viability of the cells and cell death occurred after 2-3 days. The peak effect was observed at day 6 of treatment with the dosed THC.

Furthermore, the study found that the cell death induced by THC happened as a receptor-independent mechanism. So cannabinoids are now known to regulate cell death and growth independent of any other function in the body – not disrupting the normal function or mechanism of your biochemistry.


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Breast Cancer and CBD: Cure on the Horizon?

Breast Cancer and CBD

A recent study by the Ohio State University Medical Center has shown promise and positive correlation between the treatment of breast cancer with the use of cannabis, specifically with doses of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD.
 

Cancer Cell Characterization: What We Know About Breast Cancer

 
Cell proliferation is one of the most important characterizations of cancer cells, how they survive and how tumor masses form. When there is a high concentration of stimuli from epidermal growth factor (EGF), cells will reconstruct themselves to become more sticky allowing them to migrate around the body. The signaling by EGF/EGFR in TNBC cells are important in creating the pathways that contribute to cancer cell survival, migration, cell growth and metastasis.

Breast cancer survival is limited in part because of metastasis and distant migration of cancer cells. Breast cancer cells exhibit high levels of NF-kB activation and overexpression of EGFR, the crucial component for cell growth and metastasis.
 

How CBD Helps Breast Cancer Patients

 
The study found that CBD significantly inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells induced by EGF. This means that CBD has the ability to inhibit tumor growth, metastasis, and modulate cancer microenvironment; all good news for advancement in treating aggressive, drug resistant breast cancer cells.
 

Treating Breast Cancer with CBD

 
It is important to note that chemotherapy is still the first line of defense in many cancer treatments. Cancer treatments vary by diagnosis and prognosis and should always be discussed with your oncologist.
 
Breast Cancer & CBD Treatment

 
Cannabinoids have been used for many years in cancer therapy. This is due, in large part, to its abilities to mitigate symptoms of conventional cancer therapy and treatment and its recent development as a potent complement to such treatments. Furthermore, the recent study on CBD and its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and migration in TNBC breast cancer cells suggests that the cannabinoid has the potential to be used as an anti-tumor drug while remaining anti-invasive.
 

Apoptosis – Cell Death

The recent study out of the Ohio State University Medical Center has provided evidence that cannabinoids, such as CBD, can trigger apoptosis. What does this mean? Apoptosis is essentially cell suicide. Your body already has this mechanism in place, but cancer overpowers the system and does not allow your body to effectively fight back. Cannabinoids trigger your body’s mechanism to target the bad cells and cell death of these diseased cells follows.

 

Chemotherapy Symptom Mitigation
  • Modulate pain
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Cell growth inhibition
  • Apoptotic effects

 

What Does This Mean for Cancer Patients?

 
Cannabis helps reduce painful symptoms associated with conventional cancer treatment while supplementing the body’s healing process. Because bad cells along with good cells are attacked during chemotherapy the most powerful source of healing is through sleep. Cannabis aids in sleep and restoration of good cells while inhibiting the growth of bad cells.

As stated before, always consult your healthcare provider before changing the course of any medical treatment. All treatments are unique to individuals as well as reactions and tolerance to cannabis.


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Anxiety and Cannabis: It’s All In Your Head

anxiety and cannabis

The connection between anxiety and cannabis is not new to cannabis users. Chances are, if you have consumed cannabis, you have a story about a time you got “too high” and entered into a state of panic, paranoia, or overall anxiety. Some experience mild anxiety like the type you get from drinking too much coffee, while others get a fit of giggles that leads them to believe they will never catch their breath again and that they have reached the end.

Although stories of cannabis induced anxiety are somewhat common, how is cannabis helping people living with anxiety, stress, or paranoia? Where does the polarizing effect come from? – turns out, it’s all in your head.

Anxiety and Cannabis

 

Brain Chemistry, Anxiety and Cannabis

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD bind with receptors throughout the brain where anxiety and cannabis go to play. Most of the brain’s receptors are found in the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional processing – governing your response to fear, stress, and paranoia.

How does the amygdala work? The amygdala receives all sensory inputs from your environment and forms associations with neutral information such as sound or smell in your surroundings. These interpretations are then processed into an emotion and can turn into adaptive behaviors. For example, if you hear a noise just before feeling pain you will likely associate that noise with pain at a later occurrence.

When you add cannabinoids to the mix it can modify the neural communication happening in your brain; this can be either good or bad. When things go south it’s because THC has over-excited the neural pathways in the brain which is what causes the anxiety or paranoia.

 

 

 

Anxiety and the Endocannabinoid System

Receptor sites that belong to the endocannabinoid system exist in your entire body and fill with cannabinoids and other naturally produced compounds called endocannabinoids. Anxiety and other ailments occur when there is a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system.

An endocannabinoid deficiency is most often seen in brains that are exposed to excessive stress and trauma – think PTSD or similar disorders. Because anxiety is commonly seen in brains with an endocannabinoid deficiency, cannabis has a soothing effect on these brains as it replenishes the system with cannabinoids.

Risk Factors for Anxiety and Cannabis

Anxiety can affect anyone and the effects of cannabis vary widely from person to person, but certain elements make some more at risk of experiencing anxiety than others.

General Risk Factors
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Personality and psych history
Anxiety and Cannabis Risk Factors
  • Frequency of use
  • Dose of THC
  • Setting and atmosphere

New users are more likely to experience heightened anxiety or paranoia due to their low tolerance levels and inexperience with dosing their cannabis. The anxiety is triggered when large doses of THC are introduced into your system.

A good way to avoid cannabis induced anxiety is to dose by smoking or vaping cannabis. The effects are almost instant and easier to moderate than other methods of consumption. Edibles can be inconsistent and easy to overdo as their effects are time released.

Autism and CBD: Finding the Missing Piece

Autism and CBD Testimonial

Any parent can tell you that raising a child is not always easy and there is certainly not a handbook for parenting to guide you through the many stages in your child’s life. When your child is diagnosed with any condition, it makes your job as a parent more important as you take on the role of advocate in the face of medical treatment. Are pharmaceuticals the proper route or is there alternative therapies that can help your child more holistically? Caterra faced this situation when her son was diagnosed with autism early on in his life.
 

Autism and CBD – Caterra’s Journey

Wanting the best for your child is inherent in parent’s agenda and that is what Caterra is searching for in managing her son’s condition. Anecdotal evidence of the link between autism and CBD were enough to convince her to try this form of therapy to help her son. What they experienced through the use of CBD therapy is that it has been working to minimize the behavioral issues that stem from her son’s autism.

What condition was your son diagnosed with?

My son was diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s Syndrome), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Emotional and Behavior Disorder (EBD). They are high functioning disorders that focus mostly on his desire and ability to navigate social interactions. Unlike other types of autism on the spectrum, Aspergers does not come with speech delays, but the behavioral aspect of it becomes difficult to manage.

When was your son diagnosed with his conditions?

He was diagnosed six years ago when he was three years old; he is currently nine years old.

How long have you been using CBD with your son?

I refused to put him on pharmaceuticals because of the side-effects that they may cause in undeveloped brains; I opted for something more natural to keep him off of them.

We started him on CBD in August 2016. He does not like the taste and will sometimes fight me in taking the CBD, but ultimately takes his dose and feels much better. We took a brief break from medicating with CBD because Kaya was out of stock and we didn’t have the CBD for about two to three weeks towards the end of the year. He gradually reverted to old behaviors and the difference in him was night and day. When we had the CBDs again, he started coming out of his behavioral issues.

How often do you dose and what is his current dose?

I give him the CBD once a day in the morning usually with his juice. His current dose is 10 mg of the Akasha Care 20:1 tincture.

What do you hope to gain long-term?

I know there is no magic pill or solution to his diagnosis, but the CBD definitely makes it easier to live with, and not just for me, but for my son too.

Long-term I love that CBD gives my son the opportunity to walk through life “normal”. He becomes more adaptable to life’s situations and makes him more accepting of people and new experiences. Overall it opens up his world which ultimately improves his quality of life now and down the road.

What are improvements you have seen in your son and what are the benefits in aligning autism and CBD therapy?

My son isn’t hyperactive, but because of his ODD he is prone to shutting down where our only form of communicating with him comes from blinking his eyes. These shut downs happen daily and can last up to seven hours. When we first started dosing these shut downs dropped in frequency and duration (typically lasting 4-5 hours). Now that he has been on CBD for almost nine months, these episodes typically last only 30 minutes. He no longer hides under desks and tables when he shuts down either.

He is introverted but when he is taking the CBD he is generally more interested in engaging in social interactions. He is a better listener and more accepting of people.

Is there any other treatment he is receiving?

He is currently on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and on a 504 plan at school. He also sees his counselor and psychologist. We have him on a behavior modification plan that involves me learning techniques to modify his behavior and we are involved with the Autism Learning Center where he has been given a life coach.

 

As Caterra said, there is no magic pill in treating her son, but with ongoing behavior modification for his autism and CBD therapy, he is able to manage his condition and open up opportunities to thrive socially. It’s important to note that supplementing behavior modification therapies with CBD is not a cure. The link between autism and CBD for Caterra and her son is clear, and stopping therapy means a regression back into old behaviors, as they have experienced in the past on their break from CBD.


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