Newsletter #1; 1st December 2019
If you were plugged into the UK cannabis scene (or lack thereof) last year in 2018, then you’ll have heard that medicinal cannabis was legalised for prescription under the NHS.
Despite this medical ‘legalisation’ very few people have actually been able to get the medicine they need. Doctors have been reluctant to prescribe patients various forms of cannabis based medicines, due to poorly defined criteria for use in certain diseases, and a lack of clinical evidence.
If I were a doctor and I didn’t know much about cannabis, I’d be reluctant to be one of the first to prescribe a medicine that doesn’t have much clinical evidence behind it. Docs are looking out for their patients, and their careers.
Sadly, the legal classification of cannabis has meant that the scientific evidence just hasn’t accumulated to a level where doctors feel comfortable prescribing it.
However, that may have changed for a couple of conditions; Epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis.
A decent body of evidence has accumulated in the form of clinical trials for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes. The CBD based drug Epidiolex has shown to be beneficial for these forms of epilepsy (1), (2), (3), (4), (5).
The problem here is that Epidiolex has only been approved for these types of Epilepsy, where more types exist. Those with other forms of epilepsy who may also benefit, may struggle to get their hands on this medicine, and its not because there isn’t any evidence.
Similarly, the oral spray Sativex which contains a 1:1 ratio of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC and non-psychoactive CBD (delivers 2.7 mg THC and 2.5 mg CBD per actuation) has been beneficial for muscle spasms in MS (9), (10), (11), (12)
The evidence from clinical trials also suggests Sativex is also effective for managing neuropathic pain in MS (13), (14), (15) but is not prescribed for this purpose. In Canada, Sativex is approved to treat neuropathic pain associated with MS.
Other people in the UK who have neuropathic pain may struggle to get a prescription for Sativex if they don’t have MS. Again, its not because there isn’t any evidence.
Studies have shown that THC, one of the active ingredients in Sativex, is effective for managing neuropathic pain in HIV, trauma, diabetes, chemotherapy, and other conditions (16). Why haven’t these conditions been included if there is evidence that suggests cannabis based medicines can be beneficial?
Is it because it wasn’t directly attributable to Sativex, but smoked cannabis instead? Who knows. Read more on the Guardian.
As a user of CBD, I bet you’ve got great expectations for your health and happiness.
But what if I told you some CBD products could end up costing you your job!
Sadly, drug testing for cannabinoids isn’t too sophisticated yet. Even full spectrum CBD oils containing below the UK and EU legal limit of 0.2% THC can yield a positive result on a drug test.
Thats not good news for professionals who want to enjoy the benefits of CBD, but without the risk. CBD is meant to help relieve stress, not increase it from the potential loss of work.
In a paper published Nov. 4 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, two out of six study participants tested positive after vaping cannabis that contained 0.39% THC.
Whilst this is marginally higher than the cutoff of 0.2%, it demonstrates that you cannot be too careful when using full spectrum CBD, particularly with repeated use, as it may accumulate in the body.
This is why we use broad spectrum CBD, with THC concentrations <0.05% to minimise the chances of testing positive on urinary drug tests. We cant guarantee negative drug tests, but we do our best to help you get the best CBD without the risk.
Its world AIDS day, and we want to take an opportunity to give a shout out to those out there who may be struggling to manage their symptoms.
Whilst there is no established cure for HIV or the progressive form of the disease AIDS, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.
Quality of life is still important to consider when it comes to HIV and AIDS. Often, anxiety is a common side effect after any diagnosis of a terminal illness.
This is where CBD may prove useful, to support a calmer mental state and perhaps more restful and restorative sleep as a result.
Pain is also a result of HIV/AIDS, and having a weakened immune system also opens the door to other secondary infections.
CBD is used for managing pain related to many conditions. It may also be beneficial in AIDS, especially where other drugs typically used to manage pain may produce unwanted side effects.
Even though there is no cure for AIDS, at least daily life may be that little bit more enjoyable with CBD.
Newsletter #2; 1st January 2020
The Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) has set a deadline of 20th December for businesses to take part in the CBD Novel Foods application process.
What this means is that in order to be authorised for sale in the EU, products must meet strict safety standards.
In order to become members of the ACI, businesses will have to meet Cannabinoid Quality Charter standards.
The process is set to kick off next year, with stage 1 being the product testing phase. This will enable greater confidence in the standards and quality of the existing market.
It may come as no surprise to you that some CBD products fail to deliver what they promise. This ties in nicely to the regulation around CBD we’ve already covered. Since CBD is not regulated, there are no standardised quality control guidelines in place.
What that means folks, is you cant be sure you’re actually getting the CBD you’re promised. Not only might you be shorted on the CBD you were promised, there might be levels of THC in some products that would actually classify them as illegal. This is worrisome as health practitioners, as the last thing we want is for our clients to unwittingly take a scheduled drug that may disrupt them psychologically.
A report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and UK-based laboratory PhytoVista found that up to 45% of samples had levels of THC that would make them technically illegal (themcuk.org).
A recent study looked at 14 samples of CBD oils commercially available in Europe (Pavlovic et al.,2018). 9 out of the 14 samples contained CBD at > 10% variance from the stated content. 7 contained below the stated amount whereas 2 contained more. 1 oil contained 0.35% THC, which is concerning since it was labelled as THC free.
Accurate dosing is imperative for using CBD in clinical practice, as overstated concentrations of CBD may negate any clinically meaningful effect when used by an unwitting client.
We are proud to say that our oils are tested by Phytovista Laboratories, an established authority in testing cannabinoid products and the very laboratory who participated in creating the report.
Obesity and CBD
National Obesity Awareness Week (12- 18 January) is coming up, and we thought we’d share with you a little bit about how CBD may pitch in here.
Epidemiological studies hint at an effect of cannabis on body weight, and body composition.
Data was used rom the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions. Researchers looked at the Body Mass Index, or BMI, of 33,000 participants, ages 18 and older (Alshaarawy and Anthony 2019).
Lead author of the study, Omayma Alshaarawy comments that “Over a three-year period, all participants showed a weight increase, but interestingly, those who used marijuana had less of an increase compared to those that never used.” (Science Daily.com)
“We found that users, even those who just started, were more likely to be at a normal, healthier weight and stay at that weight. Only 15% of persistent users were considered obese compared to 20% of non-users.”
The weight difference between users and non-users was modest, at around 2 lbs. Alshaarawy clarifies “An average 2-pound difference doesn’t seem like much, but we found it in more than 30,000 people with all different kinds of behaviours and still got this result,”
Although cannabis is more than just CBD, its plausible that CBD is contributing in some way. It seems as though cannabis, whilst not wholly promoting weight loss, may inhibit the gaining of weight.
For example, side effects reported from using CBD were associated with reduced appetite (Thiele et al., 2018), (Devinsky et al., 2016). CBD has also been found to reduce appetite and food intake in rats (Farrimond et al., 2012).
What will be interesting to study is the effect of a CBD rich whole plant extract low in THC, much like our Broad Spectrum Hemp oral drops, on body weight and composition.
Alshaarawy, O. and Anthony, J. C. (2019) ‘Are cannabis users less likely to gain weight? Results from a national 3-year prospective study’, International Journal of Epidemiology. Oxford University Press (OUP). doi: 10.1093/ije/dyz044.
Devinsky, O. et al. (2016) ‘Cannabidiol in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy: an open-label interventional trial’, The Lancet Neurology. Lancet Publishing Group, 15(3), pp. 270–278. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(15)00379-8.
Farrimond, J. A., Whalley, B. J. and Williams, C. M. (2012) ‘Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns’, Psychopharmacology, 223(1), pp. 117–129. doi: 10.1007/s00213-012-2697-x.
Ignatowska-Jankowska, B., Jankowski, M. M. and Swiergiel, A. H. (2011) ‘Cannabidiol decreases body weight gain in rats: Involvement of CB2 receptors’, Neuroscience Letters, 490(1), pp. 82–84. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.12.031.
Pavlovic, R. et al. (2018) ‘Quality traits of “cannabidiol oils”: Cannabinoids content, terpene fingerprint and oxidation stability of european commercially available preparations’, Molecules. MDPI AG, 23(5). doi: 10.3390/molecules23051230.
Thiele, E. A. et al. (2018) ‘Cannabidiol in patients with seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (GWPCARE4): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial’, The Lancet. Lancet Publishing Group, 391(10125), pp. 1085–1096. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)30136-3.
Newsletter #3; 1st February 2020
Newsletter #4; 1st March 2020
Brain Awareness Week (6 – 22 March)
Its brain awareness week, and we want to take the opportunity to shout about CBD and how it helps keep a healthy brain.
A healthy brain relies on numerous processes to remain synchronised and balanced in order to work optimally.
The modern environment makes it harder for us to keep healthy brains and can lead to functional imbalances in the way the brain works.
If left unchecked, functional imbalances can lead to diseases which affect brain function more severely, such as Alzheimer’s.
The good news is we can use good nutrition, sleep, exercise and of course CBD to help support a healthy brain.
Of all the things that can disrupt a healthy brain, CBD shows promise in combatting a lot of them.
CBD supports core processes that are essential for keeping a brain healthy. CBD appears to stimulate synaptic plasticity and facilitates neurogenesis, whilst also reducing neuroinflammation (1).
- CBD increases BDNF and neurogenesis
- CBD reduces microglia activation
- CBD reduces pro-inflammatory messengers
- CBD increases anti-inflammatory messengers
- CBD tightens the blood brain barrier and prevents ‘leakiness’
- CBD neutralises free radicals, reduces oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation
- CBD enhances blood blow and oxygen delivery to the brain, as a vasodilator
- CBD prevents against glutamate induced excitotoxicity
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Cancer is no joke, it’s very complex and is still trying to be fully understood. No one cancer is the same. Each case has its nuances and may require personalised attention and treatment.
What works for some people may not necessarily work for others. That being said, there are cases where CBD has proven beneficial, for specific individuals with a particular subset of cancer.
An 81 year old woman with low grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC) decided to take an alternative approach to dealing with her condition. She used Laetrile tablets (500 mg orally four times per day) and cannabidiol (CBD) oil (1 drop sublingually each evening) from may 2017.
In July 2017 her masses were found to have decreased in size, and by November 2017 she continued to show a dramatic reduction in her disease burden, with near complete resolution of all previously identified lesions (6).
CBD has been studied on ovarian cancer cells, and reflects the results seen from the above case study.
Adding a CBD-rich hemp extract to cultured ovarian cells led to significant dose-dependent slowing of cell migration. This may mean a CBD-rich hemp extract is useful for stopping or slowing down metastasis — the spreading of cancer to other parts of the body.
Additionally, CBD-rich hemp extracts also reduce inflammation ( – IL-1B), a process which can drive cancer progression (7).
CBD also encourages key processes in cancer cell destruction, known as apoptosis (8). This process, known as programmed cell death is key to arresting the growth, and eventual shrinking of tumours evidenced from the case study above.
Pharmacological blockage of cannabinoid receptors on ovarian cancer cells was shown to inhibit tumour growth (9). It was also found that cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 were increased on ovarian cancer cells, indicating the ECS plays a role in a disturbed cell cycle in cancer.
Newsletter #5; 1st April 2020
Its bowel cancer awareness month, and in tribute to those suffering with this debilitating condition we are eager to report findings from the latest scientific studies with cannabinoids.