There is an increasing number of studies that show THC and CBD may be the key to managing issues that arise in the brain.
Mental illnesses, developmental conditions, and brain disorders such as ADHD are common. They are experienced across the full social spectrum and can either be niggling, or hugely disruptive and disabling. In many mental illnesses, the endocannabinoid system is altered, with changes in receptors that are disease-specific.
CBD shows efficacy in treating a range of anxiety disorders. Our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) can experience deficiencies, which means our internal ‘don’t panic’ systems fail to operate normally. The interaction of CBD with the ECS is currently being studied, but 60% of CBD users in the US use it to treat their anxiety. Clearly, alongside promising clinical studies, anecdotal evidence suggests it can be very helpful.
It is important to speak to a health professional before administering CBD oil for anxiety, as too little or too much can either be ineffective or create more problems. Whether you suffer from generalised anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, or social anxiety, THC should be avoided. It can lead to heightened feelings of anxiety or paranoia. Long-term use of THC can lead to overall exacerbation of psychotic symptoms too.
While conventional anti-depressants and counselling are often an important part of the treatment of depression, CBD could be used alongside as a therapeutic aid. Some people may find that CBD is effective with fewer side effects than modern antidepressants.
CBD can interact with serotonin and cortisol, improving the quality of sleep, appetite and reduction of depression symptoms.
PTSD and Cannabis
People who experience trauma and extreme stress often find they develop PTSD, with symptoms that include sleep disruptions, emotional and mood changes, and cognitive problems. CBD oil can help to manage these problems by activating the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. This helps to regulate mood, sleep and lowering stress.
THC also may be able to help, as, in some people, it can minimise the body’s response to threats by working within the corticolimbic system in the brain. This lowers the fear response to triggers. This allows sufferers of PTSD to lead normal lives and gives emotional space for the treatment of the core cause.
ADHD, Hyperactivity and CBD
In both adults and children, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder can significantly impact the ability to focus or complete tasks. There is a lack of research in using THC or CBD to treat or manage the symptoms of ADHD so far. There are some studies with promising results, but as yet, there are no randomised trials that support the use of CBD for THC.
- A 2013 study showed that CBD could reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity
- A 20120 study showed that medicinal cannabis use was correlated with decreased use of ADHD in adults
- Because those with ADHD commonly report depression and anxiety symptoms, the use of CBD can help to minimise these conditions
There are also some concerns that the use of CBD for people with ADHD may result in the use of cannabis, as there is a relationship between ADHD and medical marijuana dependence. It also could interact with ADHD medications. CBD is not recommended for children or adolescents with ADHD.
Dementia and CBD
There is no evidence that using CBD can prevent, stop, or reverse dementia. However, there is an increasing body of evidence that it could help to minimise and manage symptoms, easing some of the distress that sufferers encounter.
Dementia can result in symptoms such as short-term memory changes, apathy, mood changes, language, ability to focus on a task, and difficulty in expressing thoughts. It often results in agitation, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and motor function disruptions.
Because CBD is effective for the treatment of anxiety and depressive symptoms and also for helping people to sleep, it could be used to help ease distress and agitation caused by dementia.
Autism and Cannabis
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are neurodevelopmental in nature and can range from mild symptoms, which are manageable through to a high level of functional disabilities. Current treatments and therapies are very limited. A meta study of four ASD and CBD trials showed that using CBD may help to manage problems associated with ASD and is a promising novel treatment.
A 2021 study showed that 32.2% of ASD patients using CBD experienced a decrease in behavioural problems, 22.5% of people noted an increase in expressive language, and 12.9% of people had an improvement in cognition.
CBD and THC to Treat Eating Disorders
As of 2021, the first study investigating the use of CBD to counteract distress at mealtime is underway. Anorexia sufferers are involved in a trial to see if there is benefit to CBD for treatment. Because we know CBD helps to relieve anxiety and THC to increase appetite, these two treatments could prove to be very helpful when used together.
Anorexia and bulimia require physical and psychological treatment, it is quite resistant to treatment, and it has a high death rate as compared to other mental illnesses. This is why the use of THC and CBD together is showing promise; THC stimulates the appetite that eating disorder sufferers tend to ignore, and CBD to relieve that anxiety and stress around food and eating.
CBD for Addictions
It may seem counter-intuitive to tout a drug as a treatment for drug addiction, but there is a lot of exciting science beginning to explore exactly that. Research is showing promise for CBD in:
- Reducing withdrawals and cravings from cocaine and alcohol
- Extinction of amphetamine and cocaine-induced conditioned place preference
- Prevented meth reinstatement following priming
- Erasure of drug memories
- Preventing drug-induced neurotransmitter pathway changes
- Reverse of cognitive deficits brought on by psychostimulant drugs
- Help to alleviate depression and anxiety brought on by drug use
- Prevention against opioid relapse
- Neuroprotective effect against poor outcomes from alcohol abuse
This seems to be due to CBD’s low reinforcement properties and inhibition of drug-seeking behaviours. It has anti-addictive properties through regulation of serotonin, dopamine, endocannabinoid and opioid systems. While these studies are only just beginning in humans, they show incredibly exciting promises.
Contact Us for Personalised Advice and Prescriptions
Much of this research into CBD and mental health is an emerging field. We encourage you to seek personalised advice from professionals to ensure there are no medically contra-indications with other disorders or medication you currently take. The use of THC in children may result in psychoactive effects, and use of this is generally discouraged, but CBD could be very effective.
If you want to know more, speak to us at The Pain Clinic. We can help you on your journey to mental wellness and symptom management.