The Therapeutic Potential For Cannabis

«Cannabis Use and Abuse by Man: An Historical Perspective» of this site provides a fascinating, historical account of the use of cannabis across many cultures and centuries. Suffice it to say here that any natural substance with over 5000 years of medical history will have attached to it a heritage of hearsay and legend through which one must sift to identify areas of true therapeutic potential for us in the late twentieth century and beyond. A summary of conditions for which cannabis has been used, ranging through various shades of rationality, appears in Table Medicinal and quasi-medicinal uses for cannabis and its derivatives: Indications for which only anecdote or reports of traditional use exist: aphrodisiac muscular spasm in rabies / tetanus Huntingdon’s chorea jaundice toothache earache tumour growth cough hysteria insanity menstrual cramps rheumatism movement disorders gut spasm pyrexia inflammed tonsils migraine headache increasing uterine  contractions in childbirth urinary retention/ bladder spasm parasite infection fatigue allergy fever herpetic pain hypertension joint inflammation diarrhoea malaria forgetfulness Indications 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

As with depression, anxiety in the pediatric population has often been overlooked or minimized as normal childhood experiences. Currently, it is recognized that anxiety disorders in children and adolescents can cause substantial impairment and negatively affect their social, familial, educational, and developmental functioning, and may also affect their physical well-being. Point prevalence for any anxiety disorder in the pediatric population has been estimated to be between 3 and 5 percent, and up to 20 percent of children and adolescents exhibit significant subclinical or clinical symptoms of anxiety. Without treatment, most of the symptoms continue into adulthood, and risk for additional disorders, like depression and alcohol/substance abuse, increases. It is important to recognize and treat these disorders as early as possible, since successful treatment is likely to improve adoptive functioning as well as overall psychological, social, and physical development. Recognizing anxiety in children may be obscured by expectations about what constitutes normal functioning. While it is expected for very young children to exhibit stranger anxiety and difficulties sleeping alone, by the time the child reaches school age, Read more […]

Paeony (Paeonia Officinalis)

Family: Paeoniaceae Part used: root Paeonia are long-lived, hardy, robust herbaceous perennials. The two main European species are Paeonia officinalis L. subsp. officinalis, ‘female paeony’, which is found from France across to the Balkans and Paeonia mascula (L.) Mill., ‘male paeony’, which is found around the Mediterranean and in Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Iran. A remnant population of introduced Paeonia mascula persists on Steep Holm, an island in the Bristol Channel. Both species contain several subspecies, which are described and illustrated by Halda (2004) and Page (2005). The two species hybridize if grown together. Both species are considered to be close relatives to Paeonia lactiflora. The Flora of Turkey gives six Paeonia species, including Paeonia mascula but not including Paeonia officinalis. Paeonia mascula has stiff stems (to 75 cm) which bear large compound leaves and the plant forms large clumps. Solitary, large, single, red terminal flowers with up to 10 petals and numerous yellow stamens occur in April. Three to five smooth, curved seed pods split to reveal bright pink unfertilized ovules and shiny, blue-black fertilized seeds. Paeonia officinalis is similar with deeply cut divided Read more […]

Paeony: Seeds, Roots And Flowers

The decoction of root in wine is recommended by Dioscorides for ‘belly aches’, the jaundiced, kidney disease and ‘those smarting in the bladder’. Astringency is referred to in the taste and Dioscorides states that boiled down in wine it stops diarrhoea, advice which is given by Galen too. The recommendation of an extract in wine is repeated by later authors. A compound medicine of 76 ingredients, including paeony, Potio sancti Pauli, is given in The Trotula for disease of the head and was used for ‘epileptics, analeptics, cataleptics’ with wine in which mixed paeony had been boiled. Pliny refers to use of paeony root as a food. He gives this after referring to a decoction in wine for the trachea and stomach, and with an astringent action on the bowels. Macer makes a similar suggestion of a mixture in honey water with powdered coriander for the stomach, spleen and kidney gravel. Macer and the Salernitan herbal suggest external use of the powder placed on the anus with a cloth for tenesmus caused by cold. Hildegard says that the crushed root in wine will chase away the tertian and quartan fevers, while the root in flour with lard or poppyseed oil as a porridge will act as a preventative. Dioscorides, Pliny and Ibn Read more […]

Paeony: Convulsions And Nightmares

Following its general ‘cleansing’ role and its specific use in menstruation, paeony has a more extraordinary application in the literature for nightmares and potential use in epilepsy. The name comes from a powerful god and suggests a deeper meaning to the herb. Paeon, an ancient god of healing, is famous for healing the wounds of the gods themselves when they foolishly become embroiled in the world of humans. When the gods took to the field in the Trojan war, he healed Ares, god of war, wounded fighting on the side of the Trojans. He gave Ares ‘such sovereign medicines that as soon the pain was qualified … as fast as rennet curdles milk’ and the sides of the wound were reunited. Paeon used herbs to heal. In fact Macurdy (1912) argues that the word is associated with the Paioniae tribal group of northern Greece, who were designated herb-gatherers as they were from the north. Both Dioscorides and Pliny refer to the familiar 15 black seeds. Dioscorides says simply for ‘those who gasp from nightmares,’ expressed by Turner as ‘against the strangling of the nightmare’. Pliny, for the seeds taken in wine, has a more fanciful expression ‘this plant also prevents the mocking delusions that the Fauns bring on us in our Read more […]

Wood Betony (Stachys officinalis)

Family: Lamiaceae Part used: aerial parts The genus contains over 270 species and is divided into sections. Recently Stachys officinalis (L.) Trevis. was placed in section Betonica of subgenus Betonica with Stachys alopecuros. The genus has been revised more than once and Stachys betonica L. and Betonica officinalis are synonyms for Stachys officinalis. Stachys officinalis is a hardy perennial and found throughout Europe on open grassland and woodland. Erect, straight, unbranched square stems (15-40 cm) bear narrow stem leaves. The stalked basal leaves are oval and bluntly toothed with a heart-shaped base. Dense, terminal, cylindrical spikes of reddish-purple magenta flowers occur in summer. The cylindrical flowerheads distinguish it from woundworts. The flowers are tubular with five lobes, the lower three lobes are bent back, and there are axillary flowers with a characteristic pair of leafy bracts below each whorl of flowers. The fruit is composed of four small nutlets hidden in the persistent, smooth five-toothed calyx. Other species used The woundworts such as hedge woundwort Stachys sylvatica are traditionally used for healing wounds but cannot be substituted for Stachys officinalis. Stachys sylvatica grows Read more […]