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Enhancing Your Skincare Routine with CBD

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The Importance of the Hemp Plant

“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill, excluded hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. By removing hemp from the statutory definition of marijuana, hemp products are now allowed to be transferred across state lines when purchased in a state where it was lawfully produced. The majority of cannabidiol (CBD) products that are available to purchase, are hemp-derived. This means that the CBD oil is produced from a hemp plant rather than a marijuana plant. The difference between the two will be discussed here, but first, what is hemp?

 

Hemp is of the Cannabis genus, specifically the Cannabis Sativa species. Its uses date back for over 10,000 years across many different cultures for purposes ranging from pottery making to medicinal and food sources. The reason why this Farm Bill was needed in the United States was because industrial hemp became looped in as a part of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, strictly regulating the cultivation, production, and sales of all forms of cannabis. Although hemp has low quantities of the intoxicating cannabinoid, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the industrial crop became criminalized. There are theories that hemp was included in this ban so those in positions of power could protect their own interests in the synthetic fiber and tree-made paper industry. The 1937 Act eventually led to the hemp farm ban in 1970 along with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act to label hemp as a Schedule 1 drug. To date, while hemp has been removed by the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug meaning it has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. 

 

For decades, advocates and activists have been championing the benefits of hemp for its multitude of uses. From Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes published in 1985 to Charlotte Figi’s remarkable story presented in Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary, Weed, in 2013; the capabilities of the plant are becoming more widely known. 

 

From the long history of uses across several cultures, here are just eight of the facts we would like to share with you about hemp: 

 

  1. Hemp played a prominent role in United States history

 

Hemp arrived in Colonial America along with the Puritans. The seeds were stored with the intention of planting, and the ropes and sails of the Mayflower were made with hemp fiber. Once they arrived in America, the colonies were required by British law to grow hemp and it soon became a staple in the expanding economy. The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp on their farms. Hemp played an important role up until the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, where heavy taxes were imposed on farmers, physicians, and pharmacists for growing, prescribing, and selling cannabis products.  

 

During World War II there was a “Hemp for Victory” campaign due to a shortage of fibers necessary to make ropes, shoelaces, and parachute webbing. Although hemp was illegal in America at this time, a propaganda film was made to persuade farmers to grow hemp instead of maize for the war efforts. Hemp was once again prohibited with the end of the war.

 

  1. Hemp seeds are a superfood

 

One might say that hemp seeds have the ability to offer total nutrition for the body. They contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and are a great source of protein in that they provide all nine essential amino acids. Hemp seeds also have an assortment of minerals and vitamins such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin B, and the well-researched antioxidant – vitamin E.  It also has something else that sets it apart from most superfoods we know of today. One of those omega-6 fatty acids hemp seeds contain is known as gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which is also found in breast milk. This vast nutritional profile may benefit as a neuroprotectant, anti-inflammatory, and immune and heart health regulator.

 

Hemp seeds can also be made into flour, oil, or milk. The many capabilities of the seed arguably gives it potential to address malnutrition and food shortages in the world. 

 

  1. Hemp may improve the environment it is grown in

 

The hemp plant is able to consume four times as much CO2 as trees do from the environment, in the process known as carbon sequestration. The root has a lot to offer as well. The deep root allows the plant to reach nutrients left behind by previous plants as well as find deep water sources. This ability of the roots not only benefits the plant but the surrounding soil. It loosens the soil, therefore encouraging plant growth afterward, as well as holds the soil together to reduce erosion. 

 

The potential of hemp plants to remove toxins from the soil where it is being grown is being studied as well. In fact, hemp is being grown in the surrounding areas of Chernobyl to assist in removing caesium (a radio-nuclide left over from the devastating 1986 explosion) from the soil. This process is called phytoremediation, where plants may be used to decontaminate soil of high concentrations of contaminants, such as heavy metals, by the plants’ ability to accumulate them in their plant tissue. Although there are many plant species with this ability, hemp has an advantage due to its superior tolerance, root system, and biomass. 

 

  1. Hemp could easily replace what trees produce

 

On average, the amount of paper produced by 2-4 acres of trees in a year can be accomplished in one acre of hemp. The paper manufactured from hemp pulp is able to be recycled several more times than paper manufactured from wood pulp, and the fiberboard that can be produced from hemp is reportedly stronger and lighter than wood. 

As documented in 2012, about 521 million acres are reserved in the United States for timber harvesting, which will primarily produce wood for lumber and construction materials. Harvesting takes place when the tree reaches a large enough diameter. This process can take, on average, 10-20 years depending on the tree species. In contrast, hemp plants for pulp and fiber are ready for harvest in 60-120 days. 

 

  1. Growing hemp requires a lot less resources than growing cotton

 

The water footprint to produce one pound of cotton is approximately 1,320 gallons whereas the water footprint required to produce one pound of usable hemp fiber is about 255 gallons. Considering that it only takes low to moderate amounts of water to effectively grow hemp plants, it is able to be successfully grown in all 50 states and across many climates. 

 

Just as with trees, utilizing hemp plants may save on acreage as well. Case studies show that while about 1,190 pounds of cotton fiber can be produced per acre; 2,645 pounds of hemp fiber can be produced per acre. While cotton fabric may be softer (due to the fibers quickly and easily breaking down), hemp fabric tends to be stronger, longer lasting (due to the fibers taking longer to break down), and more insulating. 

 

  1. Protein from hemp seeds is more nutritious than most protein sources

 

In our second point, we discussed hemp seeds as a great source of protein, however there is more to add to this point! Hemp seed protein can be used to produce milk, butter, cheese, salad dressings, tofu, veggie burgers, ice cream, and more. Hemp flour can make pasta, bread, and other baked goods. 

 

While in comparison to other foods that are high in protein, it may seem that hemp seeds are not that superior at about 10 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons. However, what sets them apart is the lack of trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme, which breaks down proteins we ingest within the small intestine, making the amino acids and other nutrients available to the body. Trypsin inhibitors block this function. Meaning, if you are eating a high protein food that contains them, not all of that protein is being broken down and digested. The fact that hemp seeds do not contain these inhibitors, means that all of the protein taken in becomes available to the body. Soybeans and legumes are among the several protein-rich foods that contain trypsin inhibitors, although the amount is able to be reduced by means of heating. 

 

  1. Hemp and marijuana are not the same

 

Hemp belongs to the Cannabis Sativa species only. Marijuana, on the other hand, can be of either the Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica species. The most basic of differences between the two is that hemp will contain less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana is typically grown to encourage the development of trichomes, which are glands on the flowers of the plant where THC is concentrated. These female plants are kept separate from the male plants to avoid fertilization, as fertilized cannabis flowers may produce lower THC. 

 

CBD can come from hemp or marijuana plants – regardless of the plant, the compound that is CBD remains the same in molecular structure. All hemp-derived CBD products are what will be available to purchase over the counter or be shipped state to state and to most countries. Marijuana-derived CBD will only be available to purchase in a state that supports recreational use or a medical marijuana program, as it will contain more than 0.3% THC.  

 

If what you are looking for is a federally legal product that contains low THC, high CBD, and is full-spectrum, in that it contains all of the natural cannabinoids of the plant, a hemp-derived CBD product would be the way to go. 

 

  1. Hemp is a versatile natural resource, with more to offer than almost any other

 

In addition to the capability of being a source of fiber for ropes, nutrition, paper, and a cotton replacement, hemp seed oil could be used to produce fuel, laundry detergent, natural wood finish, and much more. For example, hemp cellulose may be used to produce hemp durable and biodegradable plastic. In 1941 Henry Ford famously showcased a car made from soybean and hemp plastics, gloating that it was lighter than steel and could withstand ten times the impact. 

 

How is that possible; that hemp fibers are stronger than steel? It comes down to tensile strength and compression strength. Hemp fibers have greater tensile strength, meaning it may handle more tension before it is permanently deformed. For example: the weight endurance a rope can hold before it tears. The weakest hemp fiber needs more pressure to break than the weakest variation of steel. Hemp has the capacity to hold double the weight. Compression strength is how much damage an object can endure before it loses the capacity to mend itself. Hemp has six times the ability of steel to not bend with pressure.

 

For these very good reasons, we celebrate the wrongly criminalized hemp plant. It has the potential to play many important roles, thus education and awareness of its capabilities is paramount. If you have any questions about what was discussed here, or wish to find out more, refer to the Hemp Week educational campaign or contact a Realm of Caring Care Specialist at info@realmofcaring.org

 

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Taking a Break from Cannabis: THC Tolerance Break 101

There may come a time when you find yourself in need of a THC detox. Whether it’s due to a forthcoming drug test for a job opportunity or a personal decision to embark on a tolerance break (T-break), effectively resetting your system is crucial. With the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis in many regions, it is important to understand how to consume it responsibly and maintain a healthy relationship with the plant. One effective strategy for achieving this is by incorporating THC tolerance breaks into your cannabis routine. 

 

In this blog, we will explore what T-breaks are, why they are beneficial, and how to efficiently flush THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) out of your body and prepare for a fresh start.

 

What is a Tolerance Break?

 

A tolerance break, also known as a “T-break,” refers to a deliberate period of abstinence from cannabis consumption. The purpose of a tolerance break is to reset the body’s response to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Extended and frequent cannabis use can lead to the development of tolerance, where the body becomes less responsive to the effects of THC. Taking a break allows the body to restore its sensitivity to THC, resulting in a more enjoyable and efficient experience upon resuming cannabis use.

 

3 Benefits of Tolerance Breaks

 

  1. Enhanced Sensitivity: Regular cannabis consumption can lead to a diminished response to THC, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. By taking a tolerance break, you give your body a chance to reset its cannabinoid receptors, leading to increased sensitivity. This means you’ll be able to experience the effects of cannabis more profoundly with smaller amounts, potentially saving money in the long run.

 

  1. Avoiding Plateaus: Over time, frequent cannabis use can reach a point where the effects plateau, resulting in a diminished experience. By incorporating tolerance breaks into your routine, you can prevent or break through these plateaus, ensuring that each cannabis session remains enjoyable and effective.

 

  1. Cognitive Clarity: While cannabis can provide many benefits, it may also affect cognitive function, particularly short-term memory and concentration. Taking a break allows you to regain mental clarity and focus, which can be particularly beneficial for those who require enhanced cognitive abilities for work, studies, or other activities.

 

How to Successfully Implement a Tolerance Break

 

  • Abstain from Cannabis: The first step in a successful THC detox is to abstain from cannabis consumption entirely. This includes avoiding smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, or any other form of cannabis ingestion. The duration of your detox will depend on various factors, such as your usage patterns and metabolism, but typically ranges from a few days to several weeks. Choose a realistic timeframe that suits your needs and lifestyle.

 

  • Hydrate and Exercise: Staying well-hydrated is essential during a THC detox. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins from your body and supports overall detoxification. Additionally, engaging in regular physical exercise, such as cardiovascular activities or sweating through saunas, can assist in the elimination of THC stored in fat cells.

 

  • Communicate with Others: Inform your friends, cannabis-using buddies, or anyone you typically consume cannabis with about your decision to take a tolerance break. This will help prevent any social pressure and ensure their support during this period.

 

  • Seek Alternatives: Find alternative activities or hobbies to engage in during your break. This can help distract you from cannabis-related thoughts and cravings. Consider pursuing physical exercise, creative endeavors, spending time in nature, or engaging in social activities that do not revolve around cannabis.

 

  • Follow a Nutritious Diet: Opting for a nutrient-rich diet is beneficial during a THC detox. Focus on consuming foods that support liver function, as the liver plays a vital role in metabolizing and eliminating toxins from your body. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and foods high in antioxidants into your meals.

 

  • Manage “Withdrawal” Symptoms: Some individuals may experience mild “withdrawal” symptoms during a tolerance break, including irritability, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, and mood swings. These symptoms are temporary and typically subside within a few days. Engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to support your overall well-being and optimize the detoxification process.

 

  • Reflect and Reintroduce: Use this break as an opportunity for self-reflection. Evaluate your relationship with cannabis and how it fits into your life. Once your tolerance break is over, gradually reintroduce cannabis back into your routine. Start with lower doses to gauge your sensitivity and adjust consumption accordingly.

 

Conclusion

 

Embarking on a T-break or THC detox is a proactive step towards achieving your desired goals, whether it’s passing a drug test or resetting your tolerance to cannabis. By abstaining from cannabis, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, following a nutritious diet, and managing stress, you can effectively flush THC out of your system. Remember, responsible cannabis consumption involves finding the balance that works best for you and respecting your body’s needs.

If you are in need of support while on your journey, the Care Team at Realm of Caring is here to help! Send an email to info@realmofcaring.org, call at 719-347-5400 or chat at realmofcaring.org.

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Veterans and Cannabis Use: Benefits, Restrictions, and Call for Change

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Managing Stress with Cannabis: Men’s Health Awareness

June is Men’s Health Month. A time for acknowledging that men’s health issues are often overlooked and encouraging society to destigmatize men seeking help for mental health conditions.

 

Although no individual is free from exposure to stress, a published study showed that hormonal differences may alter how individuals manage stress. When stressed, hormones cortisol and epinephrine are released into the bloodstream. These are responsible for elevating blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and decreasing the effectiveness of the immune system. Oxytocin is another released hormone, which promotes nurturing and relaxing emotions. The study showed that women may release higher levels of oxytocin, therefore they are more likely to nurture themselves when under stress. Men, however, produced lower levels of oxytocin, which may result in suppressing stress or seeking avenues to escape the problem altogether. 

 

Hormonal results of stress may lead to chronic health problems, especially when early symptoms are ignored and not enough emphasis is placed on managing the contributing factors to stress. While acute stress may improve functioning and immune health, chronic or repeated stress can lead to exacerbating mental illnesses and/or suppressing the immune response to bacterial and viral infections, vaccinations, and cancer. 

 

Finding stress-relieving activities may be beneficial. However, lifestyle changes that promote uninterrupted sleep, healthy eating and digestion as well as reduce pain, anxiety, and depression may be keys to preventing chronic stress and the ailments that follow. 

 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a key regulator of stress response, critical to assist our bodies in returning to a non-stressed state. The ECS limits the magnitude of the stress response, helps to return the HPA axis to non-stressed levels, and facilitates habituation of the stress response where repeated or ongoing.The interaction of plant-based cannabinoids and our ECS makes cannabis a likely candidate for alleviating the symptoms of many health conditions, to include stress. In fact, cannabis has been used medicinally for thousands of years in various societies around the world to reduce the physiological and psychological consequences of stress and fear. 

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) and Stress

 

The first clinical evidence that CBD reduces the stress response was from the studies of CBD’s ability to reduce the adverse effects of THC in healthy volunteers. 

 

In 2021, a study reviewed eight clinical trials (seven controlled and one partially controlled) of CBD for stress. The eight trials had a combined total of 352 participants. All showed that CBD was highly effective in significantly reducing the stress response and was non-inferior to pharmaceuticals, when used for comparison. 

 

CBD works with cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors. For example, even at low doses, CBD has been shown to block stress-induced changes in the 5-HT1A receptor gene expression that reduced anxiety associated with the stress-response. 

 

CBD, as well as additional cannabinoids, may be a large influence to major hormones that may affect our stress levels, including epinephrine and cortisol. 

 

Epinephrine

 

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is released during periods of sudden or chronic stress that leads to “fight or flight” actions. While epinephrine is important for sending more blood to our brain and muscles, making us more alert and providing energy, too much can put us at risk for anxiety, depression, and heart complications. Therefore, finding ways to naturally control the overproduction of epinephrine is essential. 

 

In 2001, researchers sought to understand the effects of cannabinoids on adrenaline secretion. It is well known that cannabinoids may promote cardiovascular homeostasis, so they carried out a study with rabbits to look more closely at how and why. It was found that due to the interaction of cannabinoids with the CB1 receptor, the cannabinoids used were able to lower the electrically evoked adrenaline release in the adrenal glands of the rabbits. 

 

While this study did not look at commercially available products for adrenaline control, findings were important to support involvement of specific cannabinoid receptors in the decrease in plasma adrenaline concentration.

 

Cortisol

 

Along with releasing epinephrine during times of stress, cortisol also releases from the adrenal glands to keep us on high alert, further contributing to “fight or flight”. Cortisol also triggers the release of glucose from the liver for increased energy. While research on CBD and cortisol is its infancy, there have been several clinical trials and one partially controlled trial looking at CBD for stress. All showed that CBD was effective in significantly reducing the stress response and comparable to pharmaceuticals where included. 

 

Not only may CBD be helpful in reducing stress-associated anxiety, but it may normalize abnormal stress responses. One study, looking to understand the effects of CBD on participants at high risk of developing psychosis who are found to have decreased levels of cortisol as a stress-response. The CBD treatment adjusted the abnormal cortisol response as well as reduced stress-associated increase in anxiety. 

 

Frontline healthcare workers were looked to in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to investigate the safety and efficacy of CBD therapy in reducing emotional exhaustion and burnout. By day 14 of treatment, emotional exhaustion and symptoms of burnout were significantly reduced among the majority.

 

Studies confirm that a misalignment of the sleep-wake cycle has a negative impact on the stress system. There are a few discrepancies in studies when it comes to the relationship of sleep and cortisol, however unbalanced cortisol levels have been observed in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and many studies have shown increase in cortisol levels throughout a night of sleep deprivation and in the prolonged wakefulness of the following day.

 

Cannabis and Sleep

 

Needless to say, along with stress comes disrupted sleep. Cannabis Sativa is often used for improved sleep and relaxation, attributed to Indian hemp in the nineteenth century. 

 

For starters, hemp seeds contain a vitamin B6 content that can trigger the conversion of our body’s tryptophan into serotonin, which can then be converted to melatonin. 

 

CBD has been researched for its therapeutic potential for sleep disorders through limiting symptoms that may keep us awake at night but also may contribute to an increase in sleep duration and depth, as well as decrease in the anxiety responses induced by sleep disturbance. 

 

In comparison to CBD, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has shown in studies as having an effect on mental and physical sedation, even in low amounts. THC also has positive therapeutic benefits that may lead to better sleep.

 

Cannabinoids CBD, THC, and cannabinol (CBN) have been lightly studied for their effects in balancing melatonin production. Cannabinoids are also being studied to better understand the complementary relationship they have with melatonin. Data published in 2022 suggest that a CBD-melatonin formula could be competitive with synthetic-hypnotic drugs (i.e. Ambien, Unisom). The antioxidant activity of melatonin that benefits the brain network coupled with the pain reduction and anti-anxiety effects of CBD promoted a balanced sensation of wellbeing during sleep. 

 

Overall, Assessed data from a 2020 published observational study looking at various quality of life measures showed that adult cannabis users had greater sleep quality, shorter sleep latency, longer sleep duration, fewer sleep disturbances, and a significantly better sleep score compared with the control group.

 

Finding Support for Cannabinoid Therapy

 

As with any therapy, effective dosing varies widely by individual and condition. When looking to cannabis for medical conditions, we always recommend speaking with a healthcare professional. However, if you are in need of support while on your journey, the care team at Realm of Caring is here to help! Send an email to info@realmofcaring.org, call at 719-347-5400 or chat at realmcaring.org.

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Summer Guide: How CBD Products Can Enhance Your Seasonal Activities and Wellness

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Planning to travel with your CBD this summer? Here is what you need to know

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been researched for its benefits across multiple conditions. Some may choose to take it for general wellness while others depend on it for the ability to live a life of quality. While it has become federally legal in recent years, there is still uncertainty when it comes to where and how you can take your therapy with you when traveling. If you are considering flying this summer (or anytime in the near future) below are where you may safely travel with your CBD and where you might be better off leaving it at home. 

 

Background knowledge before we begin: What’s the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate?

 

Full spectrum: Full spectrum considers the whole plant when it comes to CBD. When processing, nothing is deliberately removed to include cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, or any other active compounds that naturally occur in the plant. This means that THC may be found in trace amounts, which may offer additional therapeutic benefits but is non-intoxicating. 

 

Broad spectrum: In a broad spectrum product, all of the naturally occurring compounds of the plant are included with the exception of THC, which is removed in the extraction process. While the idea is to remove all traces of THC, there is always the possibility that some may be in the finished product. You might think of a broad spectrum like decaf coffee, where trace amounts of caffeine may still be present.  

 

Isolate: A CBD isolate will only contain the CBD compound from the plant. 

 

In tincture or oil form, all three CBD types will have a carrier oil such as MCT, Coconut, Olive, or Macadamia Nut.

 

Flying from state to state

 

When traveling state to state, only CBD products that fit the 2018 Farm bill definition of containing no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, are legally able to go through security at the airport. This can be in either a checked or carry-on bag. There should not be a cause for concern when flying within the United States with any of the three variations of CBD listed above. 

 

Per the TSA’s website, TSA security officers do not search for “marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer”. 

 

If you decide to leave your CBD at home and purchase it once you are at your destination (or run out while away from home), be aware that although legal at the federal level, CBD laws may be more restrictive in specific states. Some states may require an age verification of 21+ to purchase CBD products while others may prohibit the sale of full-spectrum CBD completely. Before you travel, it might be helpful to check in advance so you can be sure you won’t run out while on the road. 

 

Flying from country to country

 

Flying internationally gets a bit more tricky, as laws for definitions of hemp/CBD and THC allowances will vary from country to country. The rule of thumb is to be as cautious as possible and if you are unclear as to whether or not it will be legal in the country you are flying to, it may be best to leave it at home. 

 

The bottom line

 

Laws and regulations surrounding CBD and cannabis are not only varied but change quickly. It is important to research the latest restrictions before you travel. It is also important to ensure the product you are currently using, or intend to use, are following appropriate regulations. If you have any questions about the quality or safety of your product, a Realm of Caring Care Specialist is here to help. Reach out by emailing info@realmofcaring.org, calling 1-888-210-3772, or scheduling an appointment

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Lack of Motivation: Is Cannabis a Friend or Foe?

A lack of motivation can happen to anyone, in fact most people will experience it in one way or another in their lifetime. While a lack of motivation may be common, understanding the underlying causes and solutions for coping are not as commonly discussed. 

 

Choosing Therapy lists the ten potential reasons for a lack of motivation as the result of:

 

  • A stress-related condition, such as adjustment disorder
  • Chronic stresses that one cannot escape (toxic stress)
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Lacking activities that one enjoys
  • Putting the care of others before yourself
  • Burn out
  • Inflexibility 
  • Life-changing events such as death or the loss of a relationship
  • Anxiety or self-doubt in reaching a goal 
  • Depression or depressive episode

 

Avolition is defined as a lack of interest or engagement in goal-directed behavior. It is often an associated symptom of schizophrenia. Researchers continue to understand how motivation affects adults and investigate beneficial interventions. What has been found to date is that lack of motivation is greater among those with unmet needs regarding daytime activities, psychotic symptoms, behavioral problems, and addiction problems. 

 

There is a common belief that increased cannabis use leads to a lack of motivation. However few studies have come to this conclusion, especially where individuals are dosing their cannabis therapeutically to alleviate symptoms across a myriad of disorders. 

 

Researchers in 2006 found that daily cannabis users did not differ in their level of global motivation compared to those who abstained. In 2016 researchers found that lower self-efficacy over time predicted higher cannabis use, however the study did not observe the opposite direction to understand if higher cannabis use led to lower self-efficacy. A 2018 published study observed college students using cannabis to test the amotivational syndrome. They found that cannabis use lowered initiative and persistence scores but raised effort scores. While understanding how general self-efficacy may be impacted by cannabis use is important, researchers noted that it is not specific to a target behavior and further research is needed.  

 

In 2022, a study was published to understand more about the association between cannabis use and amotivation, given past mixed findings and lack of specific reward sub-processes. Results suggest that cannabis use at a frequency of 3-4 days per week is not associated with apathy, effort-based decision making for reward, reward wanting, or reward liking in adults or adolescents. A qualitative analysis published in 2022 paid close attention to the notable quality of life improvements attributed to medicinal cannabis use. The two overarching categories were “enhanced well-being” and “improved daily functioning”. Enhanced well-being includes feelings such as regaining a sense of hope, enjoying family life, and laughing more often. An adult from the study with Lyme Disease was quoted saying, “People such as myself are able to become productive and valued members of society again when we can have the quality of life improved so simply.” 

 

Despite research to support significant quality of life improvements from therapeutic dosing of cannabis, it is still often stigmatized as the cause for lack of motivation among individuals. For these stigma’s to truly be challenged, we must look to existing scientific research to value the medicinal benefits and place emphasis on the importance of a dose-outcome relationship. 

 

As mentioned above in the top ten potential reasons, a lack of motivation stems from a deeper issue that may be connected to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. As society moves towards solutions for ailments that are plant-based with reduced side effects and increased efficacy, it is time to change the narrative on cannabis and motivation loss. It may instead serve us better to explore cannabis as a potential benefit to the underlying causes.

 

Cannabis is not a one-size fits all approach, but at Realm of Caring we have a decade of experience helping individuals find success with their therapy across a multitude of conditions. While symptoms such as a lack of motivation may sound minor, it is important to reach out for help if you feel you are beginning to struggle. If you have any questions on how cannabinoid therapy may assist you with your wellness journey, please contact our care team today by calling (719) 347-5400, emailing info@realmofcaring.org, or by scheduling an appointment.

 

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Eating Disorders, Cannabis, & Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness Month is recognized throughout the month of May. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states, “It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together and remember the inherent value we each hold — no matter our diagnosis, appearance, socioeconomic status, background or ability.” Millions of individuals across the globe are affected by a mental illness, and each condition has its own set of symptoms.

 

It is estimated that of mental health conditions, around 29 million Americans will suffer from what is known to be the second most deadliest in their lifetime. More than 10,000 deaths each year in the United States are linked to the direct result of an eating disorder. 

 

There is a lack of effective treatment for eating disorders, such as Anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia, and binge-eating disorder (BED) however there is extensive evidence that suggests the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an essential role in our emotional response to eating as well as the pathophysiology of mental disorders. 

 

Both delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabigerol (CBG) have been looked at for their potential to serve as an appetite stimulant. User anecdotes also suggest that cannabis use will promote appetite. Studies have shown that caloric intake increases among cannabis users when compared with non-users. This leads to the popular belief that cannabis use leads to unintentional weight gain, however many human epidemiological studies show the opposite. As far as appetite is concerned, when provided care and guidance in your approach to dosing, cannabinoids may actually help to promote a healthy weight. 

 

Anorexia nervosa studies

 

A 2013 study observed 25 women with severe, longstanding AN who received 2.5mg of dronabinol twice daily for 4 weeks. A small, but significant weight gain was realized without any significant psychotropic adverse effects. 

 

Taking it a step further, a 2017 study looked at the complex underpinnings of AN, including social, genetic, psychological, and biological predispositions. Among a group of participants receiving low dose THC, their depression rank significantly improved, which had a positive effect on body weight. Participants showed a less restricted attitude towards body feeling and self-esteem, leading to an improved mood. 

 

Recent evidence suggests that exaggerated anxiety and diminished reward or motivation to eat are key roles in triggering AN symptoms. The University of California, San Diego is looking at cannabidiol (CBD) for its potential to reduce anxiety, and to investigate benefits for adults living with AN. Their study to understand CBD’s role in regulating meal time anxiety is currently active. 

 

Cannabinoids as an alternative or complementary therapy

 

When targeting eating disorders with treatment options, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed. This is often counterintuitive as side effects may include short term weight loss or long term weight gain. CBD is more recently being considered as a therapy option for depression and mental illnesses that exhibit symptoms of depression. The serotonergic mechanism of CBD is distinct from commonly used antidepressant medications in that it does not appear to produce symptoms of withdrawal. CBD has also been shown to synergize with other serotonergic medications. Data suggests that CBD could facilitate the antidepressant effect induced by these antidepressant drugs, therefore allowing the SSRIs to be administered at lower doses, resulting in fewer side effects.

 

The importance of a dose-outcome relationship

 

Cannabis is not a one-size fits all approach, and more cannabis does not typically correlate to increased benefit. One-on-one support, taking it slow, and being consistent with your therapy are all key components to finding success. Eating disorders are incredibly complex and more than one therapy may be necessary to alleviate symptoms. Research on cannabis and eating disorders is limited, however if you seek resources for how to talk to your doctor or data-driven answers to your questions about cannabinoid therapy and symptoms of mental health conditions, the Realm of Caring Care Team is here to assist. 

 

At Realm of Caring, we are not medical professionals nor clinically trained to advise one through their mental health illness. However, we care. We are here to help you find resources. We are also here to support you if you are utilizing cannabinoid therapy to bring symptomatic relief, whether that relief is needed psychologically or physically. Those of us who suffer are well aware, mental health illnesses go far beyond affecting mood, physical symptoms may also be witnessed. 

 

Reach the care team by calling (719) 347-5400, emailing info@realmofcaring.org, or by scheduling an appointment.

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

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Colorado Bill Threatens Access to Hemp

In 2022 Colorado gathered experts across the state to convene in a task force to study intoxicating hemp products and make legislative and rule recommendations. The task force, of which Realm of Caring was a member of, met over the course of six months, collectively committing to thousands of hours. The final report was submitted to the General Assembly on January 3rd, 2023.

 

Before the bill was introduced to the Senate Finance Committee on April 18th, 2023, those findings and recommendations were dismissed. Over the course of the last three weeks of session, through the Senate and House, amendments were further added going well beyond the scope and intent of the bill.

 

The intoxicating products the task force were intended to discuss were synthetically derived and synthetic cannabinoids available in the market. The focus quickly transferred from those products to non-intoxicating, hemp-derived CBD products that have been available for purchase globally for more than a decade. Instead of focusing on the crux of the issue, which are intoxicating products, the amendments sought to further regulate those that are compliant with safety data to prove that they do not produce adverse effects. These products that are being threatened are utilized for an array of healthcare conditions, offering a life-saving therapy for infants, children, adults, and animals. Sacrificing access to these products is to sacrifice a life.

 

To pass this bill with the amendments would impose age restrictions for a subset of the non-intoxicating products now available. Parents are being put into a situation where in order to give their child their medicine, they must verify their age as 21+ for purchasing. Not at a dispensary in Colorado, but at grocery stores, supplement and vitamin shops, and any other retail location where compliant hemp products were once sold without restriction.

 

There is scientific data available to show that in a CBD to THC ratio product made from hemp, THC levels are non-intoxicating up to 3.7mg per serving. Amendments set forth bring that serving limit down to 1.25mg per serving. The task force gathered to make legislative and rule recommendations based in science, which they did. This new serving limit of 1.25mg is arbitrary, not based in science, and will quickly cause Colorado to lose status as a leader in the hemp industry.

 

The rhetoric and reasoning behind these amendments are based in fear from a lengthy war on drugs as well as greed from the marijuana industry. Special interest groups took advantage of the opportunity to regulate intoxicating products with an attempt to instead regulate non-intoxicating products.

 

We cannot risk access to the most vulnerable across our state and nation who purchase from Colorado manufacturers. We have fought too long and too hard to be right back where we were a decade ago. The only difference between then and where we are today, is that we now have a decade of data from our own constituents to support that these products are safe and non-intoxicating.

 

At Realm of Caring, we support a veto to SB23-271. There is still a concern regarding intoxicating, synthetic and synthetically derived products and this bill does not solve that. A veto here would allow stakeholders to come back next year with reasonable solutions that do not impact access to quality and compliant hemp products.

 

For additional viewpoints on the process and outcomes of SB23-271, check out the following resources:

 

Commentary: Is Full Spectrum Hemp a Thing of the Past in Colorado?

 

Colorado Intoxicating Cannabinoid Legislation Threatens an Industry, Fails to Protect Patients and Endangers America’s Children

 

Hemp Rising Podcast