CBD Testimonials: How CBD Saves Lives

You have probably heard a little about the different health benefits CBD can provide for us, such as pain relief, lowering inflammation, lessening irritation… However, at times, CBD does a little more than make our lives more comfortable; it can save people from devastating illnesses and improve their quality of life significantly. Could it be true?

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There are all sorts of stories like that, about patients who struggle with epilepsy, cancer, and other complicated conditions, and they or their families end up trying CBD oil as a last resort, having nothing to lose, only to be surprised by the almost unbelievable effects.

In the near future, we will probably continue to see countless stories like these before CBD is officially recognized as medicine…

CBD: 5 Real Life Stories

We have finally reached a time in history when the medical and scientific communities are being allowed to conduct serious studies and randomized trials on CBD, and cannabis in general, which are having a lot of positive results. And there are also a lot of individual stories where CBD has been a life-saver. Here are some of these stories:

1.  Hunter

Hunter Elwell is a young Australian teen who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a severe and debilitating form of epilepsy. His first years of life were spent in a haze; between the seizures and medication, he slept through most days.

Right before his eighth birthday, his parents decided to try medicinal cannabis in order to reduce the seizures, which were causing him to deteriorate rapidly.

The supplement he’s taking now, as part of his routine, has reduced the frequency of his seizures and has reversed some of the cognitive deterioration he suffered because of them. He has become more aware of his surroundings, started recognizing people, and is relearning some of the skills he had previously lost. His mom, found it amazing that her son learned how to say “mom” all over again.

Currently, due to the positive effect CBD oil has had on epilepsy patients like Hunter, there is a lot more research being done about cannabidiol and other cannabinoids, since it has been suggested that several others might also be responsible for the positive effects of cannabis oil in patients.

2. Charlotte

Charlotte Figi is a young girl who is well known by those who have followed the journey towards legalizing medicinal cannabis. She, like hunter, also suffers from Dravet syndrome.

At five, this illness was causing the little girl to have around 300 seizures per week, significantly lowering her quality of life, and causing neurological deterioration. She first experienced a seizure at only 3 months old and, by the age of two, she was already showing signs of cognitive decline. Most children who suffer from this illness die before the age of 10, due to the devastating effects of the constant seizures.

At this point, her parents were able to find a doctor who recommended medicinal cannabis for the treatment of her condition. She began taking CBD oil made from a high CBD strain of cannabis, which had an immediate and almost unbelievable effect.

During her first week taking the prescribed amount, Charlotte had no seizures, which was a first for her. She began being able to participate in life, eat, and even play with her twin sister and her older brother.

3. Zaki

Zaki Jackson suffers from another severe form of epilepsy called Doose syndrome. At the age of nine, his mom was desperate for any treatment, since her son’s doctors had told her there was nothing else they could do.

When she first heard of CBD, it seemed like there was nothing to lose by giving a less than experimental treatment a chance, so she began the journey towards getting her son what he needed in order to lead a better life.

In 2013, Zaki celebrated his first one year anniversary without any seizures at all; something that had previously seemed unthinkable to his mom and his doctors.

4. Lachie

Lachie Davidson is a young adult who has had a rare, benign brain tumor since he was a child. The tumor causes him to have several “laughing seizures” throughout the day, and, every once in a while, it causes severe seizures.

Medication for his condition has affected his ability to speak, which is very frustrating for him. He is currently participating in a medical trial which aims to find evidence of the effects of cannabinoids in seizures, though he doesn’t know if he’s taking the placebo or the actual medication. So he’ll have to see…

5. Kalel

Kalel Santiago’s parents are some of the many who have been desperate to find something that could help their kids suffering from severe forms of autism. Kalel, at his worst, wasn’t able to speak at all and would have self harming behaviours like banging his head against hard surfaces.

After beginning his CBD treatment, which consists of spraying CBD oil into his mouth twice a day, he started speaking his first words and his behavior changed in an impressive way, probably due to being able to communicate more openly than before.

Studies have shown that autistic children have significant differences in their CB2 receptors, compared to non autistic children. Doctors came to the conclusion that the reason CBD works so well for autism is that it stimulates the CB2 receptors, improving certain functions related to communication. Research is still being carried out.

What about THC? – 3 Bonus Stories

Though THC requires a more careful management, since it produces psychoactive effects, it has been shown to have significant anti carcinogenic properties. Essentially, it has the ability to cause the death of cancer cells, which are then flushed by the body.

Though it’s not legal, a lot of patients who have no other options, opt for THC treatment, feeling like there’s nothing to lose; and a lot of them have obtained astounding results. Here are some of them:

1. Deryn

At the age of 10, Deryn Blackwell was diagnosed with leukaemia and went through chemotherapy in order to treat it. Two years later, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer called Langerhans cell sarcoma, for which the only available treatment was bone marrow transplant.

After four unsuccessful transplants, and an unexpected infection his body had no way of fighting, doctors gave Deryn one week to live.

He planned his funeral and couldn’t wait for all the treatments and the illness to be over. He was tired of the pain and the emotional effects that came with it. At that point, the antibiotics were keeping him alive, the morphine had stopped working, and he was now on fentanyl and sleeping pills.

As a last resort, his mother managed to get her hands on cannabis tincture and decided to give it to her son in secret, in hopes that it would at least lessen his suffering, since he was in a lot of pain and was very anxious.

The effects were almost immediate; Deryn was a lot calmer and the pain had lessened. A few days later, the bloodwork showed new white blood cells. This meant that his body was now recovering and was beginning to be able to fight infection.

His mom wondered if it had just been a coincidence, so she stopped giving him the tincture, and his white cell count started going down again… Deryn is now perfectly healthy against all odds; he’s able to do regular activities, and wants to be a chef.

2. Joy

Joy Smith was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016. About a year later, after it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her stomach and intestine, she was told she only had six weeks to live… Think about that for a second; six weeks, less than two months. Sometimes we have holidays planned that are more than two months away. In an instant, she was pretty much told that it was over.

It has been almost three years since she was first diagnosed, and now she’s in remission. Why? She decided to try cannabis extract, which was still illegal in her home country.

She decided to stop chemotherapy and has only been taking the cannabis oil for a while. In her latest checkup, her doctor said that the cancer had almost entirely disappeared, only a little remaining in her stomach. And, even though she knows she could be accused of committing a crime, she decided to share her story publicly in hopes of helping others.

3. Rick

Rick Simpson is a relatively well known name in the world of medicinal cannabis. He came across it while looking for a way to treat symptoms that had been leftover from a work accident.

However, later he was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer and, rather than go on topical chemotherapy, he decided to use topical cannabis oil to treat it. He had heard about a study from the National Cancer Institute about THC, and chose not to expose his body to aggressive chemo.

He left a cannabis soaked bandage on the cancerous growths for a few days and, when he uncovered them, they were gone. He was so moved by the experience that he began making his own oil and giving it away to people who needed it.

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So, why are CBD and THC treatments still struggling to become recognized?

Scientists and doctors who believe in the medicinal properties of cannabis have different theories as to why these compounds have yet to be recognized and standardized as official medical treatments. Some theories point to the prevalent bad reputation that cannabis and hemp haven’t been able to shake, due to the recreational use for which they are better known.

However, others believe that the reason is more financial. Since CBD and THC are natural compounds easily obtained from hemp and other cannabis strains, they cannot be patented or kept as a secret formula, which implies that the financial gain that could be obtained from them by pharmaceutical companies is far less than the profits that come from other medication that is a lot less available.

Though we can’t really be sure of the ultimate reason behind the delay in regulating and recognizing the medicinal properties in CBD and THC, the truth is that this is rapidly changing. Real life stories about how cannabis can be an amazing alternative, are more and more common, so there will come a point where lawmakers around the world will have no choice but to regulate it.

Here in the US, for example, the FDA is currently working on the regulation of CBD, which is good news, but it’ll take a while before we get to see any official documents.

How Cannabinoids are Responsible for Runner’s High

After running or working out, people experience a number of sensations. This is known as the runner’s high, and studies suggest it is produced because of a cannabinoid found in our own brain.

“Run, Forest! Run!” Remember that scene from that awesome and timeless movie? Forest escaping from those bullies in bikes, rushing to the end-zone or crossing the entire country with a beard while the crowd followed him. “I just felt like running”, he said in that unforgettable accent of his. After those metal supports came off his legs, he never stopped running.

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Well, the truth is that Forest Gump was high as a kite on endocannabinoids. And if you are a regular runner, you probably have experienced the same high as Forest. Psychologically, and according to WebMD, runners experience euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of pain or discomfort and even loss in sense of time while running.

This concept is known as runner’s high. Biologically speaking, running sets in motion a lot of chemical reactions that give that sensation of being unstoppable. For a long time, scientists thought endorphins were responsible for that high. However, studies found that there is a direct correlation between intense aerobic activity and the endocannabinoid system.

What is the Runner’s High?

Forest just sitting in his dock. Looking at the horizon with his Bubba Gump hat laying in his lap. Then something clicks in that mind of his. He gets up slowly and starts running. “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a run. And for no particular reason, I just kept on going”. He ran all across his loving Alabama and continue all the way to the west coast.

During the last decade, running has become one of the most popular activities in the United States. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2003, only 15.9% of people 15 and older participated in some form of exercise. That number grew up to 20% in 2015. And if you don’t believe statistics, just take a look at your street or your nearest park in the morning. You are going to see a whole army of people with an armband, headphones and running shoes. And just like Forest, when does people start running, they just keep on going.

But, if you start to think about it, you have to ask the question. Why people like Forest and your neighbors are so into running? We can answer that. And no, the answer is not Jenny!

Endorphins

For decades, scientists have tried to figure out why exercise becomes so addictive for some people like Forest Gump. Some dare to say that it is as addictive as any other drug. Actually, it is not that far from the truth. During the 80’s, some studies concluded that there was a direct link between endorphins and running. Endorphins, in a very superficial definition, are the opioids that our bodies produce naturally.

Endorphins interact with several receptors in the brain that reduce perception of pain. Also, endorphins produce a positive feeling in our bodies. Endorphins can also be released during other physical activities, like sex. So when Jenny got into Forest’s bed, he also got high on endorphins. Naughty Forest.

But let us go back to running. A study published during early 1984 made a review on the evidence on exercise and endorphins. Among other findings, it concluded that there was significant evidence that endorphins “depress ventilation and play a role in ventilatory regulation”. This means that high levels of endorphins can change the perception of fatigue.

Furthermore, in 2009 a study explained how addictive exercise can become. Scientists concluded that, when taken to extremes, exercise can “develop into an addictive-like behavior”. Mice were submitted to exercise on a running wheel. They got so addicted to it that they showed a dependency similar to that observed in morphine dependant patients. Rats who went through high intensity running showed very severe withdrawal symptoms. There where even cases of mice that preferred running over eating to the point of even dying.

Recently, a new study came up. It suggested that endorphins were not the ones in charge of creating runner’s high. Another chemical compound created by our bodies came up: anandamide.

What is Anandamide?

Forest Gump was first released on June 23, 1994. Two years before that, halfway around the world, a couple of scientist discovered a chemical compound created in our brain. This chemical compound was proof that every human body produces its own cannabinoid. On March 24, 1992, Lumír Hanus, a Czech chemist, and William Devane, an American pharmacologist, isolated for the first time a cannabinoid produced in the human brain. They called it anandamide.

Hanus and Devane were working in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. They were part of a team lead by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, world’s leading scientist on cannabis.

Hanus and Devane called this new molecule Anandamide because of the Sanskrit word “ananda”, which means “joy, bliss or happiness”. Anandamide is also known as the “bliss molecule”. It is the mimetic twin of THC, another cannabinoid. Unlike anandamide, it is found in the cannabis plant and produces psychoactive effects. But what they do have in common is that they both activate CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brains. And most importantly, anandamide produces psychological and physical effects like euphoria and pain relief.

Although it is hard to believe director Robert Zemeckis knew anything about anandamide, his lead character is full of it throughout the movie. At the beginning, when we said that Forest was high on cannabinoids, we really meant it. It turns out that when Forest was running or playing ping pong like his life depended on it, anandamide was all over his brain. And remember that part when he was in Vietnam, running through the jungle trying to save Bubba and Lieutenant Dan, he screamed “something bit me!”? Well, maybe the reason why Forest didn’t feel that much pain when that bullet reached his buttucks was because of anandamide flowing through his brain.

Endocannabinoid System, Anandamide and Runner’s High

Because of the discovery of anandamide, scientists started to consider that endorphins were not the reason for the runner’s high. When you start jogging, playing ping pong or running all across the Vietnamese jungle, endorphins are not the reason for that feeling of euphoria. Anandamide is.

Twenty three years after Hanus and Devane isolated anandamide for the first time, German scientists made the link between the endocannabinoid system, anandamide and runner’s high. They proved, among other things, that endorphins had nothing to do with the “high”.

Goodbye endorphins, Hello Anandamide!

These German researchers observed in the study that endorphins can’t pass the blood-brain barrier. However, they also found high levels of an endocannabinoid called anandamide. Contrarily, anandamide could travel from blood to brain. They also found high levels of anandamide in people’s blood after running. Anandamide has two important effects that are directly involved with runner’s high: analgesic and anti anxiety effects.

The researchers proved this with mice that were acquainted to exercise in a running wheel. They divided that group into two: one group would continue to run for 5 hours per day, while the other one remained without exercise.

After this, scientists submitted the mice to different tests to measure and analyze anxiety, pain reception and sedation. Their findings showed that two of the endocannabinoid system receptors played a major role in runner’s high. When anandamide interacts with CB1 receptors, it inhibits anxiety. While CB1 and CB2 receptors both have a response on pain reduction.

To get back to Forest, maybe that’s why he was so calm in the middle of a war and how he managed to keep on running even though he was shot in the buttock.

Other scientists, this time from the Arizona’s School of Anthropology, measured the endocannabinoid system responses in humans, dogs and ferrets, before and after treadmill exercise. They wanted to compare non-cursorial mammals (mammals that don’t have limbs suitable for running) such as ferrets with cursorial mammals, like dogs and humans like Forest.

Their study showed that humans and dogs show an increase signaling of the Endocannabinoid System after exercise. On the contrary, ferrets don’t experience much change in their endocannabinoid system after running. These findings can explain why “humans and other cursorial mammals habitually engage in aerobic exercise despite the higher associated energy costs and injury risks”.

Forest Gump is high on anandamide

Running made Forest very happy. It got him from playing football to winning a congressional medal of honor. He crossed the whole country and, most importantly, made his mama really proud. And while he did all of that, his endocannabinoid system was working as hard as he did. Every time Forest runs, anandamide levels start rising in his brain, nervous system and endocannabinoid system.

It is not endorphins but cannabinoids the ones that provide that runner’s high. Studies prove that anandamide, our very own and self-produced cannabinoid, gives Forest and the millions of runners in the world that bliss, that joy and that high after exercising.

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