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Cannabis Research Pioneer Hopes Latest Discovery is Not Overlooked — Again

Decades after Raphael Mechoulam linked CBD with treating epilepsy, his latest finding may help develop new drugs for psoriasis, arthritis and anxiety.

Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli organic chemist and professor of medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, remembers the letdown after his groundbreaking discoveries surrounding the structure of the cannabis compounds CBD and THC in 1963 and 1964, followed by clinical tests with CBD published in 1980.

“Not much happened,” Mechoulam said, noting that it would take more than 30 years before his clinical work on using CBD, or cannabidiol, to treat epilepsy became widely accepted. Greenwich Biosciences, which is owned by GW Pharmaceuticals, was able to develop the first cannabis-derived drug that built on Mechoulam’s research. The drug, Epidiolex, treats seizures associated with two rare forms of epilepsy and was approved by the FDA only last year.

But even as his work laid the foundation for the modern cannabis industry and for understanding how cannabis interacts with the human body, a white whale eluded research: cannabis acids, which are compounds that are produced in the plant when it is alive and maybe more potent than their better-known derivatives, such as CBD and THC.

That changed on Monday, when Mechoulam and a group of researchers announced at a medical cannabis conference in Pasadena, California, that they have developed a process for creating synthetic, stable acids that are found within the plant, and that the synthetic acids, which include acid versions of CBD and THC, are now available for licensing to companies for drug development

The discovery paves the way for drug companies to potentially develop new drugs based on the acids for a variety of health issues such as psoriasis, arthritis, anxiety and inflammatory bowel disease.

The research is the product of a startup called EPM, in partnership with Mechoulam, six universities in Israel, the U.K. and Canada, the world’s largest topical cream company and a publicly-traded laboratory company.

“I think it’s a big deal,” Mechoulam, who acts as EPM’s head of research, said, comparing it to his discoveries about CBD and THC.

In a 2018 British Journal of Pharmacology study, Mechoulam and his co-authors wrote that their synthetic compound, cannabidiolic acid methyl ester (called HU-580 in the paper) could be more effective than existing CBD remedies, making it “a potential medicine for treating some nausea and anxiety disorders.” Those initial clinical tests found the acids have yielded results on par, and even exceeding, existing treatments, without the side effects.

The naturally occurring but unstable CBD acid (CBDA) is a thousand times more potent than CBD in binding to a particular serotonin receptor thought to be responsible for alleviating nausea and anxiety.

“It’s an interesting molecule that potentially doesn’t have side effects,” said Dan Peer, managing director of the Center for Translational Medicine and head of the Cancer Biology Research Center at Tel Aviv University.

“It works like a steroid. If it doesn’t have adverse effects, then you have a replacement, which is great,” Peer said, discussing testing he did with cannabis acids and inflammatory bowel disease.

Ziva Cooper, research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, said EPM’s research confirms what many in the field have long suspected about cannabis acids, but have been unable to confirm due to their instability.

“Their work is quite innovative, and it definitely builds on what we know related to the potential therapeutic effects of cannabinoids,” Cooper said, adding that the compound could be particularly effective for pain control. Cooper said that while more testing will be needed to determine effectiveness and safety for humans, EPM’s results so far are “quite encouraging.”

To read this article in its entirety, please visit – NBC NEWS

One Person’s Experience with Insomnia and How CBD Helped 

Nothing makes me more jealous than hearing people talk about sleep. I’ve struggled with sleep for as long as I can remember, and I’ve tried just about everything to get more of it: Regular exercise, meditation, solid sleep hygiene, melatonin and magnesium, to name a few.
Some of it has certainly helped, but only for certain periods of time when I didn’t have much on my mind. As soon as I found something to worry about, all hope was lost. That no-tech-before-bedtime rule plus a melatonin tablet didn’t get me anywhere fast.

Perplexed doctors eventually gave me a prescription for Klonopin, a medication many clinicians assign to patients for anxiety. While it helped me fall asleep, I spent the entire next day feeling like a slightly nauseous zombie. I felt equally as terrible as I did after a night of poor sleep, so I decided it wasn’t worth it.

That’s precisely why I was intrigued when I started hearing about CBD, or cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive compound found in the cannabis or hemp plant that apparently helps with sleep and anxiety. I didn’t exactly get my hopes up ― after all, tons of natural remedies that worked for other people hadn’t worked for me ― but I figured it was worth a shot.

Putting CBD To The Test
CBD can be taken in a few ways. Oil is probably the most popular, but it can also be taken in capsule form, or even as a chocolate or gummy. After a week of taking CBD in oil form every night, it was clear I’d stumbled across something kind of remarkable. I often slept well the first few nights of trying something new before it stopped working its magic, which I partially attribute to the placebo effect. With CBD, however, the good nights of sleep kept on coming.

My racing thoughts seemed to come to a screeching halt within an hour of taking it, and when I got into bed I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Even better, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. And this isn’t unusual: As Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist, explained in a 2017 HuffPost article, there’s a good chunk of research to suggest that CBD can be beneficial for rest. Research shows CBD may increase overall sleep amounts and reduce insomnia. CBD has also been shown to improve sleep in people who suffer from chronic pain.

Gretchen Lidicker, author of CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness, said that while studying CBD is extremely difficult because of the legal issues still surrounding cannabis and marijuana, there has been research that indicates CBD can be a helpful antidote to anxiety and insomnia.

“These studies mainly point to CBD’s ability to interact with … serotonin receptors and GABA receptors in the brain,” she explained. “Serotonin plays an important role in mood and anxiety, and GABA is known as the main ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter, meaning it calms excess activity in the brain and promotes relaxation. GABA receptors are the target of benzodiazepines, which are a class of anti-anxiety drugs.”

Lidicker noted that one study on humans, published in the journalNeuropsychopharmacology, showed that CBD was able to help with public speaking-induced anxiety. She also pointed to a clinical trial that started in August at a hospital in Massachusetts, in which researchers are administering 10 mg of CBD three times a day for a month to test its effects on patients with anxiety.
“Hopefully we’ll know more and more as clinical trials like this are conducted,” Lidicker said.

And how does CBD compare to other sleep supplements like melatonin? Lidicker explained that while she thinks melatonin is great, it has a different impact on the brain and body.

“CBD appears to help with sleep because of its anti-anxiety properties and ability to promote relaxation,” she said, noting that melatonin directly signals to the body that it’s evening and time to go to sleep by raising the naturally occurring levels of melatonin already in the body.

That explained why melatonin made me sleepy and helped with jet lag, but didn’t to help with the underlying anxiety that was causing my insomnia in the first place.

Putting CBD To The Test

CBD can be taken in a few ways. Oil is probably the most popular, but it can also be taken in capsule form, or even as a chocolate or gummy. After a week of taking CBD in oil form every night, it was clear I’d stumbled across something kind of remarkable. I often slept well the first few nights of trying something new before it stopped working its magic, which I partially attribute to the placebo effect. With CBD, however, the good nights of sleep kept on coming.

My racing thoughts seemed to come to a screeching halt within an hour of taking it, and when I got into bed I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Even better, I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. And this isn’t unusual: As Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep specialist, explained in a 2017 HuffPost article, there’s a good chunk of research to suggest that CBD can be beneficial for rest. Research shows CBD may increase overall sleep amounts and reduce insomnia. CBD has also been shown to improve sleep in people who suffer from chronic pain.

Gretchen Lidicker, author of CBD Oil: Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health and Wellness, said that while studying CBD is extremely difficult because of the legal issues still surrounding cannabis and marijuana, there has been research that indicates CBD can be a helpful antidote to anxiety and insomnia.

“These studies mainly point to CBD’s ability to interact with … serotonin receptors and GABA receptors in the brain,” she explained. “Serotonin plays an important role in mood and anxiety, and GABA is known as the main ‘inhibitory’ neurotransmitter, meaning it calms excess activity in the brain and promotes relaxation. GABA receptors are the target of benzodiazepines, which are a class of anti-anxiety drugs.”

Lidicker noted that one study on humans, published in the journalNeuropsychopharmacology, showed that CBD was able to help with public speaking-induced anxiety. She also pointed to a clinical trial that started in August at a hospital in Massachusetts, in which researchers are administering 10 mg of CBD three times a day for a month to test its effects on patients with anxiety.
“Hopefully we’ll know more and more as clinical trials like this are conducted,” Lidicker said.

And how does CBD compare to other sleep supplements like melatonin? Lidicker explained that while she thinks melatonin is great, it has a different impact on the brain and body.

“CBD appears to help with sleep because of its anti-anxiety properties and ability to promote relaxation,” she said, noting that melatonin directly signals to the body that it’s evening and time to go to sleep by raising the naturally occurring levels of melatonin already in the body.

That explained why melatonin made me sleepy and helped with jet lag, but didn’t to help with the underlying anxiety that was causing my insomnia in the first place.

5 Simple Tips For A Better Nights Sleep 

Sleep is important. I mean, really important. In fact, research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance, and brain function. It can also cause weight gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children. In contrast, good sleep can help you eat less, exercise better and be healthier. 

1. Increase Bright Light Exposure During The Day

Daily sunlight or artificial bright light can improve sleep quality and duration, especially if you have severe sleep issues or insomnia.

2. Reduce Blue Light Exposure in the Evening

Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime. There are several ways you can reduce blue light exposure in the evening. Blocking blue light on your tablet or smartphone at night is a simple way to help. 

3. Don’t Consume Caffeine Late in the Day

Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening. So if you must indulge in coffee or soda later in the day, get decaf or caffeine-free. 

4. Try to Sleep and Wake at Consistent Times

Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.

5. Try a Natural Sleep Aid, Like Melatonin or CBD

In a recent nationally representative Consumer Reports survey, about 10 percent of Americans who reported trying CBD said they used it to help them sleep, and a majority of those people said it worked. Melatonin has been used as a sleep aid for decades but may not be as effective long term as CBD.

Hidden Causes of Joint Pain and How To Stop Them

Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain. Here we’ll discuss the common causes of joint pain and some natural ways to help stop them from occurring. 

Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. It has even been found that inflammation caused by a poor diet can cause joint pain and can be extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.

Joint pain can range from mildly irritating to debilitating. It may go away after a few weeks (acute), or last for several weeks or months (chronic). Even short-term pain and swelling in the joints can affect your quality of life. Whatever the cause of joint pain, you can usually manage it with medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments. These, however, can come with some unwanted side effects. What can you do?

Cannabinoids show very promising results in dealing with pain, in both chronic pain and pain traditionally difficult to treat by conventional means. The analgesic effects cannabinoids produce often provide relief to patients that don’t respond well to other more common methods. “Patients most often ascertain an individual stable dosage within 7–10 days that provides therapeutic relief without unwanted psychotropic effects,” meaning that it’s easy to find your personal “right” dose safely. Using cannabinoids alongside traditional pain management methods has been shown to increase the effectiveness of both treatments.

Habits To Build To Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety can be crippling. It comes on oftentimes without any warning. What can you do to avoid these sudden attacks?  Here we will discuss common strategies to avoid anxiety. 

Exercise–forget exercise to lose weight, and instead, get into exercise to move your body and dissipate anxiety. Exercise is one of the biggest co-factors that help depression and anxiety. You don’t need to run marathons or become a triathlete. You really only need to do about 20 minutes of exercise that gets your heart rate up, and not sit for long periods during the day. Set a timer on your phone or kitchen stove that will go off and remind you to move, or grab a FitBit that will buzz at you to get moving every hour.

Diet/Vegetables–a salad a day. Forget trying to overhaul your eating to adopt the “perfect” diet. Start with getting a salad a day into your diet, and see where you can go, from there. The healthier you eat, the lower your chances of suffering from anxiety attacks. 

Sleep–if you have insomnia, see your doctor. I dealt with insomnia for years, and it surprised me when I told my doctor and instead of giving me a pill, I got “sleep hygiene education” and several behavioral interventions that I hadn’t thought of. I implemented a few of them, and within a week, everything shifted. Years of insomnia, gone! It’s a beautiful life. And if you don’t have insomnia but you do things like stay up late watching Netflix, it’s a choice to get thyself into bed, earlier.

There is also strong evidence of the anti-anxiety properties of CBD.  Stress is a part of life, unfortunately, and humans have always sought to relieve it. Hemp CBD is showing promise. Hemp CBD, in particular, interacts with a certain set of neurotransmitters in the brain, providing anxiolytic (calming, anti-anxiety) and antidepressant effects, and the vast majority of studies show a positive connection between Hemp CBD and the treatment of both anxiety and depression.

If you have the ability to make better choices about sleep, exercise, and diet, but you don’t? Expect continued anxiety or worsening anxiety.

Coping with Video Game Related Repetitive Stress Injuries

If you play video games and your hands start to hurt, you run the risk of suffering a repetitive stress injury that causes pain and even numbness in your hands. These symptoms are caused by swelling and compression along the carpal tunnel, a sheath for a nerve and some tendons that run from the palm to the shoulder.

There are a variety of therapies and devices available that gamers have used to mitigate this pain; however, if you have significant pain and numbness, you should definitely consult a medical professional first—they can advise on exactly what you should do in your specific case, and help avert a worsening or serious injury.

Here are some therapies and treatments others have used to help when their hands hurt from gaming.

Basic Hand Stretches

Nothing is more important than hand stretches. In fact, if you regularly take breaks from playing games and using your computer to stretch, you have a good chance of avoiding problems altogether.

For a common hand and palm stretch: Hold your hand in front of you, palm facing away, fingers pointed up or down. Then, gently pull your fingers towards you with the other hand. Follow this by pointing the fingers down with the palm facing you, and placing your free hand against the back of the hand you’re stretching. Gently pull your hand towards you once again.

A variation of these stretches is to pull on just the index and middle fingers, instead of all four fingers at once. Then do the same with the ring and pinky fingers separately.

Hand Strengthening

For strengthening, the best thing to use is Theraputty, which is like a big ball of silly putty that you squeeze. This is often preferred to squeezing balls or other devices, because these can cause you to do the same motion in the same way, which isn’t good because that’s what caused the trouble to begin with.

Nerve Flossing

If you’re in a lot of pain, you may need some more serious exercises to get your hands in shape.

One thing you can try is nerve flossing. This is movement to slide the nerve along the carpal tunnel. To do this, try holding your arm straight down, palm forward and hand a few inches from your body. Then, flex the wrist back and returning it to neutral, like your hand is a little wing and you’re flapping it. Do this 30 times.

Physical Therapy

If you see a physician for your pain, one of the first treatments suggested is physical therapy. A common mistake people make when doing physical therapy is slacking off or stopping when their pain begins to subside. Once you have an injury, you have to think of it as a permanent thing you must constantly work on, rather than something you fix before going back to normal.

Some other therapies that you may encounter include ultrasound and electrostimulation, and the alternative methods Active Release Technique and Graston Technique.

Ergonomics

One of the best solutions for hand and wrist pain is to try to avoid it in the first place. This is where ergonomics comes in.

For example, when working at the computer, you’re should have your monitor and keyboard set at a proper height, and you should keep your feet flat on the floor. If you’re playing video games, you are also better off seated properly. Unfortunately, most gamers tend to slump on the couch. Avoid this, and be aware of how your body is positioned when playing, because when you’re engrossed in a great game, you can be in these slouchy and awkward positions for extended periods of time without even realizing it, and thats a recipe for all kinds of physical maladies.

Take breaks, get up, stretch, and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes.

If you play your games on a computer at a desk, set up your computer ergonomically. Also, the use of a mouse for extended periods can be stressful on your hand and wrist. You may want to try a zero-tension mouse like the 3M Ergonomic Mouse, which is basically a control stick on a base that allows you to hold your hand in a vertical, palm-facing-in position.

Other Stuff to Try

Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and naproxen (brand names Advil and Aleve, respectively) can relieve swelling and reduce pain.

Ice packs or a heating pad can also help.

If you also get pain in your shoulders, which can happen (especially with the Wii), massage can help. Find a tight, sore spot, put your finger on it, press hard and move your finger over the spot. Do this ten times, only in one direction.

5 Dangerous Gaming Injuries And How To Avoid Them

Imagine that you can no longer grasp a can of soda without your wrist feeling like it wants to explode. That, my friend, is what that innocent-looking game console can do to you. I’m not speaking about this as a medical expert, or as a concerned parent hoping to sway kids from playing video games, but as a witness to the pain and suffering that extreme gaming can cause to the human body.

My gaming addiction actually started when I was about 13 – caused by the original Ultima series produced by Origin Systems. After seeking out magic runes and battling cyclops well into the night, I had officially caught the gaming bug. It was an affliction that stuck with me through the rest of high school, into college, and even into my early marriage and parenting years. I eased off of gaming a little in college, but it wasn’t until after our children had entered their toddler years and there was a little more free time, that I re-entered the gaming action in full-force once again. That time, it was Medal of Honor Online.

The combination of staying up all night playing Medal of Honor, working at a desk all day as an automation engineer, and then writing online in the evenings eventually took its toll. I started feeling a strange tingling in the wrist, combined with a numb feeling up the side of my thumb. This eventually evolved into a terrible pain whenever I bent my wrist or my thumb at a certain angle or squeezed my hand.  I was completely at a loss as to what was causing it, until one night while gaming, I realized that I was resting my wrist flat on the desk, with my hand tilted at an odd upward angle on top of the mouse. It was then that it dawned on me – I officially had Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

A Gaming Injury You Don’t Want – Carpal Tunnel

A visit to the Doctor confirmed my fear. I had aggravated the major nerve that passes over the carpal bones in my wrist. The Doctor at least gave me some good news – it wasn’t a syndrome unless the condition returned again after recovery, but the bad news was that recovery would require immobilizing my thumb for several weeks, potentially months. My gaming days were over.

When you make a living on the computer, the prospect of having your mouse-hand immobilized and rendered incapable of using a mouse is a scary thing. Let’s just say I learned to use the mouse with my left hand for a while.

Eye Strain – It Can Happen to You

I’m convinced that one side-effect of staring at a screen for nearly 9-15 hours a day since I was 9 years old is that I ended up needing glasses at the age of 35. It actually might have started earlier, as I had been having the symptoms of it for years – sore and burning eyes, headache, sensitivity to light and even a sore neck. I dealt with the symptoms until the headaches just got too bad.

My eyes were nearly 20-20, however using his exotic-looking machine, the doctor determined that one eye was just a smidgen off. He said he wouldn’t even recommend glasses for most people with such a small prescription, but since my screen-use is in excess of a normal person, he prescribed me a pair of “computer” glasses.

Posture – Sit Up!

There are two really common gaming positions for avid gamers. There’s the “couch slouch”, where the gamer is just chilling with feet up on the coffee table and slouched back into the couch. Then, there’s the “full-on” position – usually in the heat of an FPS battle – that involves leaning forward, elbows on knees, head tilted forward, and all attention and focused on the screen.

Full-Contact Injuries

You wouldn’t think that sports injuries would make up one of the more common gaming injuries, but thanks to the advent of the Wii, gamers now have to deal with many of the same injuries that athletes do, and sometimes even more. Those innocent-looking Wii Nunchucks turned out to be not so innocent after all.

Pulled Muscles and Sprains

Athletes that run marathons even know that not stretching before any rigorous physical activity will lead to pulled muscles, or even worse, injuries like a sprained ankle. Stretching loosens up the muscles and prepares your body for the stress that is to come – even for just a 30 minute run. But once the Wii and other motion-sensor gaming consoles came out, you’ve got a whole population of former couch potatoes suddenly jumping up and trying to do 1-2 hours of activities like tennis, boxing and bowling without giving a second thought to stretching first. Afterwards, there’s all sorts of confusion about all the terrible muscle pains and soreness.

 

How to Become a More Focused Gamer

Sit properly. While playing a video Game, it is best to sit down in a nice sturdy chair. The best posture is sitting down, with both feet on the ground, at a 100-degree angle. This takes pressure off the back and helps with comfort.

Be hygienic. Take a shower, even if it’s a quick three-minute navy shower. Wash and dry off your hands and face well, dry and comb your hair, and wear comfortable clothing! It makes a big difference. Another good tip to get your reflexes nice and jittery is to wash with some sort of mint body wash. Mint leaves a nice cooling sensation on the body, which generally leads to good comfort.

  • Avoid having greasy hands by any and all means. This may become difficult if your hands are moisturized; in that case, go and do something else until they feel wet without actually looking wet. Dry off with a hand towel, and see if they are still greasy. If they are, just wait it off-maybe go to GameFAQs [1] to get/give some help!

Remember that confidence is key. And of course, the next logical step would be to be confident. And make sure to write “gaming” on that list you’re making! Don’t just be generally confident; be gaming-confident.

Ensure your eye fixations are in good condition. If you wear contacts, make sure they are not dry. If you wear glasses, make sure they are clean.

Keep skilled through practice. Finally, have a lot of fun. There’s not much one can say on either, except that just keep doing what makes you tick.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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