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 […]

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 […]

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian: Medical Uses Valerian is used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hypertension in which anxiety is a factor. Historical Uses The Greeks, Romans, and English colonists used valerian for sleep problems, digestive problems, and menstrual cramps. It has also been called garden heliotrope. Growth Native to Europe and North America, valerian will grow in New England herb gardens. It loves wet soil. Its stems can grow to 5 feet tall, and the petite flowers make up a flower head with small, fragrant pink and white flowers. The roots are harvested in the spring and fall. Unfortunately, they smell like dirty socks. Part Used • Root Major Chemical Compounds • 0.8 to 1 percent valeric acid • 1.0 to 1.5 percent valtrate • Volatile oils Valerian: Clinical Uses Valerian is used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, and hypertension in which anxiety is a factor. It is approved by the German Commission E for “restlessness and sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions.” It is approved by the World Health Organization for “sedative and sleep-promoting properties”. Valerian is generally regarded as safe and is approved for food use by the Food and Drug Administration. Mechanism of Action In animal studies, Read more […]

Betony And The Nervous System

When Musa includes three treatments with betony for the nervous system, one concerns trauma and probably both the other two bear some relation to indications contemplated by modern practitioners. Firstly, the leaves powdered and applied heal severed nerves. Other traumas appearing elsewhere in Musa’s list of conditions are ruptures, and in those who have tumbled down from a high place, for which 3 drachms (12 g) in old wine is used. It is not clear whether internal or external administration is meant here, but the former is presumed, since The Old English Herbarium specifies internal ruptures and Dioscorides mentions ruptures with spasms, uterine problems and suffocations, for which cases he advises 1 drachm of the powdered leaves in water or honey water. We have already noted, too, when discussing mugwort, that uterine suffocations are renamed hysterical affections in the later tradition. To this supposed nervous state we can add Musa’s ‘unnerved’ or enfeebled condition (Bauhin’s ‘resolutos’), unless another traumatic injury such as the wrenching of a joint is meant. The Salernitan herbal, however, advises betony for those in a weakened state, where 1 drachm (4 g) in 3 cyathi (135 mL) of good wine taken daily for 5 Read more […]

Botanical Treatment Of Chronic Pelvic Pain

Effective botanical treatment of chronic pelvic pain requires a clear understanding of possible etiologies and the appropriate treatment of the underlying cause of the pain. For patients with diagnosed gynecologic conditions associated with pelvic pain, readers are referred to the relevant chapters in this textbook, such as, dysmenorrhea, interstitial cystitis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and so forth. Treatments discussed in the following may be used as adjunct palliative therapies for pain, inflammation, and concomitant symptoms in these conditions. In the absence of a clearly identified pathology, the practitioner can approach treatment symptomatically via specific botanical treatments for pain reduction, and attempt to address mechanisms that may be associated with CPP, for example, inflammation. One theory of chronic pelvic pain that was popular among physicians in the early-and mid-twentieth century, and that is still considered a possibility, is that of pelvic congestion syndrome. Women with this syndrome, which is poorly defined, are thought to exhibit many of the symptoms associated with CPP, including aching and dragging sensations in the lower back, lower abdomen, and pelvis, dysmenorrhea, and dyspareunia. Read more […]

Overlooked Herbs

A variety of gentle plants are continually overlooked by both pharmacological medicine and clinical practitioners. This happens because it is easy to fall into the trap of looking for rapid-acting, potent plants with a specificity for a particular disease state. It is all too easy to overlook plants that act slowly and nonspecifically but in the end help address the root cause of the problem. Throughout history herbal practitioners have emphasized the importance of these “tonics” (sometimes referred to as neurotrophorestoratives) to help support the patient’s own healing process. Herbs that support the integrity and function of the nervous system are almost universally indicated for people with depression. Moreover, nervine tonics are usually called for because depression often exists as “a comorbid condition,” very often with anxiety or other mood disorders. Avena saliva (oats) seeds (picked during the so-called milky stage) are one of the most highly reputed and gentle nerve tonics among the Eclectic physicians as well as European herbalists. Oat seed also has a reputation, however poorly substantiated, for relieving depression and thus cravings in people attempting to break their addiction to nicotine. It might Read more […]

Emotional and Behavioral Conditions

Herbs For Behavioral Conditions Prescriptions For Behavioral Conditions Prescriptions for conditions with anxiety as an underlying feature such as aggression, inappropriate urination, separation anxiety, storm and other phobias, and psychogenic self trauma (lick granulomas and overgrooming) may benefit from the following prescriptions. Strategy Consider early, appropriate conventional medication if necessary. Implement appropriate behavioral modification, stress reduction, consistent routine, quality play time, and client education (avoid punishment). Consider pheromones and dietary manipulation. Use adaptogens to reduce the impact of stress and use nervines to reduce nervous tension. Also use herbs with anxiolytic activity. Finally, consider the influence of other health issues such as pain on anxiety. Chamomile tea (carminative, bitter, spasmolytic, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, spasmolytic) should be given for mild anxiety. One-fourth cup per 10 pounds twice daily in food is an easy first choice as adjunctive therapy for mild conditions. For separation anxiety, give Kava kava (anxiolytic, sedative, antispasmodic). The dried herb should be given at 25 to 75 mg / kg, divided daily (optimally TID). The Read more […]

Herbs For Behavioral Conditions

Most behavioral conditions in small animals arise from stress and anxiety. These include aggression, inappropriate urination, lick granuloma, separation anxiety, and storm and other phobias. Herbal medicines provide a number of interesting alternatives to conventional veterinary mood-modifying drugs. The approach depends upon the nature of the behavioral disturbance and the severity and duration of the condition. Other perpetuating factors and health issues such as pain or endocrine disturbances, which can contribute to aggression and anxiety, must be considered. Nervines are the traditional class of herbs employed for emotional conditions in humans, and they have applications in veterinary medicine, too. Nervines can be further classified. Nervine relaxants have anxiolytic, sedating, or hypnotic activity. They include herbs such as Valerian, Hops, Lavender, Lemon balm, and Passion flower, and may be prescribed for anxiety, hyperactivity, restlessness, and irritability. Nervine stimulants are perhaps the least used group in veterinary medicine, but they may be beneficial for a depressed or hypoactive nervous system. They may be used extensively by veterinary staff in the form of tea and coffee. Others, such as Kola Read more […]

Salvia officinalis and Salvia lavandulifolia

Research into the historical literature has identified several quotes in 16th- and 17th-century English herbals, describing sage (species of Salvia (Lamiaceae)) to improve memory. In his late-16th-century English herbal, Gerard writes about sage: ‘It is singularly good for the head and brain and quickenethe the nerves and memory’, and Culpeper, writing about 50 years later, says that ‘It also heals the memory, warming and quickening the senses’, whilst Hill in 1756 poignantly describes the tragic effects associated with ageing by stating, ‘Sage will retard that rapid progress of decay that treads upon our heels so fast in latter years of life, will preserve faculty and memory more valuable to the rational mind than life itself. Effects on the CNS have been reported for a number of species of Salvia, including sedative and hypnotic, hallucinogenic, memory-enhancing, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective and anti-Parkinsonian activities. In recent years a variety of studies have been conducted to investigate if there is any scientific evidence to explain the traditional uses of sage for improving memory, with many studies focusing on extracts and essential oils from Salvia officinalis L. and Salvia lavandulifolia Vahl. Read more […]


CNS DEPRESSANTS depress the CNS. In practice, very diverse agents can be grouped under this heading and it does not describe any specific type of drug action. Most of the agents that depress neuronal activity in the brain or spinal cord are dealt with under specific headings. The properties of some of these classes will be summarized here. GENERAL ANAESTHETICS are either inhaled or injected agents and produce insensibility, mostly to alleviate pain during surgical procedures (e.g. halothane, thiopentone sodium). HYPNOTICS induce sleep and a wide range of chemical types may be used. The older agents, such as the barbiturates, were often SEDATIVE agents used at a higher dose, but they readily produced dangerous respiratory depression and are now much less commonly used (e.g. amylobarbitone, chloral hydrate, chlormethiazole, triclofos). Increasingly, the drugs of choice are anxiolytic/minor tranquillizers at a somewhat higher dosage (vide infra). Tranquillizers depress the CNS. The need for the term came with the introduction of drugs having rather more subtle effects on mood and behaviour than the barbiturates. However, it soon became necessary to divide the category into minor tranquillizers and major tranquillizers. Read more […]