Canadian CANNAINVESTOR Magazine July / August 2017 - Page 214

Cannabinoids are also used to treat mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety, schizophrenia and PTSD. A study conducted by Zer-Aviv, Segev, and Akirav (2016), found that cannabinoids decreased various symptoms associated with PTSD including sleep quality, hyperarousal, and the frequency of nightmares. Cannabinoids that were administered directly following traumatic events were also found to prevent the development of PTSD (Zer-Vviv et al., 2016). Cannabinoids are commonly used among individuals with depression and anxiety. In our brains, the limbic system largely regulates emotional response, and memory (Remy et al., 2005). Individuals with depression have reduced activation in this system which is why decreased attention/cognition, low mood, and increased apathy is often found (Remy et al, 2005). By the use of cannabinoids, studies have found higher activation in the limbic system; raising mood and concentration. Increases in dopamine neurotransmitters (controlling pleasure-reward emotions) were also found (Moreira, Grieb & Lutz, 2009). Individuals with various speech impairments such as aphasia, may be linked to depressive symptoms due to language barriers and social isolation. The findings of cannabinoids on depression and anxiety may be an asset to individuals undergoing speech therapy. If the patient is experiencing depressive symptoms, cannabinoids may help with emotional control (increase mood, decrease frustration), and potentially enhance concentration during sessions.

Other common uses for cannabinoids include assisting individuals with neurological disorders which cause impairments to motor functioning; such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and migraines. A study conducted by Rosenberg et al. (2015) found that CBD extracts alone, instead of whole plant cannabinoids, provide most effective therapy to reduce seizures found in epilepsy. Whole-plant cannabinoids, which include THC, were found to contribute to and reduce seizures, providing less effective treatment. Thus, CBD extracts alone may be most beneficial to alleviate neurological disorders. The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids on individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) were reviewed by Pertwee (2007). He found that cannabinoids are effective in improving muscle spasticity and pain in various MS-affected patients (Pertwee, 2007). Evidence resulting from the use of cannabinoids on muscle spasticity, and motor-movement control may be relevant to individuals with speech impairments. Although there is a shortage of research involved in cannabinoids and speech therapy, I would like to suggest its potential contribution to the control of stuttering. Since uncontrollable motor movements can be alleviated in Parkinson’s disease, MS, and epilepsy cannabinoids may similarly alleviate oral muscle difficulties. Thus, more research on the influence of CBD and oral control is suggested for its potential benefit.

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