According to a review in 2009, regular cannabis consumers have more anxiety than people who do not consume cannabis. There is a significant number of individuals who developed symptoms aggravating anxiety before the initial symptoms of cannabis dependence.
This trail of evidence made the scientists believe that people with pre-existing anxiety use cannabis as an anxiety-relieving medicine. They oppose the idea that cannabis might be the cause behind anxiety among the users.
The using patterns of cannabis might help comprehend behavioral tendencies. However, researchers conclude that the symptoms vary from person to person.
What are the different risk factors for anxiety in cannabis users?
The risk factors for aggravating anxiety are also multidimensional as genetic susceptibility, sex of the individual, personality traits, anxiety disorder type, paranoia episodes, abstinence state, and basal anxiety measures.
The risk factors involving cannabis include the frequency, types of active ingredients consumed, dosage, and setting.
Anxiety undoubtedly evolves uniquely in every person, and the risk factors are variable at a massive scale. However, scientists have noted that chronic consumers of cannabis often note a decline in anxiety.
On the contrary, occasional users complained of having more paranoid episodes with more intensity. With the increase in THC dosage, people also experienced higher anxiety levels.
Cannabis effects on an individual scale are unpredictable for now before its use. However, a better understanding of risk factors that include both environmental and biological factors can better guide people.
The relationship between cannabis and paranoid episodes is mostly related to the brain.
What is the relation of cannabis with the amygdala in the brain?
Active ingredients of cannabis, like tetra hydra cannabidiol, bind to cannabis receptors present in the brain. Most of these receptors belong to the amygdala, part of the gray matter involved in emotional processing, stress, fear, and paranoia.
When the THC interacts with the amygdala, a modification in the neural pathways in the brain takes place. This modification can result in over-excitation of the pathways leading to high paranoia and anxiety. This situation is more in individuals who are not regular cannabis users.
Scientists are, however, not aware of the situation yet. A proper understanding of the endocannabinoid system of the human body may guide scientists to have a better idea of the situation.
In simple words, there are receptor sites present in our body that are receptive to cannabinoids. Moreover, they also include those sites that are responsive to endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are the naturally occurring compounds in the body, similar to cannabinoids.
If the individual is under stressful condition or is faced with trauma, these endocannabinoids in the body start to decrease. This deficiency is compensated by artificial compounds like THC that produce a relaxing effect on the brain. This is the reason why many chronic users are fans of its anti-anxiety effects.
According to science, the cannabinoids from the cannabis restock the endocannabinoids in the human body. Therefore, the overall effect is therapeutic. The connection is also related to PTSD studies, and it might have positive effects on other mood disorders.
Possibility of Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients
Recent researches revealed that people with mild COVID-19 symptoms have a chance of developing fatal brain disorders.
COVID-19 is an infection that differently attacks every individual. Some people develop acute respiratory problems while others only develop mild symptoms like fever, cough etc. Mostly, doctors tend to ignore the patients with mild symptoms as they get normal on their own. However, the recent reports revealed some shocking and disturbing detail about the virus.
Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients
Coronavirus can trigger brain disorders in patients. Scientists have warned that doctors may be overlooking signs of brain disorders in patients with mild coronavirus symptoms. Neurologists in U.K. found over 40 coronavirus patients with severe brain inflammation, nerve damage, delirium and even a stroke. This is a serious condition called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (Adem). Cases of Adem have risen from one case a month to 2-3 weekly cases in the months of April and May.
Doctors are particularly worried because no virus has previously affected the brain as COVID-19 is. A 55-year-old COVID-19 patient without any history of mental illness, started behaving oddly the day after getting discharged from the medical center. She was having recurrent hallucinations. Another 47 year-old woman was admitted with a headache. However, later, she became unresponsive. The doctors conducted an emergency surgery to cut out a portion of her skull to release pressure on her inflammed brain.
The way COVID-19 affects the brain hasn’t been observed before with any other virus. This could very well be due to the fact that the virus has numerous mutations. However, that is just speculation for now.
So, what needs to be done?
Well, clinicians need to be on their toes about these complications of the coronavirus. Patients with memory issues, fatigue, weakness, numbness, or cognitive symptoms need special attention. Healthcare workers, GPs, and physicians should also consult neurologists in regard to these cases.
Note that these are all precautions. It does not neglect the fact that complete recovery isn’t possible. In most cases, the coronavirus does not involve the brain.
Because of the intensity of the symptoms of the virus most of the patients in hospitals cannot be examined through brain scanners or other procedures. Therefore, the full spectrum of brain disorders caused by the corona virus cannot be determined just yet. Efficient research needs to be done to determine the complete depth of the complications.
One major concern!
One major concern with this new discovery is the possibility of the virus to leave the affected people with brain disorders that could only become apparent later in life. The number of such cases might not be as staggering, but that is still a major concern.
This has happened before in flu outbreak in 1918. After the pandemic, almost a million patients came up with brain disorders.
It is far too early to give a verdict, but it could still haunt the people like a ghost. Like most subtle brain disorders, the effects might not become apparent at once. However, in the years to come it could affect the lifestyles of a lot of people.
One should hope that it doesn’t come to that. But, with a pandemic affecting people by thousands everyday, being alert is the wisest thing to do.
Cannabis Rendered Helpful in Saving Lives of COVID-19 Patients
Recent Researches revealed how Cannabis plant can help in saving lives of COVID-19 patients. The active components found in Cannabis Plant make it seem as a possible treatment for coronavirus infections.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabis
The University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute are conducting further researches to study the utility of CBD to check its utility in treating inflammation of lungs caused by coronavirus. The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabis can be especially valuable in improving issues related to behaviour, immunity and brain.
Researchers explained that the infection is related to a cytokine superstorm, that causes symptoms like cough, fever and muscle pain. The increased inflammation can even cause pneumonia and breathing difficulties. Breathing difficulties are the number one cause of deaths due to COVID-19.
Reduction in the Amount of Cytokines
Previously, researches conducted on CBD show that it can bring down the level of several cytokines, that cause inflammation, including IL-6. It also helps in controlling interleukin (IL)-2, interferon gamma, IL-1α and β, inducible protein-10, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-α. Excess of these leads to severe COVID-19 conditions. Moreover, CBD also increases the interferons production. Interferon is a protein that prevents viruse replication and activates immune cells.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have worked wonders for asthma patients by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. CBD also reduces pulmonary fibrosis. This condition causes scarring, thickening and damage to the lung tissue, along with making breathing considerably more painful. COVID-19 actually leaves patients with pulmonary fibrosis. This is the major reason why Cannabis can greatly help COVID-19 patients.
An insight into how COVID-19 works
Much like other respiratory pathogens, COVID-19 is also spread through respiratory droplets. However, it also has potential for contact and aerosol spread.
Coronavirus makes it way into the human body through receptor-mediation. This is done through angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2). ACE2 is present in lung tissue, oral and nasal mucosa, gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and testes.
This information opens door to a new way of hindering the spread of coronavirus. Modulation of ACE2 could prove fruitful in this regard.
A special strain of cannabis can render this function. Through ACE2 modulation it could block the virus’ entry into the human body. Nipping the evil in the bud.
Basically, ACE2 acts like doorways to the virus. The main idea is to temporarily alter the extent of ACE2 gene expression. Therefore, it could very well make the human body a no entry zone for the virus. The same strain could also be used to stop the virus’ propagation if it has made its way into a person’s body.
This is where Cannabis sativa comes into play. Plants with high CBD content have been proposed as a way to modulate the ACE2 gene expression in target tissues.
At this point in time, it is more of a theory than a confirmed fact. However, it sure opens a new avenue with promising prospects. If it proves successful, the next step would be to start manufacture that particular strain into a medication.
It sure looks like CBD properties of cannabis can prove fruitful in the treatment and prevention of coronavirus. However, further research will prove whether it is the case or not.
Cannabis – A Previously Taboo Topic
Cannabis Legalization is a debate that gets a lot of attention all across the globe. Cannabis was a taboo topic 250 years ago and still is in some parts of the world.
The Study of Alzate
In 18th century, a Mexican scientist and priest, Alzate, studied the healing effects of the controversial plant. His article covered several medical benefits of the herb for treating jaundice, cough, tumors, tinnitus, depression and more. Moreover, he said that it was a great raw material for producing sailing ships ropes. However, the Spanis Crown banned it altogether because of its hallucinogenic properties.
Alzate not only studied the effects of Cannabis on himself but also gathered first hand experiences of indigenous people and sailors.
Today most of Alzate’s findings are supported by tons of medical evidence. In fact, Cannabis is a plant with infinite benefits.
Cannabis Really A TABOO Topic?
Society has always viewed Cannabis as a destructive and even a lethal substance. It is true that cannabis is a highly addictive drug and its overuse can lead to serious drug addiction. Drug addicts often end up ruining their lives and the lives of those around them. This the major reason why marijuana has always been one of the taboo topics. People view marijuana addicts as individuals who end up rotting on streets.
However, this is not true for everybody. Cannabis is not merely a drug with addictive potential but a very useful organic substance. Cannabis makes people peaceful, it helps them think past the boundaries of commercial materialism and militarism. Note that excessive use of every substance is hazardous and the same goes for Cannabis.
Marijuana is a wonderful gift of nature that has helped human treat various conditions. From Sciatica to anxiety, PTSD to asthma, tumors to insomnia, Cannabis has the potential to treat them all. Therefore, considering Cannabis a taboo is unfair to the humankind.
Cannabis & COVID-19
COVID-19 struck the world in November 2019 and since then the world is facing a major crisis. Coronavirus started spreading globally in March 2020 and has not stopped since. It reached the global peak in June, 2020 affecting more than 12 million people. Around 530,000 people lost the battle of their lives to the global pandemic. Countries are out of policies to implement. Governments are facing the trickiest times of their rule. They are torn between the options of opening the country for routine businesses and impementing lockdowns.
In these trying times, Cannabis found another utility. Cannabis has proved to improve the health of COVID-19 patients and prevent Coronavirus. The University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, found that certain Cannabis sativa extracts can be used in treatments to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Cannabis sativa extracts have an effect on the expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2. These are the proteins which act as an entry point for the virus.
Cannabidiol (CBD), major component of cannabis, has amazing anit-inflammatory properties that can treat breathing problems. Doctors prescribe Cannabinoids to treat chronic pain and neurological conditions, such as arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
It is high time to consider the utility of Cannabis and cross it out from the list of taboo topics. With its legalization in Turkey, U.S.A., Peru, Poland, Finland and Italy, it is hoped that the rest of the world wil follow the suit.
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