The Health Benefits of Cannabidiol

Cannabidiol from cannabis sativa plant

Will CBD be the next Wonder Drug?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in marijuana; meaning, that it does not get you high. As more research is being done on the chemical compounds found in marijuana, CBD is gaining a lot of attention from the medical community for its potential to treat many conditions.

  • It can help reduce pain (The human body contains an endocannabinoid system which regulates pain, appetite, sleep and the immune system. Neurotransmitters bind to endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. It has been shown in research studies that CBD can reduce sciatic nerve pain and inflammation, pain secondary to multiple sclerosis as well as arthritic pain)
  • It can help reduce anxiety and depression (In one study involving patients with social anxiety disorder, CBD was shown to provide a reduction in anxiety, cognitive impairment and discomfort in speech as compared to placebo. It has also been shown that CBD can treat insomnia and anxiety in children with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And as for depression, it is believed that CBD acts on the receptors that bind serotonin – the neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation)
  • It can alleviate cancer symptoms (CBD helps reduce nausea, vomiting and pain. In one study involving cancer patients with pain not relieved by conventional pain medications, CBD and THC given together demonstrated a significant reduction in pain. Another study involving cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, CBD and THC given together demonstrated a reduction in nausea and vomiting better than standard treatment)
  • It can help reduce acne (CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and an ability to control the overproduction of sebum from sebaceous glands. But humans studies will need to confirm this)
  • It may have neuroprotective effects (Sativex, an oral spray containing CBD and THC has been shown to reduce muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. One study demonstrated a reduction in seizures in patients with epilepsy after they were given CBD oil. Another study demonstrated that CBD reduced childhood seizures in Dravet syndrome – an epilepsy disorder in children. And other studies have demonstrated improved quality of sleep in patients with Parkinson’s disease)
  • It may benefit the heart (One study demonstrated a reduction in high blood pressure in men given CBD. It is also thought that CBD helps prevent heart damage through its antioxidant properties and stress-reducing properties)
  • It may help reduce psychosis (CBD may help counteract psychotic symptoms and cognitive impairment associated with cannabis use and may help reduce the risk for developing psychosis related to cannabis use, mediated by the opposite effects of CBD and THC on brain regions such as the striatum, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex)
  • It may help treat substance abuse (In rat studies, CBD has been shown to reduce morphine dependence and heroin-seeking behavior)
  • It may help fight cancer (In animal studies, CBD has been shown to prevent the spread of breast, colon, lung, prostate and brain cancer cells)
  • It may help reduce diabetes (In mice studies, CBD has demonstrated a reduction in the incidence of diabetes by over 50% as well as reduced inflammation)

Even though there are many promising effects from CBD, it is important to keep in mind that every treatment comes with side effects. In the case of CBD, some people may experience diarrhea, fatigue and changes in appetite. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new treatment. In addition, because the research studies are very young, we must give time for more clinical trials to be completed before we can conclude with certainty the health benefits discussed above.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Is Sex Overrated?

Blonde woman and man in a relationship getting ready to have sex

Sex is Not the Glue

The beautiful act of sex always comes to mind but is sex something we should always get excited about? Sex and relationships can get fuzzy at times depending on the characters involved. Always take a step back and analyze your current situation; putting your emotions aside will allow you to see past the love sac.

Great Sex | Great Relationship

This is the couple who have great sex and a wonderful relationship. For them, everything is almost perfect; their love life has high ratings and their relationship is prospering. The sex for this couple probably does not get old if mixed up properly; they probably know what they’re doing.

Great Sex | Terrible Relationship

Then there is the couple who have great sex but hate their guts. They almost cannot stand each other and get on their nerves very easily. They remain together out of desperation, frustration, insecurity, lack of resources and you guessed it, great sex! But for this couple, the sex won’t keep them in bondage for long. I mean really! How many times can you have sex and expect a dying relationship to prosper?

Bad Sex | Great Relationship

This is the couple who love each other, get along 99% of the time and are best friends. But the sex is not compatible; he is either lame in the sac or she has too much experience for him, making him appear lame, or vice versa. Whatever the reason, they do not match in bed. Fortunately for this couple, if the relationship is truely genuine, the sex can improve over time with consistent effort from both parties. Bad sex is not the reason a great relationship fails, and if it is, then one person in the relationship had hidden intentions all along.

Bad Sex | Bad Relationship

Well, should we even address this one? Not only do they hate their presence, but the sex takes more effort than running a half marathon. These relationships do not last longer than 24-48 hours.

So as you can see, there are many scenarios in which sex either enhances a relationship, complicates it or completely destroys it. At the end of the day, no matter how good the sex is, it is not the glue of bondage in a relationship. Emotional connection, caring and love still prevail and help a relationship go the distance. Sex is just icing on the cake.

Focus on improving your relationship and then work on enhancing the sex.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cherish Solitude | Avoid Superficial Relationships

Blonde white woman enjoying solitude riding kayak in blue water

Time well Spent

It is no question that loneliness is on the rise; single-person households are increasing, marriages are declining and depression rates are rising. But do not confuse loneliness with solitude.

Solitude is a state of appreciation for being alone. It is torturous for adolescents because it is a time when they identify with their peers, but for adults, solitude should be harnessed and appreciated!

The mental health benefits of solitude:

  • Increases empathy and compassion (you are not focused on people around you, allowing time for you to be appreciative of your relationships)
  • Increases productivity (when around people, you become distracted and do not always give your best effort)
  • Increases creativity (it allows your mind to wander and act freely and silly)
  • Increases mental strength (the more you are able to tolerate being alone, the more you will experience increased happiness, satisfaction and improved stress management)
  • Decreases depression (enjoying alone time makes you more appreciative of the time when you do spend with friends and family, resulting in increased happiness)
  • Increases your planning skills (it gives you time to plan your goals, analyze your progress and implement new changes)
  • Increases insight (it allows you to know yourself better without the influence of others)
  • Helps you unwind (it helps you reboot, clear your mind and think more clearly)
  • Improves concentration (it keeps you more focused while minimizing distractions)
  • Promotes deep thought (allows you to analyze your day, actions and relationships)
  • Helps you think of solutions to common day problems
  • Enhances your relationships (allows you to better understand who you are and what you are looking for in people, as well as make sharper choices)

So ditch those superficial relationships; do not cherish those more than a nice quiet time by yourself. Understand that loneliness is not the same as solitude; the former involves less time spent with others while the latter cherishes time spent by oneself as well as time spent with others.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mental Illness: Risk increased in College Students with Sleep Deprivation

Tired male college student covering face with hands while sitting on couch

By Dr. Sinu, MD 6/16/19

The Risk of Accumulating Sleep Debt

College students who accumulate sleep debt are more prone to developing depression, anxiety, hopelessness, exhaustion, loneliness, anger, suicidal ideation, a desire to self-harm and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Student athletes usually get more sleep and have better mental health than student non-athletes, but sleep deprivation still increases the risk of mental illness regardless of being athletic or not.

The majority of college students do not get the recommended amount of sleep needed for strong academic performance and optimal health.

Factors contributing to less sleep include:

  • Peer pressure to fit in
  • A heavy semester load
  • Ongoing mental illness
  • A fast-paced society
  • Drug abuse (especially stimulants used for passing exams and writing last minute papers)
  • Drug addiction
  • Partying and distractions

Fortunately, the mental health stigma is slowly going away in our society, which will make it easier to address life’s issues and concerns.

What is Compulsive Buying?

Compulsive buying of shoes and bags in a lit display collection inside a dark room

When Onionmania Strikes

Compulsive buying usually begins at age 18 and is more common in women. It is a chronic condition that involves uncontrolled excessive buying without the ability to stop. Patients do not usually seek treatment until their 20s or 30s when they realize that they have developed serious financial problems; some even declare bankruptcy.

Compulsive buyers usually have many credit cards they use for their urges to buy items. They can go on shopping sprees every hour or as infrequently as once a month. Many try to stop their behavior on their own but are unsuccessful.

Compulsive buyers have a maladaptive preoccupation with buying or shopping. They experience irresistible, intrusive or senseless impulses to buy. They frequently buy items that are too expensive to afford or are not needed. They also shop for longer periods of time than intended.

Compulsive buyers are distressed because their behavior is time consuming, significantly interferes with their social or occupational functioning and results in financial problems. It is important to note that compulsive buyers are not experiencing hypomania or mania during their shopping behavior.

Treatments that have shown some success:

  • Limiting access to shopping, credit cards, home catalogs, the internet and home shopping networks
  • Psychotherapy (CBT, psychodynamic therapy, insight-oriented therapy, supportive therapy and behavioral techniques)
  • Medications such as Luvox (antidepressant), Lithium and Depakote (mood stabilizers)

If you or anyone is suffering from compulsive buying, feel free to share your experience on The DSM Ready Movement, so we can come together and help each other.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Learn to Accept your Reality

Black man in orange hoodie wearing white VR headset accepting his reality while lifting right hand

Do not Run Away from The Present

We hear a lot of rags to riches stories on YouTube and on the internet and we start to feel down because we are not living that life. We hear positive affirmation techniques to apply to ourselves and tips on how to get ahead in life, but we end up scratching our head, wondering why they do not work on us. But the truth is that these stories and techniques will not advance your life; only you can do that!

Accepting your reality and becoming happy with your life is the first step in climbing the ladder to success. You can apply all the techniques in the world but if you are not genuinely happy with yourself and your reality, you will not budge.

The key to accepting your reality is being present in the moment and being thankful for the things you have. A mistake people make is that they live in the past or in the future because their reality is too painful; this prevents them from working on themselves in the present moment.

Thinking about the future is an excellent way to increase your motivation, but you must also be fully in tune with your present reality in order to strive forward. Even if your present reality is painful, by accepting it, you will learn how to master the pain and move forward.

Pain is inevitable; it is something that we will experience for the rest of our lives, rich or poor. But you learn from pain! Pain teaches you how to not make certain mistakes, builds your character and sets a direction for you in life; it stimulates you to heal by altering your habits and choices in order to avoid more pain in the future.

But it all boils down to one point: accepting your reality.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Weed out your Friendships

Friends walking in front of water fountain around palm trees

Look beyond the Mask

Who are your true friends? We often think that we may have made exciting new friends, but there is always a true character behind the mask. A true friend will offer to take his or her mask off within days of meeting you; they know that you are trustworthy and goodhearted.

But can you say the same about them? We often fall victim of false friendships out of insecurity and desperation. Sometimes we just want to fit in; other times we are blindfolded and cannot tell the difference between friend and foe. And then we wonder why pain has made its way into our lives again.

That is why you must develop an eye for weeding out your friendships. Allow your intuition to guide you in the process; if there are more negative feelings related to a person, they are a foe. If there are more positive feelings related to a person, they are a friend. But even then, always be wary because “friends can be your worst enemy”; after all, they know you best.

Becoming paranoid on who is your friend or foe is not the direction you should take. Paranoia will only isolate you and you will end up with none. But be smart, sharp and wise! Learn from your past relationships, analyze why they ended or why they lasted. Do not let history repeat itself in a negative fashion; your heart does not deserve the pain from people who do not have your best interest.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Why Peer Pressure is a Waste of Time

Adolescents on skateboards in city experiencing peer pressure

Show them who You Are

Adolescents are the first to tell you how much peer pressure influences their life, but it can also occur in adults. Peer pressure means: a feeling that one must do the same things as other people of one’s age and social group in order to be liked and respected by them.

When you give in to peer pressure, you are essentially allowing your personality to be molded by those around you. This behavior starts to influence you unconsciously; you start to believe that this is “the way” to get accepted and have a good time, otherwise “I won’t be accepted and maybe have no friends.”

Peer pressure can lead you to develop bad habits. It may turn you into an alcoholic, heroin addict or recreational marijuana user, when you were never meant to be any one of those in the first place. Essentially, you are hoping to obtain immediate gratification through acceptance, but at the price of losing yourself.

The best way to approach peer pressure is to let your true presence be known! Be yourself, stand your ground and back up your stance. It might not work at first; your peers will keep persisting and even put you down. Do not worry about it. With consistency, your morals and values will prevail and your peers will start to accept you for who you are!

And if they don’t, then they were never meant to be your friends in the first place.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Jogs for Days

Woman with headphones jogging in nature on forest trail near green trees

The Benefits of Jogging

Many people find jogging to be boring and mundane, but it can be quite exciting if you keep in mind the physical and mental health benefits, as well as finding a fun and peaceful place to jog. Jogging on a treadmill is probably not the best place to start if you have a preconceived notion that jogging is boring. The best place to jog is in nature: parks, forest trails, boardwalks, around lakes and even on the street (preferably in a nice suburban area).

Physical health benefits of jogging:

  • Helps to build strong bones (considered a weight bearing exercise)
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness (considered an aerobic activity)
  • Burns calories and helps with weight loss
  • Enhances lung capacity (increases the lung’s intake capacity over time)
  • Enhances fitness (improves body tone and shape)
  • Reduces fatigue (endurance is built over time)

Mental health benefits of jogging:

  • Relieves stress (helps you ignore stressful events or allows you to sweat it out)
  • Boosts confidence (you will feel more confident as you become more fit)
  • Boosts happiness (it is great at fighting against depression and anxiety because it distracts you against those issues and keeps you focused on the act of exercising and becoming more fit)
  • Keeps you in tune with yourself (jogging is a very personal act; it keeps you focused on your surroundings and yourself; it allows you to dive into your thoughts and feelings)

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and jog for days! Your mind, body and soul will reward you for it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Making a Change starts Within You

"you got this" written on pavement

You are Responsible for Making a Change

It is never too late to make a change. Making changes is like pressing the reset button; it helps you start over and head down a new and improved path. But only you can make the change.

One mistake people make is that they hope they can make a change with the help of others. No one in this world can make a change in you besides yourself. You are the master of your life. Even if someone helps you make a change, you must continue implementing that change; not that person.

Another mistake people make is not following up on the change. They may go a day or two with the implemented change but stop afterwards; it may become too difficult to keep the change, they get distracted and deviate off track or they simply give up. Keeping a change requires persistence, motivation and determination.

Changes require effort, time and drive. But anything is doable if you put your heart and mind into it. Do not make the mistake of waiting for others to help you make a change. Start today and take responsibility yourself!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)