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CBD for Disability
By Anastasia Myronenko

Anastasiia Myronenko

Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.

CBD for Disability

Summary

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 113 cannabinoids of cannabis plants. Usually, CBD products contain CBD extracted from CBD-rich hemp, rather than THC-rich marijuana. Therefore, CBD products contain trace amounts or no THC. The laws on CBD products vary per country, but in the UK and most EU countries, the THC level is 0.2%; while in the US, it is 0.3%. Cannabidiol can interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex, cell-signalling biochemical communications network. Such an interaction has a beneficial effect and helps restore inner balance. CBD has potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective properties. There are CBD-based medications and supplements used to relieve the symptoms of various disabilities, such as epilepsy, behavioural problems, autism spectrum disorder, multiple sclerosis. CBD products are available in many forms, such as CBD patches, vaping, tinctures and oral sprays, capsules and softgels. To buy high-quality CBD products, you need to check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Alphagreen takes inclusivity very seriously. For that reason, the brand’s website has a user-friendly profile and its content, colour and orientation can be adjusted to specific needs.

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

Introduction

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines disability as “a problem in body function or structure, an activity limitation, […] difficulty in executing a task or action; with a participation restriction”. Disabled persons make up 14.1 million of the UK’s population of 66 million. 8% of children are disabled; 19% of working-age adults are disabled and 44% of pension age adults are disabled. In addition, the WHO identified that worldwide, there are around 2 billion disabled people, equating to 37.5% of the world’s population.

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Statistics aside, there are always new therapies under investigation to help improve the quality of life of all disabled people. One of the entirely natural, plant-derived alternative therapies that hold endless therapeutic potential is cannabis. In particular, cannabidiol, the cannabis-constituent, is under constant exploration among scientific communities, owing to its medicinal properties and its possible use for numerous health conditions as an alternative to mainstream pharmaceuticals. In a similar vein, companies like ourselves here at Alphagreen are increasingly acknowledging the pressing need to improve and adapt their goods and services to accommodate disabled individuals.

Throughout this read, we will be exploring CBD in all of its glory and how it may be able to help with various disabilities. Not only that, but we will be reviewing how we at Alphagreen strive to make our CBD marketplace an inclusive and disability-friendly platform.

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

First things first: what is CBD?

To explain what CBD is requires us to go back to the beginning. Today, CBD products pervade the wellness market and are wildly popular among wellness fanatics around the world. This constituent of cannabis has garnered attention and endorsement from celebrities to scientists.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the 113 cannabinoids present in Cannabis. Specifically, it is a cannabinoid found in one of the numerous strains of cannabis, known as cannabis Sativa. The latter is made up of two varieties: hemp and marijuana.

All the CBD products you see on the market are extracted from hemp, rather than marijuana. The reason for this is due to the naturally higher concentrations of cannabidiol in hemp. It also has to do with the law: marijuana remains a controlled substance in many parts of the world. Within marijuana, THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid. THC, or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is a cannabinoid, like CBD. The distinguishing factors between them are multiple, the main one being that THC induces euphoric, mind-altering effects when consumed, known more commonly as a “high”. Marijuana is invariably used for recreational purposes, whereas hemp is used more medicinally; hence it is often called “industrial hemp”. Hemp is used to extract CBD where it isn’t legal to do so with THC-rich marijuana.

As a result, CBD products contain only trace amounts or zero THC, to cater to legal restrictions which limit the amount of THC featured in a product (more on this later).

As we mentioned, there are hundreds of other cannabinoids occurring in cannabis Sativa. Some of the other main phytocannabinoids include Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabinol (CBN) and Cannabigerol (CBG). Cannabinoids aside, cannabis Sativa also contains a host of other phytochemicals and compounds. Such compounds include terpenoids, flavonoids, vitamins and fatty acids, each of which are accompanied by their own set of benefits that are great for our wellness.

When these compounds work together, their synergy produces what is known as the “entourage effect”. It is thought that this cannabis synergy produces better therapeutic outcomes than the cannabinoids or compounds could achieve by working alone; such that CBD isolate products are not as popular as their full-spectrum or broad-spectrum counterparts, since they only feature pure cannabidiol. Full and broad-spectrum CBD extracts, however, both contain a blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins and fatty acids – allowing for maximal synergy.

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

How does CBD work in the body?

Cannabidiol is capable of stimulating changes in the body; it does so by interacting with a complex, cell-signalling biochemical communications network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is a system made up of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally made in the body), cannabinoid receptors and enzymes. Its function is to regulate a number of bodily processes and responses.

It is behind things like cognition, memory, sleep, appetite and mood, among other things. Overall, its function is to achieve homeostasis, or stable conditions, in the body.

Our CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors are naturally present throughout the body. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system and regulate processes related to our mental health and stress responses; CB2 receptors prevail in the peripheral nervous system and modulate inflammation and pathogens. When we take a cannabinoid, it engages with our endocannabinoids and influences the way they bind with our CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. While THC has a strong affinity for both cannabinoid receptors and seems to attach itself directly to them; CBD appears to exert its effects on the endocannabinoid system through indirect actions, and may also have activity on other neurotransmitter systems. The exact way that CBD influences our ECS remains a subject of research.

CBD Safety and Adverse Effects

Cannabidiol is entirely safe for human consumption, as confirmed by none other than the World Health Organisation, in a report published in 2018.

Reviews through the years have corroborated each other’s findings that CBD’s most commonly reported side effects were fatigue, headaches, diarrhoea and changes of appetite and/or weight. Despite these effects, it has been invariably concluded that in comparison with a number of drugs used to treat medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.

CBD Legality

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

As we said before, laws on CBD products are steeped in restriction. These laws vary per country, but in the UK and many EU countries, the THC limit is 0.2%; whilst across the US, it is federally capped at 0.3%.

As time goes on and the therapeutic successes of CBD are increasingly recognised, more and more countries are relaxing their laws on cannabis.

In fact, very recently, the European Union’s high court pronounced that under an international drug treaty, CBD derived from the entire hemp plant is not a narcotic and is therefore subject to EU law on the free movement of goods among member states. This landmark reinterpretation of the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs sets a precedent for the regulation of hemp-derived CBD products in Europe and could lead to a shift in how CBD extracts are produced.

Other recent waves in the cannabis industry include Mexico’s approval of legislation to establish a hemp and marijuana marketplace, meaning it may become the third country to legalise cannabis for both industrial and recreational use. The Mexican Senate proposed a 1% THC limit for hemp and called for the creation of a new government agency to regulate the cannabis market.

Israel has also very recently declared its plans to lift the ban on recreational cannabis within the next 9 months. According to the new law, people aged 21 and older will be allowed to purchase cannabis, exclusively in specialised stores. They will be required to show identification. Consumption in public spaces will not be permitted; nor will home-growing of the plant without a license. It will also be illegal to try and enter or leave the country in possession of cannabis.

Therapeutic potential and successes of CBD

Over the years, several therapeutic properties have been attributed to cannabidiol. This cannabinoid is thought to be:

 alphagreen CBD for Disability
  • Anti-inflammatory. CBD is thought to work with our CB2 receptors in modulating the occurrence of inflammation throughout the body. CBD intake has been linked to reduced inflammation in the skin, muscles, joints and gut. Due to its capacity to reduce inflammation, it has also been branded an “analgesic”.
  • Antioxidant. Put simply, CBD is purported to help us fight oxidative stress, which occurs when the body has an imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants. In this regard, CBD might play a role in preventing chronic health conditions that originate from long-term oxidative stress.
  • Antiemetic. Cannabidiol has been seen in numerous studies to suppress nausea. It has even been suggested as a potential remedy for chemotherapy-induced sickness.
  • Antidepressant. Anxiolytic and antipsychotic. A considerable number of studies have postulated that this cannabinoid can positively influence our mental health and mood. It has been found to reduce anxiety and its associated disorders; as well as buoy our moods and alleviate symptoms of psychosis. Its capacity to manage our mental health owes to its interaction with our neurotransmitters like Serotonin and dopamine; as well as our stress hormone, cortisol.
  • Neuroprotector. CBD may help defend us against neurodegenerative disorders and potentially delay those that have already set in, like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.

CBD for Epilepsy

As well as all the above properties, CBD has been tried and tested in a multitude of studies as an anticonvulsant, with great success. In the face of all the highly compelling and indisputable evidence that CBD oversaw a considerable reduction in seizure occurrence, a Cannabidiol-based drug began being manufactured and was subsequently approved for prescription use in the US by the FDA, in 2018. Epidiolex was approved for use among patients suffering from stubborn and treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy; namely, Dravet syndrome, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. To date, this is the only FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from cannabis.

In simple terms, CBD works with both our CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors to reduce seizures. It may engage with CB2 receptors to modulate and reduce neuroinflammation and work with our CB1 receptors to control and regulate neuronal activity in the brain. One review declares that CBD oil can help to safeguard our neurons. Essentially, cannabidiol blocks any toxins from penetrating and infecting the neurons. Toxin levels that are too high contribute to a higher rate of seizures. Moreover, CBD’s positive impact on sleep and anxiety, two other key factors in causing seizures, make it a worthy, natural alternative or supplement to anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).

CBD for Intellectual Disability & Severe Behavioural Problems

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

There are some reports and literature to suggest that there may be a legitimate role for cannabis in the treatment of severe behavioural problems (SBP) in young people with developmental disabilities. Some common characteristics in people with SBP include aggression, self-injury, agitation, mood changes, screaming and banging objects. As a result, a main course of action for patients is a course of antipsychotics, which have side effects of their own that leave young people even more vulnerable to chronic illnesses. There is also limited evidence testifying to the efficacy of antipsychotics for young people suffering from SBP, while CBD could provide benefits with minimal adverse psychological effects.

One trial investigated the safety of orally-administered CBD in children aged 8–16 years with ID and SBP, by assessing adverse event signals. This study’s main objective was to chart any signals of behavioural change in participants treated with CBD, via a parent-reported behavioural questionnaire both pretreatment and post-treatment. The pilot study, conducted by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, recorded a clinically significant change in participants’ irritability, aggression, self-injury and yelling. The CBD was also found to be safe and well-tolerated by most study participants.

These preliminary findings strongly support a follow-up trial with a larger sample size so that definitive conclusions can be drawn, as only a large scale randomised controlled trial can produce the definitive results necessary to drive changes in prescribing and clinical care guidelines. The researchers of this study are therefore planning a larger study to substantiate their initial findings.

CBD for Autism

It is thought that CBD may assist in the management of some of the most common symptoms involved in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), such as aggression, anger, self-injurious behaviours, anxiety, sleep dysregulation, trouble with social interactions and seizures (a common co-occurring symptom of autism, such that ASD is often linked to epilepsy).

One recent observational study, which investigated 18 autism patients, declared in its conclusion that its own results “corroborate[s] the notion that the range of therapeutic benefits of CBD-enriched [cannabis Sativa extract] extends to several distinct autistic symptoms, even in non-epileptic patients.” Furthermore, another recent review suggested CBD may be a viable candidate for the treatment of autism. Largely, reports on CBD as a remedy for ASD are anecdotal, which isn’t to say they shouldn’t be taken seriously; rather, these reports underscore the need for more studies and research to substantiate already-collected data.

Like we saw earlier, patients with autism are typically given medication which may include antipsychotics; given CBD’s credential as a potential antipsychotic agent, this cannabinoid has been elected as an alternative for numerous patients with autism, as a natural alternative to mainstream pharmaceuticals which often cause debilitating side effects.

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

CBD for Multiple Sclerosis

As previously mentioned, CBD may act as a neuroprotector. It thus may be useful in the management of one highly prevalent neurodegenerative disorder that results in physical disability: Multiple Sclerosis. It was reported to assist with some of the most commonplace symptoms that characterise this disability, namely: spasticity, pain, inflammation, fatigue and depression. It indicated that these outcomes would indirectly aid mobility. This same review reported that approximately two-thirds of patients decreased their use of antianxiety (72%), migraine (67%), and sleep (65%) drugs following intake of medical cannabis, which significantly exceeded the reduction in antidepressants or alcohol use.

There’s a medically-approved cannabis-based treatment called Sativex, which was found in one study to greatly reduce spasticity compared to a placebo. This study also illuminated that there were no significant adverse effects on cognition or mood brought on by this treatment. That said, it may not dull every symptom of MS. In England and Wales, Sativex is available on the NHS for ‘moderate’ to ‘severe’ spasticity (muscle spasms and stiffness), in the instance that other treatments haven’t worked.

The exact mechanism by which cannabidiol improves MS remains a subject of investigation, but it is clear that it can help with some of the byproducts of this disability, like inflammation and anxiety.

Different ways to take CBD

We will now take you through some of the most recommended routes of administration for CBD; the time taken for their effects to kick in; the duration of the effects and their bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the degree and rate at which a substance is absorbed into the bloodstream. Different delivery methods for CBD have different degrees of bioavailability, so keep reading to see how different methods of consumption compare.

CBD patches

Bioavailability: Transdermal administration avoids the first-pass metabolism effect that is associated with the oral route; it instead is delivered directly to the bloodstream, thus maximising the cannabidiol’s bioavailability. It may be as high as 40% when delivered this way. A CBD patch works by providing a controlled supply of CBD, that works throughout the day.

Approximate time taken to kick in: 30 minutes is thought to be the time taken for the effects to set in.

Duration of effects: The patch usually remains on your skin for 24 hours and it keeps the patch working for 8 to 12 hours on average. Other sources believe effects may last up to 24 hours. Patches allow a steady infusion of CBD to be delivered over a prolonged period of time, while also minimising the adverse effects of higher drug peak concentrations.

Vaping

Bioavailability: Some medical studies reported bioavailability rates between 34–46%, and others said it may be up to 56%, casting inhaled CBD as one of the most effective – if not the most effective delivery method.

Approximate time taken to kick in: Vaping is among the fastest ways to absorb CBD, given its direct route to the bloodstream via the lining of the lungs. You may start feeling the effects in as quickly as 10-20 minutes.

Duration of effects: Duration is thought to be somewhere between 1 and 3 hours.

Tinctures and Oral sprays

Bioavailability: Reported rates range from 12%-35%, which is significantly higher than oral consumption. The reason it is much speedier is due to its evasion of the digestive tract; the only enzymes that break down and degrade the CBD are those found in the mouth’s saliva. Moreover, the sublingual gland, beneath the tongue, is pretty much a direct route to the bloodstream. Orally ingested CBD, however, has to undergo the digestive processes, which renders it less bioavailable than it could be via other consumption methods.

Approximate time taken to kick in: Around 20-40 minutes.

Duration of effects: The effects brought by sublingual administration may last around four hours.

 alphagreen CBD for Disability

Capsules and Softgels

Bioavailability: There is discordance amongst studies about the bioavailability of orally-taken CBD: one study in 1986 reported a bioavailability rate of 6%, while a 2009 study placed it between 4% and 20%.

Approximate time taken to kick in: This totally depends on how you consume it, your metabolism and other biological factors like your age and weight. If taken on an empty stomach, effects may kick in as quickly as 30 minutes after consumption. If you swallow a capsule or consume an edible like a gummy or chocolate, it may be 90 minutes before the CBD oil begins to work. However, if you’re taking a large meal that has been infused with CBD, expect to wait up to one or two hours before you feel anything.

Duration of effects: Though oral administration takes the longest to kick in, it’s also known for being the longest lasting. Taking CBD orally could extend the effects for a total of six hours. Some studies claim the effect duration varies from 8 to 20 h.

Word to the Wise

If you are considering this cannabis-derived organic alternative for yourself or someone else who suffers from a disability, there are a number of things to do before making that potentially life-enhancing purchase:

  • If you are on medication for a health condition or disability, we highly recommend that you speak to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking up a CBD regimen. CBD runs the risk of interacting with some medications, so it is always best to be given the green light by a professional before you go ahead.
  • Check for a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This will highlight all the cannabinoids and terpenes that have gone into your CBD product, as well as any other elements that may be present. This document also confirms that the batch of CBD has undergone examination by a third-party laboratory that is detached from the CBD outlet and thus has no biases. Attached to every product on our website is a COA so that you can verify the safety of your product yourself.
  • Remember that CBD is an alternative, not a replacement! No CBD product is designed to substitute any vital medication you have been instructed to take by your doctor. It should also not be used in place of a healthy diet; rather, it should serve as a supplement to one.
  • If you are pregnant and have a disability, or you are breastfeeding, you should refrain from taking CBD. Seek medical advice regarding the best course of action, as it remains ambiguous how CBD may affect developing foetuses or the quality of breastmilk.

Alphagreen: a disability-friendly platform?

At Alphagreen, inclusivity is something we take very seriously. For that reason, we have ensured that our website fully complies with the accessibility criteria for those with disabilities. Just look for the disabled icon in the bottom left-hand corner of our website, and you will have the option to alter the layout or visual presentation to meet your specific needs. Some of the different functions available are:

 alphagreen CBD for Disability
  • Seizure safe profile
  • Visually impaired profile
  • Cognitive disability profile
  • ADHD-friendly profile
  • Blind user-friendly profile / screen-reader
  • Keyboard navigation
  • Content adjustment (changing the way the website’s writing appears, such as the font, text size, titles, alignment, spacing and height)
  • Colour adjustment (changing the contrast and saturation of the website’s colours)
  • Orientation adjustment (muting sounds, blocking images, adjusting the cursor and focus)

We are therefore fully compliant with the following criteria:

  • Ensuring that every action that can be done with a mouse can also be done using just the keyboard – from hovering to clicking.
  • Enabling screen-readers to properly interpret the website.
  • Enabling users with disabilities to visually adjust the website’s design to their specific needs in a matter of seconds.
  • Including a built-in dictionary/glossary to ensure they fully comprehend the website’s content.

In addition, our website is packed with accessible, alternative healthcare products that are accessible to everyone and their unique needs.

Final thoughts

Like many areas of CBD research that are still lacking, CBD for disability is one of them. While studies have been done, we still have some way to go before we are able to definitely verify the efficacy of CBD for different disabilities. That being said, studies carried out thus far demonstrate undeniable promise as far as the use of cannabidiol for different disabilities, warranting further research in how this cannabinoid might vastly improve the quality of life for disabled individuals.

Here at Alphagreen, we will always strive to evolve our goods and services to be as inclusive as possible, so that the marvellous benefits of CBD are made entirely accessible and can be enjoyed by anybody, irrespective of their physical or mental condition.


Verified by a health professional

Anastasiia Myronenko

Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.

FAQ

What are common disabilities?

A disability is a condition that makes it more difficult to do ordinary activities or adequately interact with the world. Among those disabilities are vision Impairment, deaf, intellectual and mental health conditions, autism spectrum disorder and physical disability. The treatment of these disabilities aims to alleviate the symptoms.

How does CBD work in the human body?

Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system that helps restore inner balance. CBD, a plant-based cannabinoid, mimics the action of the body's endocannabinoids. This all-natural and safe compound is believed to have the potential to relieve pain and inflammation, anxiety, stress, and other conditions.

Can CBD help with epilepsy?

CBD does not cause mind-altering effects but may cause positive effects on various body processes. This compound has shown its effectiveness in relieving seizures and reducing their frequency in people with epilepsy. Epidiolex, the FDA-approved cannabidiol-based drug, is used for the treatment of seizures in severe forms of epilepsy, known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Can CBD help multiple sclerosis?

Studies suggest that CBD may have neuroprotective properties and may help with disability-related symptoms, such as pain, inflammation, mood swings and fatigue. However, Sativex, a medically approved THC-based drug that is used to reduce spasticity. In England and Wales, Sativex is available on the NHS for moderate to severe muscle spasms and stiffness, in case other treatments haven't helped.

Is CBD safe for use?

CBD use may also carry some risks. Although it's a safe and well-tolerated compound, CBD can cause some side effects, such as diarrhoea, dry mouth, appetite loss, drowsiness and fatigue. Also, CBD can also interact with other medications, such as blood thinners. It's important to know that CBD is not a replacement for medications. Therefore, prior consultation with a doctor is a must.

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