This article is brought to you by Joe Sunnyside, co-founder of Sunnyside Botanicals. Dive with us into Sunnyside Botanicals’ origin story, the transformational effect CBD had on Joe’s life, and three tips he wishes he was given when he started his CBD journey.


A few years ago, my circumstances made it clear that I needed to embark on journey to improve my wellbeing. I’d been coping, or suffering with chronic pain from youth sports injuries and a serious car accident, along with newly diagnosed mood disorder. Gratefully, I was given a wonderful opportunity to take time and I initiated a quest for self improvement.

I have to admit that, while it was a slow start, it wasn’t until I introduced CBD to my routine that everything catapulted forward with life-changing momentum. Including a CBD tincture into my daily routine has without question been among the most positively impactful decisions I’ve ever made – the benefits have allowed me to make profound improvements to both my physical and mental health.

But, despite almost being a poster child for someone who could benefit from CBD, noting the ailments I was suffering from, I was hesitant to try CBD. I was very familiar with cannabis, having varying periods of consumption, heavy or otherwise, over my late teens and 20s and working in the industry. But CBD… I was a skeptic.

3 Tips to Maximizing CBD's Effects and Benefits | Wellness | My Supply Co.
Tincture formulas, left to right: 150mg Nano CBD, 600mg Full Spectrum CBD, 600mg CBD Isolate.

Three main reasons I was skeptical of CBD:

  1. It sounded too good to be true. Because it seemed to be all the rage especially down in the USA (Where it was more or less unregulated completely) bold hyperbolic claims that it could cure and solve anything and everything. It just wasn’t believable sounding to me.
  2. Many of the people I knew personally who’d tried it felt it didn’t seem to work for them.
  3. At the time, most of the products available here in Canada didn’t resonate with me. This was pre-legalization, and it seemed there were only recreationally focused “stoner brands” that had little education on proper dosing, or what the product was really about. It didn’t leave me with much confidence in the products available.

But it was after (too long) a period of agony with the arthritic issue, and having stomach issues as a result of some of the medications I’d been on for both arthritis and anxiety, a degree of desperation set it in and I gave CBD a chance…

For me the impact was so profound, I sit here today with the opportunity to write educational blogs for you after co-founding a CBD company that is now the basis of my career, and purpose. I’m so grateful, I still can’t believe it at times. It is our goal at Sunnyside Botanicals to not only provide high-quality remedies, but to educate you, the conscious consumer, so they can make the most out of our products. We hope our contributions leave the industry a better place than when we entered it, and that our own experiences can provide guidance and conversation to enrich the lives of those we come across.

Anyone who seeks CBD is doing so for some sort of relief. It is of great disappointment to us that the experiences of some are so underwhelming that they not only continue to have to cope with their ailment, but they now may even discourage others from seeking the potential life changing benefits of CBD. We feel its usually because of a bad product, or they’ve not given CBD the chance to work for them.

Here are 3 pieces of information I wish everyone knew so they can make the most out of their CBD journey.

3 Tips to Maximizing CBD's Effects and Benefits | Wellness | My Supply Co.
Sunnyside Botanicals’ Nano products, top to bottom: 600mg CBD Isolate, 60mg CBD Relief Roller.

Edibles are bad — sublingual tinctures FTW.

The #1 reason people feel that CBD didn’t work for them is because it didn’t. Why not? Often it’s because they’ve consumed their CBD as an edible, like a gummy, a capsule, or even dropping their CBD oil into a beverage.

Many studies conclude the same — this is the least bioavailable way to get your CBD. The gastrointestinal system, i.e. your digestive system, has been shown to only absorb approximately 6% of a CBD dose (some studies show as low as 4%, one shows as high at 9%). This means if you’re taking a 10mg gummy, or dropping 10mg of oil into your morning coffee, you’re actually consuming less than 1mg.

The simple reason: our water-based bodies do not absorb oil-based nutrients very efficiently. It can also take between 1-2 hours for any benefits to be felt. Not ideal.

To be clear, nothing really absorbs at 100% efficiency (the proper term is bioavailability) — there’s a reason why you get an IV if you go to the hospital. It injects nutrients/medicine directly into the bloodstream instead of through a digestive system. CBD, however, is particularly awful at being absorbed gastrointestinally.

We always recommend taking your CBD with a tincture, holding the oil under your tongue so it can be absorbed by the sublingual gland.

This absorption method delivers the therapeutic agents directly to the bloodstream at approximately 35% (that’s much better than 6%!) and in as little as 30 minutes. Best held for 60 seconds or so, we encourage people to take the time to integrate a mindfulness ritual into their routine during this time. Taking 60 seconds to be still, or even go over a list of things I’m grateful for was a simple yet rewarding improvement to the experience.

Note: Vaporizing and suppositories have better bioavailabilities, but those come with potential other health risks or convenience factors to consider.

Your ideal dose is as unique as you are! Finding it takes time, a little experimentation, and consistency.

People take CBD to remedy a variety of things, be it arthritis or chronic pain, insomnia, varying degrees of anxiety, stomach or bowel issues, aches and cramps, or even for supplementation to encourage things like homeostasis and as anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Each of these can be remedied with different doses (let alone different products, e.g. isolate or full-spectrum).

Chronic cases of both pain and insomnia are best remedied with a full-spectrum product, and may require larger doses. Those with anxiety may prefer a CBD isolate tincture at, depending on your anxiety, a small dose of 25mg or a large dose of 300-400mg (per studies examining benefits of CBD for individuals with PTSD).

Crucially, like any supplement like magnesium or fish oil and especially those affecting the body’s or brain’s chemistry, it can take 2 or more weeks for the full benefits to be reached. Consistent daily dosing for up to a month is the best way to ensure you’ve given it the best chance.

We always recommend people start off taking 5-10mg (under the tongue, sublingually of course!) 2x daily (depending on their condition) and increase by 5-10mg every 4-5 days. After benefits are no longer being felt with increases, you’ve hit your ideal dose. Some people track and journal their experiences too.

CBD is not a cure-all… but it can be a wonderful ally on your wellness journey.

As I integrated CBD into life, it offered some relief from chronic pain and took the edge off from the side effects I was feeling from my medications. Having a greater capacity to be more physically active, as well as bringing some mental clarity, if not stability, was the miracle of my CBD journey. But I did have to do something with that capacity. Feeling better physically made it easier to become more active, which improved my mental state. Feeling better mentally motivated me to continue working on myself, and the confidence to purse something I was passionate about. But work had to be put in, CBD was just there to take the edge off, and then provide support along the way.

Ensuring you’re active is key to feeling better physically and is a crucial contributor to mental wellness. If pain is limiting your ability to be active, CBD is a proven potent pain reliever. An all natural anti-inflammatory. If you suffer from chronic pain, (condition depending, of course) consider trying something like yoga or Thai Chi if you can start feeling able.

If you’re taking CBD for an anxiety issue, no matter the severity, please consider talking to someone about it.The best remedy for anxiety is talking about it. It’s hard to do so when one isn’t in the state of mind though, and CBD might help get one there. The more we talk about it, the easier it becomes.

I hope you’ve found my tips and tricks insightful. You can find our full selection of products throughout getmysupply.co/brand/sunnysidebotancials — I’m sure there’s a product (or 2, or 3 at least!) that can help you enjoy the Sunnyside of Life.  🌞🌈🌱

Joe Sunnyside

Joe is the Co-Founder of Sunnyside Botanicals, established in 2019 to design and deliver effective hemp-derived CBD products. A leader in transparency, quality, and sustainability, Sunnyside Botanicals has dedicated itself to the creation and refinement of products we can all rely on consistently, trusting they’ll meet the health needs of loved ones.

Joe lives in Vancouver BC.

Key takeaways.

  • TL;DR?

    Two Canadian researchers think they have stumbled upon a strain of cannabis that can be used in the prevention of COVID-19.

  • How can cannabis prevent COVID-19?

    By modulating certain receptors in respiratory tissues, cannabis might prevent COVID-19 from entering the body.

  • Does that mean cannabis can be used for COVID-19 prevention?

    Unfortunately, no. It’s all still a theory and before any medical claim can be made, the researchers have to be able to provide it on a large-scale study.

  • Does every kind of cannabis have this effect?

    No — the researchers pointed out that certain strains of cannabis might even make it worse. Only certain strains show this effect on COVID-19.

Two Canadian researchers have been hitting the laboratory breeding two strains of cannabis that they believe might be valuable in the fight against COVID-19. Interestingly, the two researchers were developing this strain for its potential to fight cancer, but when coronavirus plagued the world, they wondered if it might have any COVID-fighting abilities.

The pair worked off already existing research that scientists were doing on cannabis and its role in COVID-19. After seeing this research, they delved deeper into their own strain and found that cannabis might block coronavirus from entering a person’s body.

Olga and Igor Kovalchuck’s research.

An image of a person holding a cannabis plant with large leaves and flowers.
@mrstache_genetics

Olga and Igor Kovalchuck published their research in April, 2019. The pair started with the overall understanding of how coronaviruses like COVID-19 enter a human body. Like with a lot of respiratory pathogens, the entrance of the pathogen is receptor-mediated. By tricking a receptor on a cell somewhere in the respiratory tract, the virus gets into the cell, starts replicating, and makes a person sick. 

“It uses receptor-mediated entry into the human host via angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) that is expressed in lung tissue, as well as oral and nasal mucosa, kidney, testes, and the gastrointestinal tract,” write Olga and Igor in the research paper.

Therefore, they arrived at the hypothesis that modulating the levels of ACE2 expression in the target tissues of the virus might be a strategy through which COVID-19 can be prevented.

What’s cannabis got to do with it?

Olga and Igor’s extensive research into cannabis and its immune modulating effects (since this is a big player in cancer) put cannabis in the spotlight as a potential way to achieve ACE2 expression modulation. 

Essentially, high-CBD cannabis has been hypothesized as a modulator of gene expression and especially inflammation. With this hypothesis, the pair of Canadian researchers arrived at the possibility that cannabis might help to reduce ACE2 expression, thereby giving COVID-19 less of a chance to enter a person’s body.

Together under the Health Canada act, the pair of Canadian researchers have developed over 800 strains of cannabis and produced cannabis extracts for all of them. And they think that at least one of them might be a great candidate for COVID-19 prevention.

It’s still just a theory.

A collage art of bernie sanders sitting on a nugget of cannabis.
@cannacaveokc

The hypothesis is strong and so is the supporting research, but it’s still just a theory. The pair will have to get approval to manufacture a successful strain and then study it on a larger scale to be able to confirm their findings.

On top of this, they also point out that not all cannabis could have that effect. Just like some strains make you sleepy and others, energetic, it’s possible for some strains of cannabis to actually make things worse. 

Pending further research of their novel, high-CBD strains, Igor and Olga Kovalchuck’s research could essentially form a safe and effective adjunct therapy for COVID-19. They speculate that the products will be used as a form of mouthwash or throat gargle to target the specific tissues involved in COVID-19 illness.

It’s more likely that the vaccine is going to arrive at the table long before a cannabis-COVID treatment regime. Nonetheless, it’s always fun and exciting to hear about the medical potential of cannabis. It never ceases to amaze!

Key takeaways.

  • What are the different kinds of pain?

    Pain is usually separated into two categories – nociceptive and neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is pain that is felt because of an injury or inflammation for example, and neuropathic pain is when there’s no direct cause of pain, but is suspected to arise in the nervous system.

  • Does cannabis work for pain?

    According to research, cannabis shows promise in treating cancer related pain, fibromyalgia related pain and gastrointestinal pain caused by IBS.

  • Is cannabis a pain killer?

    Yes! Cannabis seems to give analgesic effects by reducing inflammation, activating inhibitory pain pathways, and by modulating excitatory neurons.

When it comes to cannabis and the treatment of pain, it’s a mixed bag of controversy, uncertainties and varied anecdotal stories. Though there is a frivolous hype about cannabis and its potential to reduce pain, there’s a lot of people it doesn’t work for. It’s because pain is the most generalised symptom of disease. Virtually every disease has some aspect of pain, all of them originating from different sources and causes. And that’s why cannabis works for some kinds of pain and not others.

It’s really hard to talk about cannabis and “generalised pain” because often, there is a reason for the pain. For example, if you’ve got the flu, a sore throat is caused by inflammation of the mucous membranes in your throat. And the inflammation is caused by the virus. Cannabis might not necessarily have pain relieving effects for that kind of viral inflammation. 

Because of this nuance in differentiating pain, we’re going to talk about cannabis in terms of its pain (or not) relieving effects in certain diseases. We’re going to cover some of the most common such as cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia-related pain, irritable bowel-related pain, and lastly, we’ll touch on chronic pain.

Differentiating pain.

An illustration of a man whose face has been broken into small shards.
@cracked_hat_illustration

As we briefly explained, not all pain is created equal. Part of the doctor’s skill is in differentiating pain. For certain kinds of pain, simply removing the source is all that’s required to calm the pain. Like in the example we mentioned, if the pain is a sore throat, dealing with the virus or bacterial infection will remove the pain. In these cases, a pain killer isn’t often required.

Pain is usually differentiated into two forms; “nociceptive” and “neuropathic”.  The first refers to sensory pain in the tissues while in the second, the nervous system is the source of the pain. Examples of nociceptive pain include an injury or a headache, while examples of neuropathic pain include phantom pain after an amputation or the kind of generalised pain that sometimes happens idiopathically in fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

Naturally, these different kinds of pain are treated differently. Some neuropathic pains are treated with psychotherapy while others are treated with nervous system drugs rather than pain killers. 

Differentiating pain also requires an understanding of the location of the pain. A great example of this is abdominal pain. There are many kinds of diseases that cause abdominal pain. Appendicitis and irritable bowel syndrome can both cause gastrointestinal pain in the abdomen. But appendicitis shouldn’t be treated with pain killers. It needs surgery. Equally, irritable bowel syndrome pain is associated with intestinal motility, and drugs that are antispasmodic in nature might be more appropriate than simple pain killers. At the same time, the gastrointestinal tract contains an abundance of cannabinoid receptors, and it’s theorised that endocannabinoid dysfunction is at the root of irritable bowel syndrome.

All of this demonstrates that pain isn’t simply a symptom. It’s an extremely complicated symptom, and this begins to explain why cannabis seems to have so many different, varied effects for different people, different diseases, and different symptoms.

Cannabis for cancer related pain.

a piece of digital art of a woman with long hair surrounded by cannabis plants.
@artbyvalerie

There have been a number of studies on cannabis in the treatment of cancer-related pain in adults. In a 2020 study, researchers conducted a retrospective chart review on 232 patients with cancer. They were separated into two groups: cannabis using and non-cannabis using. The researchers found a 23% increase in opioid use in the non-cannabis using group, and improved emotional status in the cannabis-using group, but they found overall improvement in pain to the same degree in both groups.

In another meta-study including 1442 participants, the researchers found that there was no overall statistical significance in pain scores among cannabis users versus placebo.

In a prospective study that studied Nabilone in particular, a synthetic cannabinoid that is usually sold under the name Cesamet, found that pain scores were overall lower in the Nabilone using group versus placebo. As a secondary outcome, researchers found that it also reduced nausea associated with chemotherapy.   

The discrepancies in the research have a lot to do with what kind of cannabis was administered and in what doses and how regularly. These parameters are often inconsistent between studies, and therefore create inconsistencies in results. 

Cannabis and pain in fibromyalgia.

In an Israeli study, 94% of the patients that were studied reported a reduction in pain scores after using cannabis. This is a startlingly different study result than what we observed in cancer-related pain studies. In another study all together, fibromyalgia patients reported improved pain scores, sleep, and mood after cannabis use

The positive interaction between cannabis and pain in the instance of fibromyalgia may be because of the way cannabis exerts anti-inflammatory action. Inflammation is associated with fibromyalgia, and it may be the reduction of inflammation that causes a pain-relieving effect.

Ethan Russo hypothesizes that beneath fibromyalgia is a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. This might also play a role in why cannabis seems to bring about pain relief when it’s associated with fibromyalgia.

For more information on cannabis and fibromyalgia, check out our blog post about it.

Cannabis in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome-related pain.

An illustration of a stomach surrounded by butterflies.
@stephanie_cohen_art

Around 15% of the Canadian population will, at some point in their life, suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Isn’t that astonishing? The pain of irritable bowel syndrome is related to intestinal motility, or the movement of things through the digestive tract. Some painkillers such as NSAIDs can actually make the symptoms and pain of IBS worse because they are irritating to the lining of the stomach.  

Interestingly, cannabis seems to have a positive effect on the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal motility. As with fibromyalgia, this is hypothesized by Ethan Russo to be related to the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors in the digestive tract. 

IBS is related to fibromyalgia in that many patients with fibromyalgia experience IBS symptoms. This supports the hypothesis that a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system is behind these painful, chronic conditions. 

So while cannabis might not actually reduce nociception, it may reduce the cause of pain by dealing with the underlying problem — at least that seems to be the case with irritable bowel syndrome.

Cannabis and chronic pain; Is cannabis actually a pain killer?

A collage art of a woman surfing a piece of cannabis at the end of the rainbow in the sky
@weedliketoreview

Chronic pain is the number one reason that people seek out medical cannabis. Up to 62% of those who use cannabis use it to manage chronic pain. Chronic pain is associated with a lot of health conditions including the ones we’ve just mentioned. It can also be associated with an injury, with neuropathy, or simply with ageing. 

Researchers have observed the analgesic mechanisms of cannabis to be:

  • Inhibition of the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from presynaptic nerve endings
  • Modulation of postsynaptic neuron excitability
  • Activation of inhibitory pain pathways
  • Reduction of neural inflammation  

The exact pathways by which cannabinoids such as THC and CBD do this is unclear. But it offers an explanation as to why for some chronic pain sufferers, cannabis is an effective remedy. As we mentioned, inflammation is sometimes the cause of pain, especially in fibromyalgia. The reduction of neural inflammation can cause a decrease in the chronic pain associated with diseases characterised by neural inflammation.

So yes — cannabis is analgesic, but there are 101 ways that it exerts its analgesic effects. It’s not just that cannabis can decrease pain scores, it also decreases pain unpleasantness. That’s to say — people give less of a damn that they’re in pain.

It’s also worth noting that it often comes up in cannabis studies that using cannabis improves emotional scores and quality of life. We’re not scientifically clear on how these factors connect with physical pain sensation, and how much this plays a role in the analgesic properties of cannabis. Food for thought!

Have you used cannabis to treat pain? What did you use it for and how did it work for you? Let us know your story with cannabis and pain in the comments.

Key takeaways.

  • Why does PTSD occur?

    Some scientists believe that it is a survival mechanism of the individual to replay the traumatic event to be “better prepared” next time it happens. Others believe it is caused by constantly elevated levels of adrenaline that is triggered by the initial traumatic event.

  • What’s the rationale behind psilocybin and other psychedelics?

    Because psychedelics are able to promote the creation of new neurons and promote neuroplasticity, they may have a role to play in PTSD. Psilocybin has also been shown to reduce many of the symptoms associated with PTSD such as anxiety and depression.

  • What’s the first ever psilocybin treatment for PTSD?

    Silo Wellness has developed a psilocybin nasal spray that can be used by war veterans to reduce the severity and symptoms of PTSD.

The unfortunate reality for many PTSD sufferers is that conventional treatment isn’t effective or is only partially effective. Post traumatic stress disorder has baffled the medical world for pretty much…ever. Those therapies that are available for PTSD sufferers include medication and psychotherapy, although few therapies are demonstrably effective. For most people with PTSD, it becomes a chronic and lifelong condition.

Enter psilocybin therapy.

Psilocybin, along with MDMA, have been granted “breakthrough therapy” designation by the FDA in the USA for their potential to treat the broad population affected by PTSD. Rather than this being in light of evidence, the move is bound to open doors for evidence, as this status enables the medical world to study psilocybin in the clinical context.

And that’s exactly what’s happening at Leiden University in the Netherlands and at Urona in Wisconsin.

In this article, we’re talking about PTSD, who it affects, and the research going on in the Americas that are putting psilocybin in the spotlight as a potential alternative treatment.

What is PTSD?

Psilocybin & PTSD: Revolutionising the Role of Psychedelics in Therapy | Wellness | My Supply Co.
@jeanetteamlieart

PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and as its name suggests, it is a disorder that follows an extremely traumatic event. It’s because of this that PTSD is most common among war veterans. It can occur after a single, isolated traumatic event, or can occur after prolonged exposure to trauma such as sexual abuse victims or domestic violence.

PTSD sometimes presents in a person immediately after the trauma, but can also be latent for a number of years before it manifests clinically. A person with PTSD experiences repeated recollection of the event, typically avoids stimuli that arouse the memory, and has negative thoughts and moods. It’s very common for patients with PTSD to experience anxiety disorder and depressive disorder as comorbidities.

Theories about why PTSD occurs.

Nobody quite understands why PTSD occurs in some people but not in others. It has been hypothesized that there is a genetic factor in PTSD risk, as those whose parents have a mental health disorder may be more likely to develop PTSD.

Aside from this, there are three main theories.

The first is the “survival mechanism” theory. The constantly recurring memories may be the person’s subconscious way of being “prepared” for the next time such an event occurs, making them better fit for survival.

The second is the “adrenaline” theory. In this theory, the traumatic event triggers a chronic dysregulation of the fight-or-flight response, causing constantly elevated levels of adrenaline, norepinephrine and dopamine. This causes hyperarousal, or an inability to switch off. Essentially, it puts a person in a constant mode of fight-or-flight.

Finally, the third is that constant stress causes changes to the hippocampus. In those with PTSD, ongoing stress is a major factor. In some studies, evidence shows that hippocampal size is reduced in those with PTSD, suggesting that stress has major consequences on brain function. This may explain the symptoms associated with PTSD and its resistance to treatment.

Conventional therapy for PTSD.

Modern medicine treats PTSD using a combination of pharmaceutical drugs and psychotherapy. Drugs are only typically given for comorbidities or physical illnesses arising as a result of PTSD. For example, many PTSD sufferers receive medication for reducing blood pressure as high blood pressure is a common symptom in PTSD.

However, trauma focused psychotherapy is, to date, the best indicated treatment for PTSD. There are still major barriers to healing using this form of psychotherapy. The very nature of PTSD makes it difficult to commit to long-term psychotherapy because avoidance is one of the primary psychological indicators of PTSD. This starts to shed a light on what makes psilocybin such a potent therapeutic for PTSD.

Trauma focused psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy essentially allow the person to access that memory in a safe place, process it, and move on from it. This is typically a long-term therapy that for some, isn’t effective or is only partially effective.

The rationale behind psilocybin and other psychedelics.

A collage art of magic psilocybin mushrooms in someone's mouth
@form.and.fungtion

The clinical rationale behind using psilocybin and other psychedelics in the treatment of PTSD involves the neurobiological changes that occur in the brain. It’s hypothesised that psilocybin facilitates fear extinction and promotes neurogenesis and neuroplasticity.

There are also the more obvious emotional effects from using psychedelics such as increased empathy, increased mindfulness and insightfulness, increased acceptance, and increase in personality trait openness. 

Arguably, the most important rationale behind psilocybin and other psychedelics is the emotional breakthrough experience. Some people call this the mystical experience or the sudden realisation experience. It’s very difficult to define, and it’s probably for this reason that clinical medicine finds it very difficult to pinpoint why psychedelics might work for PTSD. The sudden realisation of why a certain thing occurs is a common effect from psilocybin, and is sometimes all a person needs to move forward from that phenomenon.

Psilocybin nasal spray being developed and researched.

In Oregon, Silo Wellness is developing a world-first psilocybin nasal spray especially targeted at those with PTSD. The philosophy behind this product is a simple delivery system of psilocybin that bypasses the associated nausea with high-dose psilocybin. Silo Wellness also says that a the nasal spray delivery method lets patients self-titrate for the perfect sub-psychedelic or psychedelic dose.

Essentially, the nasal spray lets you microdose or macrodose, depending on your needs. And there’s no nausea that comes with higher doses.

The first ever clinical trial on the effect of psilocybin therapy on war veterans with PTSD is being conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The research is being hosted by Mydecine in conjunction with NeuroPharm Inc, a Canadian veteran-focused healthcare company. Together, they have been developing a psilocybin protocol that addresses some of the unmet needs of the most high-risk individuals.

Alongside this clinical trial are others for the effect of psilocybin therapy on clinical depressive disorder, which is the leading cause of disability in the world.

Breakthrough therapy.

A collage art of a woman breaking through with psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, morning glory, and cannabis
@defaultmode.network

The potential of psilocybin for PTSD has already been discovered by many brave pioneers, but only on an anecdotal level. Nonetheless, the discovery of an effective, safe therapeutic for conditions as complex as depressive disorder, clinical anxiety, and PTSD is a breakthrough. For many with PTSD, there’s no clear light at the end of the tunnel, and for that, alternative therapies are welcomed.

Given that the FDA has approved psilocybin for breakthrough therapies, we can only assume that we will be seeing the results of clinical trials in the very near future. This should give the medical world a better idea of the place psilocybin has in the clinical context, how it should be administered, and the best dose for treating PTSD.

Key takeaways.

  • What is fibromyalgia?

    Fibromyalgia is a syndrome affecting the bones, muscles and joints, causing extreme pain and other non-specific symptoms such as depression, insomnia, and exhaustion.

  • Is there a connection between fibromyalgia and inflammation?

    Yes – there is evidence that those with fibromyalgia have increased inflammation in tissues and in the spinal cord. However, fibromyalgia isn’t an inflammatory disorder. The inflammation is thought to arise as a result of nervous system dysfunction.

  • Does the endocannabinoid system play a role?

    Some researchers think that a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is at the root of fibromyalgia and some of the symptoms commonly associated with fibromyalgia.

  • Does the research support cannabis for fibromyalgia?

    In a number of studies, cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers of fibromyalgia and to reduce pain and improve sleep in fibromyalgia patients.

Fibromyalgia is an anomaly of the medical world, with doctors not knowing exactly what causes it or why it happens. Diagnosis is also very tricky, and testing is usually conducted to rule out other diseases rather than to diagnose fibromyalgia itself. In any case, pain and exhaustion are two characteristic symptoms of fibromyalgia and some patients who use cannabis report symptom improvement.

There are a number of reasons why cannabis might be helpful for fibromyalgia patients:

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder that patients often spend their whole lives trying to manage. Because we know so little about its aetiology and how it’s treated, effective alternative treatments are welcomed. One of the primary goals of fibromyalgia treatment is pain management — and that puts cannabis at the forefront as a potential treatment option.

What is fibromyalgia and what causes it?

Fibromyalgia is a painful syndrome affecting the bones and muscles. It’s characterised by pain at multiple different locations (especially joints), and systemic symptoms like exhaustion, insomnia, mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction. 

As you can imagine, diagnosing fibromyalgia is hard. It’s commonly misdiagnosed because its symptoms are so non-specific. Doctors typically look for an underlying organic disease that explains these symptoms, but if non presents, it’s then that doctors might consider fibromyalgia as a diagnosis.

Although it’s unclear what causes fibromyalgia, it’s thought that the disease is the result of a dysfunction in the way the spinal cord and brain process pain signals. This is why testing the site of the pain reveals almost nothing — because the “injury” or “dysfunction” itself is not at the site of pain, but in the spinal cord and brain.

While the cause remains unknown, there are certain risk factors which increase vulnerability to fibromyalgia:

  • Being a woman
  • Having another painful disease such as arthritis
  • Having depression or anxiety
  • Having a history of physical or emotional abuse, or PTSD
  • Very little exercise
  • Another family member has fibromyalgia

What’s the link between fibromyalgia and inflammation?

Can Cannabis be Used to Treat Fibromyalgia? | Wellness | My Supply Co.

What continues to rise to the surface in modern medical research is an association between inflammation and many of the most common chronic disorders. Fibromyalgia was actually once considered an “inflammatory disorder” but has since been reclassified as a neurological disorder. 

But this reclassification didn’t occur because inflammation isn’t an aspect of fibromyalgia, but because it’s not caused by a dysfunction of the immune system or inflammatory process (like arthritis). It’s caused by a dysfunction of the central nervous system. However, there is ongoing evidence that fibromyalgia-related inflammatory mechanisms are activated by the central nervous system, causing inflammation in the tissues and in the spinal cord.

It has also been proposed that inflammation plays a role in the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia — it might not just be a symptom after all. However, more research is needed to understand how inflammatory processes might contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.

There is a strong link between fibromyalgia and inflammation, whether it’s that inflammation may contribute to its development or whether it is a symptom and biomarker of fibromyalgia. Hang onto this connection for when we talk about cannabis and its impact on inflammation later in this article.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and its role in fibromyalgia.

It was Ethan Russo who first coined the term “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency”, aka CED. In his research, Russo points out his theory that underlying many treatment resistant conditions is actually a dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system. Of the specific diseases he references, fibromyalgia is prominent (along with IBD and migraine).

This theory becomes particularly interesting when we look at how common the overlap is between fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s) and migraine. It is extremely common for fibromyalgia patients to experience IBD and migraine, and they often arise as comorbidities.

Can Cannabis be Used to Treat Fibromyalgia? | Wellness | My Supply Co.

To give you an idea of how common these comorbidities are for fibromyalgia patients:

In 1998, hypoactivity of the endocannabinoid system in the spinal cord was observed in patients with hyperalgesia (constant and extreme pain). The researchers concluded that this is the pathogenic mechanism for hyperalgesia. It was from here that the connection was drawn between fibromyalgia and other hyperalgesic conditions and the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid is heavily implicated in fibromyalgia thanks to this research, and it’s not a farfetched concept when we also consider the interconnectedness between fibromyalgia and inflammation. The endocannabinoid system is interlaced with immune function, and it often regulates immune responses such as inflammation. This puts cannabis in a great position as a potential treatment alternative for fibromyalgia.

How can cannabis help fibromyalgia patients?

A love heart made out of cannabis flowers.

Given everything we’ve spoken about so far in this article, the most obvious benefit cannabis can provide for fibromyalgia patients is a safe means to pain relief. Pain relief is one of the primary objectives of fibromyalgia treatment as management of this primary symptom increases quality of life and gives better outcomes for other symptoms. Exercise, medication, and occupational therapy are the most common ways to treat fibromyalgia.

Above and beyond this, cannabis is anti-inflammatory. Several studies show that cannabis can downregulate cytokine and chemokine reduction which are the most important biomarkers of systemic inflammation. 

In one Israeli study, 383 patients with fibromyalgia were surveyed. Of those, 84% reported using cannabis. Of the cannabis consumers, 94% reported a reduction in pain after using cannabis, 93% reported improved sleep, 87% reported a reduction in anxiety and 62% reported a reduction in anxiety. 

In another study, fibromyalgia patients showed improvements in pain, mood, and sleep. The researchers also found very few side effects, concluding that cannabis was a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia. 

Quality of life is so important.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic health condition that most patients will spend their whole lives trying to manage. Like arthritis, fibromyalgia is a condition that might not be curable, but when the symptoms are under control the quality of life dramatically increases. Because it is able to improve sleep and decrease pain, cannabis might be able to offer a better quality of life to fibromyalgia patients.

Cannabis does not cure fibromyalgia. But judging from the research, it may be able to address some of the underlying causes of it to decrease symptoms. And each day spent without pain or with a better sleep is a win for a patient with chronic health problems.

Do you or does anybody you know have fibromyalgia? Have you or they tried cannabis as a treatment option? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Key takeaways.

  • What is endometriosis?

    Endometriosis is a disease affecting the reproductive organs in women. It’s painful and can have complications if it isn’t well treated.

  • What is the endocannabinoid system’s role?

    It’s known that endocannabinoid levels and cannabinoid receptor expression change dramatically during a woman’s cycle. Researchers have noted that women with endometriosis have elevated endocannabinoid levels throughout their menstrual cycle but have decreased CB1 receptor expression.

  • Can cannabis help with endometriosis?

    THC might be helpful in endometriosis-related pain because it’s able to modify uterine innervation. In another Australian study, researchers found that women who used cannabis had the best self-reported scores for symptom management.

Endometriosis – en-doemee-tree-oh-sis — is a disease affecting the reproductive organs in female bodies. It’s often painful, and sometimes debilitatingly painful. It’s estimated that there are around half a million Canadian women with endometriosis. The unfortunate reality for many women with endometriosis is that it is life-long and there are very few treatment options.

But endometriosis is slowly becoming one of those significant avenues of cannabis research. As scientists discover the connection between the endocannabinoid system and endometriosis pain, some evidence is suggesting that it’s a plausible treatment.

Given how debilitating endometriosis pain is, and how few treatment options there are outside of surgery, endometriosis treatment is becoming a serious issue. On top of this, many women go undiagnosed for years as just having “bad period pain” before admitted for testing. 

It seems that more recently, endometriosis research is emerging from the shadows, and with it, the potential of cannabis for treatment of endometriosis pain at the very least.

In this article, we’re checking out some of the latest research and what the science says about the significance of medical cannabis in treating endometriosis.

What is endometriosis and how does it happen?

An egg and sperm concept image created with a fried egg and beans
@bidan_konsultasi_kehamilan12

Endometriosis is the disease that ensues when endometrial tissue grows in places other than the uterine cavity. The overgrowth of endometrial tissue can happen anywhere around the pelvic area. In severe conditions, the tissue will grow and form melds between organs or tissues that are not meant to be melded together. Endometriosis is associated with severe, chronic pelvic pain especially during menstruation. Other symptoms include excessive bleeding, painful sex, painful bowel movements and urination, fatigue and nausea. 

Even though the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterine cavity, it still bleeds as though it would if it were in the correct place. It’s thought that this is what causes the pain associated with endometriosis. 

One of the few explanations for what causes endometriosis includes retrograde menstruation. It happens that endometrial progenitor cells (endometrial stem cells) are sometimes shed during menstruation. It can also happen that menstrual blood containing endometrial progenitor cells travel backwards through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. 

Another explanation is that immune disorders might make it hard for the body to identify and manage overgrowth in endometrial tissue.

Although we don’t know the exact cause of endometriosis, there are some associated risk factors:

  • Getting the period at a young age and/or going through menopause at an older age
  • Low BMI
  • A relative with endometriosis
  • Other reproductive tract abnormalities

It’s estimated that around 7% of women in Canada live with endometriosis and around half are aged 18-29 when they are first diagnosed. 

Endometriosis and the endocannabinoid system.

A conceptual image of the female reproductive system including a papaya and hands
@lifewithchronic

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is implicated in a lot of different aspects of female health. For example, endogenous cannabinoids levels fluctuate greatly during the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations play a role in the different steps and processes of the menstrual cycle such as regulation of oocyte maturation. This puts the ECS under the spotlight when it comes to female reproductive disorders like endometriosis.

In one rodent study, researchers found that the CB1 receptor is expressed on the nerve fibres that play a role in endometriosis pain. More specifically, they found that CB1 agonists decrease endometriosis-related pain while CB1 antagonists increase hyperalgesia. To put that into real life context, THC is a CB1 agonist.

In a 2016 study, researchers found that women with endometriosis had elevated levels of endogenous cannabinoids throughout the menstrual cycle but decreased expression of the CB1 receptor. This discovery lends itself to the idea that CB1 expression and endocannabinoid levels play a huge role in endometriosis pain. The overexpression of endogenous cannabinoids may hinder their ability to moderate pain, creating a negative feedback loop system. 

In other research, researchers have suggested that reduced functionality of the ECS leads to overgrowth of endometrial tissue, suggesting that underlying endometriosis is actually an endocannabinoid deficiency. 

Can cannabis help with endometriosis?

A cannabis plant in a red vase
@eir_club

There is no known cure for endometriosis despite there being multiple lines of treatment. Some women opt not to get a period at all and take eostrogen to stop periods. Some women undergo surgery to remove the endometrial tissue that has grown in the pelvic region. However, the tissue can grow back and surgery might be required again. Others simply use painkillers to manage the pain without other kinds of treatment.

Surgery isn’t typically considered for women who aren’t at risk of complications due to their endometriosis (infertility, the melding of organs, etc.). Which often means that pain management is one of the only long-term options available. And that’s where cannabis seems to be able to help.

THC might help with endometriosis in more ways than just being analgesic, because endometriosis-related pain is a special kind of pain. THC has been shown to modify uterine innervation, reducing the hypersensitivity of the nerve fibers responsible for endometriosis related pain. In the same research, THC was also able to reduce or inhibit the development of endometrial cysts.

In one Australian study, women who used cannabis had the highest self-reported effectiveness in pain management strategies for endometriosis. 

So cannabis might not be curing endometriosis, but it looks like cannabis might be an effective strategy for dealing with endometriosis pain at home. From both anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence, there’s reason to believe that THC might have a role to play in endometriosis pain management in the future.

Cannabis and women’s health.

Trying to understand cannabis and endometriosis should highlight two very important things: one, the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in women’s reproductive health and two, cannabis has the power to interfere with that. The understanding that THC might alter the way that uterine tissue is innervated might also explain why so many women love using cannabis to treat period pain in general, whether it’s endometriosis-related or not.

Knowing that the ECS is so heavily implicated in women’s health also means that women should feel empowered into using cannabis in a healthy way. 

Ladies out there with endometriosis — have you ever tried cannabis? Does it help with your pain? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

A soothing golden smoothie that delivers the final flavours of summer.

A passionate and creative Latinx based in Toronto, Jen Marsil embodies health & wellness. She is a creator, a writer and cannabis enthusiast who enjoys adventures both in literature and in the real world. Her mission: to introduce you to a different vision of what it means to be healthy — while reminding us that it doesn’t always have to be bland. Check her out @j_marsil:


Different season, different ingredients.

As the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, I felt like I needed a pick me up. Something different from my regular green smoothies. I wanted to do something bright and fun but also still have the added benefit of my regular smoothies.

So today I present you with the soothing mellow smoothie: a light yellow protein-filled smoothie packed with anti-oxidants to help relieve indigestion and inflammation that’s packed with antioxidants — all with the added anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, analgesic (pain-killing), immune-modulating benefits of Twisted Extracts’ CBD tinctures.

An Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe | Wellness | My Supply Co.
Before 🥭🍍🥒🥑🍌🌱🍊🍯
An Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe | Wellness | My Supply Co.
After 🍹

Why add CBD to this smoothie recipe?

An Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe | Wellness | My Supply Co.

CBD has been an integral part of my smoothies because of the calming effects and relief it gives me, soothing my stomach and calming nausea. This simple smoothie allows me to manage my symptoms and still give me the boost of energy I need to get things done throughout the day.

The “Soothing Mellow Yellow” smoothie recipe.

A smoothie with anti-inflammatory and digestive powers. The tangy mango and pineapple, warming turmeric, and refreshing orange combination in this satisfying smoothie really starts the day off right.

Total time 5 minutes

Ingredients.

20 mg CBD Tincture
1 cup Mango
1 cup Pineapple
1 Avocado 
1 tbsp Flax Seeds
1tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Bananas
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt
2 Freshly Squeezed Oranges
1 tbsp Honey Garnish 

Instructions.

Blend on high. Sip in bliss.

Hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below. 👇🏽

Key takeaways.

  • What does Harvard say about CBD?

    Harvard professor, Dr. Levy says that CBD is one of the best remedies he’s come across for sleep, anxiety, and pain.

  • What about all the other things CBD is used for?

    CBD has very broad effects such as being anti-inflammatory, and can therefore be used in lots of conditions. At the same time, it isn’t the best choice of therapy for every single inflammatory disorder.

  • Why is it so controversial?

    There are certain complexities in studying plant compounds for medicine because they are not singular compounds. For example, a CBD tincture contains terpenes and small amounts of other cannabinoids, and it’s not known to which extent CBD performs certain behaviours, or how much of it is a team effort. This makes it hard to recreate consistent results between studies.

CBD is arguably the most trending thing in the 21st century. The legalization of cannabis swept the world and throughout that process, the technology of cannabis product manufacture has advanced exponentially. One of the outcomes of that technology was the ability to isolate cannabinoids  — and that’s how we got CBD-only and THC-only therapeutics.

Before this quantum leap in the cannabis world, cannabis was plain and simply, cannabis. There was very little interest in the myriad cannabinoids, terpenes, and other biologically active compounds in the cannabis plant. Now that we are discovering those compounds might have therapeutic properties, it’s become one of the fastest growing bodies of research ever.

But there’s a lot of hype about CBD.

How much of it is just hype and how much of it is true? It’s a question on so many people’s lips and the answer isn’t all that complicated when we break it down. Just like every other drug on the planet, there are certain health conditions for which CBD seems to work extremely well, and others for which it doesn’t have a pronounced effect.

Harvard professors seem to feel the same. Let’s have a look at what they think about the hottest cannabinoid on the market.

Not a panacea, but a therapeutic for certain conditions.

There is a mountain of evidence supporting the use of CBD in a multitude of different conditions, but that doesn’t make it a panacea. For example, even though CBD is anti-inflammatory, it’s not the recommended drug for a stomach ulcer or pancreatitis. 

According to Harvard professor, Dr. Levy, the greatest “benefit [he] has seen as a physician is in treating sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain.” Appropriately, there has been a lot of research on the use of CBD for insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain. These are also the most common reasons for people to self-medicate with cannabis.

As we know, CBD is also hugely on the radar as a treatment for epilepsy. In fact, there already exists a CBD-based, FDA approved epilepsy drug called Epidiolex

As well as this, CBD is being investigated for its potential in treating other treatment-resistant conditions such as fibromyalgia, IBS, and migraines.

Separating CBD’s qualities from its affinities.

A hand moves puzzle pieces to conceptualize relationships and affinities

Just because CBD is anti-inflammatory, doesn’t mean that every single inflammatory condition can be treated with CBD. For example, CBD might be able to reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis, but it will probably have zero effect on inflammation caused by a localized infection or conjunctivitis.

While CBD has the quality of being anti-inflammatory, it doesn’t have an affinity for every single organ in the body. CBD doesn’t even have much of an affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, as we now know, which means that we have to look at it differently to THC. It also means that to understand where and how it might be used, we have to look at where it goes once it gets into the body.

Now, all of that is a lot of really complicated scientific language about receptors and what not. For the purpose of this article, it’s not all that important. In our blog, we talk about the different ways CBD and THC work in different medical conditions and we go into much greater detail.

For the purpose of this article, it’s important to understand the difference between a quality and an affinity. In another example, we can look at Milk Thistle, a common herb used in herbal medicine. It has the quality of being an appetite stimulant, but it does this through an affinity for the liver. It doesn’t exert this effect through brain chemistry, for example (which is what THC does). It exerts this effect by targeting the liver. 

A quality is the effect it’s likely to have, and the affinity is where it’s most likely to take place.

Why all the controversy?

A man holds fake news newspaper to conceptualize controversy

There’s no doubt that all the controversy into the effectiveness of cannabis stems from the fact that for the 100 years prior to legalization, cannabis got nothing but bad press. But we also have to acknowledge something fundamental about the study of plants that is very different to the study of drugs.

As part of my studies in herbal medicine, I was required to study Western drug pharmacology. In pharmacology, a drug has one or a number of active ingredients. The drug is designed to target a specific receptor or kind of cell in the body, and it carries out its processes.

In herbal medicine, a plant has at least a dozen pharmacologically active compounds. So which one should we study? And how should we know if the compounds interact with each other once they get into the body? There are many more complexities in studying herbal medicine, which is also often why there’s inconsistencies between study results. Another thing that creates complexity when studying CBD, cannabis, or other herbal medicines is that the preparation (such as dose, extraction form, quality of the herb, its phytochemical profile, etc.) varies greatly between studies. At this stage, nobody really knows what the ideal dose of CBD is for a certain condition — when studies are being designed, it’s mostly guesswork.

If studying pharmacology of Western drugs is kind of like following a recipe, studying herbal medicine is kind of like doing a sudoku puzzle. In pharmacology, a drug is designed to have a specific effect. In herbal medicine, we’re looking for what specific effects a whole multitude of compounds might have.

Medicinal CBD is just that — medicinal. And in medicine, doctors don’t just throw around prescriptions. If you’ve got cardiovascular problems, you probably don’t need to be taking cancer medication. It’s the same for CBD. It can be used for many wonderful things, including just to stay healthy. But taking CBD thinking it’s going to cure every disease you have is naive and a complete misinterpretation of the entire concept of medicinal cannabis.

Stay up to date with our blog for in-depth articles about the research surrounding CBD and other cannabinoids with respect to certain health conditions. 

What have you used CBD for? Did it work? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

Key takeaways.

  • Why is THCV getting so much scientific attention?

    This cannabinoid has shown some interesting activity on insulin resistance and in functional brain activity in models of obesity. It also might be an appetite suppressant.

  • Does the entourage effect play a role?

    It’s not understood at this point how much THCV’s activities are independent or as a result of the entourage effect, but as always, the entourage effect is thought to play a role.

  • Strains high in THCV?

    From the pantry; check out Durban Poison Sativa and the Girl Scout Cookies vape cart.

It seems like we’re discovering new cannabinoids everyday — and that’s because we are. Scientific research into cannabis has opened the proverbial can of worms, and we often find ourselves discovering things about cannabis we would never have even guessed. Not that long ago, we published an article about tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and how it talks to our endocannabinoid systems. Today we’re going a little more in depth.

More and more research is emerging about how THCV can be applied in the context of medical cannabis. Obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation and chronic pain are among some of the medical conditions and symptoms THCV is showing promise for. 

Most of us associate cannabis with an increased appetite. It’s a good herb for those wasting away due to cancer and its related therapies. But THCV is different. 

THCV might actually reduce the appetite and offer a potential cannabis-based treatment for obesity.

THCV is a little bit of an anomaly in the world of cannabinoids. That’s why it’s so interesting and worth checking out how it works in some of the Western world’s hardest to manage diseases.

THCV, diabetes, and insulin resistance.

A person with gloves administering insulin for diabetes

There’s a lot of exciting research going on about THCV’s role in Type 2 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as “insulin resistance”. To put things in context, there are two kinds of diabetes: the first, you’re born with (Type 1), while the second (Type 2) is acquired. Acquired insulin resistance can happen because of lifestyle factors, but genetics can also play a role. To give you an idea of how much a problem Type 2 Diabetes is in Canada, about 3 million people have it. That’s 8.1% of the population. To give you an idea of the worldwide problem, up to 1 in 11 people worldwide have Type 2 Diabetes.

We’re talking about something pretty serious here.

The reason Type 2 Diabetes is so hard to treat is because it takes a long time to happen. Insulin resistance happens very slowly as a response to consistently high blood sugar levels. Eventually, cells lose sensitivity to insulin and don’t let glucose inside the cell. This can eventually lead to a dysfunction in the way the pancreas produces insulin, as it essentially gets tired from constantly producing high levels of insulin. 

The complications of diabetes are serious. Consistently elevated blood-glucose levels can lead to nerve damage, blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and skin problems. Plus, without sugar entering cells, cells don’t have any energy to carry out cellular processes.

In a 2020 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, researchers found that THCV enhanced glycaemic control and up-regulated energy metabolism. More specifically, THCV use showed reduced fasting plasma glucose levels compared to the control group. In another study, researchers showed in murine studies that THCV increased insulin sensitivity.

It looks as though the underlying mechanisms of action of THCV are multifaceted when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes. The upregulation of energy metabolism, reduced fasting glucose levels, and increase in insulin sensitivity of cells are all factors that might make THCV interesting in the treatment of diabetes.

Research into THCV and obesity.

An obese woman sits on the couch with her dog reading a book

As you might guess, type 2 diabetes and obesity are highly correlated. Diabetes UK estimates that obesity counts for about 80-85% of the risk factor of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In developing countries this is a huge problem as the prevalence of obesity continues to rise.

Poor diet and lifestyle factors are the most highly implicated factors in the development of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle are all factors which may contribute to the development of these diseases. And as we know, nobody is born with Type 2 Diabetes, and very few children are born with obesity. These tend to be developmental problems that occur as a result of lifestyle factors, although genetics may interplay.

So what role does THCV have to play?

As we mentioned earlier, THCV might actually be an appetite suppressant. But before we get into some of this super sciency, very enlightening research, we have to talk about some of the physiological things we observe in obesity other than abdominal fat.

For example, in this research, researchers identified functional brain activity changes in women with obesity. This is important because the part of the brain this functional activity seems to affect is the reward system, which we know is highly implicated in obesity. 

Arguably the most exciting research we’ve found on cannabis ever is this:

In 2016, researchers set off to investigate how THCV affects the brain parts that are interconnected with the development of obesity, such as what we just mentioned. Researchers found that after administration of THCV, there was a decrease in the resting functional state of the default mode network, and an increase in functional connectivity in the brain control network. Both of these findings are consistent with THCV’s potential as a treatment for obesity. 

THCV has also been shown to be an appetite suppressant, but it’s not known what functions are at play to produce that effect. This research may be one of the ways that THCV suppresses appetite,  but we won’t know that for some time.

Don’t forget about the entourage effect.

Entourage effect is much like an orchestra working together

We’re always excited to bring to you the latest cannabinoid research. But we also never want you to forget the importance of the entourage effect.

Sometimes in cannabis research, we take the cannabinoid out of cannabis and it doesn’t seem to have the same clinical effects as when the plant is administered in its whole form. This is because we don’t know to what degree cannabinoids exert their effects with the help of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds in cannabis. That’s to say — how much of it was done by one cannabinoid and how much of it was a team effort?

It’s something that makes it extremely difficult to study isolated cannabinoids. At the same time, we have to study isolated cannabinoids so that we know what they’re all about. 

THCV is like a finger on a hand. If you remove all the fingers, it’s not really a hand anymore and the hands can’t do their job. This shows the potency of the entourage effect and why you should always consider the entourage effect when reading cannabis research.

Strains high in THCV.

The good news is that THCV isn’t psychoactive like its cousin, THC. It can therefore be considered by those who don’t like the intoxicating effects of cannabis as is the case for those who prefer to use CBD. Here are a couple of the strains in the My Supply Co. pantry that are consistently high in THCV and worth checking out if you’re interested in this wonderful cannabinoid.

From the pantry

Girl Scout Cookies Vape Cart.

As well as having high THC and CBN contents, Girl Scout Cookies also has higher than normal THCV levels. Euphoria and relaxation ensue after puffing on the Girl Scout Cookies Vape Cart, so get on it to feel the effects of THCV.

Durban Poison.

So far as we know, Durban Poison contains the highest THCV content than any other strain of cannabis. This energetic sativa gets people on their feet and ready to tackle whatever the day has in store. Check it out for a hit of THCV.

Have you tried strains in THCV? How did they affect you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Key takeaways.

  • Why does inflammation become chronic?

    Inflammation can become chronic because of an auto-immune disease, constant exposure to low level irritants, repeated infections, and sometimes it spontaneously occurs independent of other diseases.

  • What makes CBD useful for inflammation?

    CBD might reduce T-cell proliferation and also inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines that are associated with chronic inflammation.

  • How is THC useful for inflammation?

    It shares many of the same anti-inflammatory qualities of CBD. THC might also increase cell death in immune cell populations.

  • How do lifestyle factors play a role?

    Though cannabis is a helpful anti-inflammatory, it’s important for sufferers of chronic inflammation to implement diets and lifestyles that are also anti-inflammatory to support treatment.

In the last article we published on inflammation, we talked about the connections between inflammation and certain diseases. We even pointed out that many of the diseases cannabis is useful in treating are linked with chronic inflammation. But to really understand how cannabis can help in treating inflammation, we have to get into the nitty-gritty of what inflammation actually is.

Put your geeky science glasses on because this is going to be a crash course in human biology.

Inflammation is arguably one of the body’s most important immune responses. It’s how the body responds to an attack from an external pathogen, to injury or infection. It’s completely necessary for survival and without it, humans wouldn’t live for very long.

Inflammation is not always a bad thing, and inflammation is not inherently pathogenic. Inflammation is the response from the immune system — not the disease itself. However, pathogenic immune responses do exist, such as in autoimmune diseases. Sometimes, inflammation becomes chronic and actually causes more damage than good. This is the kind of inflammation that requires medical intervention.

As we touched on in the last article, dementia is associated with chronic brain inflammation. Brain inflammation has also been observed during seizures, and we also know that researchers are making breakthrough discoveries about the role of inflammation in mental health such as depression. This research makes inflammation a target in the treatment of these diseases.

So before we get into the pharmacological actions of cannabis in terms of inflammation, let’s breakdown how and why inflammation happens.

What is inflammation and how does it happen?

A woman crouches down with pain and chronic illness

The inflammatory process typically happens in three stages:

  1. The acute phase 
  2. Tissue formation
  3. The remodelling phase

These three phases are all part of normal inflammatory physiology. It means that whenever somebody gets an injury or infection, this process takes place as part of healing. Let’s have a look at it in a little more detail.

Let’s assume that you acquire an injury and the tissue or skin is broken or damaged. This marks the beginning of the inflammatory process. Upon injury, specialised cells near to the site send chemical signals that dilate the nearby blood vessels and make them more permeable. These include histamine, prostaglandins, kinins, etc. 

The arrival of histamine and prostaglandins on the scene is what causes the redness, soreness, and itchiness that’s associated with a tissue injury. As the capillaries are more permeable and fluids and proteins leak from the capillaries, pain arrives as the site of the injury.

A diagram representing the inflammatory process.

Source

These chemical mediators also attract more specialized immune cells to the area that can come in and “police” the infection. Leukocytes such as neutrophils are able to arrive at the injury faster because of capillary dilation. They are also able to move through the capillary thanks to increased permeability, and can actually enter the site of infection.

Once these specialized immune cells have arrived, they essentially “consume” or “destroy” pathogenic material, dead tissue, and anything that isn’t required at the site. This is called phagocytosis, where a cell swallows pathogenic material and digests and destroys it. 

Once the infection has been handled by these specialised immune cells, tissue formation and the remodelling phase occur. This is when a scar forms or when the tissue heals back to its original state.

This is all part of normal, natural inflammation. Up until this point, it’s considered normal. But something happens that makes inflammation turn chronic. 

Why and how does inflammation become chronic?

There are a number of reasons that chronic inflammation might occur. As we mentioned, it’s usually at this point that inflammation turns from a good thing into a bad thing.

Some of the reasons for chronic inflammation include:

  • Failure of the immune system to completely remove the pathogen or infectious organism such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, or protozoa. Without complete removal, small parts of the organism remain in the body and cause low-grade, chronic inflammation.
  • Constant exposure to a low-level irritant or pollutant in the air or at workplaces.
  • Autoimmune disorders where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues causing inflammation where none is required.
  • Recurrent episodes of acute inflammation such as repeated injury or repeated infection.
  • Sometimes, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation is an independent physiological response that doesn’t follow acute inflammation. 

Researchers also acknowledge the role that lifestyle factors have to play in chronic inflammation. Diet, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption are all linked to the development of chronic inflammation. Research also shows that intense stress over activates the immune system which leads to chronic inflammation. 

How does cannabis reduce inflammation?

A sick woman drinks herbal tea while covered in a blanket.

A mountain of research has gone into the treatment of inflammation with cannabis. A number of different mechanisms are thought to be behind THC and CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation, so let’s have a look at each of these cannabinoids separately.

CBD and inflammation.

Clinical studies investigating CBD and inflammation have confirmed that CBD might reduce inflammation in the following ways:

  • By reducing the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These are part of the chemical mediators that create inflammation mentioned earlier in this article about how inflammation occurs.
  • CBD might inhibit T-cell proliferation. T-cells are among the specialized immune cells that come to the site of injury to deal with the injury or infection.
  • CBD might help to reduce the adhesion of specialised cells to the capillary membrane, therefore disallowing them from exiting the capillary and performing inflammatory actions.
  • Finally, CBD induces T-cell apoptosis, which is the programmed death of specialized immune cells that cause inflammation.

THC and inflammation.

It’s thought that THC shares some of the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action as CBD . Primarily, THC is well known to induce apoptosis in immune cell populations, especially among macrophages and T-cells. However, there is no evidence that THC reduces the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines or any of the other chemical mediators in the inflammatory process.

Antioxidants and their role in inflammation

A bowl full of antioxidant rich strawberries and blueberries

We’ve shown a few of the ways that THC and CBD have a direct effect on the inflammatory process. But cannabinoids work in indirect ways, too. Both THC and CBD are antioxidants, which means that they can counteract reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS are a result of normal physiological processes, but failure to counteract or remove them can lead to inflammation, disease, and cancer.

In fact, CBD can prevent the formation of superoxide radicals. This is a direct way that CBD exerts its antioxidant properties. 

Why are the antioxidant properties of THC and CBD important to inflammation then?

Well, as we mentioned before, poor diet, obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking are risk factors in inflammation. That’s because they cause a lot of reactive oxygen species, and because a poor diet lacks antioxidants to counteract them. 

But THC and CBD aren’t alone in being antioxidant rich. Many plants are antioxidant rich, and this is why a poor diet is linked with a high level of oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species. This is why the antioxidant properties of cannabis are more of a secondary and non-direct way of reducing inflammation. And because these mechanisms aren’t exclusive to cannabis, cannabis isn’t the only way you can get the same results. 

From inflammation to healing

Not all inflammation was created equal. Some people suffer chronic inflammation as a result of autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease. Others suffer chronic inflammation because of repeated exposure to irritants such as those who work in mines or in factories. Because of this, not all inflammation should be treated equally. For some people, simply removing the irritating factor (such as a chemical pollutant) is enough for healing to begin.

It’s easy to plug cannabis straight into the biomedical model we typically use for disease: there’s a drug for each disease, and there’s very little variance on that. Even though cannabis is anti-inflammatory, it doesn’t mean it’s going to cure all kinds of inflammation. If a person is obese, smokes cigarettes and drinks a lot of alcohol, then there’s no amount of cannabis that’s going to undo any inflammation caused. 

With that in mind, there are certain inflammatory conditions that cannabis has an affinity for — like inflammatory bowel disease! In the coming weeks, we’re bringing you some articles about the kinds of inflammatory conditions that cannabis shows therapeutic potential. Stay with us on this journey through cannabis and its potential to heal inflammation.