Magic Mushrooms in Habitat

Magic Mushrooms - An Overview of Spore Kits and How to Buy Them in the UK

If you’re interested in exploring the world of magic mushrooms, you may have heard of spore kits. Mushroom spores are the reproductive cells that allow fungi to reproduce and spread. They can be found on the gills or stem of a mushroom, and they’re an easy way to grow your own mushrooms at home. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what mushroom spores are, how to use them, and where to buy them in the UK.

Mushroom Spores

What Are Mushroom Spores?

Mushroom spores are tiny reproductive cells that come from a variety of different fungi species. They look like small dark spots on the gills or stems of a mushroom and contain all the genetic information needed for reproduction. When these spores germinate (or “hatch”) they form tiny threads called hyphae, which eventually form new mushrooms.

Mushroom Spore Scaled Close Up

Using Mushroom Spore Kits

Mushroom spore kits make it easy to grow your mushrooms at home without hunting for wild ones. These kits contain everything you need to grow mushrooms, including sterile substrate (grow medium), spore syringes, and instructions on how to use them. The most popular type of mushroom spore kit is the magic mushroom or psilocybin kit which comes with spores of various kinds of psychoactive mushrooms such as Psilocybe cubensis, Panaeolus cyanescens and other related species.

Grow Magic Mushrooms

What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?

Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, are fungi that contain psychoactive compounds. When consumed, they produce profound changes in thought processes, moods and perceptions that are not typically experienced with other psychedelics. They have been used for thousands of years by various cultures worldwide for spiritual and medicinal purposes.

Recent studies have shown that psilocybin mushrooms can help treat depression, anxiety and substance addictions. They have also been found to increase creativity and insight.

psilocybin in habitat

Can you Microdose with Magic Mushrooms?

Microdosing mushrooms is the practice of taking very small amounts of psychedelic compounds, such as psilocybin, to experience subtle changes in mood, focus, and energy levels. It has recently gained popularity as people have discovered its potential therapeutic benefits, such as improved creativity and productivity. It involves taking a tiny dose of psychedelics a few times a week for an extended period (typically 1-2 months).

People are increasingly exploring microdosing mushrooms as an alternative to traditional medicine due to its low-risk profile and the research that suggests it may be effective in treating certain conditions.

Cheerful people with high energy levels after microdosing

Are Psychedelic Mushrooms Legal In The UK?

In the UK, psychedelic mushrooms are illegal and any possession, distribution and cultivation can result in a prison sentence or fine. In contrast, many other European countries are more open to using psychedelics for medicinal purposes.

For example, it is legal to cultivate magic mushrooms for personal use in Spain and the Netherlands. In nations such as Austria, Estonia, Germany and Portugal, certain compounds such as psilocybin have been decriminalized for therapeutic use with a prescription from a doctor.

SOURCES

https://fieldtrippsychedelics.com/mushrooms/legal-status-in-the-uk/ 

Prescription Counter for Psychedelic Mushrooms

What Are Magic Truffles?

Magic truffles, also known as sclerotia, are the byproducts of certain magic mushrooms. They look similar to mushrooms but are usually smaller and lighter in colour. Magic truffles contain psychoactive compounds such as psilocybin and produce a similar psychedelic experience when consumed. The primary difference between truffles and mushrooms is that truffles grow underground while mushrooms grow above ground. Both contain the same active compounds, but their potency can vary slightly due to different growing conditions.

In the UK, magic mushrooms and truffles are illegal to possess and cultivate. In Europe, many countries that decriminalized or legalized psychedelic mushroom use have not explicitly excluded truffle derivatives from their ruling. For example, in the Netherlands, it is legal to cultivate and possess magic mushrooms, but the law does not specify whether this would also apply to truffles.

In other countries such as Austria, Estonia, Germany and Portugal, where certain compounds such as psilocybin have been decriminalized for therapeutic use with a prescription from a doctor, there is no mention of either mushrooms or truffles.

Person Holding Syringe in Hand

Where Can I Buy Magic Mushroom Grow Kits in the UK?

When looking for a halal CBD product, there are some key considerations to keep in mind. First, it is important to ensure that the product contains 0% THC. Many CBD products may have trace amounts of this compound, so verifying with the manufacturer is essential. Secondly, consumers should be aware of any other ingredients or processes that could affect the halal qualification of the product. It is important to check labels and verify any claims of halal certification with local religious authorities before making a purchase.

Additionally, look for organic products made from hemp grown without pesticides and herbicides as these can also influence products’ halal status. Taking all these factors into account will help ensure you make an informed decision when selecting a halal CBD product.

In the UK, the health food industry containing CBD (cannabidiol) is regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). All CBD products must have a valid novel food authorization before being sold in the UK. This includes any food or supplement that contains more than 1mg per product of CBD regardless of whether other ingredients are present. Additionally, the labelling of all products must accurately reflect the presence and quantity of CBD within them. Foods made with hemp seeds that don’t contain cannabinoids, such as CBD, however, could be sold without authorization according to FSA guidance.

Zamnesia

Zamnesia.com is an online store specialising in products related to psychedelic experiences and other altered states. They offer a wide range of products, including magic mushrooms, truffles, spores, growing kits, smoking accessories, books, and other related items such as clothing and artwork. Zamnesia also provides comprehensive information about different types of psychedelics, their effects, and how to use them safely.

Zamnesia.com offers a wide range of magic mushroom grow kits. These kits come in different sizes and levels of complexity, including:

  • Beginner Grow Kits: These are designed for first-time growers and are easy to use. They come with everything you need to get started, such as pre-sterilized substrate and spore syringes.
  • Intermediate Grow Kits: For those looking to upgrade their growing experience, these kits include additional components such as casing material, light fixtures and gentle misting systems that help maximize yields.
  • Advanced Grow Kits: These are complete mushroom growing systems tailored for experienced growers with large spaces. They provide the necessary components for a complete cycle from spawn production through fruiting, such as incubation chambers, carbon filters and humidifiers.

box labelled fragile

Martian Mushrooms

Martian Mushrooms offer a mycological haven for the passionate. From cultures to kits, grains and beyond, they stock everything you need for your mushroom-growing endeavours! With years of experience under their belt and top-tier products at hand, you'll be sure to find success with Martian Mushrooms' comprehensive range of mycology goods.

Mushrooms Macro Lens

Shiney Spores

Unlock your inner mycology expert with Shiny Spore! In 2020, they kickstarted our journey providing the UK with everything you need to explore and study this fascinating field. They offer magic mushroom spores for studying purposes - these do not contain psilocybin until germinated.

Additionally, delicious mushrooms can be grown from grain spawn jars or bags supplied by Shiney Spores! Get ready to get growing – it's time to start exploring the world of mycology in an exciting new way.

Shiny Spore Grain Spawn Jars for Magic Mushroom

The Top Three Magic Mushrooms Strains

McKennaii Magic Mushroom

The McKennaii mushroom is a strain of the famous Psilocybe Cubensis species. Named after the noted mycologist, Terrence McKenna, it has been around since long before his time and was first documented in 2004. It is known for having a mild to medium strength, with approximately 1g per gram of dried caps. The effects of this particular strain can be quite varied due to its unique combination of psilocybin and higher levels of other psychoactive compounds. While not as intense as some other species, it still offers a pleasant psychedelic experience with visual enhancements lasting up to 4 hours, depending on the dose.

Golden Teacher

They are renowned for their strength and intense spiritual effects and are among the most popular magic mushrooms. They possess a moderate amount of psilocybin, with some doses approaching 2g per gram of dried caps. Their effects range from visual enhancement to profound experiences when taken in large enough doses.

Penis Envy

This mushroom is highly sought after due to its unique shape and reputation for being one of the strongest species. It has higher levels of psilocybin than most other varieties, with a potency up to 3g per gram of dried caps. The effects are often reported to be significantly more intense than other species.

Conclusion

Whether you are a beginning mycologist or an expert, purchasing a mushroom grow kit in the UK is surprisingly easy and, in most cases, requires no more than a few clicks. With the right tools and care, these kits can be set up quickly as they include everything needed to cultivate your own mushrooms.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a way to explore the world of mycology truly, then acquiring a good quality commercial grow kit from one of these tried-and-true companies is just what you need.


Ashwagandha - Benefits for Men and Women

Ashwagandha + CBD: How They Work Together to Improve Sleep and Boost Health

If you are looking for a completely natural way to improve your sleep and boost your health, you may want to consider using a combination of Ashwagandha and CBD oil. Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Throughout history, Ashwagandha has been traditionally used to treat various ailments, including anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, insomnia, and thyroid disorders. Recent studies have highlighted the positive impact on improving sleep quality, reducing stress levels and boosting immunity.
CBD oil is also becoming increasingly popular, and this is due to its many similar health benefits. CBD oil is a natural remedy and has only recently been used to treat various health conditions. It is derived from the cannabis plant, and it offers numerous benefits. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, and anti-anxiety properties. Like Ashwagandha, CBD can improve sleep quality, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. CBD oil can be used to be consumed orally or as a topical ointment for pain relief. When used together, Ashwagandha and CBD oil can provide numerous benefits for both mind and body.

Ashwagandha & CBD For Sleep

One of the main benefits of using Ashwagandha and CBD oil together is that they can help improve sleep quality. Ashwagandha is a natural sedative, and CBD oil has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When taken together before sleep, Ashwagandha and CBD oil can significantly impact. They can help you get a good night's sleep and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

How Does It Work?

Though the exact way that Ashwagandha and CBD oil work together to improve sleep is still being studied, it appears as though they both have a synergistic effect. Ashwagandha helps calm the mind and reduce stress levels - which is key to falling asleep and avoiding the dreaded feeling of worry before bed, which can keep you awake - while CBD oil promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety.

High strength products containing CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties, making it an excellent treatment for sleep disorders. The endocannabinoid system regulates our sleep cycle by controlling the release of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. In addition to regulating neurotransmitter release, CBD also increases serotonin levels in the brain by binding to serotonin receptors. This helps to regulate sleep cycles by reducing insomnia and promoting relaxation.

These two supplements can help you achieve deep and restful sleep when used together. Though they have sleep and health benefits separately, the pairing of the two has the most notable effect.

Ashwagandha For Men: Boost Testosterone and Fertility

In addition to its sleep benefits, Ashwagandha has also benefited men's health. One study found that Ashwagandha increased testosterone levels and improved fertility in infertile men. Another study showed that it helped reduce stress levels and improve physical performance in healthy men.

It has been linked to boosting low sperm count and motility and helping those who had abnormal sperm morphology. Encouragingly, Ashwagandha has also been shown to help improve semen volume and sperm count in men who are not infertile.

Ashwagandha For Women: Reduce Stress and Balance Hormones

Just as Ashwagandha can be beneficial for men's health, it can also be helpful for women's health. One study found that Ashwagandha helped reduce stress and balance hormones in women with PCOS, having a particular effect on oestrogen levels. This can lead to a feeling of calm and less anxiety, something that many people struggle to regulate themselves. Ashwagandha reduces stress by increasing the levels of GABA in the brain and lowering cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone. This allows you to maintain a calm state without feeling tired or fatigued.

In Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha increases fertility and improves the reproductive system. It does this by balancing female hormones and helping healthy pregnancies by enhancing the production of progesterone and oestrogen.

Overall Benefits of Using Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a supplement that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known as an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body to adjust to stress. Most people can safely use Ashwagandha, and it is available in many forms, including capsules, powders, and tinctures.
Ashwagandha is an excellent addition to a wellness regime because it can help with many different issues.

Ashwagandha has been shown to improve sleep, brain function, and inflammation. It may also help to reduce sugar levels, and this is something that is currently being studied. These are just some of the benefits that Ashwagandha offers, but many more. For example, Ashwagandha has been traditionally used for centuries as a natural remedy for many ailments such as arthritis, anxiety, asthma, constipation and insomnia.

How to Use Ashwagandha & CBD Oil Together

If you are interested in using Ashwagandha and CBD oil together, there are a few different ways to do so. You can take them both in capsule form or mix the powder form of Ashwagandha with CBD oil and drink it as a tonic. As there are various ways to combine Ashwagandha and CBD, you are sure to find a way that works for you. Anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing should consider adding Ashwagandha and CBD to their supplement routine.

Conclusion

As you can see, Ashwagandha and CBD oil have many benefits when used together. This is why anyone looking to improve their health and wellbeing should consider adding them to their supplement routine. If you are looking for an 'all natural' way to improve your sleep and boost your health, consider using Ashwagandha and CBD oil together.

Do you use Ashwagandha or CBD oil? Have you noticed any sleep or health benefits? Let us know in the comments below!


Arnica: What It Is, How to Use It and the Health Benefits

Used medicinally for centuries, the arnica flower has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which make it helpful in treating several issues.

Arnica cream and balm are popular products that use arnica extract to help with bruising and muscle aches, among other things. In this blog post, we will discuss what Arnica is, how to use it and the health benefits!

What Is Arnica?

Arnica is a perennial herb that grows in the mountains of Europe and Siberia, and western North America. Arnica has been used medicinally for centuries, with evidence showing

Arnica being used in Russia since at least 1560. European colonists were first brought to the United States in 17th century New England (1607–1776). The arnica plant has yellow flowers resembling daisies which bloom from May through September depending on location.

How To Use Arnica?

The arnica flower contains active compounds like helenalin and arnicin, responsible for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, respectively. These ingredients make it helpful in treating bruising or muscle aches. Arnica can be taken orally as a tincture, but it is most commonly used as an ointment, cream, gel, or balm applied topically.

The Health Benefits of Arnica

Arnica has been used to treat a variety of issues over the years. Some of these include:

Bruising: arnica cream and balm are popular products for helping to reduce bruising. The anti-inflammatory properties of arnica help minimize swelling, while the analgesic properties help relieve pain.

Muscle aches: arnicin in Arnica helps reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. This makes it helpful in treating muscle aches after exercise or injury.

Heel numbness: arnica gel can be applied to the heel to help with plantar fasciitis, which is a condition that causes pain in your heels and arches of feet. Arnica cream also helps relieve symptoms associated with this foot pain by reducing inflammation around nerve endings.

Side Effects and Precautions of Arnica

As Arnica contains arnicin, it can cause skin irritation if applied directly to the skin. It is also toxic when taken orally or as a concentrated tincture for long periods.

You may want to consult with your doctor before using arnica cream or balm if you have allergies or are pregnant. Arnica products may not be safe for children younger than 12.

Arnica vs Calendula

Calendula is another flower that has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is often an alternative to Arnica for treating bruising and muscle aches. Calendula cream is available without a prescription, while arnica cream or balm may require a prescription in some cases. While Arnica should not be used on open wounds, Calendula is an excellent wound healer and can be applied to open cuts and grazes to help avoid infection.

Which Is Better?

There isn't a definitive answer as to whether Arnica or Calendula is better for treating bruises and muscle aches. Some people find that Arnica works better for them, while others prefer Calendula. You may want to try both products to see which one works better for you!

Can I buy Arnica over the counter in the UK?

Arnica is bought over the counter in the UK without a prescription. It is available in cream, gel, balm or tincture.

Final Words On Arnica

Arnica has been used medicinally for centuries, and it continues to be popular today thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Arnica is best applied topically in a cream, balm, gel or ointment. It helps treat bruising, muscle aches and heel numbness. Arnica is a safe herb that most people with few side effects can use. So next time you have an issue that could benefit from Arnica's properties, give it a try!


Reactive Arthritis on Your Body

What is reactive arthritis?

Reactive arthritis is a disorder that causes three seemingly unrelated symptoms: arthritis, eye redness and urinary tract problems.

Doctors sometimes call reactive arthritis spondyloarthropathy or seronegative arthropathy because it is one of a group of diseases that cause inflammation throughout the body, particularly in parts of the spine and other joints where tendons connect to b
ones.

Examples of other seronegative spondyloarthropathies include psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

The main features of reactive arthritis are inflammation of the joints, eyes, and ulceration of the skin and mouth.

What is the cause?

Reactive arthritis may develop in some people after an infection in the intestines or the genital or urinary tracts. When the primary condition is identified, symptoms of reactive arthritis appear 1 to 3 weeks later.

Bacteria commonly associated with this condition are Chlamydia, Salmonella, Shigella, Yersinia and Campylobacter.

Doctors do not know precisely why some people exposed to these bacteria develop this condition, and others do not. Still, they have identified a genetic factor (HLA-B27) that increases the risk of developing this disease.

About 80% of people with reactive arthritis are HLA-B27 positive. Only 6% of people who do not have this syndrome have this gene.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can affect many different parts of the body but mainly affect the urogenital tract, joints, and eyes. Less common symptoms include mouth ulcerations, skin rashes, and heart valve problems.

Symptoms may be so mild that patients do not notice them. These signs may come and go for several weeks or months.

Symptoms May Include:

Urogenital tract

Males may notice an increased need to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, and a discharge from the penis. Some men may develop prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).

Women with reactive arthritis may also show symptoms in the urogenital tract, such as inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis) or the urethra (urethritis), which may cause a burning sensation during urination.

In addition, some women may also develop salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes) or vulvovaginitis (inflammation of the vulva and vagina). These conditions may or may not cause symptoms.

Joints

Reactive arthritis typically affects knees, ankles and feet, causing pain and swelling. Wrists, fingers and other joints are less affected. People with reactive arthritis commonly show inflammation where tendons connect to bones, a condition called enthesopathy.

This can result in heel pain and shortening and thickening of the fingers. Some people with reactive arthritis also develop spurs and other growths on the bones of the feet that can cause chronic or long-lasting pain.

Eyes

Conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane covering the eye and eyelid, occurs in 50% of people with urogenital reactive arthritis and 75% of people with intestinal reactive arthritis. Some people may have uveitis, internal inflammation of the eye.

Conjunctivitis and uveitis can cause eye redness, eye pain and irritation, and blurred vision. The eyes are usually affected early in the disease, and symptoms may come and go.

Who is at risk?

Men between the ages of 20 and 40 are at the most significant risk for the disease. It is the most common type of arthritis affecting young men.

Among men under 50, 3.5 out of every 100,000 develop reactive arthritis each year. Three per cent of all men with venereal disease develop reactive arthritis.

Women may also present with this condition, although less frequently and with less severe characteristics.

The importance of lifestyle

While topical pain relievers can help ease the pain of arthritis, the health choices you make throughout your life will go a long way toward successfully managing OA.

Incorporating three types of exercise into your life can improve your overall fitness and health. Expressly, exercising can relieve pain, give you more energy, help you sleep better, strengthen your body and heart, as well as boost your self-esteem and sense of well-being.

Gentle, slow stretches can help you improve flexibility, range of motion and prevent joint stiffness. Your doctor or rehabilitation specialist can teach you stretches to do at home.

With your doctor's approval, you may want to try tai chi or yoga classes. These types of exercise not only encourage flexibility but increase muscle strength and help you relax.

Participating in low-impact aerobic exercise is key to managing arthritis and decreasing pain. Water aerobics, walking and stationary cycling don't put as much stress on your joints as other aerobic exercise types, but they give you a good workout.

You don't have to lift weights like a bodybuilder, but doing specific exercises that maintain or increase muscle strength and endurance around the affected joints is essential.

Ask your healthcare provider to design a simple program that quickly becomes part of your daily routine.


Arthritis Pain: Do's and Don'ts

Will physical activity reduce or increase arthritis pain? Get tips on physical activity and other common concerns related to managing arthritis symptoms and pain.

Arthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. You can find many tips on relieving arthritis pain and other conditions with exercise, meditation, and stress reduction techniques. How do you know what will do you good?

Here are some do's and don'ts to help you figure it out.

The Basics

Whatever your condition, it will be easier to stay ahead of your pain if you:

  • Learn as much as you can about your condition, including what type of arthritis you have and whether any of your joints are already damaged
  • Get your doctor, friends and family to help you manage your pain.
  • You tell your doctor if your pain changes.

Daily routines

Pay attention to your joints, whether you are sitting, standing or active.

  • Keep your joints moving. Do gentle stretches daily that move your joints through their full range of motion.
  • Maintain good posture. A physical therapist can show you how to sit, stand and move correctly.
  • Know your limits. Strike a balance between activity and rest, and don't overdo it.

In addition, lifestyle changes are essential for pain relief.

  • Control your weight. Being overweight can increase arthritis complications and contribute to arthritis pain. Generally, making permanent gradual lifestyle changes that result in progressive weight loss is often the most effective method of weight control.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking causes stress on connective tissue, which can increase arthritis pain.

Exercise

When you have arthritis, moving can help decrease pain and stiffness, improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and increase endurance.

What to do

Choose the right kind of activity - those that strengthen the muscles around your joints but don't damage them. A doctor or occupational therapist can help you work out an exercise program that is right for you.

Focus on stretching, range-of-motion exercises and gradual, progressive muscle strengthening. Include low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking, cycling or water exercise, to improve mood and control weight.

What to avoid

Avoid high-impact, repetitive-motion activities, such as the following:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Tennis
  • High-impact aerobic exercises
  • Repeating the same motion, such as a tennis serve, over and over again.

Medications

There are many types of medications available for arthritis pain relief. Most are relatively safe, but no medication is guaranteed to be free of side effects. Talk with your doctor to work out a medication plan for your specific pain symptoms.

What to do

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol or others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB or others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), can help relieve occasional pain caused by activities that your muscles and joints are not used to (such as doing yard work after spending the winter indoors).

To relieve pain, you can apply capsaicin cream to the skin over the sore joint. You can use it alone or with oral medications.

Consult your doctor if over-the-counter medications do not relieve the pain.

What to avoid

  • Overtreatment. Talk to your doctor if you notice that you take over-the-counter pain relievers regularly.
  • Undertreatment. Don't try to ignore prolonged, severe pain from arthritis. You could have joint damage or inflammation that requires daily medications.
  • Focusing only on the pain. Depression is more common in people with arthritis. Doctors have found that treating depression with antidepressants and other therapies reduces symptoms of depression and reduces pain from arthritis.
  • Physical and emotional integration
  • Not surprisingly, arthritis pain has a negative effect on mood. If everyday activities cause you pain, you are likely to feel discouraged. However, when these normal sensations intensify and create a constant repetition of thoughts of fear or hopelessness, the pain can worsen and become more challenging to control.

What to do

Therapies that interrupt destructive interactions between the body and mind include the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy. This practical and well-studied combination of talk therapy and behaviour modification helps you identify and break cycles of self-destructive actions and thoughts.
  • Relaxation therapy. Meditate, do yoga, practise deep breathing, listen to music, get in touch with nature, write in a journal-do anything that helps you relax. There is no downside to relaxation, and it can help relieve pain.
  • Acupuncture. Some people get pain relief through acupuncture treatments, in which a trained acupuncturist inserts hair-thin needles into specific points on the body. It may take several weeks before you notice the effects.
  • Heat and cold. You can temporarily relieve pain with heat by using heating pads on sore joints, or you can also take hot baths or showers or soak painful joints in warm kerosene. Be careful not to burn yourself. Use the heating pads for up to 20 minutes at a time.

You can relieve pain and inflammation with cold after strenuous exercise, for example, by using ice packs on sore muscles.

Massage. Massage can improve pain and stiffness momentarily. Make sure the massage therapist knows which parts of your body are affected by arthritis.

What to avoid

  • Smoking. If you are addicted to tobacco, you may use it as an emotional coping tool. However, it's counterproductive: the toxins in smoke cause stress on connective tissue, leading to more joint problems.
  • A negative attitude. Negative thoughts perpetuate themselves. As you dwell on them, they will intensify, increasing pain and the risk of disability. Instead, distract yourself with activities you enjoy, spend time with supportive people and consider seeing a therapist.

CBD Oil for Arthiritis - The Theory Behind It

CBD Oil for Arthritis & Joint Pain - The Theory Behind It

Arthritis can cause debilitating pain and have a serious impact on your quality of life and, because it is a degenerative condition that worsens over time, it can take a toll on your mental health as well. In the UK alone, over 8.5 million people have osteoarthritis, and 71% (6 million) report being in constant pain. An additional half a million adults have rheumatoid arthritis, a more serious type of arthritis.

This has led to many people in the UK looking for an alternative to arthritis medications to complement and support their health and wellness. CBD oil has emerged as a popular natural wellness supplement been used for many years to aid in the relief of joint pain, especially in those with arthritis. Arthritis.org conducted a survey and found that there is significant use of and interest in CBD, with over 79% of respondents having used it or were considering using it. Nearly 30% of respondents were using CBD, with 75% of those experiencing some relief. Respondents reported improvements in physical function and morning stiffness, as well as improved sleep, decreased fatigue, and fewer symptoms of depression or anxiety. This is supported by research published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research that found that people with arthritis are among the leading purchasers of CBD with pain being cited as the primary reason for purchasing.

Initial studies look promising, but much research still needed to confirm the overwhelming body of anecdotal evidence showcasing CBD oil's potential benefits for people living with arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation that affects one or multiple joints in the body. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, although there are over 100 different types of the condition. Arthritis is common in men and women over the age of 65, but can also develop in younger adults and even children.

The condition is caused by the reduction in cartilage that protects the joints. Cartilage acts as a shock absorber, reducing and absorbing pressure on the joints as you move around. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is generally attributable to normal wear and tear and can be exacerbated by infection or injury to the affected joints. Stiffness, swelling, and joint pain are symptomatic of arthritis, and over time you may experience a reduced range of movement and redness around the joints.

What causes joint inflammation?

A primary change in an ageing body is the decreased amount of cartilage in between joints. The cartilage exists to protect the joints and provide a cushion that prevents painful friction and banging during movement. After a lifetime of activity, the amount of cartilage between joints will diminish. Unfortunately, your body is not able to regrow cartilage.

Any form of painful sensations in the body will cause symptoms of inflammation. Inflammation will induce swelling, redness, and stiffness. Extended periods of inflammation are extremely fatiguing on the body. The constant pain can also be mentally tiring. Individuals who suffer from arthritis are at increased risk of suffering from depression and other mood disorders.

What are the joint inflammation symptoms?

The most common symptom of joint inflammation is the sharp onset of pain in your joints. It can occur while moving your body, but the pain can also strike when sleeping in bed.

Any form of visible swelling and aching can also be a sign of joint inflammation. These symptoms are often accompanied by heat and redness in the affected joints and decreased mobility. It will physically hurt to touch the joint when there is inflammation.

Many people will feel painful arthritis in their fingers, hips, and knees. All of these areas of your body are highly susceptible to joint inflammation because they are the most used body parts!

Could CBD oil help?

Arthritis can have a big impact on your quality of life as reduced joint mobility and pain make it more difficult to move around freely and go about your normal daily activities. Medication and physical therapy can have a beneficial impact, but studies are suggesting that CBD oil may also be included in a health and wellness regimen aimed at naturally reducing and controlling the effects of arthritis.

Full-spectrum CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant and contains a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other naturally occurring, wellness-boosting properties. The most important ingredient is cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid that interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system. It is linked to a wide range of therapeutic effects, including stress relief, improved sleep quality, and, most importantly, for those living with arthritis, pain relief.

In particular, animal studies looking at the efficacy of CBD suggest that it has both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The effects are yet to be fully explored in human studies, but anecdotal evidence shows that many people living with arthritis find that it offers relief from some of the symptoms of arthritis.

Already chronic pain and joint pain are the top two medical conditions that people are taking CBD for, and the next three (anxiety, depression, and insomnia) are also conditions that affect many people living with arthritis.

How does CBD work?

CBD oil interacts with two receptors (CB1 and CBD2) in the body's cannabinoid system with the effect of reducing pain and relieving inflammation. The CB2 receptor plays a role in your immune system function, and CBD is thought to help with rheumatoid arthritis where your immune system attacks the tissues in the joints. The anti-inflammatory effects may also help to slow the progression of the condition, which causes permanent damage to the joints.

What does the research say regarding CBD and Arthritis?

While more research is still needed to determine the effects of CBD and its role in relieving pain and inflammation for people with arthritis, there are a number of studies that show promising results.

The first controlled trial evaluating the use of cannabis-based medicine was in 2006. Sativex, produced from cannabis, was found to reduce inflammation and significantly reduce pain as well as improving sleep quality. Unfortunately, Sativex uses cannabis plant extractives, which contain levels of THC higher than 0.2%.

This was followed by a 2008 review of the efficacy of CBD in treating chronic pain. The conclusion was similar, finding that CBD was effective in reducing pain and improving sleep quality. These findings were supported by a 2011 study that demonstrated the link between CBD and reduced inflammatory pain. A 2014 review showed that CBD might be an effective treatment of osteoarthritis.

In 2016, another study looked at the effects of using CBD gel on rats. The gel was shown to reduce joint pain and inflammation. And a supporting 2017 study found that CBD could be a useful treatment for joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.

CBD oil has also been shown to help with reducing symptoms of depression. This is important for those living with arthritis as rates of depression are between two and ten times greater than the rate of depression for the general population.

Further research into the effects on humans is needed as the existing studies have either been done on animals or using very small sample sizes.

Is it safe (and legal) to use CBD oil in the UK?

CBD oil is considered safe to use, although you should consult with your doctor before trying it as CBD may interact with some of the common arthritis drugs, particularly a number of corticosteroids.

In terms of its legality, it is legal to consume CBD oil in the UK as long as the product contains less than 0.2% THC as it is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. Keep in mind, though, CBD is not considered a medical product, rather a natural health and wellness supplement.

If you have an arthritis diagnosis, you should only use CBD oil if it has been approved by your doctor. A medical specialist who has been treating your arthritis will be able to advise on whether CBD is likely to be effective in your situation, and what to look for when evaluating whether the CBD is successful in addressing your pain and inflammation. It should not be considered a substitute for medication that you are currently using to control your condition. Then, only use a quality CBD product from a reputable company to ensure that you are going to be able to get the best benefits from the oil.

The Arthritis Foundation offers additional guidance and cites the lack of rigorous clinical studies to confirm the effects of CBD. They agree that CBD may help with symptoms related to arthritis (including pain, insomnia, and anxiety), and confirm that there are no major safety issues when CBD is taken in moderate doses. The Foundation highlights that CBD doesn't replace disease-modifying drugs, and use should be discussed with your doctor before you start taking.

What dose should I take?

CBD products can be ingested, applied to the skin, or inhaled in the form of a vape, but the most common option is CBD oil taken sublingually. This is because it offers excellent bioavailability compared to other options, and can be easily and conveniently included in your daily routine.

There are no clinical guidelines on how much CBD you should take, and many users report needing to experiment with the levels of CBD oil to find the right dosage. If you haven't tried CBD before, it's best to follow the dosage instructions on the label and start from a low base.

You can increase your dosage over time, starting with a few drops of CBD oil twice a day. Monitor your symptoms and note whether you are experiencing any benefits. If the pain relief is not noticeable or not significant after a week, increase the dosage slightly. Continue in this way over a period of several weeks to find the optimum dosage.

CBD can also be applied topically to help with stiff joints, either by mixing a few drops of CBD oil with a lotion or using a topical CBD product.

According to the Arthritis Foundation because there are no established clinical guidelines that you can follow to inform your usage, they thus recommend starting with a low dose. This can then be increased incrementally if relief is inadequate. They also suggest buying from a reputable company that uses third-party lab testing and provides certificates of analysis for their products.

With the number of people suffering from arthritis increasing every year in the UK, it's no surprise that there is a renewed interest in alternative, complementary therapies that can help reduce the symptoms of this painful condition. While medication and oversight from medical professionals to manage the disease and slow its progression are still paramount, there is a growing body of research that points to the ability of CBD to offer important wellness benefits to those living with arthritis.

The journey is different for everyone, so for those with arthritis interested in trying CBD oil, the best option is to start slow and take only a small dose. This should be done in consultation with your doctor, and you should monitor your own symptoms to determine whether you notice an improvement in either your pain, the levels of inflammation, or your range of motion.

Other forms of joint inflammation treatments

The most recommended treatment for early identified arthritis will be gentle movement. You want to avoid overworking the affected area, but regular activity is vital for long term mobility! Listen to your body while you exercise, and avoid pushing and straining. Small steps will lead to more significant progress over time.

If your pain is debilitating, you may benefit from trying aqua fitness classes. In the water, you are virtually weightless! It will help you move without pain, and any lingering stiffness will not feel as bothersome. These classes can be as social as you want, and they are so much fun! The more you move your body, the better your physical and mental health will fare.

There are many different forms of arthritis. All of them are painful and can significantly decrease your quality of life. Joint inflammation symptoms include visible redness and swelling in the affected area, combined with pain during movement and stiffness.

Solutions to reduce any joint inflammation and arthritic pain include regular physical movement, a healthy diet, and possibly the use of medications and CBD products. Any possible benefits of CBD are currently being studied, and more information should become available shortly.

It is vital to stay ahead of yourself because it will likely worsen over time. Work closely with your care team and build a treatment plan that suits your needs.


Cannabis Dependency and Addiction

Cannabis Addiction

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in the UK, with 7.6% of adults having used it in the last year (around 2.6 million). It’s also the most popular among young adults (17.3% used it in the last year) and teens (8.1% used it in the last year).

If you take a step back, you can see how the prevalence of marijuana stacks up in the country: for all adults aged between 16 and 59, around 30% of the population have used cannabis at some point in their lives.

These are big numbers and, given the amount of misinformation surrounding marijuana use and addiction, means that there’s a lot of education needed.

Cannabis Use in Adolescents

Many people, especially teens, believe that marijuana is safer than using alcohol or other drugs, but a Canadian study has shown this to be an incorrect assumption. The study tracked adolescents over four years and found that cognitive issues (such as academic performance, learning, attention and decision making) increased as cannabis use increased. Worryingly, the effects were lasting, whereas alcohol had fewer long-term effects.

Prevalence of cannabis use in teenagers continues to increase with The World Health Organisation (WHO) Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study showing that close to 20% of 15-year-old children in the UK had tried cannabis at least once. This is double the worldwide average.

The Effect of Cannabis on the Teenage Brain

When a person uses cannabis, the psychoactive chemical THC passes through the lungs (if smoked) or digestive tract (if consumed) into the bloodstream. It is transported by the blood to the brain and acts on cannabinoid receptors, primarily in the areas of the brain associated with thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, memory, coordination and pleasure. THC causes these areas to be overactivated, resulting in a “high’. It can impair functions such as learning memory and attention for several days after the cannabis is consumed.

The Result of Short- and Long-Term Use of Marijuana in Teens

The short-term use of marijuana can lead to:

  • Difficulties at school
  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Higher levels of aggression
  • Use of alcohol and other drugs
  • Risky sexual behaviour
  • Worsening of underlying mental health conditions
  • Increased risk of psychosis
  • Interactions with prescription medication

The long-term use of marijuana can lead to:

  • Cannabis Use Disorder
  • Breathing problems (including coughing, wheezing, problems with physical activity and lung cancer)
  • Decreased motivation
  • Lower intelligence
  • Mental health issues (including irritability, anger, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, risk of suicide)
  • Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (symptoms include severe nausea, vomiting, and dehydration)
  • Higher risk of depression

Marijuana can have other harmful long-term effects on adolescents as the teenage brain is not yet fully mature. Neurodevelopment continues until the mid-twenties, and during this time, the brain is more sensitive to drug exposure which can impact how connections are formed within the brain. Cannabis use can also cause abnormal brain shape and structure volume and interfere with neurotransmitters. The earlier cannabis use starts for adolescents, the higher the risk of developing a dependence and experiencing adverse outcomes. In addition, early use of cannabis increases the risk of “problematic cannabis consumption later in life”.

Can you become addicted or dependent on cannabis?

Cannabis addiction is possible, especially in people who are regular or heavy users. In cases like these, if you stop taking cannabis, you may experience withdrawal symptoms including increased moodiness and irritability, difficulty sleeping and eating, feeling sick, sweating, shaking and diarrhoea.

The symptoms of Cannabis Use Disorder (also known as cannabis addiction or cannabis dependency syndrome), include:

  • Using marijuana more often than you intended
  • Having cravings
  • When using interferes with other activities

You may have started using cannabis to relax, manage chronic pain or reduce anxiety, but the downsides of marijuana may quickly begin to outweigh the benefits. For many people, the decision to quit or cut back happens when cannabis use affects their quality of life, evidenced by:

  • Relationship problems
  • Increased moodiness
  • Decreased concentration and memory
  • Reduced interest in hobbies
  • Less energy for self-care
  • Cannabis becoming a default activity instead of a solution to a specific symptom
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What role does tobacco play in addiction?

According to the NHS, smoking cannabis with tobacco on a regular basis increases the risk of becoming addicted as your body experiences withdrawal symptoms from both the nicotine and the cannabis if you try to cut down or quit.

A study done on young cannabis users in the UK found a link between cigarette smoking and cannabis dependence. They found that cigarette smoking, independent of how frequently cannabis was used, was related to cannabis dependence. Cigarette smoking was found to facilitate the relationship between cannabis use and cannabis dependence. This, therefore, suggests that tobacco, in part, drives cannabis dependence.

What are the health effects of marijuana?

Mental Health

Regular cannabis use increases your risk of developing a mental illness such as schizophrenia which causes you to have hallucinations and delusions. The risk of developing a psychotic illness is higher if you started using cannabis at a young age, smoke strong cannabis types, are a regular user, have used it for a long time or have a family history of the illness.

Other Risks

Other health effects of regular cannabis use include:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Painful, persistent cough
  • Exacerbating asthma symptoms
  • Reduced ability to drive
  • Cannabis Use Disorder
  • Risk for cancer
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Accidental injury
  • For pregnant women and neonates, there is an increased chance of low birth weights

Practical ways of easing a cannabis addiction

If you want to overcome a cannabis addiction, the first step is to work out why you want to stop. If you can articulate your reasons for quitting, it can help you stay committed to cutting out cannabis as well as allowing you to define your success goals.

From there, you may decide to taper your use slowly. This may mean initially vaping weed to lower the risk of smoking and break the link between nicotine and cannabis addiction. You may also switch to edibles rather than smoking to decrease and monitor your use.

There are some lower-potency strains and products that have a reduced THC content. Switching to a weaker product that produces fewer psychoactive effects can make the process of decreasing your consumption easier.

What resources are available to help you overcome a cannabis addiction?

There are many resources available if you are struggling to stop using cannabis.

Talk to Frank

Frank works with people living in the UK, offering support, advice and a free drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. You can find out everything you need to know about cannabis, its effects and the law.

GP Appointment

The NHS has a range of services to help those struggling with cannabis addiction, and it all starts with a visit to your GP. They will assess your situation and discuss the various options in your area. Waiting times and the limitations on NHS funding can make this a discouraging option.

Charity Organisations

Charities such as Compass and CGL (Change, Grow, Live) work in communities across the UK providing support services for people with substance use disorders.

Support Groups

MA (Marijuana Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) are fellowship groups that focus on substance abuse, providing support to recovering addicts. Both follow the 12-step programme and provide free meetings throughout the UK.

Addiction Counselling

Addiction counsellors cover a range of different therapies, approaches and settings (such as group or individual sessions), giving you the flexibility to find a solution that suits your needs.

Rehab Facilities

Rehab offers the opportunity to recover from a cannabis addiction in a neutral environment away from the triggers of everyday life. Typically, there is an initial period of detoxification, followed by therapy in a calm, confidential setting.

Many people attempt to downplay the severity of cannabis addiction, but the long-term effects of regular and heavy use cannot be ignored. This is especially true for adolescents who may feel pressured into smoking cannabis without understanding the impact that it can have on their academic performance and their long-term physical and mental health.


BSCG Certfied - CBD Oil Products - The CBD Supplier

BSCG Certified CBD Oil

The BSCG was established in 2004 to protect athletes and consumers from unknowingly ingesting banned substances. Since then, the program offering has expanded to cover quality control and compliance concerns. They now offer the Certified Drug-Free Program, the Certified Quality Program, and the Certified GMP Program.

For those interested in CBD, it’s their fourth and most recent fourth certification that is the most exciting as it brings some much-needed quality control and transparency to the industry.

While the use of CBD continues to grow in the UK, with as many as 8 million Britons using CBD-infused products, the lack of regulatory oversight has meant that there are thousands of CBD products on the shelves. But they are all of varying quality and telling the good from the bad is close to impossible for end consumers.

When you take a closer look at the CBD industry, and the adherence to quality controls, the need for an independent certification program becomes apparent. A recent report submitted by the FDA to the US House Committee revealed that:

  • 50% contained more THC than the legal limit
  • 18% contained less than 80% of the indicated amount of CBD
  • 37% contained more than 120% of the amount of CBD indicated

A study done by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis in the UK showed even more concerning results:

  • Over 60% of the products did not contain the advertised level of CBD
  • Almost 50% contained THC or CBN levels above the legal limit
  • Several products contained solvents and heavy metals

With this in mind, the BSCG’s CBD program offers a more transparent path to purchasing high-quality, ethical CBD products that will provide the full benefits associated with the cannabinoid.

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What is BSCG, and how do they work?

BSCG stands for the Banned Substances Control Group. It’s an international certification program that operates independently. The programs they offer have been explicitly designed to test products to ensure that they are 100% drug-free. Their commitment to health and safety for all has led to them developing a reputation for offering the gold standard in dietary supplement certification.

As a leading third-party company, they specialise in accrediting a range of products including functional foods, homeopathics, medical devices, natural products and nutritional supplements.

BSCG ensures the quality of both the ingredients and the end dietary supplement products. They also work to protect the products against contamination (either with drugs or other agents), to prevent positive drug tests and other health concerns.

To do this, they work with ingredient suppliers, manufacturers, brands, and individual athletes and teams.

What do they protect against?

The BSCG Certified Drug-Free ® program protects against a very long list of 485 drugs. This includes 274 drugs that are on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. It also covers another 211 over-the-counter, prescription or illicit medications that aren’t banned in sports. This makes the certification the most comprehensive certification program in the world and protects users against more potentially harmful drugs than any other.

What programs does BSCG offer?

BSCG offers four different programs, namely:

Certified Drug-Free Program

This is an industry-leading screening program that tests for banned substances. Each lot is tested for more than 496 drugs including those on the WADA Prohibited List and other OTC, prescription and illicit drugs. It also includes an initial review of labels, claims and GMP compliance. (You can read more about it here).

Certified Drug Free® covers:

  • A 21 CFR 111 Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) quality control process review
  • Raw material and supplier review
  • A general toxicology assessment. This means BSCG protects against more potentially harmful drugs than any other program available.

Certified Quality Program

This program is focused on:

  • Verifying ingredient identity and label claims
  • Testing for contaminants (such as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, or microbiological agents)

Certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes Program)

This program consists of onsite audits conducted for GMP compliance with the relevant standards based on the product’s type of product.

Certified CBD Program

For CBD manufacturers committed to producing only the highest quality products, this program ticks all the boxes. It’s a complete solution that covers the other three programs, tailored for the CBD industry. It includes:

  • Drug testing protection
  • Quality control testing
  • Product claim review
  • GMP compliance review

What does BSCG CBD certification mean?

CBD, along with other hemp-based products, have become increasingly popular, often used as an ingredient in dietary supplements, cosmetics and even food. But, worldwide, quality control and regulatory oversight from governments has continued to lag, resulting in the proliferation of sub-standard, even potentially dangerous CBD products being sold to end consumers.

The certification was initially developed to protect athletes and professionals by testing supplements for banned substances. Since the creation of the BSCG accreditation, the scope has broadened to focus on testing drugs of concern for end consumers and animals, not only athletes.

According to the BSCG website, the BSCG Certified CBD™ program is “the first broad-spectrum third-party CBD and hemp product certification program available internationally”, and it provides a much-needed answer to the most critical questions and concerns.

This certification offers these important benefits:

Safety and Risk Management

Because the program ensures that only products that meet the strict requirements become certified, users are assured that they are not at risk of experiencing psychoactive effects or a positive drug test. Therefore, as a consumer, you can follow the recommended dosages of your BSCG-certified product with full peace of mind knowing that it is both safe and within the stipulated THC levels.

Awareness and Education

Many CBD companies are making outrageous claims, but there’s no independent way to verify that what they say is true. With the BSCG CBD certification, you know what you’re getting because it covers hemp supplier verification, contaminant testing, a daily dose limit for THC (for drug testing protection), a review of the claims and a quality control purpose. Their batch certification reports are also publicly available for full transparency.

Confidence and Trust

The certification offers protection for athletes and consumers (such as those who may undergo workplace drug testing), and you can get all the answers you need, including:

  • Could the level of THC present cause psychoactive effects or a positive drug test?
  • Am I using a product derived from legally grown hemp?
  • Are there any harmful contaminants in the product (such as pesticides, solvents, heavy metals or microbiological agents)?
  • Does the product I’m using meet the quality control guidelines for the industry?
  • Does the brand follow good manufacturing processes as defined by the dietary supplement industry?
  • Are there any synthetic cannabinoids present in the batch?
  • Are there banned substances in the product?

Why is it important?

As the number of CBD products on the shelves continues to grow, it isn’t easy to work out which products and brands to choose. The fact that you’re looking at CBD to boost your health and wellness indicates that you’re investing in your own wellness journey, making it essential to know what is in the supplements you take.

You want to know that what you’re choosing is right for you, so it becomes more important than ever to have the assurance that the product you take is certified drug-free and has been rigorously (and independently) tested.

Very few CBD companies have achieved BSCG certification because of the testing process’s thorough nature. Therefore, a brand certified by BSCG communicates their commitment to their clients by submitting themselves to this intensive process.


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CBD For Migraines And Cluster Headaches

Most people will suffer from headaches at some point in their lives. But for sufferers of more severe migraines or cluster headaches they can be severe and debilitating. And with a wide range of possible treatments, but no guaranteed cures, it’s not surprising more and more people are looking at CBD for migraines and cluster headaches.

Migraines are common, affecting roughly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men in the UK. Cluster headaches are thankfully rarer, and tend to affect more men, in their 30s and 40s.

What Causes Migraines and Cluster Headaches?

The exact causes of migraines and cluster headaches are not yet known. Migraines are suspected to be the result of changes in the chemicals, nerves and blood vessels in the brain. Cluster headaches are associated to increased activity in the hypothalamus part of the brain.

Migraine and cluster headaches may often occur if a close relative also has the condition, suggesting that there may be a genetic link in making people more susceptible. Smokers can also find themselves at a higher risk.

Specific periods of attacks are inclined to be associated with migraine triggers. These can include stress, tiredness, particular food or drink, strong smells, or if you are light sensitive, or, for women, starting your period (also known as hormone headaches or menstrual migraines).

Cluster headaches also tend to occur at the same time each day, often at similar times of the year.

There are different types of migraine, but they are generally categorised as a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by feeling sick, vomiting or increased sensitivity to light or sound. A cluster headache is a sharp, excruciating pain often felt around the eye, temple and sometimes face on one side of the head.

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Common Migraine Symptoms

The most common types of headaches are very often linked to tension, and most people will be familiar with a continuous aching on both sides of the head, tighter neck muscles and a feeling of pressure between the eyes. These can also be brought on due to the cold or flu, dehydration, not eating regular meals or overindulging in alcohol, and fortunately tend to be mild enough that they don’t stop everyday activities.

Migraines are more severe, and can mean some people are confined to their bed for days at a time. There are various types including:

  • migraine with aura – where there are specific warning signs just before the migraine begins, such as seeing flashing lights
  • migraine without aura – the most common type, where the migraine happens without the specific warning signs
  • migraine aura without headache, also known as silent migraine – where an aura or other migraine symptoms are experienced, but a headache does not develop

Cluster headaches can start without warning, with a pain akin to a sharp, burning or piercing sensation on one side of the head. Attacks can last between 15 minutes and 3 hours, occurring between 1 and 8 times a day. Often accompanied by:

  • a red and watering eye
  • drooping and swelling of 1 eyelid
  • a smaller pupil in 1 eye
  • a sweaty face
  • a blocked or runny nostril

If you think you have had a cluster headache for the first time, or have migraines, you should see a GP as soon as possible to exclude other potential causes.

Is CBD good for migraines and cluster headaches?

There are currently no absolute medical cures for migraines and cluster headaches, but treatments to prevent attacks and relieve symptoms range from over-the-counter painkillers for migraines, to injections and electrical nerve stimulation for cluster headaches.

There are lots of ways we can help prevent these from happening on a regular basis, the main one ensuring our day to day lifestyle is as healthy as possible. Reducing stress, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough good quality sleep and exercise can all contribute to lowering the risk. It goes without saying that life today is stressful for many and with the current pandemic, anxiety, tension and stress has significantly increased.

Currently there are relatively few studies looking at the role of CBD for migraines and cluster headaches. One study looked at cannabinoids as “Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population” (link)

The studies that do exist suggest that CBD may help to relieve the pain of migraines and cluster headaches. For example, “Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis, and Benefits in Migraine, Headache, and Pain: An Update on Current Evidence and Cannabis Science” (link), “The Use of Cannabis for Headache Disorders” (link), and “Emerging Role of (Endo) Cannabinoids in Migraine” (link).

Many migraine and cluster headache treatments focus on prevention, rather than pain relief. And this is where CBD could be beneficial as part of general well-being to reduce causes of headaches including stress, anxiety and tiredness.

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How to take CBD for migraines and cluster headaches?

There are a variety of ways to integrate CBD into your general daily routine, and the most common are either as a CBD Oil, or CBD Capsules. Both are quick and simple ways to see if CBD is the right choice for you, although we’d always recommend checking with your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you’re already on any medication.

Anyone starting out with CBD should begin with a low dose to allow your Endocannabinoid system to be introduced to your new routine. So you might begin with the 4% Full Spectrum CBD Oil for a time before moving to our 8% or 15%

If you prefer, CBD Capsules are also available, and our 1.5% capsules are vegan friendly, and infused with Turmeric and Black Pepper.

Useful migraines/cluster headaches links

Ultimately CBD is not a cure for migraines and cluster headaches. But the potential benefits of CBD taken for general well-being can contribute to less frequent attacks and lower pain during bouts of headaches.


How Cannabis/Medical Marijuana is being used and the evidence for it

How Cannabis/Medical Marijuana is being used and the evidence for it

Medical cannabis (prescription cannabis-based medication) has been legalised in a number of countries across the world, most notably Canada, many European countries, and the UK. But, even though there are provisions for medical cannabis in the UK (and have been since 2018), there have been surprisingly few prescriptions for the approved, cannabis-based medications Epidyolex, Nabilone and Sativex.

What is medical cannabis?

The term medical cannabis (often used interchangeably with medical marijuana), is any prescription-based medicine that contains cannabis. It’s different to CBD oil (derived from industrial hemp) as it’s use is strictly restricted and only available to a very small number of patients, while CBD oil is legal in the UK, and can be bought at almost any health store or purchased from a number of online shops.

Medical marijuana makes use of the more than 100 different cannabinoids in the plant to treat specific diseases and conditions. The two most well-known cannabinoids (and the two used in medicine) are THC, or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, which produces a psychoactive ‘high’ and CBD, cannabidiol, which is non-psychoactive.

The most common uses for medical marijuana include:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Based on numerous studies, there is strong evidence to support the regular, moderate use of cannabis. It can help to delay the onset as well as the progression of the disease. Medical cannabis is also being used to treat other neurodegenerative conditions.

Cancer

The body of research is limited when it comes to cancer treatment in humans, with the notable exception of basal cell carcinoma. However, there is overwhelming evidence of anti-cancer properties in human cell lines (in vitro) and animal (in vivo studies).

In terms of the palliative (pain-relieving) value that medicinal cannabis offers, it has been shown to greatly benefit many cancer patients.

Chronic Pain

Ongoing, chronic pain affects millions of people across the UK, and medicinal cannabis has been proven to help. Evidence for this includes clinical trials (using placebos as controls), looking specifically at the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic pain.

Crohn’s Disease

Studies looking at Crohn’s and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis) show conclusively that cannabis can help resolve patients’ symptoms. In one study, over 50% of patients with Crohn’s disease achieved complete remission, and over 90% achieved substantial improvement.

Epilepsy

Most of the studies look at the use of Epidyolex to treat sudden seizures. This is now considered a treatment for severe epilepsy in the UK when all other interventions have failed.

Multiple Sclerosis

For people living with multiple sclerosis, studies investigating the use of cannabis as a palliative treatment show that it is a good option. There is also promising research underway that looks at the curative effects of cannabis in promoting myelin sheath repair.

Epidyolex, a full cannabis plant extract product but containing over 99% CBD, has been licenced in the USA for the treatment of Dravet and Lennox Gastaut syndromes.

What’s happening in other countries?

Medicinal cannabis is available for patients with a prescription in most European countries including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It’s also available in Canada, Finland and the Czech Republic.

In the USA in 34 states, doctors can issue ‘recommendations’, an alternative to prescriptions. This gives an estimate of over 500 million people in developed countries who have legal access to medicinal cannabis.

In the US specifically, the FDA has approved the THC medications dronabinol and nabilone, marijuana-based medicine nabiximols (also available in the UK, Canada and many European countries), and CBD-based Epidolex.

These numbers make the slow uptake of medicinal cannabis in the UK even more noticeable, where as many as one million people would benefit from using cannabis for health reasons.

Why are doctors not prescribing medical marijuana in the UK?

Medicinal cannabis is legal in the UK, at least theoretically, as cannabis-based products were moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 in 2018 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001. This was done in response to a successful publicity campaign around two children with severe epilepsy.

Unfortunately, to date, the number of prescriptions continues to be very low due to:

  • The history and negative associations with cannabis
  • The need for further research
  • The knowledge and education of health professionals
  • The potential health risks and adverse side effects
  • The liability that doctors take on if they prescribe cannabis

Who can (theoretically) access medical cannabis in the UK?

Medical cannabis is only available by prescription and will only be given in a very select few cases. It can only be considered when other treatments are not suitable or have not been effective.

The three conditions are:

  • Epilepsy, for children and adults suffering from rare, severe forms of epilepsy
  • Vomiting or nausea, for adults (following chemotherapy treatment)
  • Multiple sclerosis, for people with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by MS.

Epilepsy in children and adults: Epidyolex

Epidyolex is prescribed for people with rare forms of epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It contains CBD, a compound found in cannabis with a range of medical benefits. There is no THC in the products and it will therefore not get you high.

Chemotherapy patients: Nabilone

A common side effect of chemotherapy treatment is nausea or vomiting. In these situations Nabilone may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms, but only where other treatments have not been effective (or are not suitable). Developed to mimic the effects of THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis), it is available in capsule form and is often described as a “man-made form of cannabis”.

Multiple Sclerosis: Nabiximols (Sativex)

Nabiximols (Sativex) is licensed in the UK for people who have muscle spasticity related to multiple sclerosis. It can only be prescribed to those who have not responded well to other treatments. The medicine is cannabis-based and is sprayed directly into the mouth.

Why is access to medical cannabis so restricted even though it is legal?

There is not yet sufficient evidence that the use of cannabis products containing THC is low-risk enough to justify it’s widespread use. There are clinical trials underway, but until the results are available and peer-reviewed, it is not likely that the UK government will change their stance anytime soon.

Concerns about the risks of THC include:

  • Dependency (or addiction), although the risk of cannabis addiction is very low when a specialist healthcare provider controls its use.
  • Psychosis, regular cannabis use (sometimes even once-off) can trigger schizophrenia.

But that doesn’t cover Epidyolex which is a ‘pure’ CBD-only product (with no THC). For those suffering from rare forms of epilepsy there is some good news. New provisions made through the Misuse of Drugs Regulations came into force on June 24, 2020. According to the government’s circular that announced the change, “by placing Epidyolex in Schedule 5 to the 2001 Regulations, it is no longer subject to the prohibition on importation, exportation and possession under the 1971 Act.” The effect of this is to greatly reduce administrative processes for companies seeking to supply the medication to patients with severe epilepsy.

Epidyloex is made by London-based GW Pharmaceuticals, and their CEO, Chris Tovey, released a statement saying “”The decision to move Epidyolex to a low level of control is an important one for patients, their families, healthcare professionals, pharmacists and the (National Health Service) as a whole – reducing costs and ensuring the medicine can be dispensed more easily,”

The downsheduling of the medication means that there is a lower level of control, and the prescription validity has been extended so prescriptions can now go beyond the Department of Health and Social Care’s 30-day supply recommendation. This makes the medication more accessible, and reduces time and financial costs for patients and healthcare providers.

How does a person with a qualifying condition access medical cannabis?

With difficulty! Cannabis-based medication is not available from a GP, it can only be prescribed by a specialist doctor at a hospital. And a doctor will only consider prescribing medical cannabis if all other treatment options have been exhausted. The only exception to this is Epidyolex.

What is the future of medical cannabis in the UK?

Since November 2018, when the government changed the law to allow the legal prescription of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs), there have only been around 400 private prescriptions and two NHS prescriptions. When you consider the number of people struggling with epilepsy, suppressed appetite (following cancer treatment), multiple sclerosis and long-term pain, the numbers are very low. The government’s response has been predictably slow and vague, and neglects to take into account the medical grounds for a cannabis prescription. However, it is likely that there will be an increase in prescriptions for Epidyolex following its downscheduling.

There is also hope that this may change going forward with this white paper that was recently put forward by a group of scientific experts. It details the accelerated integration of medical cannabis into the UK healthcare system.