Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Effects on Anxiety and Insomnia

Cannabis smoking produces a relaxant effect which most users value and it has been suggested that the beneficial effects of cannabis and THC observed in neurological disorders such as motor tics, dystonias and Huntingdon’s chorea are due to sedative and anxiolytic actions. In addition, sedation is by far the most common side effect of cannabis, and in particular THC, observed in clinical trials against a range of disorders. This has lead to the suggestion that cannabis and some cannabinoids may be useful in disorders accompanied by anxiety and/or insomnia. Cannabis Sethi et al. () noted a reduction of anxiety in 50 chronic cannabis users compared to controls, in terms of scores on the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale. Oral preparations of cannabis have a sedative or tranquillising effect in man, accompanied by diminished anxiety at doses much lower than those producing psychoactivity. However, anxiety and panic, possibly due to depersonalisation, intoxication and loss of control, can also feature as side effects. These symptoms have been observed after smoking or oral ingestion of cannabis, but particularly after intravenous administration of aqueous extracts. This may be due to the rapid onset of altered mental state Read more […]

Specific Medicinal Uses of Cannabis: Multiple Sclerosis

Like so many other applications, there are numerous anecdotal reports from both patients and their carers who say that cannabis has proffered relief from a range of symptoms associated with MS, including tremor, spasticity and muscle pain. Evidence for the efficacy of cannabis in the relief of spasticity other than that found in MS is discussed in Spastic Conditions. Cannabis Meinck et al. () describe a case where the benefits of smoking cannabis reported by the patient — improvement in muscle tone, reflexes, spasticity, tremor and walking ability — were quantifiable in the laboratory and deteriorated on withdrawal. In a double-blind, placebo controlled trial of cannabis in 10 ambulant patients with MS, the drug impaired posture and balance although several patients reported an improvement in subjective feelings of well-being; a formal psychological assessment was not carried out. Anecdotal evidence gathered from the testimonials of MS sufferers indicates that a considerable proportion obtain at least partial relief from night-time spasticity, and reduced muscle pain, tremor and depression. THC Petro and Ellenburger reported a placebo-controlled trial of oral THC in 9, cannabis-naive patients with MS. Each Read more […]

Scarlet Wisteria Tree, Red Wisteria, Daun Turi

Sesbania grandiflora Pers. (Leguminosae) Sesbania grandiflora Pers. is a tree that can grow to 8-10 m in height. The compound leaves are about 30 cm long with 12 to 20 pairs of rounded, narrow, oblong leaflets, 3-4 cm by 1 cm. Flowers are 5-10 cm by 3 cm, in pale pink, red, purple or white. The pods are 25-50 cm, slender, and cylindrical with many light brown to red brown seeds. Origin Native to Malesia and cultivated in the tropics. Phytoconstituents Grandiflorol, (+)-leucocyanidin, oleanolic acid, lutein, beta-carotene, violaxanthin, neoxanthin, zeaxanthin and others. Traditional Medicinal Uses In the Philippines, the plant is used for its hypotensive properties. It is used in Indian folk medicine for the treatment of liver disorders. The juice of the leaves and flowers are popularly used for nasal catarrh and headache when taken as snuff. Various leaf preparations are used to treat epileptic fits. Applied externally for treatment of leprous eruptions. A poultice of the leaves is used for bruises. The leaf juice is mixed with honey for congenital bronchitis or cold in babies. Pharmacological Activities Antibacterial, Anticonvulsant, Anti-inflammatory, Anxiolytic, Depressant, Diuretic, Hepatoprotective, Hypoglycaemic, Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Rule-Outs And Comorbid Disorders

Anxiety disorders commonly co-occur with other disorders, and some disorders not classified as anxiety disorders may include features of anxiety, complicating the diagnosis. It is imperative for mental health professionals to carefully examine all symptoms in order to perform a comprehensive differential diagnosis. In order to select an appropriate therapeutic compound, the diagnosis must be parsimonious, but at the same time it must account for all symptoms that are evident. To assist clinicians, this section reviews the disorders commonly associated with anxiety that need to be examined when rule-outs and comorbidities are considered. Mood Disorders Depression and anxiety frequently co-occur. In one study, 10-15 percent of children and adolescents with anxiety disorders also had clinical depression, and about 25-50 percent of youths with depression also had an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders and depression are both considered ‘internalizing’ disorders where stress is experienced through internal discomfort (rather than behavioral disturbances commonly associated with ‘externalizing’ disorder, like ADHD). Hyperarousal is characteristic of anxiety disorders, but may also be a feature of depression, as well as Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Likely Efficacy

Like depression, anxiety is an area of psychopharmacology where many naturopathic compounds have been studied. While kava has established efficacy with adults and consistently has been shown to be effective in decreasing symptoms of anxiety, no studies thus far have been performed with children and adolescents, and some risk of hepatotoxicity may be present, and consequently the supplement is included in this section. In addition, some other compounds have also revealed at least some efficacy, but research has primarily been done with adult patients, and clinicians must use caution when applying results of these studies to pediatric patients. Anxiolytic medications work by increasing the amount of activity in the serotonergic pathways, as well as altering the glutamate-GABA balance in favor of inhibitory effects. Supplements that accomplish similar changes in the brain have been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of anxiety. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum), alsto referred to as kava kava, is a tall bush indigenous to the South Pacific, especially Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Its root is typically ground, and indigenous cultures have also chewed it, prepared it as an infusion, Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements With Possible Efficacy

In addition to supplements discussed above, a few other compounds may also have some efficacy in treating symptoms of anxiety. However, since the data that supports the use of the following supplements is extremely limited, clinicians should proceed with caution, and consider the use of the compounds discussed in this section as experimental. St. John’s Wort As described in site, St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an herb that exists in many species throughout the world, and it is widely used as an antidepressant. It is available in a variety of preparations, including capsules, liquid, oils, and raw herb to be brewed as tea. St. John’s Wort contains a plethora of active ingredients, including flavonoids, naphthodianthrones, phloroglucinols, phenolic acids, terpenes, and xanthones. These exert a variety of psychoactive effects, and several of these are described below. Of all herbal supplements, St. John’s Wort is the one that has been researched most extensively and there is strong support for its efficacy in reducing depressive symptoms. The use of St. John’s Wort as an anxiolytic is more recent, but a few studies suggest that is may be effective. Davidson and Connor (2001) reported case studies of patients Read more […]

Anxiety Disorders: Supplements Not Likely To Be Effective

It is not possible to review all compounds that, at one time or another, have been tried to treat symptoms of anxiety and have not shown to be effective, or lack sufficient rationale about how they may affect brain action to promote sleep. However, some of these compounds are sometimes marketed as anxiolytics, despite the lack of evidence of efficacy. Clinicians who seek to practice in the area of naturopathic psychopharmacology should be aware of compounds that continue to be propagated despite evidence to the contrary. GABA As discussed in site, GABA is a major neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that is ubiquitous and affects the firing of all neurons by increasing membrane polarization. Most GABA receptors are ionotropic and regulate the influx of chloride into the cell. As chloride levels increase in the cell, the negative charge also increases, and the cell becomes more and more difficult to stimulate. A number of medications target GABA neurotransmission and have been shown to be effective in treating mood disturbance (especially mania and agitation), anxiety, and tics. Consequently, naturopaths sometimes recommend GABA supplementation, and various forms of GABA tablets and capsules are available Read more […]

Treatment Of Human Papillomavirus: Discussion Of Botanical Protocol

Treatment of human papillomavirus can be approached topically alone, but it is optimal to boost overall resistance using a combination of topical and internal therapies. For topical treatment, undiluted botanical extracts can be directly applied to warts using a cotton swab several times daily (use a fresh cotton swab for each application) for 6 to 12 weeks, as needed. Suppositories can be inserted vaginally or rectally for warts in those areas. They should be inserted nightly five times per week for 6 to 12 weeks. The patient should be re-evaluated periodically for human papillomavirus. Astragalus Astragalus has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a qi tonic, specifically for strengthening what is called the “wei qi” or the protective energy of the body. It has long been used to build energy, increase general immunity, improve digestion and improve longevity. Herbalists and naturopathic doctors commonly use astragalus for its immunostimulatory effects. Oral doses of astragalus have been found to increase IgE, IgA, and IgM antibody levels and lymphocyte levels in humans. Of particular relevance to the treatment of genital warts was a randomized, controlled trial involving 531 patients with chronic cervicitis Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Strategies for Herpes: Nervines

Herpes simplex virus outbreaks can be precipitated by stress. Nervines are therefore an important part of the treatment protocol in patients in whom stress is a chronic underlying factor. Not surprisingly, this may be the case for many individuals. Therefore, herbalists routinely include herbs that nourish the nervous system — nervous trophorestoratives (nervines) — with the aim of reducing stress, improving sleep, and promoting a sense of well-being in herbal protocol to prevent recurrent herpes simplex virus. Nervines work more directly on the nervous system than adaptogens, which improve stress response through their actions on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. A combination of adaptogens and nervines is excellent for both short- and long-term tonific-tion of the nervous system. The herbs in this section are discussed more thoroughly in chapters on anxiety and insomnia, as well as in Plant Profiles. A brief description to help differentiate when each nervine might be selected follows. California Poppy California poppy is the most sedating of the herbs in this section. Traditionally, it has been used to treat pain, neuralgia, anxiety, stress, depression, migraines, and to promote sleep. It was used by Read more […]

Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is defined as pelvic pain lasting more than 6 months. Some authors add the additional criteria that the pain be noncyclic. It is one of the most common presenting complaints in gynecologic practice, affecting as many as one in seven American women. Chronic pelvic pain comprises up to 10% of outpatient gynecologic visits, accounts for 20% of laparoscopies, and results in 12% (75,000 / year) of all hysterectomies performed annually in the United States. Estimated annual direct medical costs for outpatient visits for chronic pelvic pain in the United States among women 18 to 50 years old is estimated to be $881.5 million. It is often an extremely frustrating condition for both patient and care provider because in many cases an etiology cannot be identified and there is no apparent pathology. Treatment of presumed underlying conditions is frequently ineffective, and the “pain itself becomes the illness.” Because the cause often cannot be identified, chronic pelvic pain is frequently attributed to psychogenic causes. Although these may play a role in chronic pelvic pain for some women with lack of an identifiable cause, this does not necessarily equate with a psychosomatic origin for this complaint. Common Read more […]