Cannabidiol (CBD) – Can We Be Sure It’s Safe?

Every time we say “CBD” out loud we think Bidi Bidi and picture Buck Rogers’ Twiki the Robot.

But really, what is CBD, and is it harmful or helpful?

Derived from Cannabis (marijuana), CBD is one of many cannabinoids which are chemical compounds capable of binding to specific biological receptors in the brain or other sites in the body.

The theory is that when CBD binds to these brain receptors it seems to suppress or limit the immune system’s inflammatory signals.

Another cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, also called “The High Causer”), is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana, and when it binds to receptors in the brain it gets you high. We also know that THC damages the immune system, yet proponents of cannabis call it a “medicinal herb.” Click here for more information about the harmful effects of this “herb.”

CBD and THC are structural isomers, which means they share the same chemical composition but their atomic arrangements differ.

The claim is that CBD, unlike THC, is not hallucinogenic. Much of the research information so far available about CBD comes from animal studies.

Although it is a cannabinoid, CBD apparently does not directly interact with the principal receptors in the brain to which THC binds, and binds to many other non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain.

Basically, the research to date is unclear on exactly how CBD works, except that we know it affects the brain. We’d call these observations mostly anecdotal — that is, people have reported on their observations and feelings, but the double-blind human clinical trials are sparse.

Animal studies have demonstrated that CBD directly activates multiple serotonin receptors in the brain, and we know that in humans at least, psychiatric drugs which mess with serotonin levels in the brain are addictive and have some disastrous side effects. The manufacturers of every psychiatric drug so far which messes with serotonin in the brain say they don’t really know how it works.

CBD, LSD, mescaline, and other hallucinogenic drugs bind to the same serotonin receptors in the brain, so calling CBD totally non-intoxicating is a bit of a stretch. We think the insistence on calling CBD “non-intoxicating” or “non-hallucinogenic” is Public Relations for “Bidi bidi, gee, we can make a bundle with this.” While the anecdotal evidence claims no hallucinogenic effect for CBD, the fact that it affects serotonin in the brain makes it less attractive as a healthy alternative. Its long-term effects are simply unknown.

Some proponents promote taking THC and CBD together. We think this is a short path to becoming a bidi bidi robot.

At higher dosages, CBD will deactivate cytochrome P450 enzymes, making it harder to metabolize certain drugs and toxins, particularly psychiatric drugs.

What about CBD oil or cream (hemp extract) applied to the skin? Is there a difference between CBD derived from hemp and CBD derived from marijuana?

CBD is legally available in the United States, but it must be derived from imported high-CBD, low-THC hemp. CBD itself is not listed under the Controlled Substances Act, so it’s legal in all 50 states provided it’s not extracted from marijuana.

A huge amount of fiber hemp is required to extract a small amount of CBD, so researchers are focused on breeding plants with more CBD and less THC just for this purpose. It is important to note that all cannabidiol products are not approved by the FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.

CBD and THC both interact with the body through a vital nerve signaling system which regulates a wide array of functions, some of which include: pain, appetite, mood, memory, immune response, and sleep. There are still very little long-term safety data available. The proponents of CBD, whether for internal or external use, ignore the fact that it messes with serotonin when making claims for its safety and usefulness, so caution is advised. There is a lot of money riding on making these substances legal and ubiquitous; any bad effects are not going to be advertised or promoted.

At present, we’d prefer not to experiment with substances that tweak the brain in ways that are not fully understood, lest we become like bidi bidi Twiki. As always, your fully informed consent for any treatment is of paramount importance.

Nuedexta, PCP in Disguise

Nuedexta (dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate) marketed by Avanir Pharmaceuticals is FDA approved for the treatment of PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA), a so-called neurological condition thought to cause involuntary, sudden, and frequent episodes of crying and/or laughing, observed with patients having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), strokes, or traumatic brain injury. It was originally approved in 2010 by the FDA for such emotional instability.

Dextromethorphan may cause serotonin syndrome, a buildup of an excessive amount of serotonin in the body, and this risk is increased by overdose, particularly if taken with other serotonergic agents, SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants.

Side effects of serotonin syndrome can be altered mental status, muscle twitching, confusion, high blood pressure, fever, restlessness, sweating, tremors, or shivering. Use of Nuedexta with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants increases the risk of these side effects.

These are not all the possible side effects.

The quinidine in the formula is used to suppress metabolism of the dextromethorphan in order to increase the bioavailability of the dextromethorphan, and is not part of the treatment for PBA. Dextromethorphan acts on the central nervous system, but the mechanism by which dextromethorphan exerts any therapeutic effects in patients with PBA is totally unknown — it’s just a guess from clinical observations that it might have such a symptomatic effect.

Dextromethorphan, derived from an opioid analgesic, is sometimes referred to as DXM or the poor man’s PCP (phencyclidine, or Angel Dust), and is also used recreationally — acting as a dissociative anesthetic producing hallucinogenic states, delusions, or paranoia. At high concentrations, DXM can result in a false-positive for PCP on a drug screen. It is a nonselective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Its previous primary use since 1958 is as a cough suppressant. Regular use over a long period of time can cause withdrawal symptoms. DXM is often used as a substitute for marijuana, amphetamine, and heroin by drug abusers, and its use as an antitussive (cough suppressant) is now known to be less beneficial than originally thought.

We think that part of the danger of this drug is that it can be prescribed for various symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) just because of its claims of symptomatic relief — in spite of the fact that its mechanism of operation is unknown, its use can be severely abused, and its side effects can be fatal; and the symptoms of its side effects as well as the original medical issues can lead to the prescription of other dangerous and addictive psychiatric drugs.

Examples of DSM diagnoses that may be involved are “Histrionic personality disorder”, “High expressed emotion level within family”, “Adjustment disorder, With mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct”, and “Unspecified mental disorder due to another medical condition”.

Nuedexta is not thought of or advertised as a psychotropic drug, but exposing its camouflage one can now see that essentially it is psychoactive and should be avoided — another example of a psychiatric drug disguised as a legitimate medical drug.

Click here for more information about dangerous psychiatric drugs.

Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit

The New York Times had an article April 7, 2018 discussing the fact that antidepressants are actually addictive and have withdrawal symptoms. Quotes are from this article.

“As far back as the mid-1990s, leading psychiatrists recognized withdrawal as a potential problem for patients taking modern antidepressants.”

On the other hand, CCHR has been making this known since 1969. Psychiatrists have been loathe to admit the addictive nature of antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs, and euphemistically call the side effects of withdrawing from psychiatric drugs “discontinuation syndrome”.

Drug addiction in the 1960’s became an increasing problem, and when investigated it was found that psychiatrists were pushing drugs and addicting people as a “cure.”

“Long-term use of antidepressants is surging in the United States, according to a new analysis of federal data by The New York Times. Some 15.5 million Americans have been taking the medications for at least five years. The rate has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000.”

Nearly 25 million adults have been on antidepressants for at least two years, a 60 percent increase since 2010.

“Many who try to quit say they cannot because of withdrawal symptoms they were never warned about.”

We recommend Informed Consent. Protect yourself, your family and friends, with full informed consent. Courts have determined that informed consent for people who receive prescriptions for psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs must include the doctor providing information about possible side effects and benefits, ways to treat side effects, and risks of other conditions, as well as information about alternative treatments.

“Antidepressants are not harmless; they commonly cause emotional numbing, sexual problems like a lack of desire or erectile dysfunction and weight gain.”

“Patients who try to stop taking the drugs often say they cannot. In a recent survey of 250 long-term users of psychiatric drugs — most commonly antidepressants — about half who wound down their prescriptions rated the withdrawal as severe. Nearly half who tried to quit could not do so because of these symptoms.”

“The truth is that the state of the science is absolutely inadequate … We don’t have enough information about what antidepressant withdrawal entails, so we can’t design proper tapering approaches.”

Polypharmacy is another significant problem, wherein a patient is prescribed many, possibly negatively-interacting drugs, often by multiple doctors who might be unaware of each other’s prescription orders. Often, these are drugs that the patient has been taking for a long period; they may be affecting the patient’s health negatively or are simply no longer beneficial. This is often addressed by deprescribing, which is the process of reducing the medication burden of a patient who might no longer need one or more of their prescriptions. Deprescribing principles are intended to improve health care for the patient by minimizing the harm and costs associated with polypharmacy, and minimizing the withdrawal effects of stopping one or more drugs.

Medications that may be considered for discontinuation include drugs that are no longer indicated, drugs that pose a risk for untoward side effects, drugs that interact adversely, drugs that are given to mitigate the side effects of another drug, and addictive drugs that have withdrawal side effects. However, addictive drugs should never be discontinued abruptly, since the withdrawal side effects can be severe.

For more information about how to safely withdraw from these harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs, download and read the booklet Coming Off Psych Drugs Harm Reduction Guide.

Patients For Life

A leading cause of death in patients diagnosed with a serious mental condition (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression) has been preventable medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes, metabolic disorders which are typical side effects of being treated with second generation (atypical) antipsychotics.

The majority of those who screen positive for these types of metabolic disorders do not receive treatment for these medical conditions. Even worse, the majority of patients being treated with these antipsychotics are not even screened, with simple blood tests, for these side effects.

A tremendous amount of effort, lasting over at least the last 15 years, has been expended in trying to change the U.S. medical system to implement simple blood test screening protocols for patients being prescribed antipsychotics. Many reasons have been given for this reluctance to change, but the most obvious reasons were not among them — the fact that no one knows how these drugs work, that they are addictive, harmful, and are causing side effects that produce continuing income from these patients for life, a life albeit shortened by the metabolic disorders caused by the drugs.

The general attitude of the mental health care industry is that mental disorders are comorbid with metabolic disorders. This means that there is a simultaneous presence of these two chronic conditions in a patient, with little thought given to the fact that metabolic disorders can be the side effect of the drugs being given for the mental disorder. Since the drugs are addictive, harmful, and have nasty side effects, the obvious solution is to stop prescribing the drugs and use one or more of the many non-drug alternatives. This, however, would deprive the industry of one of its top money-makers.

Patients already presenting with CVD or diabetes, or who have known risk factors for these, should not even be considered as candidates for antipsychotics, and should also be screened for any other undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions which may be causing mental symptoms.

A case could be made for malpractice if blood test screening for metabolic disorders is not being performed for patients vulnerable to these diseases, especially since the medications that psychiatrists prescribe increase vulnerability to metabolic syndrome. [Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic disorders, usually including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels — that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.]

Psychiatrists should be responsible for monitoring any potential side effects associated with the drugs that they prescribe; therefore, it is negligent if monitoring is not being done.

We are seeing a huge increase in the rate of antipsychotic prescriptions among younger pediatric patients, yet the younger one is, the lower one’s chances of being monitored.

Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), statistics are touted about near “epidemic” rates of mental illness in order to demand more government funds and sell more harmful drugs, making people “patients for life” as the drug adverse events then require more drugs to handle these harmful side effects.

Contact your local, state and federal authorities and legislators and demand that funding for psychiatric promises be revoked until the mental health industry can prove its effectiveness with actual cures.

Smoking is So Last Year

“Given the disproportionate burden of tobacco health harms in psychiatric patients, e-cigarettes are being considered as a potential tool for harm reduction.”

E-cigs are battery-powered devices that typically contain nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The liquid is heated into an aerosol that the user inhales. The use of an electronic cigarette is colloquially called “vaping” as a contraction of the inhaled “vapor”. More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2016. While E-cigs are not tobacco, the fact that they generally contain nicotine means that they are often considered as tobacco products. In fact, as of 2016 the FDA considers “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems” as regulated tobacco products, although the deadline for regulatory compliance has been extended.

Within an 18-month tobacco-treatment clinical trial with smokers with serious mental illness over a five-year period, electronic cigarette use by those recruited for the trial increased over time, from 0% in 2009 to 25% in 2013. From this data the authors concluded that serious study should be given to the use of e-cigs as a psychiatric treatment for smoking cessation and/or mental disorders.
[“E-Cigarette Use among Smokers with Serious Mental Illness“, Judith J. Prochaska & Rachel A. Grana, 11/24/2014]

Psychiatric “best practices” recommend that psychiatrists assess tobacco use at every patient visit, since tobacco addiction is covered in the DSM-V under eight separate items, and disorders related to inhalant use have 33 entries. Therefore, the psychiatric industry considers that smoking cessation therapies are their territory, which now extends into vaping.

The DSM considers that addiction is a mental illness. It is not a mental illness and cannot be fixed with psychiatric drugs. This debunked medical model of mental distress is what justifies the prescription of harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs. There is certainly such a thing as addiction and mental distress. There can be physical addiction, which requires physical detoxification; and the mental distress, resulting from a lapse of ethics and morals and not from some hokey chemical imbalance in the brain, requires its own effective treatments.

We’ve written previously about harmful psychotropic drugs being used as smoking cessation therapies. One would expect there to be new psychiatric initiatives to use these for vaping addiction, since it opens up a new class of potential [-victims-] patients for the psychiatric industry. Don’t be fooled. There are non-drug methods to stop smoking or handle other forms of addiction, including addiction to psychiatric drugs themselves. Treating substance abuse with drugs is a major policy blunder; contact your state and federal representatives and let them know you disapprove of this trend.

GAO Will Review PTSD Treatment in the VA

U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) requested the Government Accountability Office to study how heavily the Veterans Administration relies upon psychotropic drugs to treat their patients for so-called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The GAO agreed September 27, 2017 to conduct the review.

Many people are concerned that the use of psychotropic drugs is a contributing factor to the alarming rate of suicides among veterans.

Express your concern about this by contacting:
Rep. Mike Coffman – https://coffman.house.gov/contact/ and jeremy.lippert@mail.house.gov
Rep. Ann McLane Kuster – https://kuster.house.gov/contact/email-me and lisbeth.zeggane@mail.house.gov
GAO – contact@gao.gov; youngc1@gao.gov; congrel@gao.gov; spel@gao.gov

Today, PTSD has become blurred as a catch-all diagnosis for some 175 combinations of symptoms, becoming the label for identifying the impact of adverse events on ordinary people. This means that normal responses to catastrophic events have often been interpreted as mental disorders when they are not.

The favored “treatment” for PTSD is psychotropic drugs known to cause violence and suicide.

According to the CCHR documentary The Hidden Enemy: Inside Psychiatry’s Covert Agenda, all evidence points in one direction: the soaring rates of psychiatric drug prescribing since 2003. Known drug side effects of these drugs such as increased aggression and suicidal thinking are reflected in similar uptrends in the rates of military domestic violence, child abuse and sex crimes, as well as self-harm.

Pull the string further and you’ll find psychiatrists ever widening the definitions of what it means to be “mentally ill,” especially when it comes to PTSD in soldiers and veterans. In psychiatry, diagnoses of psychological disorders such as PTSD, personality disorder and social anxiety disorder are almost inevitably followed by the prescription of at least one harmful and addictive psychiatric drug.

Psychiatrists know that their drugs do not actually cure anything, but merely mask symptoms. They are well aware of their many dangerous side effects, including possible addiction. If you are in the military, a veteran, a member of a military or veteran support group, or family or associate of a member of the military or a veteran, you quality for a free Hidden Enemy DVD.

Also watch the documentary online here.

Patients With Mental Disorders Get Half Of All Opioid Prescriptions

A June 26, 2017 article on Kaiser Health News by Vickie Connor presents the information that, “Adults with a mental illness receive more than 50 percent of the 115 million opioid prescriptions in the United States annually.”

Not surprisingly, it also says that while the opioids are prescribed primarily for pain, patients with mental illness find that the drugs alleviate their mental issues, too. We don’t know about you, but if we’re in severe pain our mental health suffers. Then again, you’ve probably heard of the “hammer effect” — if you’re having symptoms of mental trauma, smack your finger smartly with a hammer and we guarantee that you won’t be thinking about your mental troubles for a while. (This is one of those “please don’t try this at home” pieces of advice.)

Understand that when news media say “mental illness,” we read “mental symptoms,” since the symptoms are real but the illness is not. There may indeed be some physical, medical illness; but the fact is, there is no such thing as a “mental illness” the way the psychiatric industry touts it. In 40 years, “biological psychiatry” has yet to validate a single psychiatric condition/diagnosis as an abnormality/disease, or as anything neurological, biological, chemically imbalanced or genetic.

In any case, the best treatments for chronic pain are not opioids, but finding the underlying causes for the pain, learning how to deal with those, and treating those with workable, non-psychiatric methods. See also “The Medicalization of Addiction” for more information about the current craze of treating opioid addiction with more addictive drugs.

Opioid addiction and related deaths have become such an issue in Missouri that  Missouri Attorney General Joshua Hawley filed a lawsuit June 21, 2017 in the Circuit Court of St. Louis City against several pharmaceutical companies. Opioid sales now generate nearly $10 billion in sales per year, while countless individuals have become addicted to opioids as a result of the use of opioids for chronic-pain treatment, often with tragic results.

“Missouri faces an urgent public-health crisis. Each year, hundreds of Missourians die from opioid overdoses, while tens of thousands more are hospitalized or require emergency treatment. Opioid addiction and abuse have destroyed the lives of countless Missourians and ravaged communities across the State. This opioid epidemic is the direct result of a carefully crafted campaign of deception carried out by Defendants. For years, Defendants fraudulently misrepresented the risks posed by the drugs that they manufacture and sell, misleading both doctors and consumers.”

We don’t really know which came first — the mental trauma or the physical pain; but it doesn’t really matter which comes first. The bottom line is that neither opioids nor psychiatric drugs are workable treatments. Click here for more information about workable treatments.

The Medicalization of Addiction

Most early addiction treatment programs were abstinence-based. Today, the psycho-pharmaceutical industry has convinced insurance carriers and government agencies to fund and promote “medication-assisted treatment” (MAT), in which the treatment drug is as addictive as the original one.

Nearly half a million Americans died of drug overdoses from 2000 to 2014, mostly from opioid painkillers and heroin. The treatment of drug addiction by administering yet more potentially addictive drugs isn’t just profoundly counterintuitive; it is also a case of bad science and flawed policy, since it inhibits alternative forms of comprehensive treatment and often the drug-free treatment programs are not covered by insurance — already in Maryland, which suffers from some of the highest rates of drug addiction and alcoholism in the nation, drug-free addiction treatment programs that refuse to accept patients using MAT are being denied subsidized state funding.

Welcome to medication-assisted treatment, an increasingly influential and controversial paradigm in the world of medicine that, among other things, considers addiction a chronic “brain disease” rather than a condition that can be treated by addressing the social and spiritual aspects underlying addiction.

A typical prescription for an opioid painkiller might as well read, “80 mg OxyContin daily until you graduate to heroin.”

More than 710 people in the St. Louis region died from opioid overdoses in 2016. Nationwide, prescription opioids and heroin killed more than 33,000 people in 2015. In Missouri, opioid-related deaths have increased more than 7 times for young adults age 25 to 34 from 1999 to 2014.

The response of businesses who are affected by substance abuse is to refer employees to an “employee assistance program” (EAP) which is a euphemism for a mental health care provider. The EAP then refers the addict to a MAT program.

As an example, methadone, which is used today by more than 250,000 Americans, making it the most widely used medication for treating heroin addiction, carries a high risk of death from accidental overdose, especially during the initial stages of treatment, because it tends to suppress the respiratory system. In fact, it is the prescription of methadone for pain —- not methadone from maintenance clinics —- that has been a major contributor to the nation’s high opioid painkiller overdose death rates over the past two decades.

Another major step toward the growing medicalization of addiction occurred in 2013, when the American Psychiatric Association issued its fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) which insurance companies rely on for billing purposes. There are now 73 disorder diagnoses related to some kind of substance abuse, with another 20 disorders related to withdrawal symptoms. Disorders mentioning opioids number 38.

All of these so-called disorders can be prescribed a psychotropic drug for “treatment”, in addition to whatever street drug, prescription opioid, or addiction treatment drug was being used or abused.

Perhaps the most publicly visible display of Big Pharma’s political connections in recent memory occurred this past December, when, in a 94-5 vote, the U.S. Senate approved the “21st Century Cures Act,” one of the largest bills ever aimed at reforming the FDA. The $6.3 billion law, which President Obama signed before leaving office, calls for greater use of MAT and includes $1 billion for opioid prevention and treatment programs in 50 states over two years.

What can you do about this? Here’s a thought — contact your Missouri State Senator and Representative and ask them to remove all references to the DSM from Missouri State Law.