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Concerned about Mykayla’s stomach cramps, Krenzler, who lives in Portland, Oregon, sent a sample of the oil off to Going Green Labs in Albany, Oregon. Like most labs catering to the cannabis industry, Going Green mainly performs THC potency tests. According to Krenzler, when the lab tested his sample, it found that the Real Scientific Hemp Oil contained much more THC than HempMedsPx had claimed—3.8 percent, instead of roughly 1 percent. Krenzler said he was “disturbed” by the finding, and also by the implications it had for other parents of sick children. Medical marijuana is legal in Oregon, but Krenzler noted that in other states that have not legalized pot, anyone purchasing a product with more than a trace amount of THC could find themselves in legal jeopardy. “I feel that HempMeds had misrepresented their product,” Krenzler said.
While researchers are calling for more robust studies on the role of CBD on mood disorders, there is promising research that points to CBD’s role as an anxiolytic – which means it has anti-anxiety effects. Another study showed CBD to have antidepressant effects comparable to those of the prescription antidepressant Imipramine. We noted above that CBD increases levels of glutamate and serotonin – and it’s these same neurotransmitters that play a crucial role in mood regulation.
CBD interacts with the body through the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) or endocannabinoid system. First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system regulates the body’s homeostasis, or general state of balance, impacting such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response. Like an acrobat on a highwire, as the environment around us impacts our normal balance, the endocannabinoid system “corrects” by mediating our body’s reaction to keep us level.
CBD products with a ratio of 20:1 or higher are recommended and administered as drops, capsules, or edibles. Specifically, products made with Valentine X or Electra 4 are more energizing, helping relieve depression. When low energy is an issue, sativa or other stimulating strains can be helpful for improving energy and focus when THC can be tolerated. Varieties that are high in the terpene limonene are recommended for mood elevation.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is one of 113 known cannabinoids found in cannabis. But unlike its better-known counterpart THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), responsible for cannabis’ mind-altering effects, extensive research suggests that CBD is not psychoactive. CBD is most commonly found in oil-based form, which may be applied topically, ingested or sprayed.
Zynerba is no longer pursuing a version of that drug for osteoarthritis, says Dr. Clauw, and there are currently no standard recommendations for what dosage or formulation of CBD (in either oral or topical form) might work best for pain relief. But he does want pain patients to know that CBD products may be worth a try—and that they may provide relief, even without the high that products with THC produce.
“One of the intricacies of CBD is that effective dosing can be much different between two people,” Lopez says. “There’s no way to know what dose is right for you until you try it, but in general, if you’re someone who is sensitive to most medications, start at the lower end of typical doses.” By that he means a daily dose of 5 to 15 milligrams—a few drops of a tincture, depending on a product’s strength. “If you’re feeling no effects, adverse or beneficial, after three to five days, add another serving of the same amount.”
"If it proved effective for anxiety, depression and panic disorder, it may have other effects as well that could be useful and beneficial [but] this is a really early stage," says David Shurtleff, the acting director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. His organization's stance: "Take it one step at a time and do the work and really state where we are right now with the research," he says.
Out of the 17 states that have passed CBD-only laws, five— Missouri, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas—would also establish licensed cultivation centers to grow high-CBD strains of cannabis, which could be turned into oils and other CBD products. This would cut down on the demand for CBD oil from unregulated manufacturers abroad. Even then, though, impediments remain. In Missouri, for example, two neurologists recently refused to prescribe CBD oil for an eight- year-old boy suffering from seizures, citing concerns over federal law and the safety of non-FDA approved products.
“This is a really powerful compound,” says Mikhail Kogan, the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine. “I’ve seen it work for a lot of my patients.” He prescribes high-CBD strains of cannabis regularly for such illnesses as epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism and insomnia.
During my visit, Penny showed me how she administers Harper’s CBD oils. We stood in her kitchen, where a window opened onto a vista of green grass and a wooden swing set out back. After carefully mixing and measuring Harper’s oils, Penny poured the liquid into a jumbo-sized plastic syringe. “We put this all online,” she told me, referring to the several YouTube videos she has made to help other parents administer hemp oil. Penny leaned down over her daughter to fit the tip of the syringe into her gastronomy tube, and I stood by silently. Harper looked at Penny, and Penny smiled back at her, and eased the plunger down.
Have you heard about CBD oil for sleep issues? If you're looking to catch up on some zzz's, or you're fighting a legitimate bout of insomnia, CBD may be able to help you fall—and stay—asleep. Some smaller studies have shown that CBD at bedtime could improve sleep, and a study on rats in 2013 showed that CBD increased total sleep time. That said, Jordan Tishler, M.D., noted that the rat study found "at high doses, CBD can cause insomnia and jitteriness"—so do your research on the appropriate dosage for each product before you go overboard. (Related: Can CBD Products Help You Sleep Better?)
Although most states restrict the use of CBD products to certain medical conditions, manufacturers of CBD claim their products are derived from industrial hemp, and therefore legal for anyone to use. A number of these manufacturers ship CBD products to all 50 states, which the federal government has so far not intervened in. CBD is also openly sold in head shops, health food stores, chiropractor clinics, optometrist offices, doctors offices and pharmacies in some states where such sales have not been explicitly legalized.
Can CBD oil help anxiety? Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical occurring in cannabis plants. It is possible to add CBD oil to food, and an increasing amount of evidence suggests that it may improve mental health, particularly anxiety. It does not seem to have adverse side effects, but CBD oil is illegal in some states. Learn more about CBD oil here. Read now
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