Candida and Thrush
Many types of fungi live in the human body, and one type is called candida. Candida is naturally found in minimum amounts in the gut microbiome, vaginal tract, oral cavity, and digestive tract, without inducing any problems. However, when the environment where candida lives is right, the yeast can proliferate beyond control. This overgrowth causes an infection called candidiasis. There are several different types of candidiasis, and most can be easily alleviated with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Some types of fungi that develop in the human body may either be beneficial or damaging. The infection occurs when the body’s immune system struggles to contend with the fungus. Common types of skin fungal infections like jock itch, athlete’s foot, and ringworm are common manifestations of how the immune system tries to ward off any fungus attack. CBD is a natural, potent antibiotic and antifungal medication that helps treat bacterial, fungal and yeast infections effectively with no adverse side effects.
Candidiasis or thrush is a medical condition caused by candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus. This type of fungus spreads over within the mouth and throat, and it usually infects men and women alike. The infection may cause discomfort, although it is typically harmless.
Men generally do not suffer from candidiasis, but about 75% of women acquire it at some period in their lives. An abnormal vaginal excretion in women is usually a result of thrush. Although this type of yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted infection or STI, thrush may be passed on during sexual intercourse.
A typical symptom of candidiasis is the manifestation of white patches inside one’s mouth or throat. A dentist or a medical professional clinically diagnose this condition. People afflicted with oral thrush manifest white, rough patches on their tongue, inside the cheeks, gums, throat, or tonsils. Meanwhile, severe candidiasis cases involve the esophagus, and it can make swallowing difficult and painful. Candidiasis is a common vaginal infection that results from yeast overgrowth in the bowel or other parts of the body like the vagina, mouth, and skin.
Candida albicans is the most pervasive cause of candidiasis, although other types of yeast are also responsible. The probable causes of candida fungus overgrowth to various parts of the body that lead to systemic infection include a weakened or impaired immune system. The presence of cancer, HIV, and diabetes is indicative of a compromised immune system. Other causes of candida fungus overgrowth are the consumption of antibiotics and oral contraceptives, high alcohol intake, and increased levels of stress.
The symptoms of candidiasis in women include soreness and pain while urinating or engaging in sexual intercourse, excretion of a white cottage cheese-like substance that does not necessarily emit an offensive odor, and itching due to irritation near the vagina. Meanwhile, the indications of candidiasis in men include scorching and redness in the area surrounding the foreskin and tip of the penis, a white cottage cheese-like discharge with an offensive odor, and difficulty in pulling back the foreskin of the penis.
Candidiasis also impacts the skin in the armpits and between the fingers or groin. The presence of this type of fungus in those areas results in a red or painful scratch or a rash that becomes serious with a yellowish or white discharge. On darker skin, however, rashes may not be noticeable, and at times there are no apparent symptoms that come with the infection.
The other typical symptoms of candida overgrowth are:
- Fatigue that may be accompanied by fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by extensive musculoskeletal pain
- Issues with the digestive system like gas, bloating, and constipation
- Sugar cravings – Sugar is food for yeast.
- Mercury overload – Yeast overgrowths may manifest to protect mercury in the body
- Skin problems like dandruff, rashes, eczema, rosacea, hives, and tinea versicolor (a condition marked by the appearance of white spots when one’s skin gets exposed to the sun)
- Skin and nail fungal infections like ringworm and athlete’s foot
- Difficulty in concentration, poor memory, and ADHD
- Seasonal allergies or chronic sinus infections
- Mood swings that are linked to anxiety or depression. The yeast overgrowth spreads through the gut and forms a layer. As most of the serotonin (the “happy” chemical) is produced in the gut, yeast overgrowth suppresses the body’s ability to make serotonin.
- Leaky gut connected to autoimmune diseases due to the suppression of serotonin
- Vaginal infections or urinary tract infections
Types of Candidiasis
There are different types of candidiasis, depending on the particular area of the body that was affected. Treatment also varies with each type. For people with thrush, doctors prescribe antifungal medications such as nystatin (Mycostatin) and clotrimazole, which may be applied topically. For mild cases, doctors recommend a liquid version of nystatin. This medication can be swished in the mouth and swallowed. Some patients are given a clotrimazole lozenge that can be dissolved in the mouth. For severe cases, doctors prescribe an antifungal drug such as fluconazole (Diflucan) which can be taken orally once a day. Candida esophagitis (candidiasis in the esophagus) is treated with fluconazole as well.
For cutaneous candidiasis (skin candidiasis), a variety of antifungal powders and creams can be an effective medication. Keeping the skin surrounding the affected area clean and dry during the treatment is also essential. Meanwhile, for vaginal yeast infections, antifungal medications that are applied directly into the vagina work best to combat yeast overgrowth. These medications come in the form of suppositories, creams, ointments, or tablets. Examples of these medicines are nystatin (Mycostatin), miconazole (Monistat, Vagistat), tioconazole (Monistat-1, Vagistat-1), butoconazole (Femstat), and clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin). One dose of oral fluconazole can be used. Sex partners often do not require treatment. Treatment for deep candidiasis commences with intravenous antifungal drugs like voriconazole or fluconazole. A doctor may require people with very low white blood cell counts an alternative intravenous antifungal drug like caspofungin or micafungin.
Testing for Candidiasis
Several methods could help diagnose candidiasis, and most of these examinations are best done through the directions and advice of a medical professional.
A swab of a yeast infection can be forwarded to a clinic or laboratory for analysis to ascertain which type of yeast an individual has. Another procedure that one may choose to do is the urine Organix dysbiosis test. This test makes a careful assessment of d-Arabinitol, the marker of the candida waste product Yeast also excretes waste, and an increased level of d-Arabinitol is a manifestation of yeast overgrowth in the upper gut or small intestines.
If an individual chooses to do a stool test, he or she should consult a medical professional and ask for a comprehensive stool analysis, which would include a check for the presence of candida in the colon or in the lower intestines. The stool test would also examine the IgA level in the stool. Amplified levels of fecal secretory IgA have been related to increased immune response. The laboratory would utilize the stool test to identify the type of yeast and the most practical remedy to apply.
A complete blood count (CBC) is another test that may be used to test for candida. A low WBC (white blood cell count) has been interconnected with yeast overgrowth, as well as a high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count. A high neutrophil and low lymphocyte count could suggest candida overgrowth.
An analysis concerning the levels of antibodies in one’s system is also a useful tool to test for candida. Elevated levels of IgG, IgM, IgA antibodies are an indication that the body’s immune system is responding to an infection. A low level of IgA, however, could imply a suppressed immune system. An individual can have this test done even without consulting a doctor.
There is also a spit test that most people do to test for candidiasis. This test does not have any scientific data to support the validity of the results, but many patients do the test regardless before consulting a doctor. In a spit test, an individual spits into a glass of water and leaves the saliva to sit for about 45 minutes. The person then checks for any one of the following that could suggest a candida overgrowth.
- “String-like” patterns coming down from the saliva at the top of the water
- Turbid saliva collected at the bottom of the cup
- Opaque fragments of saliva in the middle of the cup
A three-step approach is a straightforward way to deal with yeast overgrowth. The first step is to deprive the yeast of its food. Avoid foods that contain yeast and foods that yeast likes to consume. Examples of these foods are vinegar, wine, beer, mushrooms, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. Also, one should limit his or her intake of carbohydrates like grains and starchy vegetables to one cup a day. A single serving of fruit a day is ideal for preventing yeast overgrowth. Unfortunately, yeast also feeds on good carbohydrates.
Most doctors advise their patients to avoid consuming fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut until the yeast has been exterminated. These fermented foods are favorable for the good bacteria in the microbiome. However, yeast also thrives on them, which is not advantageous on one who is trying to treat an overgrowth.
Once the yeast has been starved, the next step in the treatment of candidiasis is to subdue the yeast. Some patients would require a prescription antifungal like Nystatin or Diflucan. Antifungal supplements can be as effective as well. Common antifungal supplements include caprylic acid, which is naturally found in coconut oil, and Candifense, which carries enzymes that metabolizes parasitic and fungal cell walls.
Finally, after keeping the yeast under control and relieving the symptoms of infection, replenish good bacteria. Taking high-quality probiotic supplements may help during the treatment. These supplements would protect the body against another episode of yeast overgrown that could arise in the future. The probiotics feed the good bacteria and yeast as well, so the supplements should only be taken after the candida is already contained.
Foods to Combat Candida
If food restriction is arduous, there are some foods that one may add to his or her diet to combat candida. However, if one is on an antifungal medication, it is best to avoid foods that promote yeast overgrowth. The following foods may be a healthy addition to one’s diet if he or she is looking to prevent candidiasis.
- Apple cider vinegar – Its enzymes may help break down candida. Apple cider vinegar is the only vinegar recommended for consumption while treating candida overgrowth.
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, radish, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These vegetables have compounds that contain sulfur and nitrogen, which attack candida.
- Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur-containing compound with antifungal properties specific to candida.
- Wild salmon has omega-3 fatty acids that fight fungal infections.
- Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, which kills yeast cells.
- Olive oil contains antioxidants that may help the body exterminate candida.
- Clove oil can be used as a topical aid for infections.
- Lemon also helps in liver detoxification aside from providing its antifungal benefits.
- Cinnamon has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that could prevent yeast overgrowth.
- Ginger also antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties and supports liver health.
A single dose of antifungal treatment can often eliminate the infection in healthy people who have thrush, cutaneous candidiasis (candidiasis of the skin), or vaginal yeast infections. However, candidiasis treatment can be complicated in people with AIDS or other diseases that compromise the immune system. The treatment can be challenging and can last for an extended period. A single dose of antifungal medications may not be sufficient. Also, candidiasis can be life-threatening if it is absorbed into the blood and proliferates into the vital organs.
A simple way to defend the body from most candida infections is by keeping the skin clean and dry. Use antibiotics only when prescribed by a medical professional. Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition. Meanwhile, diabetic people should keep their blood sugar level under strict control.
Antifungal Essential Oils That Destroy Candida
The utilization of essential oils in combination with significant dietary changes may improve one’s defense against candidiasis. If one is treating a vaginal yeast infection or oral thrush, these essential oils may produce dramatic results.
Tea tree oil has long been known as a skin medication and air-purifying agent. This essential oil has been proven effective in treating fungal infections. Tea tree oil is also valuable for the treatment of candidiasis. Douching the vaginal cavity with a mixture of tea tree oil, water and honey is a standard method of application. An alternative way would be to use a vaginal suppository or tampon. This pessary approach is applicable for gentler essential oils. Hot oils like oregano, clove and cinnamon could cause a burning sensation and must not be used.
Like tea tree, thyme has the natural ability to alter the morphology and metabolism of yeast enzymes. Both tea tree and thyme essential oils can remarkably impact the pathogenesis of candida albicans, which means candida cannot become resistant to these oils. To apply thyme essential oil medication, one should combine thyme and coconut oil and apply the solution over the abdomen. Thyme is not safe for application in the vagina.
A study was conducted to describe the properties of essential oils as antifungal agents. The study also demonstrated the role of essential oils in blocking cell communication mechanisms and fungal biofilm formation. Researchers evaluated how thirty different essential oils for candida albicans hindered the proliferation of the bacteria in vitro. Eighteen of those essential oils that were tested were found to be effective. Eucalyptus and peppermint oils stood out. However, peppermint can be harmful in a vaginal application. Oil pulling, the process of swishing about 2 tablespoons of oil in the mouth on an empty stomach, is an excellent way to obtain the benefits from peppermint.
Geranium is another essential oil that may help treat yeast overgrowth. However, researchers believe that to get the optimal benefits from this oil, one should use it in conjunction with vaginal washing. Coconut and evening primrose oils are the recommended carrier oils to make the solution.
Lemon demonstrates remarkable performance when evaluated against drug-resistant strains of several bacteria and fungi, including candida and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Lemon essential oil can also destroy some fungal strains like C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. tropicalis. In treating candida symptoms, however, opt for the variety that is rich in monoterpenes.
Limonene, a monocyclic terpene, is the primary component of most lemon essential oils in the market. However, the antifungal characteristic relies on the content of oxygenated monoterpenes. The higher the oxygenated monoterpenes content, the better the fungicidal effects. To treat candidiasis, one should be well-informed of the chemical analysis on the specific brand of lemon. The oil manufacturer often makes this piece of information available to consumers through their website. Lemons are easily incorporated in culinary creations.
Clove oil is rich in eugenol, a chemical constituent of plants with antiseptic properties, which makes clove oil a potent exterminator of harmful microorganisms. Its potency against candida strains is remarkable as it can reduce the fungi levels to almost zero, including fluconazole-resistant strains. However, caution is advised when applying this oil topically on sensitive areas of the body. 1% dilution is recommended at the start of treatment and gradually increase the concentration as long as no irritation develops. Clove is a potent essential oil for candida, although it can aggravate one’s skin as well.
CBD and THC
Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is a type of cannabis that is one of the most recognized ancient plants. Sativa is Latin for “useful”, and it is a term that is commonly used in plant names. Both hemp and marijuana plants belong to the plant genus cannabis. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States but is legally accepted in 16 states and the District of Columbia for therapeutic purposes.
When people hear the word “cannabis,” marijuana comes to mind. However, the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is only one component of the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the next most prevalent of the active constituents of cannabis, and it is a significant component of medical marijuana. Scientists have already discovered and identified more than a hundred different cannabinoids. Of all these cannabinoids, CBD and THC are the ones that have been examined most extensively and best understood.
CBD is naturally found in hemp plants, and this compound is commonly used to produce CBD hemp oil supplements. CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive. CBD derived from extracted from hemp is legal under U.S. federal law. THC is the cannabinoid that comes to mind when people hear the word marijuana or weed. One of the primary differences between CBD and THC lies in how they affect an individual who consumes them.
Although CBD and THC are similar in chemical structure, they do not share the same psychoactive effects. THC binds with the cannabinoid 1 or CB1 receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria. CBD, however, binds inadequately to CB1 receptors. CBD can even disrupt the binding of THC and suppress its psychoactive effect. CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, does not induce the “high” associated with THC.
THC and CBD are both found in the flowers, seeds, and stalks of both hemp and marijuana. Both cannabinoids naturally exist in cannabis plants in a broad range of proportions. THC is most abundant in marijuana, while CBD is found in substantial quantities in hemp. The CBD oil ingredient that is found in most CBD oil products is extracted from the hemp plant.
Meanwhile, THC dominates marijuana’s chemical composition. In most cases, marijuana is purposely cultivated to take full advantage of its THC potential. Over the years, marijuana has been manipulated, exploited, and cloned. Marijuana production put specific emphasis on optimizing the cannabis plant’s THC concentration to induce intensely intoxicating effects. THC content may be as low as 3 percent in marijuana. However, marijuana strains today contain approximately 12 percent THC on average. Other strains contain up to 30 percent THC or more.
CBD, on the other hand, dominates hemp’s chemical makeup. Hemp’s THC content does not exceed 0.3 percent, making its THC component about ten times less than marijuana’s least potent strain. However, hemp naturally contains more CBD compared to THC, making the plant a perfect source of cannabis-derived CBD.
The Entourage Effect
Terpenes are chemicals that influence how things smell. Terpenes are what gives lemon its citrusy aroma, and they are responsible for the calming effects of lavender. Cannabinoids are the compounds in the cannabis plant that causes healing, but terpenes play a significant role in therapy as well. Terpenes may intensify or downplay the effects of cannabinoids, but cannabinoids and terpenes can also work together to create an entourage effect.
The entourage effect indicates that cannabinoids THC and CBD, along with terpenes and other compounds, work together in synergy. Making use of all the compounds and terpenes in the whole plant is the best way to maximize its healing potential. CBD concentrates are a perfect way to appreciate the benefits of CBD. Large dosage of cannabinoids takes effect faster than other methods, often with the advantage of healing terpenes that are introduced again into the concentrate.
The Effects of CBD
The results on the body from CBD consumption differs from person to person. Some adverse side effects may include nausea, irritability, and lethargy. In several cases, CBD induces energy and makes a person active and more attentive. However, for other people, CBD brought about the contrary reaction. In high doses, the latter group reported feeling lethargic after taking CBD. Higher doses of CBD can cause a minimal drop in blood pressure. Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization, CBD in extremely significant quantities can cause sleepiness, lethargy, upset stomach, nausea, tremors and diarrhea, not death.
Dr Bonni Goldstein is a distinguished figure in the field of Science associated with the utilization of cannabis for medical purposes. As a licensed physician for almost three decades, Dr Goldstein concentrated on medical cannabis for the last ten years. At present, she is the Medical Director of Canna-Centers, a California-based medical practice committed to educating patients about the use of cannabis for acute and chronic medical conditions. Dr Goldstein’s work has helped spread awareness and understanding of the world’s most misunderstood plant. Now, the benefits of CBD is becoming more recognized among those who are looking to find natural solutions to debilitating health issues.
CBD products may be purchased over the counter and online. One may consume CBD in various ways — from smoking and vaping to taking the oil or extract sublingually. CBD products may come in the form of pills, skin creams, and patches. CBD oil may be infused in edibles like gummies and brownies, as well as beverages like coffees and teas.
CBD and the Immune System
The endocannabinoid system is interrelated with the immune system. To comprehend how CBD affects the body’s immune system, one must understand how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works. The ECS is a network of cannabinoids and receptors that regulates most functions in the human body.
The ECS also acts as an immuno-cannabinoid modulator as it gathers and interprets signals from cannabinoids. The body is capable of producing some cannabinoids on its own, which are called endocannabinoids. The ECS helps to manage functions such as immune-system responses, sleep, and pain. The ECS plays a vital role in managing a person’s physiology, mood and everyday experience.
The neurotransmitters in the brain provide instructions for the body’s immune system and signal it when to activate its line of defense, where to engage it, and how strongly to involve it. Some researchers believe that the ECS may alert the body when it senses an incorrect autoimmune response. This erroneous autoimmune response indicates that the defense cells attack healthy organs and tissues. This situation may explain why cannabinoids appear to be effective in helping treat autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, more in-depth studies are required to comprehend the molecular pathways that are at work. Still, CBD is known to minimize painful, inflammatory responses in humans.
CBD also impacts non-cannabinoid chemicals. Dopamine, a type of neurotransmitter, plays a vital role by which one experiences a sense of well-being, happiness or a sense of reward. Dopamine affects the unique ability of humans to think and plan. Dopamine interacts with CBD and can intercept the sensitivity of the brain to react to drugs. CBD has been shown to block the brain’s dopamine pathways actively and may possess anti-addiction characteristics as well.
Together with ECS, CBD can promote the generation of new cells while reducing autoimmune-induced cell degeneration. When administered in therapeutic doses, CBD could protect the nerve cells from further damage or reverse the damage altogether via the processes of neurogenesis. Few people know that the U.S. government owns a patent on cannabinoids for this particular purpose.
CBD’s Antifungal and Anti-Bacterial Characteristics
CBD’s antifungal benefits have been known since the 1980s, although there has not been enough research since then. CBD and other phytocannabinoids, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC), has manifested remarkable antifungal and antibacterial properties. The evolutionary function of these noteworthy characteristics has to do with defending the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants from bacterial or fungal infections. Inevitably, cannabis and hemp plants are favored by farmers and botanists as there is no need for pesticides and other toxic chemicals that can poison the soil. Terpene caryophyllene oxide, the chemical that drug-sniffing canines respond to in cannabis, also inhibits the growth of fungi in cannabis plants and humans.
Hemp oil extracted from pressed hemp seeds is devoid of any psychoactive properties. This oil is often utilized as an added ingredient to beauty products due to its intrinsic ability to moisturize and remedy dry skin. Using hemp oil could help preserve the elasticity of the skin and minimize wrinkles. The antiviral and antifungal characteristics of hemp oil also make it beneficial in treating dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. Hemp seed oil strengthens the skin’s ability to resist bacterial, viral and fungal infections. A study suggests that the compounds naturally found in hemp oil, called cannabidiol or CBDs, have potent antimicrobial characteristics that may help treat vancomycin-resistant MRSA pathogens.
The antifungal properties of CBD have proven favorable in the treatment of athlete’s foot. CBD serves to curb cell multiplication of the fungus. As the growth of the fungus is constrained, this creates an environment where the cells of the fungus start to expire. Also, CBD’s inherent analgesic attribute can help in mitigating the irritation and stinging pain experienced in vaginal and esophageal thrush.
CBC and CBG are common antifungal agents, and their potencies are enhanced by caryophyllene oxide. In a study, both CBG and CBC induced the elimination of onychomycosis, a fungal infection in humans, at rates equivalent to that of two pharmaceutical antifungals, cyclopiroxolamine and sulconazole. Also, caryophyllene oxide alone was equally potent as amphotericin at inhibiting the growth of some fungi.
CBD is also an effective remedy for staph infection. Common symptoms for staph infection include boils and blisters. Staph can also cause food poisoning that may induce nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. In rare cases, staph infections can be lethal if the bacteria permeate deeper into the body or passes into the bloodstream. A severe staph infection could result in fever and pain in the muscles and joints.
CBD’s Anti-Inflammatory Characteristics
CBD acts like an antibiotic and resists bacterial and fungal infections. Aside from CBD’s antimicrobial properties, CBD can also counter the inflammation brought about by the infection. Researchers recognize that CBD oil is beneficial as an effective alternative treatment for infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.
CBD acts upon the CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system and moderates the immune response. Several factors may provoke the immune response to go out of control, such as severe irritants, infections and pathogens, autoimmune problems, and even lifestyle. Inflammation aggravates disorders and ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory agent, CBD subdues inflammation and regulates the immune system.
Cytokines, the proinflammatory cells, activate the pain receptors of the nerve cells. The longer the cytokines remain inside the system, the greater the activation of the pain receptors. Cytokines heighten pathologic pain, as well as intensify the pain experienced in oral and vaginal candidiasis.
CBD attaches to the hyperactive CB2 receptors of the immune cells, and it triggers caspase, an anti-inflammatory protein. As the caspase gets activated, it transmits a signal that starts the expiration or death of the immune cell. As a result, the inflammation gets regulated, and cytokines production is decreased. A reduction in the number of cytokines produced leads to an improved immune system. A compromised immune system is one of the principal causes of infection or candidiasis. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of CBD can also curtail the skin itchiness and stinging associated with thrush.
CBD and Other Drug Interactions
CBD and Blood-Thinning Drugs
CBD and other plant cannabinoids can intensify the effects of drugs used for blood-thinning, such as warfarin. Also, CBD impacts drugs that may come with a risk of blood-thinning, like ibuprofen. CBD decelerates the metabolism of these drugs, thereby preserving the medication’s durability and extending the duration of its presence in the body. The presence of CBD may prolong the effects of these drugs and aggravate the risks of bleeding. A medical professional must be able to monitor the simultaneous usage of CBD and these drugs.
CBD and Sedatives
Cannabinoids, when taken in conjunction with sedatives, may increase the effects of these medications. The interaction between CBD and sedatives does not adversely affect the patient directly. The probable impact CBD can have on sedatives is still undetermined. It is wise to avoid combining CBD with sedatives.
CBD and Anti-Seizure Medications
CBD is recognized as an effective treatment for epileptic seizures. However, without medical supervision, CBD can present problems with some anti-seizure medications. In a study, researchers found that CBD in low dosage would not provide its anti-epileptic benefits. However, it would continue to inhibit the cytochrome p450 enzymes and result in concentrations of clobazam and norclobazam for an extended period, which can lead to more aggressive seizures. Consult a doctor to assess the proper CBD dosage of CBD to alleviate epileptic seizures.
CBD and Chemotherapy Drugs
Accurate dosages are essential in the administration of chemotherapy drugs. An insufficient amount may not be adequate, while an excessive amount may lead to toxicity. Many chemotherapy drugs are designed to be metabolized at a specific rate before entering the body. When CBD is taken in conjunction with drugs for chemotherapy treatment, CBD inhibits the metabolism process. By impeding metabolism, higher concentrations of the chemotherapy drug enter the bloodstream than intended. CBD may slow down the growth of cancer and alleviate cancer-related pain.
CBD and Thyroid Medications
CBD may also help influence normal thyroid hormone levels by working directly with CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the body. A study affirmed that CBD could prevent chronic pain brought about by osteoarthritis and malfunction of the nerves. Researchers found that CBD decreased joint inflammation and protected the nerves. Some people report no adverse side effects that resulted from taking CBD oil alongside their thyroid medications. However, there is still no substantial evidence on how CBD may interact with thyroid medicines. It is best to consult a medical professional before taking CBD together with medications for thyroid disorder.
CBD and Gut Health
CBD is a natural, plant-based remedy with proven demonstrated, valuable benefits for people struggling with various medical conditions. CBD administered at a high level supports the body’s ECS in reinstating the stability of biological functions that have been disrupted or damaged. Nowadays, many people turn to CBD to achieve and maintain general wellness as CBD is effective in rebalancing body functions. For people with gastrointestinal disorders, that rebalancing is focused on inflammation in the organs in the digestive tract like the gut and large intestine. CBD oil is beneficial in relieving the underlying symptoms of GI disorders, such as inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
Understanding Gastro-Intestinal Diseases
GI or gastro-intestinal diseases is a term used to describe issues in the digestive system. Fortunately, CBD oil may be able to help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with GI disorders.
Occasionally, most people experience constipation. However, chronic constipation is marked by difficult or infrequent bowel movements for an extended period. Indications of constipation may include having fewer than three bowel movements a week, struggling during defecation, and excretion of lumpy or hard stools. Chronic constipation occurs when there are blockages or nerve issues in the colon or rectum. This disorder can also be an indication of diabetes.
IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by an inflammation in the large intestine. Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and cramps, gas, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and weight loss. IBS affects at least one in ten people worldwide, and the disorder occurs twice as frequent among women. IBS is a chronic medical condition with no cure. However, an individual with IBS can manage the symptoms of the disease by adopting a healthy diet, taking fiber supplements and medications, and making some changes in lifestyle. Counselling and antidepressants may also help in managing IBS as stress may trigger or intensify symptoms.
Crohn’s disease, like ulcerative colitis, is a type of IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease is an indication of inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms are similar to that of IBS and may include lethargy, blood in the stool, and appetite decrease. Crohn’s disease is incurable, which makes the disorder debilitating. Recommended medications to relieve the symptoms often entails a combination of diet and lifestyle changes, as well as taking antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.
Ulcerative colitis is another IBD that induces inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. However, unlike Crohn’s disease, colitis specifically impacts the colon and rectum. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include lethargy, fever, severe diarrhea that is often accompanied by pus or blood in the stool, abdominal pain, rectal pain and bleeding, problems with defecating and the urgency to defecate, and weight loss. Unfortunately, there is no hope for recovery from ulcerative colitis. Treatment to manage the symptoms may include taking immunosuppressive drugs in conjunction with anti-inflammatory medications, such as pain relievers.
Gastritis is another GI disorder marked by inflammation in the stomach lining. Gastritis can be caused by a bacterial infection or excessive consumption of pain relievers and alcohol. Certain IBDs like Crohn’s disease can also add risks of getting afflicted with gastritis. Symptoms of gastritis may include nausea, a painful burning sensation in the upper abdomen, vomiting, and a sense of satiety in the upper abdomen after eating. Gastritis may lead to stomach ulcers and later develop into stomach cancer if left untreated for an extended period. However, for most people, gastritis can be cured if given proper medication. Along with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes, treatment typically includes histamine blockers, a combination of antibiotics to stop the infection, and antacids.
Living with a gastrointestinal problem can be debilitating and cause unwarranted stress on an individual. The urgency and gravity of some of the physical symptoms of the disease can severely disrupt a person’s daily life. The symptoms often cause discomposure and embarrassment that may intensify feelings of isolation, stress, and depression.
CBD Oil for GI Diseases
CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the digestive and immune systems. Through this interaction, CBD oil can lessen inflammation in the digestive tract, enhance the immune response of the gut, and alleviate the anxiety and stress linked to gastrointestinal diseases.
Chronic pain relief is one of the primary reasons why people turn to CBD oil. CBD addresses pain by regulating the brain’s pain response, which then leads to the release of neurotransmitters acting as an antidepressant. Concurrently, CBD binds to CB2 receptors situated throughout the immune system to decrease inflammation.
People with a digestive disorder have problems with their gut being unable to control intestinal activity. This issue leads to cramping, muscle spasms, and intestinal paralysis. A study done on mice diagnosed with intestinal inflammation has found that their endocannabinoid system cannot regulate inflammation as successfully as it might in a healthy individual. However, upon the consumption of CBD oil, the cannabinoid surge inhibited intestinal motility in mice. This study suggests that CBD relieves gut inflammation and pain. Similar studies demonstrated that activating CB1 receptors in the colon can perform a self-protective role against inflammation in the colon.
Researchers also give credence to CBD’s potential as a remedy for IBDs because of its natural ability to regulate the neuroimmune axis. A hyperactive immune response in the gut can stimulate the propagation of enteric glial cells, intensifying inflammation and magnifying GI problems. CBD specifically counteracts the propagation, minimizing the possible occurrence of long-term intestinal impairment. Aside from reducing inflammation, CBD also reduces occurrences of cramping and other colitis-related disturbances.
Safety Issues with CBD as Cure for GI Disorders
Prescription medications prescribed to patients with GI issues often come with some adverse side effects. Reactions to these over-the-counter drugs may include amplified abdominal pain, constipation, and nausea. On the other hand, studies confirm that CBD oil rarely induces side effects. Many people now prefer CBD oil as a treatment for symptoms associated with GI disorders. CBD oil is a safe, plant-based alternative to prescription drugs that come with unwanted side effects.
CBD oil is an extremely safe medication even when taken on an extended period and in high doses. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and anyone taking other prescription drugs might be vulnerable to experiencing side effects when consuming CBD. Individuals with digestive disorders often take other medications. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution before one begins a CBD regimen. CBD can impact the way the liver metabolizes certain drugs, which may cause adverse reactions with one’s medications or lead to liver damage. One should speak to a medical professional before starting a CBD therapy. It is best to be well-informed of the optimal dose necessary for one’s particular medical concern, as well as the potential side effects that may come with using CBD in conjunction with other medications.
CBD and Drug Tests
Many people are apprehensive whether or not CBD would manifest on their drug test if they use CBD. The good news is that it would not. However, use only a pure broad-spectrum CBD product which does not have any THC added. Full-spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, and CBD may be detected during a drug test. To be sure that there would be no trace of THC in the body, choose a THC free product that has “broad spectrum” or “isolate THC free” on the label.
CBD’s natural properties validate the efficacy of CBD oil in treating most ailments. CBD is a natural antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory remedy that may help treat candidiasis. CBD possesses the innate ability to weaken pain receptors in the body. This cannabinoid is favorable for people with autoimmune disorders as it regulates and balances the immune system. Also, CBD naturally increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the body. The “happy “chemical brings about a sense of well-being without the need to rely on painkillers.
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Amanita Muscaria and Amanita Pantherina
Species of the genus Amanita known to cause the majority of toxic exposures are Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina. The toxins are all isoxazole derivatives. Other Amanita mushrooms contain the same toxins and induce similar toxicity:
- Amanita muscaria var. Kamtschatica Langsdorff ex. Fr.
- Amanita regalis (Fr.) R. Mre. (A. muscaria var. umbrina Fr.)
- Amanita muscaria var. formosa
- Amanita muscaria var. alba
- Amanita gemmata (Fr.) Bertillon
- Amanita velatipes Atk.
- Amanita cothurnata Atk.
- Amanita flavovolvata Sing.
- Amanita strobiliformis (Vitt.) Quel.
- Amanita pantherina (DC ex Fr.) Secr.
- Amanita pantherina multisquamosa
- Amanita pantherina velatipes
- Amanita pantherina pantherinoides
- Tricholoma muscaria
Family is Agaricaceae (Agaricales). The genus is Amanita (Amanitaceae)
Common Names of Amanita Muscaria and Amanita Pantherina
- English Fly Agaric
- German Fliegenpilz, Roter fliegenpilz
- Spanish Falsa oronja, Amanita matamoscas
- French Amanite tue-mouche, Agaric aux mouches, fausse oronge
- Italian Ovulo malefico, Uovolaccio
- Polish Muchomor czerwony
- English Panther cap.
- German Pantherpilz, Braunner Knollenblätterpilz
- Spanish Amanita pantera, galipiermo falso
- French Amanite panthère, Fausse golmelle
- Italian Tignosa bigia, Tignosa regata, Agarico panterino
- Polish Muchomor plamisty
Description of Amanita Muscaria
Cap: 8 to 12 cm diameter, occasionally over 20 cm; conical when young, flattening in age; viscid, adorned with white to pale yellow warts or small patches. This mushroom has a variety of color variants, ranging from yellow through orange, orange-red to blood-red or scarlet. The yellow, orange or orange-red caps (A. muscaria var. formosa) occurs in eastern North America. The scarlet cap (A. muscaria var. muscaria) occurs in western North America, throughout Europe and Asia. Flesh firm, white throughout.
Gills (lamellae): crowded, free or just touching stalk, broad, white, minutely hairy edges.
Stalk: 8 to 15 cm long, 20 to 30 mm thick enlarging towards base and becoming bulbous; white, covered with silky hairs.
Ring: (annulus): large, membranous, white to yellowish, median to superior, resistant though margin usually frayed.
Cup (volva): the remains of the volva are often only 2 or 3 concentric rings above the bulb; white to straw.
Spores: white spore print (in mass); 8 – 11 by 6 – 8 microns, ellipsoid, thin walled, no amyloid reaction.
Description of Amanita Pantherina
Habitat: Scattered or abundant, sometimes in fairy rings under hardwoods and conifers from spring to autumn.
Distribution: These species are widely distributed throughout the planet. Amanita muscaria grows in summer and autumn under coniferous and deciduous trees, from the lowland up to the subalpine zone. It occurs practically all over the temperate and subtropical zones in Europe, North Africa, South Africa, Asia, Japan, Australia, North America (in the Western States of the USA more often than in the Eastern States) and in South America. (Seeger & Stijve, 1978).
Main Risks and Target Organs
The most frequent cause of intoxication is the consumption of Amanita muscaria by people who mistake it and ignore its toxicity. Amanita muscaria might also be ingested in order to obtain mind-altering effects. The central nervous system is the major target organ.
Summary of Clinical Effects
Symptoms appear 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion and last usually for 6 hours but may persist for 12 to 24 hours. The primary effects are central nervous system depression and stimulation, which may alternate. Symptoms usually begin with drowsiness followed by a state of confusion, with ataxia, dizziness, euphoria resembling alcohol intoxication and may proceed to increased activity, illusions, or even manic excitement.
These periods of excitement may alternate with periods of somnolence, deep sleep or stupor. The illusions are primarily a misinterpretation of sensory stimuli. The prognosis is usually good with symptomatic treatment. Death from these mushrooms is extremely rare.
Diagnosis Based Upon History of Ingestion and Clinical Features
First Aid Measures and Management Principles
Treatment includes prevention of absorption of the toxins and treatment of the signs and symptoms of intoxication as they occur. Atropine is not recommended. Induction of emesis is NOT recommended because of the potential central nervous system depression and seizures. There is no specific antidote for Amantia muscaria and Amanita pantherina poisoning.
Description of the Fungus and Special Identification Features
Complete and precise identification of the mushroom (if available) should be accomplished by a mycologist. If no mycologist is available, colour photographs may be helpful for a first identification. Identification is difficult when the mushrooms have been altered by cooking, eating or storage.
More Information on Fungal Toxins
Inocybe, Clitocybe and Omphalotus
Inocybe, clitocybe, and omphalotus belong to the following family:
- Inocybe – Inocybe (English and French), Risspilz (German)
- Clitocybe – Clitocybe (English and French), Trichtering (German
- Omphalotus – “Jack O’lantern” (North America)
Muscarine containing mushrooms are responsible for parasympathicomimetic poisoning with a number of symptoms, of which the most severe signs are: bradycardia, hypotension and respiratory distress. The symptoms are similar to cholinergic poisoning are general hyper-secretion (sweating, lacrimation, salivation, rhinorrhea, bronchorrhea), bradycardia, miosis, blurred vision and digestive troubles (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain).
The muscarine is present in all the different parts of the fungi. The toxic species contain between 0.1 and 0.3% of the dry weight of muscarine. The species containing less are not responsible for cholinomimetic signs (example: Amanita muscaria which contains less than 0.002% of the dry weight of muscarine is only occasionally responsible for muscarine symptoms). The main toxin in muscarine which is a parasympathomimetic alkaloid. Its pharmacological activity is close to acetylcholine.
Inocybe species are very common in European forests of deciduous trees like oaks (for I. patouillardi) or conifers (other toxic Inocybe). Clitocybe species grow in grasslands or open woods. In North America, Omphalotus species grow on dead wood in clusters. In Europe, the small white mushrooms of the genus Inocybe and Clitocybe are eaten after misidentification concerning famous edible species like Tricholoma terreum, Tricholoma georgii and Marasme oreades (global common name for the three species in French of “Grisets”) (Lambert, 1988). In North America, “Jack O’lantern” mushrooms (genus Omphalotus) can be the origin of confusion with sulfur shelves (Laetiporus sulphureus) (French, 1988). In Japan, cases with accidental ingestion of Entoloma rhodopolium have been reported. All the different parts of the mushrooms contain muscarine, and are toxic.
In order to avoid all types of mushroom poisonings, people have to ingest only clearly identified species. Muscarine containing species like Inocybe sp. and Clitocybe sp. are able to grow in edible mushrooms groups (Lambert, 2000). These small white mushrooms can be eaten by error with edible mushrooms, but the most common circumstance is the misidentification with edible Tricholoma species.
The psilocybin-containing species known to cause the majority of toxic exposures are psilocybe, panaeolus, copelandia, gymnopilus, pluteus, and conocybe. The main toxin is psilocybin. The main toxins (psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, norbaeocystin) exert neurotoxic effects similar to those of LSD. They all have a chemical structure closely related to serotonin and affect central and probably also peripheral 5-HT receptors, resulting in transient central nervous system symptoms, e.g. hallucinations, euphoria, anxiety and agitation. Recently, the presence of phenylethylamine in Psilocybe semilanceata has been demonstrated and it is suggested that unwanted reactions may be ascribed to this substance. End-stage renal failure following confusing toxic fungi belonging to the genus Cortinarius with psilocybe mushrooms have occurred.
Species known to cause poisoning include Gyromita esculenta, Gyromita ambigua, and Gyromita infula. Species suspected of causing poisoning include Gyromita gigas, Gyromita fastigiate, Gyromita californica, and Gyromita sphaerospora. The main toxin is Gyromitrin. This fungus is collected for food, with almost all collectors knowing exactly what they have collected. The problem arises from the fact that they refuse to believe that these fungi contain a toxin which may be harmful to them or others.
Main risks and target organs are the liver, nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may include nausea, abdominal cramps, gassy feeling, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. In severe cases one might see the development of jaundice, seizures, liver failure, and coma. Dialysis may be necessary if there is evidence of developing renal damage. Throughout the treatment procedure the condition of the liver must be continually monitored and liver support given where required. Deaths have been documented from this fungal toxin. All parts of the fungus are potentially toxic. Cooking, freezing, or drying the fungal material may still leave significant concentrations of the toxin in the tissue.
Amatoxins are liver toxins. The main risk is liver necrosis with acute hepatic failure and subsequent complications, including hepatic coma, coagulation disorders and renal failure. Other mushrooms that also contain amatoxins and/or may induce the same toxicity are Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota. All parts of mushrooms containing amatoxin are poisonous. Alpha, beta and gamma amanitins are the main toxins. Amatoxin poisoning occurs mainly in the Summer and Autumn (growing period of the mushrooms). However, cases of amatoxin poisoning may also be seen in Spring following ingestion of mushrooms such as Amanita verna.
Amatoxins are absorbed rapidly in humans; they can be detected radioimmunologically in the urine as early as 90 – 120 minutes post-ingestion (Homann et al, 1986). Amatoxins are among the most lethal poisons known. As little as 0.1 mg/kg may be a lethal dose for an adult (Vesconi et al, 1985). Concentrations of 5 – 15 mg amatoxin per 40 gram fresh mushrooms have been found. This means that one amanita cap or 15 – 20 Galerina caps could kill a healthy adult.
Management of Poisoning by Unknown Fungi
Main Fungal Syndromes and Their Treatment
Symptomatic treatment of the patient should begin before identification of the fungus in question. Knowledge of certain syndromes characteristic of fungal poisoning is important. Always keep in mind that there can be many causes of symptoms which are NOT directly related to an exogenous fungal toxin: panic reactions (fear of having ingested a highly poisonous fungus), difficulties to digest the fungi, bacterial contamination (Salmonella, Staphylococcus, in the worst botulism), raw fungi (many edible species give arise to gastrointestinal symptoms if not prepared properly), individualized allergic reactions or, rarely, pesticide residues.
It must be remembered that when dealing with fungal toxins, that the longer the time interval (usually > 6 to 12 hours) between ingestion and the onset of symptoms, the more severe the type of fungal toxin (e.g. amatoxin, orellanine, gyromitrin). Long onset indicates the possibility of a severe poisoning.
Cyclopeptides are a group of major fungal toxins, accounting for approximately 90% of the fungal fatalities internationally. The fatality rate of cyclopeptides in untreated cases is between 20 and 30%. Patients show a relatively long-time interval, that goes from 6 to 24 hours, between exposure and onset of symptoms. Multiple dose activated charcoal is warranted in an attempt to interrupt the entero-hepatic recycling that can occur with these toxins. Enhanced diuresis and the possibility of using specific antidotes could be considered.
Patients generally pass through four phases: (1) latent asymptomatic period, (2) gastro-intestinal phase with massive diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration with metabolic consequences like metabolic acidosis and hypoglycemia, (3) lessening of symptoms with a period of apparent well-being, and (4) hepatic phase (normally starting 36 to 48 hours after ingestion) with a rise in liver enzymes and acute hepatic failure. Patients who might have been exposed to cyclopeptides, will need close monitoring for liver damage and possible kidney damage, and could possibly require a liver transplant in the most severe cases. The principle is that unless these fungi containing cyclopeptide can NOT be ruled out from consideration in the case, it must be assumed that this is what the medical treatment team is facing. Example fungi of Cyclopeptides are Amanita bisporigera, Amanita ocreata, Amanita phalloides, Amanita virosa, Amanita verna, Gallerinaspp, Lepiota josserandii, Lepiota subincarnata and others.
Cases of orellanine poisoning have been confirmed only in Europe. The toxin is mainly nephrotoxic with a very long delay (3 to 11 days) between exposure and onset of renal symptoms. Occasionally there may be mild gastrointestinal symptoms during the latency period. The toxin is probably a bipyridyl oxide (orellanine).
The mortality rate is thought to be approximately 15%. Patients usually present with: myalgia, particularly lumbar pain, headache, chills, rigors, a severe burning thirst and oliguria. On admission to hospital (often after several days post ingestion) the patients show signs of renal damage that may progress into complete renal failure.
Treatment is mainly symptomatic, but if the patient is admitted to hospital within 24 hours after the meal (very unusual), gastrointestinal decontamination and hemodialysis should be performed in an attempt to eliminate the toxin. Example fungi are Cortinarius gentilis, Cortinarius orellanus, Cortinarius semisanguineus, Cortinarius specciossimus and others.
The fungal toxin gyrometrin, yields upon hydrolysis the toxic compound monomethylhydrazine (MMH). Gyromitrin-Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) has a boiling point of 87.5o C, and as it may be distilled off during the cooking process, it may produce a toxic atmosphere for the cook. Once again, the relatively long onset of symptoms (6 to 12 hours) indicates that it may be a severe poisoning. The Gyromitrin-Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) intoxication is characterized by some initial effects, such as fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, severe headache, a feeling of bloatness, abdominal pain, and possibly emesis. In more serious cases convulsions, coma, hemolysis and acute hepatitis may occur.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) is the antidote for life-threatening symptoms of Gyromitrin-Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) such as convulsions and coma. Otherwise treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Not all individuals who consume Gyromitrin-Monomethylhydrazine (MMH) may develop symptoms, as each person has their own individualized tolerance, below which there are no visible symptoms. Example fungi are Gyromitra esculenta, Gyromitra gigas, Gyromitra infula and others; see PIM gyromitrin containing mushrooms.
The fungal toxin coprine, blocks the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, which stops the metabolism of ethanol at the acetaldehyde stage. Coprine acts very similar to the drug disulfiram used in the treatment of alcoholism. If ethanol is NOT consumed with the meal, coprine may be edible. Onset of symptoms is generally short (30 minutes to 1 hour). The symptoms which generally only appear if ethanol has been consumed with the meal or within 24 hours after the meal, consist of skin flushing, anxiety, a feeling of swelling or paresthesia in hands and feet, nausea, vomiting, a metallic taste, tachycardia, and chest pain. Treatment for coprine poisoning is symptomatic and supportive, and remission takes place in a few hours. Example fungi are Coprinus atramentarius, Coprinus insignis, Coprinus quadrificus and others.
The fungal toxin muscarine, is physiologically very similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and therefore causes a cholinergic syndrome. The onset of symptoms is usually short (30 minutes to 2 hours), and consists of perspiration, salivation, and lacrimation, along with blurring of vision, abdominal cramps, loose-watery stools, flushing of the skin, miosis, hypotension, and bradycardia. Bronchorrea and bronchoconstriction may also be observed. Atropine is the drug of choice for the treatment of cholinergic symptoms. Example fungi are Clitocybe spp., Inocybe spp., Mycena pura and others; see PIM on muscarine containing mushrooms.
The fungal toxin ibotenic acid and its reduction product muscimol, are compounds that act on the nervous system as agonists of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Central nervous symptoms may alternate between depression and stimulation. Ibotenic Acid-Muscimol poisoning symptoms appear after 30 to 90 minutes after ingestion of Ibotenic Acid-Muscimol. Symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, euphoria, but may proceed to CNS excitation with agitation, illusions and manic excitement. Seizures are observed primarily in children. Muscle jerks, fasciculations and muscle spasm in the extremities are observed. Treatment for Ibotenic Acid-Muscimol is symptomatic and supportive. For anxiety, agitation and convulsions benzodiazepines may be useful. Although one would think that the species named muscaria implies that muscarine is the main toxic agent found in the mushrooms, it is only present in small amounts. Example fungi are Amanita cothurnata, Amanita muscaria, Amanita pantherina and others; see PIM Isoxazole containing mushrooms.
Hallucinogenic Compounds (Including Psilocybin, Psilocin, Baeocystin)
These hallucinogenic fungal compounds including psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin affect the central nervous system, causing LSD-like symptoms. Usually after 30 to 60 minutes post exposure to these hallucinogenic compounds (including psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin), the patient will exhibit laughter, confusion, disorientation, depersonalization, derealization, visual and auditory hallucinations, hyperkinetic compulsive movements. Treatment for psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin poisoning is symptomatic and supportive, in a quiet environment, talk-down therapy, and sedation when necessary. NOTE: Hallucinogenic fungi (including psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin) sold on the street as substances of abuse, may be either hallucinogenic fungi, or may have been adulterated with other mind-altering compounds, or merely have no mind-altering potential at all. Example fungi are Gymnopilus spp., Panaeolus spp ., Psilocybe spp. and others.
These fungal toxins are a collection of as yet mostly unidentified compounds which seem to cause most of their symptomatology in the gastro-intestinal tract: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Onset of symptoms is generally short (30 minutes to 2 hours). Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Example fungi are Agaricus hondensis, Boletus eastwoodiae, Boletus frostii, Boletus satanus, Enteloma luridus, Hebeloma crustiliniforme, Lactarius torminosus, Omphalotus olearius, Paxillus involutus, Pholiota squarrosa, Ramaria formosa, Russula emetica, Scleroderma aurantium, Verpa bohemica and others.
Other Fungal Toxins
More research is required on other fungal toxins which seem to be associated with some unique toxic syndromes. Some of the fungi which have been implicated with toxic syndromes include: Amanita smithiana and A. proxima (renal failure), Auricularia auricula (easy bruising and excessive bleeding), Hypholoma fasiculare (hepatic injury), Paxillus involutus (immune hemolytic anemia), Clitocybe acromelalga , Lepiota inversa, Clitocybes amaenoens (erythromelalgia, paresthesia and dysesthesiaremaining for over one year – personal communication from J. Trestrail).
Follow-Up and Continuing Care of the Poisoned Patient
After diagnosis and initial treatment, an adequate observation period should be established, especially if the poisoning is severe. Psychiatric evaluation and counseling are indicated in the case of intentional poisoning (e.g. suicide, substance abuse). Education is recommended in cases of accidental poisoning by fungi, in order to prevent further poisoning incidents. Prevention and educational material is available in a number of poisons centres.