Cissus quandragularis is on the rise. But its uses are more than advertised.
Could reishi be a helpful adjunct to cancer therapy? Some studies suggest so.
Cannabidiol (or CBD) is one of the many active substances of the cannabis plant. In many cases, a condition needs to be treated with the entire plant (i.e. Pure cannabis oil – otherwise known as Rick Simpson oil), because of the synergistic effect of THC, CBD, CBN and approximately 80 more substances in the plant, including terpenes. However, studies show that CBD has a great healing potential, with applications in: inflammation, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, autism, neurological pain, arthritis, diabetic cardiomyopathy, oxidative stress, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia etc.
The mechanism of action of cannabidiol is complex. It would be better described as an adaptogen, therefore aiding the body's homeostatic mechanisms, helping the body reach a balanced state. In some cases, a specific mechanism of action towards certain receptors has been identified, but there is not one specific receptor or one specific binding mechanism.
There are too many studies, so it would be great trouble to link them all here. However, if you would like to search for yourself, you can go to Google Scholar and type cannabidiol plus the condition you are looking for and you will see a vast amount of academic studies
Let's look at some specific conditions.
1. Neuropathic pain
Cannabidiol has been shown to reduce neuropathic pain, compared to both placebo and conventional medication, without the side effects of commonly prescribed neuropathic pain medication (and without causing any cognitive impairment).
CBD has tremendous medicinal applications in epilepsy (including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome), reducing the frequency, intensity and duration of epileptic crises (seizures), significantly more than placebo, with high tolerance and minimal drug-drug interactions with other anti-epileptic agents. It is still recommended that if CBD is used concomitantly with other antiepileptic medication, a 2-hour before-after window should be kept between CBD and medication, to avoid potential absorption issues. (First reference is an extensive review of CBD in several neuropsychiatric disorders, I highly recommend reading the entire review)
Cannabis has been highly blamed for psychiatric disorders, however studies show that THC can trigger psychiatric conditions only to patients that are predisposed to such conditions and only in excessive, uncontrolled use (i.e. Abuse). Cannabidiol seems to combat these effects, acting as an anti-psychotic agent, showing promising results for treatment of many psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, acting through novel mesolimbic substrates.
4. Alzheimer's Disease
To this day there is no complete treatment for Alzheimer's Disease, but studies prove that cannabidiol, used together with medication, can slow the progression of the disease, especially if the diagnosis of the disease is conducted during an early stage. Essentially CBD acts as a neuroprotective agent, combating oxidative stress and reducing the apoptosis (programmed cell death) of the brain cells, which could potentially be used as a treatment for dementia (further studies needed)
This is one of CBD's most studied and most effective areas. Personally, I use CBD as I have chondromalacia patellae (inflammation and softening of the knee cartilage) and the results have been clear; decreased pain and inflammation – tested for CRP, one of the inflammation markers, and dropped from 18 to 6 within 2 months).
Since CBD reduces overall inflammation, the effects can be helpful in many conditions such as sports injuries, arthritis, brain damage, multiple sclerosis etc. The dose of CBD varies depending on the condition and the patient, therefore titration of dosing is used to reach an optimal dose. Studies show that CBD is free from the common side effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as stomach lining damage, blood pressure elevation, stomach aches.
Apart from being used as a painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, CBD can reduce the swelling and discomfort of arthritis, through its selective immunosuppressive properties. However, more studies in humans needed to establish whether transdermal (i.e. Patches) or oral (i.e. Capsules, oil) use is better for arthritis treatment.
7. Multiple Sclerosis
In many studies, THC has been proven an effective agent against the many symptoms of multiple sclerosis, with THC/CBD combination being a highly effective treatment. However, CBD alone can also aid in multiple sclerosis. A study conducted in rats showed both pain reduction but also significant motor improvement.
8. Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
One of the complications often present in diabetic patients is diabetic cardiomyopathy (i.e. Increased risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease and hypertension). A 2010 study showed that CBD can be used as a treatment for diabetic cardiomyopathy, due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic (reducing programmed cell death) properties.
The majority of cancer cases are treated with a combination of THC and CBD or a whole plant hemp oil (such as the Rick Simpson oil), as the synergistic effect of those substances seems to be the key for its anti-cancer properties. However, CBD alone has also been tested and proven to have selective pro-apoptotic (i.e. Induce cell death but selectively for tumour cells), anti-proliferative (i.e. Reducing tumour cell growth), but also anti-migratory and anti-metastatic (reducing the spreading of cancerous cells to other tissues) properties.
To conclude, cannabidiol is not a panacea, but it cannot be denied that its applications are vast and since its legal status is changing in many countries, this provides an easier way for academics to proceed in further studies, especially in humans, to investigate the full healing potential of this substance.
I am not a medical doctor. Always consult your doctor or physician before implementing any changes to your diet, medication or supplementation. Do not act on your own.
At the time of this article being written, I do have an affiliate link for a website that sells CBD products. However, I did this as I already used CBD and have found numerous studies on its efficacy.
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, characterized mostly by abdominal pain, frequent fever, diarrhea and often weight loss.
It can be caused by genetic predisposition, chronic stress, altered gut bacteria etc. I am not going to give you a full spectrum of what Crohn's disease is, you can look that up. What I intend to do is to provide you with alternative treatments.
Crohn's is most frequently treated azathioprine, methotrexate and other immunosuppressant drugs. As these medicines are suppressing your immunity, you can imagine the side-effects; you are more prone to catch the flu, bronchitis, common cold, bacterial infections (through touch/common areas/public toilets etc).
Now, I am not saying that the treatments are ineffective, but certainly the side-effects render people nervous about their use. Also, some people do not respond well to those therapies, experiencing vomiting, coughing blood, unexpected bruising, stronger abdominal pain etc. To those people, according to my research through various sources, the following had made it to the list of top alternatives to treat the disease:
1) Use 0.5mg to 1.5mg THC-containg medical (legally supplied) cannabis in 2-3 divided doses. (if THC is not legal in your country, I do not endorse the use of it).
2) CBD oil or spray, recommended dose 20-30mg in 2 divided doses.
There are multiple studies on the anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties of CBD, plus(at the same time?) it is now legal in many countries around the world in various forms which now makes is easier and cheaper to find.
3) Elemental diet: High carbohydrate, low-fat (less than 10%), fairly-low protein (10-20%) diet, based mainly on pre-digested (elemental) shakes for a few days (i.g. Nestle's Vivonex).
(note: the study was in fact funded by Nestle, so I would bear that in mind. Nevertheless the results show progress)
4) Semi-vegetarian diet. (MAJOR) Avoid red meat as much as possible, consume white meat or fish sporadically, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, especially high-fibre ones (you need to test to see which ones are irritating your stomach and which ones you can tolerate. Aim for high-fiber, dark greens too). Avoid processed foods as much as possible, especially artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame K, maltodextrin etc and anything containing polysorbate. (A good example of high-fiber alkaline food is plantains and broccoli)
5) Turmeric extract (curcumin) 1.000 to 1.500 mg daily in 2 divided doses (preferably after meals since the stomach lining is already irritated). Prefer drops or extract capsules for a treatment, not the powdered herb itself, as the dosage will need to be higher in the powdered form.
6) Daily consumption of green tea (preferably organic). Studies for reduced inflammation present.
7) Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D regulates the expression of approximately 900 genes. Chronic deficiency can decrease serotonin (i.e. More stress which then exacerbates the disease), fatigue, chronic inflammation, decreased bone density and many more. Commonly prescribed vitamin D is around 400 to 800 IU which would be insufficient if you have vitamin D deficiency. My recommendation (as recommended to me by my GP as I am deficient too) would be 3.000 IU daily, in the morning, for at least 2 months (prefer drops or spray if possible, to avoid first-pass metabolism in the stomach. I use sublingual spray) I cannot stress the importance of Vitamin D enough. If you fix vitamin D deficiency, all aspects of your health will improve.
(If you are still not convinced about the importance of vitamin D, Google “Dr. Rhonda Patrick vitamin D”. She will convince you, stating facts and studies that are unshakable.)
8) Check B12 levels and supplement if necessary. Lack of B12 can decrease immunity and therefore cause inability to combat inflammation.
9) Probiotics: in Crohn's the stomach lining is damaged, and the bacterial flora is affected tremendously. A course of probiotics (7-10 days) can help restore the natural bacterial flora. Avoid artificial sweeteners as they have shown to eliminate good bacteria. You can consume stevia in reasonable amounts (up to 500ml of a sweetened beverage a day).
10) Peppermint tea. It has been shown to alleviate stomach cramps and bloating, better consume warm but not boiling hot, as it can cause more irritation in patients with bowel inflammation.
11) Fish oil/omega 3's. Supplements that contain EPA and DHA are major components for combating inflammation. (If vegetarian/vegan, take algae oil instead)
12) Fix the mood. Stress is a major factor in Crohn's disease. Try meditation, walking, cheerful activities. Vitamin D can also help with production of serotonin. (stress is a MAJOR factor to control)
13) Mangosteen juice. I have not found academic studies, but reviews from Crohn's patients state that daily consuption of mangosteen juice reduce symptoms. (usually 50ml, 2-3 times daily)
14) Keep a food diary, note down foods that trigger symptoms in order to completely eliminate them from your diet.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor, always consult with your physician or doctor before taking any advice from me or anyone else, or before implementing any changes to your treatment.
Dr. Michael Greger (Google him)
Dr. Rhonda Patrick (Google her)
Cover picture by https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au/about-crohns-colitis/