Substance addiction is one of the significant health problems in the U.S. Having this disorder leads to a wide array of medical issues ranging from mental, emotional, to social. If not addressed promptly through therapy and medication, patients with this issue would see themselves suffering from a damaged brain structure that would impact them for the rest of their lives.
Fortunately, science has discovered various treatments for addiction. One of the most promising is cannabidiol. Also known as CBD, researchers have gathered much evidence indicating the efficacy of this cannabinoid in many health issues, including substance abuse and addiction. This article will shed light on substance use disorder, one of America’s growing medical problems and how CBD products can help in the country’s fight against this damaging condition that has wasted millions of American lives.
What Is Substance Addiction?
Those who are battling addiction know how severe their condition is. Experts describe it as a brain disease that is characterized by compulsive use of certain substances despite being aware of devastating consequences. People suffering from addiction (technically known as severe substance use disorder) have a keen focus on using a particular substance, like alcohol or drugs, to the level that the action takes over their life. They have developed an obsession to keep using the substance even when they no longer need them, or they know it will lead to problems.
People suffering from a substance use disorder often develop twisted thinking, behavior, and body functions. Their intense craving for a particular drug comes from the changes in their brain’s wiring. The rewiring takes place in the decision-making, judgment, learning, and memory areas of the brain, makes it hard for them to stop their constant use of the substances where they are addicted.
Genetics play a substantial role (between 40% to 60%) of a person’s risk to addiction. Events taking place in the environment such as chaotic home environment and abuse, parents’ drug use and perspective about drugs, how the community views drugs, and poor academic achievement also causes addiction. Teenagers are also prone to drug abuse and addition as well as people with mental health issues.
Prevalence of Substance Addiction
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that, around 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and over have fought against a certain type of substance use disorder, slightly lower than the 20.1 million individuals recorded by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2016. Of this figure, around 74% of them struggled with an alcohol use disorder, while approximately 38% of them fought an illegal drug use disorder.
Also, in 2017, 1 out of 8 American adults struggled with both alcohol and drug use disorders at the same time while 8.5 million adults experienced both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously.
Drug abuse and addiction also cost Americans more than $740 billion every year in lost workplace productivity as well as healthcare and crime-related expenses.
Most Abused Substances in the U.S.
Americans are addicted to tobacco more than any other substances. Approximately 14% of all American adults aged 18 and above are cigarette smokers. Use of this substance cost the U.S. more than $300 billion per year, including almost $170 billion in medical care for the demographic and more than $156 billion in lost productivity because of premature death from direct smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Smoking leads to lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It also causes heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Tobacco smoking increases a person’s tendency to acquire tuberculosis, some eye diseases, and issues in the immune system, which include rheumatoid arthritis.
Roughly around 14.5 million Americans aged 12 and older fought an alcohol use disorder in 2017, equivalent to the 5.3% of this demographic. Addiction to this substance is also prevalent in U.S. households as more than half of all American adults belong to a family with a history of alcohol drinking problem and addiction.
Drinking alcohol can cause severe harm to the brain and most body organs. Habitual consumption of this substance can result in severe damage in the brain, particularly the cerebral cortex (mainly responsible for problem-solving and decision making), the hippocampus (memory and learning), and the cerebellum (movement and body coordination). Apart from the brain, the liver is the organ most affected by this substance. In 2015, around 47% of the 78,529 liver diseases among Americans aged 12 and older were alcohol-related.
Alcohol addiction is extremely lethal. This substance is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. with an estimated 88,000 deaths every year. Nearly half (40%) of all hospital beds in the U.S. are used to treat alcohol-related conditions.
Medicine’s miracle plant is also one of the most addictive substances in the U.S. and around the world. In 2017, around 4.1 million American aged 12 and over had a marijuana addiction. This substance is popular among teens and college students typically aged 12 to 25. In 2014, nearly 6% of U.S. college students were daily marijuana smokers, more than thrice the number of daily smokers in this demographic 20 years ago.
The intoxicating effect of cannabis comes from the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound extracted from the drug. Addiction to this substance can lead to respiratory problems like tobacco smoke as well as heart and cardiovascular disease. Abuse of cannabis use can also result in mental health issues such as impaired memory, anxiety, and depression as well as enhancing the risk of getting hallucinations, schizophrenia, and other forms of psychosis. The use of marijuana during pregnancy can also affect the development of the brain of the fetus.
Opioids or prescription drugs
Currently, drug overdose is a severe problem in the U.S. Among the most abused drugs are opioids. Nearly two-thirds (68%) of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved this drug type.
Opioids are a type of drugs commonly used to provide pain relief or numbness to pain. These substances include prescription medications like fentanyl, codeine, morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin), and hydrocodone (Vicodin). Heroin, an illicit drug, is also included in this drug type.
Many patients become addicted to opioids because of their capacity for boosting a person’s mood. These substances are instrumental for releasing endorphins, a neurotransmitter that evokes positive feelings while regulating reducing the body’s sensitivity to pain. A person using these drugs can generate a temporary but powerful sense of well-being. Because of this feel-good sensation, patients find themselves desiring for another dose when the effects of an opioid dosage wear off. This constant desire to achieve good feelings to return as soon as possible often leads to addiction, technically called opioid use disorder.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can elevate a person’s mood, boost feelings of well-being, and heighten energy and alertness. Because of its addictive property, similar to opioids, it can lead to changes in the brain that leads to restlessness, paranoia, irritability, panic attacks, and even a full-blown psychosis.
In 2017, Around 966,000 American over age 12 struggled with a cocaine use disorder. During the same year, 637,000 people in the same demographic received treatment for a cocaine use disorder either in their last or current stay in rehabilitation.
Aside from these substances, many Americans are also dependent on depressants, heroin, hallucinogens, and inhalants.
CBD For Addiction : How It Can Help
Although marijuana is one of the addictive substances as mentioned above, it is a source of CBD, a safe and useful compound currently used in treating a wide range of diseases, including addiction to various substances. Currently available in many forms, CBD has the following properties that make it extremely powerful in treating substance use disorders.
The main power of CBD lies in its capacity to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is mainly responsible for regulating the functions of the organs in the body. CBD and THC (the cannabis compound mentioned earlier) both influence the body’s internal balance or homeostasis. While THC can lead to intoxication (that can lead to addiction), CBD doesn’t have that property, making it safe to use even in high doses.
With cannabidiol’s power to interact with the ECS, it can regulate the release of endorphins (which opioid and cocaine addicts crave) and other chemicals produced by the body. CBD also can enhance serotonin signaling in the brain. As a mood-regulating brain chemical, serotonin relieves anxiety, which is a common symptom when a patient stops using the substance it is addicted to. Moreover, cannabidiol can also help avoid drug use relapse after some time of abstinence. Because of CBD’s amazing brain-regulating properties, some studies even found its power in helping treat marijuana addicts.
While there is no adequate treatment for damage to the brain caused by addiction, patients with substance use disorders can experience CBD’s potency in curbing addiction by helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms and reducing the tendency to relapse. Even though most of the studies are only in the preliminary and experimental phase, scientists are positive that CBD will become a full-fledged aid for treating substance soon.
Top 4 Best CBD Edibles For Anxiety
Experiencing anxiety in everyday living is considered normal, however, if symptoms are starting to bug you off, it can lead to constant stress and excessive worrying. For some people, anxiety becomes a huge problem as it triggers physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, feeling weak and trouble concentrating.
Aside from seeking professional help, you can also take cannabidiol to ease the symptoms and make yourself calm.
How CBD Helps With Anxiety
There are studies and researches that claim the promising ability of cannabis in relieving a generalized anxiety disorder. For instance, a 2010 study found out that cannabidiol revealed changes in blood flow to the regions in the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. Moreover, cannabidiol, which is an active compound in marijuana, reduces symptoms linked to post-traumatic stress and anxiety-provoked sleep disorder in children.
Although more tests are needed to prove the effectiveness of CBD in easing anxiety symptoms, researchers are positive that this compound can be an alternative ‘treatment.’
Why Choose CBD Edibles
Taking CBD edibles is like eating candies and chocolates because these CBD products contain different flavors. It can be in the form of gummy bears, brownies, cakes, candies, chocolates, and more.
A research conducted in 2016 suggests that negative health effects can be associated with smoking cannabis. Smoking cannabis can lead to addiction, according to research because a person experiences ease in anxiety. Edibles, by far, are completely safe to take and have fixed dosing. Depending on the amount consumed, it can provide just the right effect on a person.
When consumed or used, cannabidiol can instantly provide relaxation as it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is the who regulates different functions such as sleep, pain, emotions, and appetite.
People who tried cannabidiol for the first time can attest to how effective it is in enhancing sleep, reducing stress levels, and basically improving one’s quality of life.
Best CBD Edibles For Anxiety
With the popularity of cannabidiol among adults, the demand increases. Manufacturers cater to this demand and produce new products for safe consumption. If you search online, you can easily find a wide selection of CBD edibles. Given this vast market, you need to be careful about buying products because not all of these promise sound results.
For anxiety relief, here are the best six cannabidiol edibles you can buy.
Kushly CBD Gummies ($55)
If you are after a tasty CBD edible, the Kushly CBD gummies are your best bet. Every gummy contains 30mg of cannabidiol and it gives a natural fruity taste. Recommended dosing is up to two gummies per day.
The best thing about this product is, it is free from the THC content, which is the compound opposite CBD. THC provides psychoactive effects linked to being ‘high.’ With Kushly CBD Gummies, you can instantly get the goodness of CBD minus the high sensation.
Looking for vegan CBD edibles? The search is over because the CBDistillery is 100% vegan and GMO-free. These are flavored gummies in grape, cane juice, and organic concentrate. Derived from US-grown cannabis, every piece of gummy is sure to provide quality results. Each CBD edible contains 30mg of cannabidiol, a good dose for daily consumption.
Relax Bears CBD Daily Dose Gummie ($55)
For mood regulation, the Relax Bears CBD Daily Dose Gummie is considered a holy grail. Each container contains 30 gummies with 10mg cannabidiol. Specially made for anxiety, it provides instant relief for increased heart rate, nervousness, panic attacks, and fatigue.
Hemp Bombs, Original Gummies ($99.99)
One of the best CBD gummies for anxiety is the Original Gummies by Hemp Bombs. It is one of the leading brands that provide high-quality cannabis products at a decent price. The edibles are categorized into three: Original Gummies, High Potency CBD Gummies, and the CBD Sleep Gummies. Each bottle has 60 gummies with 15mg dosage per gummy.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world, next to depression. It affects millions of adults and is highly curable with the help of professionals and alternative medication. In case you want to try a natural remedy in the form of cannabidiol, make sure to get yourself some CBD edibles for a delightful treat.
How To Tell Which CBD Products You Should Be Taking
Because CBD’s market is enormous nowadays, more and more cannabidiol-infused products occupy the store shelves. This means buying products take time as there are lots of options for edibles, skincare, CBD hemp oil, supplements, and more.
For some people, cannabidiol intake helps relieve symptoms linked to arthritis, muscle and body pain, skin issues, and anxiety. Choosing products carefully helps you find the best one that suits your lifestyle, concerns, and preferences.
Read on to find out all the things you should be considering when buying CBD products.
Determining Reason To Use CBD Products
Before choosing any product, consider asking yourself why you want to use CBD products. While laws about marijuana use are complicated in the United States, significant anecdotal evidence can back up cannabis’s variety of applications. For instance, medical properties of cannabidiol ease pain related to skin, bone and mental disorders. Additionally, CBD also helps other people get quality sleep, eliminating insomnia.
Other benefits of CBD include:
- Ease back, joint and nerve pain
- Reduces inflammation
- Promote weight loss from supplement products
- Clears acne
- Ease anxiety and depression symptoms
- Improve the quality of sleep
- Deter neurodegenerative diseases
Buy Pure Cannabidiol Or Full-Spectrum
In case you are unaware, the marijuana plant has over 100 active compounds. CBD and THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol are the best-known compounds recognized by science. What is meant when a product has a Full Spectrum label is, it contains other compounds aside from cannabidiol. Full or broad-spectrum products are said to have a synergistic effect, that’s why it is considered top of the range. However, the only concern is, THC provides psychoactive effects or the feeling of being high.
Choosing isolate CBD is preferable for someone who just wants the result of CBD and not gets the psychoactive ones. This type of product is also recommended for cooking, as it is tasteless and safe for everyone.
Finding The Right Strength
While CBD is non-toxic and non-addictive, it is crucial to find the right strength for products you will take. At the end of the day, you don’t want to consume a high dosage of this active compound for fun. There are minor CBD oil side effects one can experience, including nausea, fatigue, and constipation. After all, not all bodies react well with a high dose of cannabidiol. Therefore, going low is best for first-time users.
Out of all the CBD products, oils are easier to tailor for servings. You can easily increase or decrease the dosage, depending on your needs. While experimenting with the strength and serving size, it’s best to start low, usually 10 to 20mg per serving or use. Once you already know what strength works for you, then you can get products at the right dose.
Consumption Methods for CBD Products
There are different methods of cannabidiol consumption. You have to consider a number of factors when determining the method, as some promote faster results compared to others. For instance, the tincture works best for beginners because adding a dose is easy with a dropper. Although tinctures are concentrated, you can easily add a few drops in case you aren’t satisfied with the effects.
For people who want to be sure when it comes to dosing, capsules are the best CBD products to get. Each capsule has an accurate dose, making it easy to take and less intimidating. Even older people can pop a pill into your mouth and get the desired results.
Finally, there are edibles, topicals, patches, and vaping products that you can take depending on your needs. For instance, edibles can serve as a snack and topicals can be rubbed on the skin for relief.
Taking CBD provides a host of benefits. Make sure that you will study your options and check the product reviews before buying any product. Most importantly, consider going for a low dose at first, to get your body used to the compound.
European Commission Approves EPIDYOLEX
GW Pharmaceuticals, the global leader in developing cannabinoid-based medicines, announced Monday, Sept 23, the European Commission (EC) has approved the marketing authorization for CBD-based seizure medication EPIDYOLEX®.
The European Commission, along with the support of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has approved Epidyolex for treating seizures associated with two severe forms of epilepsy, namely the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.
With the said approval, patients who are diagnosed with either Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome can now avail EPIDYOLEX® in the UK and the rest of Europe.
“The approval of EPIDYOLEX® marks a significant milestone, offering patients and their families the first in a new class of epilepsy medicines and the first and only EMA-approved CBD medicine to treat two severe and life-threatening forms of childhood-onset epilepsy,” said Justin Gover, CEO of GW Pharmaceuticals, in a press release.
“This approval is the culmination of many years of dedication and collaboration between GW, physicians and the epilepsy community,” he continued. “We believe patients and physicians deserve access to rigorously tested and evaluated cannabis-based medicines, manufactured to the highest standards and approved by medicines regulators, and we are delighted to be the first to offer this solution to the epilepsy community.”
Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and Dravet Syndrome (DS) are two types of rare epileptic disorders classified under epileptic encephalopathies. Patients who are diagnosed with either LGS or Dravet suffer multiple seizures a day.
Epidyolex, a strawberry-flavored oral solution with cannabidiol (CBD), helps significantly reduced the frequency of seizures in patients diagnosed with LGS and Dravet syndrome. The drug is considered to be non-psychoactive and contains only less than 0.1 percent THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.
“LGS and Dravet syndrome are two of the most severe and difficult-to-treat forms of childhood-onset epilepsy, with few patients achieving adequate seizure control,” said Professor Elinor Ben-Menachem, professor of neurology and epilepsy at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgren Academy. “The EMA approval of Epidyolex will bring hope to patients and families, with the potential to better control seizures and improve quality of life.”
To date, an estimate of about 50,000 children and young adults in Europe are diagnosed to have one of the two syndromes, with about 10,000 coming from the UK.
Meanwhile, this CBD oral solution has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in June 2018 under the trade name EPIDIOLEX®.
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