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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Sufferers Turning to CBD

BY: Jayson Cote

Also referred to as Willis Ekbom Disease and RLS, restless leg syndrome is a chronic condition that affects about ten percent of American adults.  The condition is known for causing pain and discomfort and can interfere with important daily activities.  Despite the fact that it’s not a remarkably rare condition, there’s still much about it that’s unknown by the medical industry, which makes it uniquely difficult to treat. [Source]

As our society has begun to gravitate toward a more holistic approach to wellness, we’re finding that there may be some natural options that are capable of providing relief.  One such possibility is cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD.  

For those who might not be aware, CBD is the dominant compound in the hemp plant, and it has a unique way of interacting with the body which separates it from other plant-based products.  Further, it’s legal and widely available, and has been shown in studies to potentially help with everything from chronic stress to various inflammatory conditions.

First, however, let’s look closely at the condition itself to better understand what it is and why it occurs, to understand how cannabidiol may play a role in managing it.

What is Restless Leg Syndrome?

What’s unique about restless leg syndrome is that it’s not technically a pain condition.  Of course, that doesn’t make it any less capable of interfering with one’s quality of life.  A problem with this is that it leads many people to underestimate its severity and impact.

RLS creates a feeling of insatiable restlessness in the legs, and this is due to a dysfunction of the nerves.  As a result, the legs must move consistently to shake off the feeling, so to speak.  It’s a frustrating and uncomfortable sensation that is difficult to find relief from.  Those who suffer from it tend to jerk their legs in a way that feels involuntary, and they shake their legs whenever they can to manage the feeling of restlessness.  Restless leg syndrome symptoms seem to worsen when a person is laying own or sitting for long periods, and this can cause it to interfere with sleep. 

We know that restless leg syndrome affects more women than men, for reasons unknown.  It tends to affect adults but can develop during childhood.  It can lead to some potential complications including sleep deprivation and mood disorders that result from the constant feeling of frustration.

How a Person Develops Restless Leg Syndrome 

At the moment, there is no known cause for restless leg syndrome.  Like many chronic conditions, it seems that there may be genetic factors that are passed down through families which contribute to its development.  If a person has one parent who has the condition, they are more likely to end up with it later on in life.

Restless leg syndrome is ultimately a disorder of the nervous system, due to faulty nerve signaling throughout the legs.  It’s believed that this may be due to a misfiring of dopamine receptors which cause hyperactivity-related sensations through certain nerve channels.  Further, it’s believed that those who have Parkinson’s Disease may be more likely to develop RLS.

We also know that certain conditions can damage the nervous system, as well as various forms of substance abuse and certain medications.  Therefore, those who fall into these categories may be more at risk of developing RLS.

Diagnosing Restless Leg Syndrome

To diagnose this condition, a doctor will make sure that you fall within the right criteria.  There is no physical diagnostic method, so the doctor will ask you a series of questions and examine your legs and neurological system to make sure that no other conditions are present.  They will also need to rule out nerve damage to accurately diagnose RLS.

Treating Restless Leg Syndrome

There are no specific treatments for restless leg syndrome, but doctors will likely prescribe a muscle relaxant which can calm the nerves within the legs.  There also a chance they could opt for a psychiatric medication under the presumption that RLS is caused by neurological conditions or neurotransmitter imbalances.

It’s also worth noting that some have claimed that acupuncture has helped them manage their symptoms.  Acupuncture does not require a referral from a doctor.

Cannabidiol for Restless Leg Syndrome

Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, which is a class of compounds that directly bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to simply regulate existing bodily processes, rather than force specific actions to occur.  The endocannabinoid system to which these receptors belong is in charge of homeostasis, and achieves it by regulating the function of every bodily system.  This means that CBD strains, such as in cream form, may help regulate the nervous system and neurological system, while balancing chemicals in the brain that play a role. 

What Studies are Displaying

More research is being conducted on the actual effects of CBD.

  • Study #1: CBD influences the dopamine receptors in the brain.  It seems that medical researchers have found that CBD has unique potential to help RLS specifically.
  • Study #2: We know that there are cannabinoid receptors within the nerves of the legs which respond to administration of cannabidiol, meaning that they respond to cannabinoid intake from CBD.
  • Study #3: CBD is commonly used for stress-related conditions and to aid in sleep, which may be able to help those who are dealing with the indirect effects of RLS.

Using CBD for Restless Leg Syndrome

If you wish to take CBD for RLS, then speak to your doctor and let them know of any medications you are taking.  It’s ideal to take CBD daily for the best results, as this gives the endocannabinoid system all of the support that it needs.  For RLS, we recommend applying a topical directly to the legs daily and using an internal method as well such as tincture for additional systemic support.

Final Thoughts

Restless leg syndrome can be a difficult condition to live with, but there are possible options that can tremendously help.  If you want to give CBD a try based on the studies linked above, ask your doctor about the best way to go about incorporating it into your treatment plan.

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CBD for Mild or Severe Eczema

BY: Jayson Cote

Eczema is a chronic skin condition, also known as atopic dermatitis.  Roughly 35 million Americans suffer from this condition, according to the National Eczema Association, which can affect people of any age, race, or sex.  Eczema is quite uncomfortable, and often painful.  Along with that, the appearance of eczema can lead to feelings of insecurity over one’s appearance.

There are various treatments for eczema, but if you’re the type of person who appreciates a more natural and holistic approach, you might want to consider giving cannabidiol (CBD) a try.  It’s the leading compound in hemp, which may be able to offer unique properties that have the potential to tackle eczema in a more deeply rooted way.

What Exactly is Eczema?

Eczema is an inflammatory condition of the skin.  In other words, it results from the immune system mistakenly sending cells that attack healthy skin cells, causing them to become red, dry, itchy and flaky, eventually peeling off.  Eczema causes dry patches of the skin which can occur anywhere on the body.  This can remain localized to one area or spread throughout, depending on the unique case.

It’s considered a chronic condition, meaning that it’s assumed that a person who has eczema will have it for life.  That doesn’t mean that symptoms and flareups can’t be managed.  Many children who have eczema actually grow out of the condition as they get older and their immune system strengthens.

Typically, an eczema sufferer will experience flareups, followed by intermittent periods of seeming dormancy.  Flareups result from exposure to certain triggers, like weather changes, hormonal changes, exposure to an allergen or psychological stress.

Why Does Eczema Occur?

Most doctors will tell you that there’s no known cause for eczema, but that it may be inherited genetically.  Typically, though, eczema is an indicator that the body is dealing with an inappropriate inflammatory response.  The inflammatory response occurs when the immune system believes that the body is under threat.  

Therefore, this would imply that something is going on within the body that is compromising the immune system.  Eczema has been linked to underlying conditions affecting the digestive tract, in which inflammation throughout is so taxing that the immune system struggles to operate properly.  It seems that consuming foods to which the sufferer is allergic can cause eczema to develop as well.

Is There a Cure for Eczema?

There is no known cure for eczema, but many have stated that they managed to get rid of their symptoms long-term by making healthier choices including cutting out foods to which they are intolerant.  Also, it seems that managing stress levels can play a significant role in controlling flareups.

There are treatment options which address the symptoms rather than the root cause.  Most commonly, a dermatologist will recommend a topical which reduces inflammation of the skin, alleviating the symptoms.  For more severe cases of eczema, internal methods may be necessary, including oral medication and anti-inflammatory or steroidal injections.

What Can Cannabidiol Potentially Do for Eczema Sufferers?

Now, let’s get into the potential link between CBD and eczema.  To understand, we first have to get into the unique way in which CBD is utilized by the body.  Being a cannabinoid, CBD binds with cannabinoid receptors located throughout the various bodily systems to achieve regulatory effects that improve the behavior of bodily processes.  This regulatory effect addresses the underlying mechanisms involved in conditions like eczema, as well as the symptoms themselves.

The endocannabinoid system features cannabinoid receptors in the immune system, as well as the actual layers of the skin.  This means that utilizing CBD for eczema specifically may be able to regulate the physical symptoms of eczema on the skin, as well as the underlying inflammation that is determined by the immune system.

Studies on CBD for Eczema

As additional research gets funded and put to good use, we are now seeing what the potential effects of cannabidiol are for this type of skin condition.

  • Study #2: CBD was tested on immune function by medical researchers.  It was determined that cannabidiol has the potential to regulate overall function of the immune system, which may have a positive impact on those with inflammatory conditions of various kinds.
    *Source – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7173676/
  • Study #3: Earlier, we discussed the role that stress seems to play in the development of eczema.  Stress releases cortisol, which, in high doses, activates the body’s inflammatory response.  We know that CBD has the potential to regulate cortisol levels so that a person may be able to feel calmer, both physically and mentally.
    *Source – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/

Taking CBD for Eczema

Let’s get into the best way to use CBD specifically for eczema and psoriasis, whether your case is mild or severe.

Step #1: Speak to Your Doctor
It’s very important that you have a conversation with your doctor prior to trying to treat eczema on your own, whether it be with CBD or something else.

Step #2: Choose the Right Delivery Methods 
We recommend using both a topical and an internal method such as a CBD oil or CBD cannabinoid cream for the best results.  The topical can tackle the specific symptoms on the skin by providing concentrated doses of cannabidiol directly to the problematic areas of the body.  Meanwhile, the internal method may offer regulatory effects to the body’s inflammatory response.

Step #3: Opt for a High Strength
We suggest going with a stronger-than-average milligram concentration for this specific issue.

Step #4: Daily CBD Usage is Key
It’s highly advisable to take CBD daily for the best results.  Daily administration gives the endocannabinoid system what it needs to perform properly, so that it may regulate the functions of the body that are affected by the condition.

Show Off Your Lovely Skin Again! 
Eczema can be a distressing and chronic condition, but there are ways to manage it.  Science now shows us that cannabidiol may be one of several options available.  Again, as we cannot stress this enough, consult a physician as to what CBD carrier oils may be good for YOUR condition.

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Medical Cannabis is Great for Sports Injuries and active lifestyles

BY: Juan Esteban

Medical Cannabis is Great for Sports
Injuries and active lifestyles

“Weekend warriors, serious athletes, obsessive golfers, all ye with active lifestyles, if you’re reading this article you probably have first-hand experience with the side effects associated with opiate narcotics, analgesics, muscle relaxants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) typically prescribed for sports injuries or the wear and tear from a lifetime of “staying fit” or “playing hard.”

Take opiates (please), which interrupt pain signaling to the brain by flooding pain receptors with damping effects. The long term effect is a down regulation of endogenous opiate production.

Technically speaking, “this down regulation appears to have cross over effects across the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, triggering something called panhypopituitarism, with symptoms of fatigue, obesity, diabetes, insomnia, depression, GI inhibition and decreased libido often resulting,” according to Dr. Zach Sparer of Green Wellness.

If pharmaceuticals are not your treatment of choice, perhaps after an early weekend morning spent jockeying for rebounding position against other super aggressive Type A lawyers and bankers (just kidding, we love rebounding), you go for old-school remedies like Tiger Balm or Icy Hot that create a warming or cooling sensation to help lessen the pain as well as increase the blood flow in the affected area(s).

I have used Tiger Balm on my back when it tweaks out and it does enable me to go on with my day. The problem I found was my back hurt even worse the next day and I still needed to spend several days on the couch and kept reapplying more balm. That’s why Icy Hot has several warnings that recommend speaking with a doctor before using!

They both work under the same principles just different ways of going about it. The whole idea behind them is to trick the body by occupying the pain signals being sent up to the brain with a different sensation.

Net-net, when you do injure yourself playing a sport or just feel carved up by the inflammation, why cover up the injury when you can actually start the healing process?

​Instead, medical-grade cannabis has been shown to decrease inflammation and control chronic pain usually caused by old injuries, while also helping to regulate the endocrine system and avoid having it become easily depleted through the day by pain or stress.

Moreover, new medical cannabis strains specifically engineered to provide even greater comfort against inflammation and pain are now being produced.

Taking a step back, for many years the main goal of cannabis growers was to raise the THC level of the plant increasing its “high” feeling. At the same time the most powerful medicinal compound in cannabis is, you guessed it, THC, which we know is helpful for a range of diseases including glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and side effects of chemotherapy and AIDS treatment such as nausea and loss of appetite.

But THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana, and while many patients benefit from a sense of reduced anxiety and mood elevation, other users experience drowsiness, altered perception of space-time, sensory alterations, and disorientation.

Fortunately, medical cannabis also contains CBD, which has many of the same health effects as THC, but without the psychoactive effects as the Washington Post article outlines.

(Getting back to Icy Hot or Tiger Balm, did you know you can apply a cannabis-infused, CBD-rich topical that will absorb into the skin; your body will recognize those active CBD components, a chemical your own body produces, that “naturally” begins to increase blood flow to the affected area  to start the healing process?)

With that mindset seed houses like Resin Seeds, which we work with at our Seattle-based dispensary, The CPC, have been crossing strains to produce high concentrations of CBDs (with many other seed houses furiously working away as well on similar strains).

For example, Resin Seeds produces a strain called Cannatonic that has a phenotype available with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD, which has been shown to be a medically beneficial ratio.

Now on average medical cannabis typically contains 12 percent THC and 0.2 percent CBD.

During the past year, The CPC has also been testing and growing a slew of new, true-medical strains, high in CBD, and low in THC, that we believe will be ten to twenty times more medically effective because they contain up to 7% CBDs. We eventually will produce medicine at a 10-12 percent CBD range.

CBDs have many beneficial qualities as this graphic illustrates:

For example with a simple cannabis tincture loaded with CBDs, you can create an analgesic that will allow the weekend warrior to avoid things like liver damage by avoiding prolonged use of products such as Aleve and Advil!

​ The interactions of all the different compounds available in Cannabis still are not fully understood.  We have seen in some new products such as Sativex which in a true sense is a commercially developed Cannabis Tincture. It contains only two of the active components found in cannabis.

Or consider cannabis packed into edibles, commonly referred to as medibles, which now come in many sizes, shapes and flavors, and offer a safe, stigma free alternative to smoking. They yield a longer duration and a deeper, body side effect — without the up and downs associating of needing to frequently medicate, and can compare favorably to the desired, pain-mitigating effects from taking a Vicodin or other heavy pain killer.

Consuming cannabis also allows the full uptake of many beneficial terpenes, which have been shown to add to the effect and assist the body in using the compounds found in cannabis.

(Of course, in addition to developing powerful new strains, the holy grail is finding the old strains that people used to medicate with a thousand years ago — like the elusive Thai Stick known to suffuse nerve pain while also providing energy and other strains like Panama Red which the ancients knew about way back in the day).

As a Medical community our continued exploration of these new strains is allowing us to really have an impact on conditions with a minimal to no stoned/high effect.

We like to think we are taking the fun out of getting high.

More important, we are seeing a potential paradigm shift in how we treat common sports injuries: as the stigma surrounding medical cannabis lessens, the desire by many to eschew pharmaceuticals and treatments plans that mask chronic issues (while damaging our bodies at the same time) grows every day.” Ben Reagan, The C.P.C

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