But now, as more and more people are turning to the drug to treat ailments, the science of cannabis is experiencing a rebirth. We’re finding surprises, and possibly miracles, concealed inside this once forbidden plant. Although marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, recently expressed interest in what science will learn about marijuana, noting that preliminary data show that “for certain medical conditions and symptoms” it can be “helpful.”
When I meet the Patricks in late 2014, they’ve settled into their new home on the north side of Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak looms in their living room window. Addy is thriving. Since first taking CBD oil, she hasn’t been hospitalized. She still has occasional seizures—one or two a day—but they’re less intense. Her eyes wander less. She listens more. She laughs. She’s learned how to hug and has discovered the power of her vocal cords.
A sketchy outline of the cannabis genome already exists, but it’s highly fragmented, scattered into about 60,000 pieces. Kane’s ambitious goal, which will take many years to achieve, is to assemble those fragments in the right order. “The analogy I use is, we have 60,000 pages of what promises to be an excellent book, but they’re strewn all over the floor,” he says. “We have no idea yet how those pages fit together to make a good story.”
Neurologists are skilled at predicting side effects and interactions between well-researched pharmaceuticals. But due to the dearth of reliable research about CBD, doctors like Hernandez and Knupp cannot guide their patients in its use. If there are adverse reactions, Penny will find out because Harper will suffer through them. She has had to figure out through trial and error how best to mix and measure Harper’s oils. The bottom line, Penny said, is simple: “We are the research.”
At Denver’s LivWell, which has an enormous indoor growing operation, workers remove marijuana leaves before the buds are trimmed, keeping the plants destined for medical use separate from those for recreational use. After Colorado legalized marijuana, thousands of young people from all over the world flocked to the state to participate in the multimillion-dollar business phenomenon that’s been called the Green Rush.
What did I experience? As was the case for Talansky, my sleep improved almost immediately. It wasn’t that I slept more; I felt like I slept better—more soundly, less waking during the night, more often getting out of bed feeling refreshed. By the second week I noticed less overall creakiness while going about daily activities; CBD advocates would say the products had lowered systemic inflammation. Those two changes made me feel like I was recovering better from training, which led to being more eager to train, and feeling better while doing so.
 N. M. Kogan, E. Melamed, E. Wasserman, B. Raphael, A. Breuer, K. S. Stok, R. Sondergaard, A. V. Escudero, S. Baraghithy, M. Attar-Namdar, S. Friedlander-Barenboim, N. Mathavan, H. Isaksson, R. Mechoulam, R. Müller, A. Bajayo, Y. Gabet, and I. Bab, “Cannabidiol, A Major Nonpsychotropic Cannabis Constituent, Enhances Fracture Healing and Stimulates Lysyl Hydroxylase Activity in Osteoblasts,” Journal of Mineral and Bone Research 30, no. 10 (October 2015): 1905–1913.
Indeed, hemp oil products have grown out of a market largely devoid of regulations or safety protocols. The state of the CBD industry harks back to the age of elixirs and potions hawked from covered wagons to the awed denizens of pioneer towns. There are no industrywide standards in place to ensure that CBD oils are consistently formulated batch-to-batch. There is no regulatory body screening products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residues, and other dangerous contaminants. The laboratories that companies contract to test their CBD products are themselves neither standardized nor consistently regulated. No medical research exists to recommend how much CBD a patient should take, nor is there detailed, reliable documentation of how CBD interacts with most epilepsy medications.
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.
Heart disease is a growing problem today. In fact, it’s the leading cause of death in the U.S. A healthy diet and lifestyle is a top priority for heart health, but CBD oil can also help. According to research cannabidiol reduces artery blockage, reduces stress induced cardiovascular response, and can reduce blood pressure. It may also reduce cholesterol.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
He leads me through Mindful’s bustling front offices and into its interior corridors. In freezers Mindful stores seeds from all over—Asia, India, North Africa, the Caribbean. A world traveler who’s become something of a Johnny Appleseed for marijuana, Hague is extremely interested in the plant’s historical biodiversity, and his seed bank of rare, wild, and ancient strains is a significant part of Mindful’s intellectual property. “We have to recognize that humans evolved with it practically since the dawn of time,” he says. “It’s older than writing. Cannabis use is part of us, and it always has been. It spread from Central Asia after the last ice age and went out across the planet with man.”
As Kane leads me around his lab, I see the excitement on his face and on the faces of his young staff. The place feels almost like a start-up company. “So much of science is incremental,” he says, “but with this cannabis work, the science will not be incremental. It will be transformative. Transformative not just in our understanding of the plant but also of ourselves—our brains, our neurology, our psychology. Transformative in terms of the biochemistry of its compounds. Transformative in terms of its impact across several different industries, including medicine, agriculture, and biofuels. It may even transform part of our diet—hemp seed is known to be a ready source of a very healthy, protein-rich oil.”
This is a common question and misconception. As mentioned above, while they come from the same plant, they are different strains and CBD is harvested from the plants that contain no THC (or negligible levels). CBD is completely legal and is not considered a drug. Because of the often confused history of these plants, many manufacturers use “hemp oil” instead of the more controversial “CBD oil” in their marketing. CBD levels can vary drastically based on manufacturing, so it is important to find a high quality manufacturer with verified levels.
“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.”
The Cannabis Health Index (CHI) is an evidence-based scoring system for cannabis (in general, not just CBD effects) and its effectiveness on various health issues based on currently available research data. Refer to cannabishealthindex.com for updated information. Using this rubric and based on twenty-one studies, cannabis rated in the possible-to-probable range of efficacy for treatment of depression.
CBD could potentially be as effective for pain relief as an opioid, but without the potential for deadly addiction. Dr. Solomon shared a self-report study he conducted at UC Berkeley last year, which tracked patients that were using opioids for pain relief. When subjects tried using cannabis in lieu of opioids, the majority "reported that cannabis provided relief on par with their other medications, but without the unwanted side effects." He noted that more research needs to be done, but all signs point to pain relief—which would lead to fewer opioid-related deaths.
Cannabinoid therapy is connected to the part of the biological matrix where body and brain meet. Since CBD (cannabidiol) and other compounds in cannabis are so similar to the chemicals created by our own bodies, they are integrated better than many synthetic drugs. According to Bradley E. Alger, a leading scientist in the study of endocannabinoids with a PhD from Harvard in experimental psychology, “With complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.”
I can’t assist with what you need, but I can tell you that I am a cancer survivor ( 15 years), with Chronic Fibro, arthritis and nerve damage . I was on prescribed pain meds for a long time. CBD has been a life saver. I have tried several of the above. For me, Bluebird is the best so far of them all. In terms of effectiveness , its heads and tails ( no pun intended) above the rest. They do have a program as well , yes. They are pricey . I also like Lazarus’s 25 mg Capsules as well.
Liquid CBD Oil/Tinctures/Extracts: Drops or tinctures should have a “suggested serving size” and the total milligrams of CBD listed on their packaging. From there, you can determine the amount of CBD you would like to ingest. Simply place the correct quantity of drops under your tongue using the dropper and hold the CBD oil in place for a minimum of 60 seconds. The 60 second hold allows for absorption via the blood vessels underneath your tongue – efficiently bypassing first-pass metabolism. Once 60 seconds has passed, swallow the CBD oil.
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