There’s also been a lot of talk lately about “microdosing” CBD. This refers to an incremental process of finding your minimum effective dose. You can do this with any concentration of CBD oil, but lower concentrations will take longer. In a 2017 article in Rolling Stone, Dr. Dustan Sulak outlines his protocol for microdosing. You can begin this process by asking yourself three questions:
Now 13, Jackson — whose diagnosis is undetermined — continues to use marijuana every day. (Like many patients, he ingests it in droplet form, which allows for more precise dosing and avoids lung problems.) He still has seizures, but they are less severe and they occur once every week or two, down from around 200 a month before he started using cannabis. He is back in school full time and is well enough to go on hikes and bike rides with his family.
By now nearly everyone has heard that cannabis can play a palliative role for cancer sufferers, especially in alleviating some of the nasty side effects of chemotherapy. There’s no question that pot can stave off nausea, improve appetite, and help with pain and sleep. But could it cure cancer? Troll the Internet and you’ll see hundreds, if not thousands, of such claims. A gullible Googler could easily believe we’re on the brink of a miracle cure.
Hemp oil has never been as popular as other marijuana products. With little to no THC, CBD-rich strains of cannabis don’t deliver the pleasant buzz recreational users seek out in marijuana. In the 1970s, however, scientists found that cannabidiol was effective in reducing seizures. The brain’s endocannabinoid system contains receptors that respond to CBD, producing anticonvulsant effects. Being plant-derived and native to the brain’s own chemistry, CBD is therefore one of the most natural options for seizure treatment available today. Still, not many people took interest in CBD until 2013, when a CNN documentary special, Weed, hosted by the network’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, highlighted CBD’s effectiveness in combating seizures. Since then, demand for hemp oil products has exploded.
Guzmán leads me around his cramped lab—centrifuges, microscopes, beakers, petri dishes, a postdoc researcher in a white smock extracting tissue from a mouse corpse pinned under bright lights. It’s your typical bioresearch lab, except that everything is devoted to the effects of cannabis on the body and brain. The lab focuses not just on cancer but also on neurodegenerative diseases and on how cannabinoids affect early brain development. On this last topic the Guzmán group’s research is unequivocal: Mice born of mothers regularly given high doses of THC during pregnancy show pronounced problems. They’re uncoordinated, have difficulty with social interactions, and have a low anxiety threshold—they’re often paralyzed with fear at stimuli, such as a cat puppet placed near their cage, that don’t upset other juvenile mice.
And now, onto the thorny issue of legality. The simple answer to the question is yes – if it is extracted from hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill established guidelines for growing hemp in the U.S. legally. This so-called “industrial hemp” refers to both hemp and hemp products which come from cannabis plants with less than 0.3 percent THC and are grown by a state-licensed farmer.
I found I was too groggy during work hours if, on a typical day, I took CBD in the morning and at night. A dose of 25 milligrams an hour before going to bed, plus occasional topical use, has become my norm. The main exception is after an especially long or hard weekend run, when I have an additional 25 milligrams if I’m planning to mostly lounge about the house.
If you’re just diving into the world of CBD, we recommend a starting serving size of two to three milligrams. From there, you can work your way up to 100 or even 200 milligrams, after you’ve taken the time to gradually observe how CBD affects your body and mind. Remember, you cannot overdose on CBD, and there are no reported side effects from using high concentrations.
In June 2018, following the FDA approval of Epidiolex for rare types of childhood epilepsy, Epidiolex was rescheduled as a Schedule V drug allowing its legal use as a pharmaceutical drug. This change applies only to FDA-approved products containing no more than 0.1 percent THC. This allows GW Pharma to sell Epidiolex, but it does not apply broadly and all other CBD-containing products remain Schedule I drugs.
While THC affects your brain’s endocannabinoid receptors (resulting in the high), CBD does not attach directly to the receptors. Instead, it influences your body into using its own natural supply of cannabinoids more effectively. That is to say, it can inhibit or activate compounds in the ECS, which in turn can impact the amount of pain you feel or limit inflammation in the brain and nervous system.
In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.
For patients suffering from seizures, the legalization of cannabis would be a decisive turning point. Epilepsy makes you desperate. Seizures are painful, sometimes debilitating. And then there are the aftershocks: broken teeth, bruises and cuts, lost time, humiliation. People with epilepsy are often depressed, and have more than double the suicide rate of the population at large. Epilepsy is also associated with a syndrome known as Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, wherein a previously healthy person with epilepsy simply dies without warning or explanation. Grinding on without relief isn’t an option, but getting help is enormously expensive. Research conducted by Charles Begley, a professor of public health at the University of Texas, found that epilepsy treatment costs between $8,500 and $11,000 per year. Real Scientific Hemp Oil is no less expensive than its pharmaceutical counterparts, with no assistance from insurance. A single three-gram vial costs $149, while a six-pack of 10-gram tubes can cost $1,999 (or $1,599 on sale). HempMedsPx suggests a “serving size” of 0.5 ml twice daily. Only when these drugs are recognized as such will insurance pick up the tab.
As with a fermented food like kombucha, slight natural variations are normal and to be expected in a product such as CBD oil because it is made from living plants. Changes in the weather, soil, and water can all impact the biology of the source material. While we verify Certificates of Analysis (and take many other criteria into consideration during our review process), even the most reputable five-star companies have no way to control for every variable in this organic process.
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