Hemp ~ The Natural Way To Reduce Cortisol


Physical and emotional stress cause cortisol levels to rise in the body. It is an important hormone and helps regulate insulin, blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory responses, and glucose metabolism.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and is often known as the ‘stress hormone.’ It is beneficial when a sudden burst of energy is needed (for example, in a ‘fight or flight’ situation), helping memory, or giving the immune system a boost.

Constant high levels of cortisol, however, are NOT beneficial. When cortisol secretions remain at unsafe levels they can cause many complications (for example, in situations of chronic stress):

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of collagen
  • Increased gastric acid
  • Counteracts insulin and elevates blood glucose levels (excess cortisol may be a factor in appearance of diabetes)
  • Blocks cells from producing chemicals that regulate immunity
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Impaired cognition
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Inhibits reproductive system

In the case of chronic stress, the body is not allowed to go back to the normal, relaxed stage; this results in constant high levels of cortisol.

There are many stress management techniques that can be implemented:

Removing the stressors

Learning to adapt to the stressors

Spend more time in nature

Adopt a healthy lifestyle – this includes exercise, sufficient sleep, avoiding excessive caffeine/sugar and intake of sufficient nutrients.

Nutrition has been known to play a large part in helping the body stay at optimum healthy levels – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of the most important nutrients are Omega Fatty Acids.

Omega fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They also help the central nervous system. One way they do that is by ‘feeding’ the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves (myelin sheaths are high in fatty acids), and Omega fatty acids are known to, to some extent, repair the myelin sheaths. Myelin sheath damage and degeneration is what causes MS, or Multiple Sclerosis.

Omega fatty acids also aid with those suffering from depressions and Alzheimers. Omega fatty acids nourish and soothe the cells, and because they are anti-inflammatory, they may help decrease the effects from chronic stress.

Hempseed and hempseed oil are one of the best sources of Omega fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp has a high concentration of fats, but they are GOOD fats. Not only is it rich in Omega fatty acids, it is also very nutrient dense – hemp is a complete protein and has vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

Hemp, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, is a great way to reduce cortisol…and avoid the problems that arise with elevated cortisol levels.

Increase Your Dopamine Levels Naturally – With Hemp!


Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that is a neurotransmitter (a chemical in the nerve cells that sends messages to other nerve cells). The functions that dopamine control are memory, learning, sleep, moods, cognition, motivation, and movement.

Insufficient levels of dopamine are linked to:

* Parkinson’s – Parkinson’s is an inflammatory, degenerative disease. Low dopamine levels can cause tremors and difficulty with movements.

* ADD/ADHD – PET Scans (Positron Emission Tomography) have shown that people suffering from ADHD/ADD have lower levels of dopamine.

* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  and Fibromyalgia – Most studies of brain transmitters have shown that people suffering from CFS and Fibromyalgia have significantly lower levels of dopamine.

* Depression – Depression is one of the most common conditions due to low dopamine.

* Weight Gain – “In a 2008 article in Nutrition & Metabolism, German doctors reported that low dopamine levels cause weight gain in many obese people. Obesity is thought to be a symptom of reduced dopamine production that leads to overcompensation by eating more food. The researchers found that weight gain was particularly evident in patients who ceased another form of dopamine stimulation, such as taking drugs, smoking or drinking alcohol. Dopamine addiction also can be set off by certain foods that create pleasure zones for some people, so that once they start eating a certain food they cannot stop.”  (Livestrong.com)

* Restless Leg Syndrome – Restless Leg Syndrome is an indicator of low dopamine levels – dopamine is the chemical that is connected to voluntary/involuntary movement.

* Addiction – “It has been said that people with addictions are low on dopamine.  A low dopamine level causes us to unconsciously seek out dopamine raising drugs and behaviors and get addicted to them.” (www.nursenrecovery.com)

One way to increase dopamine levels is to add hemp to the diet. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6) needed by the human body.

Omega 3 is the fatty acid that aids in dopamine production in the brain. Tyrosine, an amino acid, is also found in hempseed. The body uses enzymes to convert Tyrosine to dopamine.

Because hempseed has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids and is a complete protein (it has all essential amino acids), it is an excellent supplement choice for increasing dopamine levels and decreasing symptoms that occur due to low dopamine.

*This post is for information only, and is not intended to replace advice from a medical doctor.

Treating Addiction With Hempseed


Addiction is a physical or psychological dependance on a substance or behavior, despite the negative circumstances. (I should clarify right here, habit is something done by choice; addiction is not having control over the choices.)

Addiction is a brain disorder, and it doesn’t just pertain to drugs or alcohol. Addiction can include ANY substance or behavior – food, sex, tobacco, shopping, hoarding, chocolate – the list can be quite extensive.

“Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control.” (medicalnewstoday.com)

Now, I am sure you are asking, “So, what does hemp have to do with addiction?”

Addiction, being a brain disorder, can be helped by substances that ‘feed’ the brain, in this case – Omega fatty acids from hemp. When addiction is the result of psychological imbalance, hempseed or hempseed oil can help.

The brain is composed mainly of fatty acids. When we have a deficiency of Omega fatty acids we can experience addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

So, let’s get back to the addiction aspect. When the brain has an imbalance or deficiency in Omega fatty acids, it can wreak havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Johanna Budwig suggests that EFAs have been helpful in treating addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and sex-and-violence patterns. EFAs enable a person to manage stress better: nerve and brain functions stabilize, and the electric currents across the brain’s cell membranes increase, inducing a person to feel calmer and more focused.” (innvista.com)

Better brain function – in this case, stabilized brain function – can help with addictive behaviors.

Hempseed has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. It is also an excellent source for other important nutrients. It is, in fact, one of the most nutrient rich and nutrient dense plant sources available to us.  The Omega fatty acids are in the hempseed as well as the hempseed oil. Daily intake of hempseed is a super way to get the daily recommended amount of essential fatty acids.

*This post is strictly for information. I do not (and cannot) recommend anyone stopping their prescribed medications, if they are on them. If you DO have questions, or want to discontinue your meds, please contact your health care provider.

Industrial Hemp For The Prevention And Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


According to the PTSD Alliance, more than 13 million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (approximately 5 percent of the population).

PTSD (also known as ‘battle fatigue’ or ‘shellshock’) is a severe anxiety disorder. One definition describes PTSD as the invasive recall of the traumatic event/s.

It is characterized by numerous symptoms :

  • Flashbacks of the experience
  • Nightmares/night terrors
  • Phobias
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger
  • Hypervigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Disconnection
  • Avoiding things that are reminders of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Guilt/shame
  • Feeling alienated
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

PTSD can be caused by many factors, such as experiencing or witnessing :

  • Combat/military warfare
  • Death
  • Threat of death
  • Car accidents
  • Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
  • Natural disasters

PTSD has to do with the way the memory stores information, especially traumatic information that is experienced, witnessed, or heard. It also had to do with the overactive adrenalin response to the situation, in turn creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. According to Japanese researcher Yutaka Matsuoka,

“Under the current view, recent memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being consolidated into parts of the prefrontal cortex. An important distinction is that the hippocampus seems to be sensitive to fear responses while the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with executive function and higher reasoning, is not.

If stress-hyped memories in the hippocampus could be toned down before consolidation, chances of developing PTSD might also go down.”

PTSD may alter 3 areas of the brain : the hippocampus, the amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex. The amygdala are deep in the temporal lobes of the brain and are vital in processing emotions with memory. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is continuously creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), and it’s function is memory retention and processing of memories. Because the hippocampus is constantly growing new cells, it is understood that it is the ‘clearinghouse’, by replacing the old ‘memory’ cells with the new ones.

It has been shown that Omega fatty acids (specifically Omega 3) are important in brain health. This is where the hemp comes into play. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body, AND the brain. The brain has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency in the Omega 3 fatty acids, brain-related disorders may occur. In the case of PTSD, the Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the hippocampus by increasing neurogenesis (creation of new cells). Omega 3s also help strengthen and protect the cells.

~ On a personal note : having been diagnosed as having severe PTSD in the past, I do notice that when I am eating hemp and hemp-based products I sleep better, am less anxious, and tend to startle less easily, as well as have lower incidences of migraines and flashbacks. ~

It is possible that a diet rich hemp and Omega fatty acids may decrease the incidence of PTSD, as well as help in the treatment of PTSD.

*Nutrition is only ONE aspect of treatment for PTSD and in no way is it intended to completely replace other treatments, (especially in severe cases of PTSD), including prescribed medications and counseling. While some may be hesitant to take medication, it is sometimes needed, even temporarily, to help get the the brain chemicals back in balance.

**The information in this article is from my own personal reading and research and is NOT intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. I do NOT  recommend going off prescribed medications and using hemp products to replace them. If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

Hemp and ADHD ~ Addendum With Article From NPR News


I recently wrote a post about treating ADHD with hemp, and how insufficient intake of Omega fatty acids may contribute to ADHD. Today I came across an article on NPR News that again states that a diet high in protein with sufficient Omega fatty acids may help children with ADHD.

“…experts don’t deny the importance of diet. Far from it.

[Diet’s] main role in my clinical practice is as a complementary treatment,” Benjamin Prince, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital tells us. That means kids with ADHD usually need medicine and good diets.

But what makes a good diet? Here are three tips for kids on the ADHD spectrum from the experts:

Eat a protein-rich breakfast. Kids with ADHD tend to burn lots of calories and can often be too overstimulated to sit down to eat. In addition, medication often suppresses their appetites. Put all of these factors together, and kids with ADHD are prone to feeling “hangry,” Prince says. (The term — a cross between angry and hungry — was coined by Prince’s friend.) The solution? Keep the calories coming. Complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, and foods rich in protein can help kids feel full longer.

We think there’s some link between having low amounts of long-chain, polyunsaturated fatty acids and ADD.”

This article speaks of ingesting Omega 3s from fish oil, but for those who do not eat fish or are vegan/vegetarian, eating hempseed and hempseed oil are excellent ways to get the Omega fatty acids.

As an example : Hemp Pulse, a product that has hemp, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, and dried fruits is a beautiful combination of healthy carbs, fiber, and protein. Made with clean/organic, whole, raw foods, it is a healthy, nutritious way to incorporate the needed nutrients with no added chemicals, sugars, or preservatives.

There may be some instances where medication must be used, but for those who would like to go the nutrition route, hemp would be a healthy addition to the diet.

*I am not a physician and do not recommend stopping any medications. This information is from my research only. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your primary care provider.

Hempseed And Bipolar Disorder


It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people suffer from bipolar disorder. Because every person is different, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to bipolar. Scientific evidence has shown that bipolar disorder accompanies chemical imbalances in the brain. Varied studies suggest that it can be caused by many factors, such as genetic abnormalities, trauma, illness, drugs, environmental factors, and poor nutrition (consuming highly processed and chemical-laden foods and poor balance of wholesome, natural foods).

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder that is characterized by elevated periods of moods and energy levels followed by depressive episodes. Generally in between these mood fluctuations there is a ‘normal’ mood period except in the cases of rapid-cycling bipolar, where the fluctuations are very frequent.

Some common symptoms of bipolar are :

MANIC STAGE

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor temper
  • Reckless behavior
  • Elevated mood
  • Rapid speech
  • Little sleep

DEPRESSIVE STAGE

  • Increased need for sleep/fatigue
  • Eating problems
  • Sadness
  • Poor self image
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Loss of pleasure in activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

There are many treatments available for bipolar, such as medications, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and proper nutrition.

Nutrition plays a very important in mental health. Studies have shown that people who suffer from bipolar disorder have low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and are highly concentrated in the brain. When there is a deficiency of Omega 3, psychological/brain disorders may occur due to the imbalance.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are considered superfoods and are an excellent way to incorporate Omega fatty acids into the diet. Hempseeds have the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body for optimum health. Not only are they an excellent source of Omega fatty acids, hempseeds are also packed with edestin protein (the protein most easily digestible by the human body, as it is similar to human globulin), vitamins, and minerals.

In a 12-week double-blind study, individuals with bipolar were given Omega 3 fatty acids alongside with their medication. The Omega 3 improved their depression. (Frangou, Br J Psychiatry. 188:46-50, 2006)

Another double-blind controlled study that found that 9.6 g of omega-3 fatty acids (6.2 g EPA/3.4 g DHA) helped bipolar disorder depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids enhance brain function and health, as do medication (as needed in some cases), exercise, and proper diet.

~ As someone who has suffered from bipolar disorder, I can certainly attest to the fact that for me, nutrition has been an important factor in treating my condition. I was diagnosed in 2003 and placed on Lamictal. I took the medication for 2 years to get my brain chemicals back in balance, then weaned myself off the chemical prescription drugs. (*I would NOT recommend anyone going off their medication without speaking to their care provider.)

Eating wholesome, raw foods (organic whenever possible) has greatly reduced my symptoms. Incorporating hempseed and hempseed oil (packaged hempseeds and foods enhanced with hempseeds) into my diet has given me more mental and emotional balance, better sleep in most cases, and a sense of well-being. I have noticed gradual memory improvement as well as a better ability to handle stressors. Minor manic episodes have all but disappeared. The depressive symptoms have lessened greatly and the instances are occurring further and further apart.

*Everything in this post is for information only. I am not a physician and do not intend this article to be a replacement for medication/counseling. If you are on meds to control your bipolar, please do NOT stop taking them without consulting your physician.*