What do CBD, cannabis, and marijuana have do with with optometric care? Find out. Can Cbd Oil Help With Dry Eyes | Adam Fields differences in time and temp making cbd oil or cbd butter in mb2e Can You Get High Off Cbd Oil, 2021-06-30 Cbd Joint can cbd oil help with dry eyes We take a look at whether CBD oil can help Sjogren's syndrome. Here's all you need to know about using cannabidiol with this condition.
Cannabis and CBD oil: a new “old” friend in optometry
Optometric training requires learning about bones, muscles, neurology, and the vascular and other systems. But have you heard of the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
If the answer is no, that’s not surprising.
Although the ECS is critical for human survival, 1,2 cannabinoid receptors weren’t identified until 1964, 1-4 when investigators were trying to locate where marijuana tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) interacted with the brain. It wasn’t until 1988 that the ECS was identified, and 1992 when it was officially acknowledged. 2-4
Humans operate on the parasympathetic and sympathetic system. The parasympathetic system operates under “normal” conditions.
When the body perceives it is under attack, neurochemicals trigger the sympathetic system, activating the “fight or flight” response. 5,6
The ECS, simply put, disengages the sympathetic system. It is responsible for bringing the body back into balance (homeostasis). 2,7 If it doesn’t, the body is faced with unresolved “danger” from the chemicals and processes that are designed to protect it. These chemicals cause inflammation and begin attacking and damaging the body, 7,8,9 which is then labeled as “such and such” disease. Our rampant, epidemic health problems are self-inflicted, 5,7,10 brought on by our diet, lifestyle, and technology. 7,10,11
The ECS (Figure 1) is made up of 2 main receptor sites, CB1 and CB2. 2,4,7,10
CB1 sites are primarily in the brain, heart, and lungs, and modulate the immune response. CB2 receptors are primarily located in the lymph system, detoxification organs, and peripheral systems to break down and clear out the toxic immune system chemicals and debris. 1,3,7,14,24
The body produces its own chemical—anandamide, known as the bliss chemical—to regulate our systems via the ECS. 7,13,14 Unfortunately, in today’s high-stress environment, it can’t create enough to keep up with the demand. 10,14
Eating dark chocolate, exercising, or being “in the zone” are other ways to feed the CB1 and CB2 receptors. 7,14 Cannabidiol (CBD) was removed from livestock feed when it was made schedule 1 in 1941, so it has not been in the food chain for 80 years. CBD is nature’s external equivalent to supplementing the body’s anandamide shortage. 17,18,24
Technically, cannabis is not marijuana; nor is CBD. Cannabis is the botanical name for the common hemp plant, which has been cultivated for industrial purposes for more than 20,000 years. 15,18,24
The medicinal properties of hemp have been utilized for over 10,000 years. 15 The 2 main classes of cannabis are sativa, which is generally stimulating, and indica, which is generally calming. 16,18
Marijuana is a small subset of hemp that has been bred to produce more “high.” Hemp has over 400 different chemicals, with 100 compounds known as cannabinoids, each creating various effects. 16,18
CBD is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in the hemp plant; it has the most profound, diverse, and beneficial impact. 16,18 The main takeaway is that cannabis is really just the hemp plant, and CBD is not marijuana.
THC and CBD originate from the same compound and have nearly identical chemical structures (Figure 2). 16,22 Depending on the genetic strain, the hemp will have higher or lower THC and CBD levels. When the flower is beginning to bloom, however, growers must test the plants daily because the CBD in the plant will start to become THC. 16,22
At that point, the growers only have 48 hours to harvest their crop. The legal amount for THC to not be considered marijuana is 0.3%. 19,22
The CBD industry wants as high an amount of CBD as possible with the least THC possible. CBD’s profound effects on all bodily functions are not forced—unlike those of pharmaceutical agents—and nor does the chemical have their toxicities or unintended adverse effects (Figure 3). 20,21,24
As of February 2022, 37 states in the United States have legalized marijuana for medical use and 18 have legalized it for recreational purposes .20 The medical and recreational marijuana market is projected to be $30 billion in 2022. 21
Although marijuana still has legal hurdles to overcome, the CBD market is legal in all 50 states. 22 CBD is also available OTC and thus is free from FDA regulations and red tape. 22 The CBD market is projected to be $2 billion in 2022. 23
This projection will result in both good and bad consequences. Because cannabis has been outlawed as a Schedule 1 drug for 80 years, little controlled research has been undertaken and no distinction made between the effects of THC and those of CBD.
Medical benefits, risks
Much of marijuana use is for the high it produces, but there are some documented medical benefits. These include the relief of pain and nausea related to cancer treatments, aiding of sleep issues, reduction of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, easing of symptoms in those withdrawing from opioid addiction, and a calming of symptoms of various neurological conditions. 4,24
Unfortunately, according to more recent findings, marijuana does interfere with cognitive ability, 24,29 damages memory function, and destroys brain tissue. It also causes heart attacks—even in younger people with no underlying conditions—may have negative effects on genetics and pregnancy, and, if ingested by vaping or smoking, increases cancer risks. 24 Thus, marijuana is far from risk free.
Of more direct concern to optometrists are the negative effects of marijuana on the visual system. Both photopic and scotopic vision are impaired due to decreased macular and peripheral sensitivity. 24-35
Neurologically, vision processing is compromised, creating selective scotomas and interfering with one’s ability to navigate in the environment. 24,26-28,30,32-35
The eye is both a specialized neurologic receptor and a person’s primary connection to the physical world. It is important for optometrists to be aware of CBD, as eyes are packed with both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Consider the major 5 medical conditions optometrists often encounter with when working with patients:
1. Cataracts 37
2. Glaucoma 38,39
3. Macular degeneration 41-43
4. Allergies 46
5. Meibomian gland disease 47
Although each is a separate condition, all have inflammation as the root cause due to the eye being threatened by the environment. 35,40 Many treatments are based on treating the symptoms or slowing the progression of damage by interfering with the ocular response process.
CBD works with the body’s natural system to decrease the inflammation process and restore homeostasis, avoiding the long-term results that define disease.
Peer-reviewed, evidence-based science is limited. However, I have heard anecdotally that some patients have experienced better vision with OTC supplementation of CBD and ocular nutraceuticals, backed by macular pigment ocular density (MPOD), optical coherence tomography (OCT), retinal photographs, and acuity. 43,44
We have accepted that ocular “aging” conditions are normal, inevitable, and unstoppable. 45,57 Perhaps traditional medical treatments would be less necessary if we worked with the natural body system designed to minimize those issues.
Beyond ocular conditions, optometrists must step back and look at the larger medical issues facing humanity.
Obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer disease/dementia, autoimmune conditions (lupus), rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, neurologic disorders, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and concussions are all inflammation-related processes caused by an increased assault on our physical system.
This has overloaded the natural mechanism eyecare professionals were designed with to maintain health. Optometrists need to learn about ECS and CBD to augment their toolbox for taking care of patients’ well-being. 6,9,36,48,51,55,56,59-63
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CBD Oil for Sjogren’s Syndrome [Is It Effective?]
Nowadays, many people see CBD as a miracle cure. It has become a popular remedy for pain, anxiety, seizure disorders, and more.
A quick online search suggests that CBD could even help chronic conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. However, digging a little deeper reveals that there is little evidence to support many of these claims.
So, what is the truth about CBD oil for Sjogren’s syndrome? Is it really effective, or are companies just cashing in on the latest healthcare craze?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome affects somewhere between 0.1 and 4% of the population. It is a disorder that affects the glands that produce saliva and tears. The main symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are dry mouth and eyes, although it can cause other problems too.
The condition tends to develop between the ages of 40 and 60. It affects around ten times more women than men.
Sjogren’s Syndrome Symptoms
There is a wide variety of Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms, and they can range from mild to severe.
As a result of dry eyes, Sjogren’s syndrome can cause:
- Burning, itching, or stinging
- A gritty sensation in the eyes
- Red or swollen eyelids
- Sticky eyes on waking in the morning
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
Dry mouth can cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Altered sense of taste
- Increased risk of dental problems
Furthermore, some (but not all) people with Sjogren’s syndrome also experience:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Muscle or joint pain
- Swollen salivary glands
- Skin rashes (especially after sun exposure)
What Causes Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy tissue. In the case of Sjogren’s syndrome, it damages the moisture-producing glands of the body.
People with Sjogren’s syndrome often suffer from other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
People with Sjogren’s syndrome often suffer from other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Nobody is sure precisely what causes these conditions. However, most scientists agree that genetics, hormones, and environmental factors are at play.
Traditional Sjogren’s Syndrome Treatments (Not CBD)
There is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. However, there are treatments to help manage its symptoms, including:
- Artificial tears
- Saliva substitutes
- Emollient creams (to moisturize the skin)
- Vaginal lubricants
- Anti-inflammatory medication (for pain)
People can also minimize symptoms by making some lifestyle adjustments. They include:
- Avoiding dry, smoky or windy environments
- Wearing sunglasses
- Reducing reading or screen time
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Attending regular optician and dentist appointments
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol
Can CBD Help Sjogren’s Syndrome?
There is currently no research on CBD oil for Sjogren’s syndrome.
Some studies, such as this 2009 review for Future Medicinal Chemistry, suggest that it could help autoimmune disorders in general. It might be especially beneficial for conditions with an inflammatory component, such as arthritis.
CBD influences the production of a number of inflammatory modulators to produce anti-inflammatory effects. It can, therefore, help to relieve pain and may even slow disease progression.
However, when it comes to using CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, things become a little more complicated. This is due to the primary Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms of dry mouth and eyes.
Can CBD Oil Help Dry Mouth?
Many people know that cannabis can cause dry mouth as a side effect. But what about CBD?
Unfortunately for anyone wishing to try CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, the cannabinoid seems to have similar effects. Although many people use CBD without any adverse reactions, a small number of people do experience side effects. One of the most common issues is dry mouth. Let’s take a look at why.
Experts believe that CBD works in several different ways, including increasing levels of a chemical called anandamide.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid and has a range of vital functions in the body. It binds with cell receptors known as CB1 and CB2 to trigger a variety of physiological responses. These receptors exist throughout the body’s tissues, including the salivary glands.
A 2006 study for Experimental Biology and Medicine tested anandamide’s effects on the salivary glands of rats. It found that injecting the compound directly into the rats’ submandibular glands reduced their saliva production.
It is unclear whether people with Sjogren’s syndrome would see similar results, as clinical research is lacking. However, these initial results suggest that CBD is more likely to cause a dry mouth than relieve it.
Is CBD Good for Dry Eyes?
Although it is less common, there are also reports of CBD causing dry eyes. However, there is sparse clinical evidence relating to CBD and dry eyes in Sjogren’s syndrome.
The journal Neurochemical Research featured an interesting piece of research in 2018. It suggested that CBD increases levels of two neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals play a role in tear production.
However, the study focused more on the other effects of these neurotransmitters, such as how they influence wakefulness. It also involved rats rather than humans. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude whether CBD would relieve or aggravate Sjogren’s syndrome-related dry eyes.
It is possible that another component of the cannabis plant could help to relieve dry eyes, though. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoids. However, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which might help lubricate the eyes when taken as a supplement.
A 2013 study for the International Journal of Ophthalmology investigated. It tested the effects of omega-3 supplementation vs. placebo on patients with dry eye symptoms.
It found that, at the 3-month assessment, 65% of symptomatic participants in the omega-3 group experienced relief. The remaining 35% saw moderate improvements. In the placebo group, these figures were 33% and 67%, respectively.
Although the evidence did not apply to Sjogren’s syndrome, specifically, omega-3 fatty acids have many other benefits for health. They are also unlikely to cause dry mouth and eyes, as they do not influence anandamide.
Therefore, it may be that hemp seed oil is more appropriate than CBD for people with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Sjogren’s Syndrome
There is not enough evidence to claim that CBD oil can help Sjogren’s syndrome. In fact, it could make symptoms like dry eyes and mouth worse.
Hemp seed oil may be more suitable as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to benefit dry eyes. However, research is minimal, and whether it translates to patients with Sjogren’s syndrome remains to be seen.
Anyone wishing to try CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, or any condition, should discuss their options with a knowledgeable physician first.