It’s a truism to state that pain is an inevitable part of life. And it’s true that we all, from time to time, experience pain that is short-lived and treatable. But those who deal with chronic pain know the debilitating, life-sucking reality of this condition. And traditional medications often come with long lists of side effects which can be as debilitating as the pain itself.
But CBD (an acronym for cannabidiol) oil isn't a cure-all, despite what the best efforts of marketers the world over may tell you. "It doesn't work for everything," said Perry Solomon, M.D., a board-certified anesthesiologist and founder/chief medical officer of HelloMD. For example, "if you have a lung infection like bronchitis, you can't put a cream on your chest—you need to take a Z-pack. You're not going to cure something like that with cannabis."
THC, an intoxicating and illegal substance, is responsible for causing marijuana users to get “high.” Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive because it does not act on the same pathways as THC. Thus, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD or CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp plants, as they only have minuscule traces of THC (<0.3%).
Further testing found what the world now knows: This compound is the plant’s principal active ingredient, its mind-altering essence—the stuff that makes you high. Mechoulam, along with a colleague, had discovered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He and his team also elucidated the chemical structure of cannabidiol (CBD), another key ingredient in marijuana, one that has many potential medical uses but no psychoactive effect on humans.
Hernandez said interactions between FDA-approved pharmaceuticals and CBD oils are a serious concern. “What we’ve found so far is that [CBD] can actually affect the levels of some of your epilepsy medications,” Hernandez told me. The diarrhea and vomiting associated with CBD oil ingestion can lower the levels of other drugs in patients’ bloodstreams, while the way the body absorbs CBD can raise the levels of certain medications.
Phillip Hague, the chief horticulturist at a Denver cannabis company called Mindful, sniffs the roots of a plant to check on their health. He’s grown cannabis most of his life and has traveled the world researching its many varieties. He’s interested in developing new strains with higher concentrations of marijuana’s lesser known compounds that appear to have medical uses. “Cannabis speaks to me,” he says.
However, the 2014 federal farm bill allowed for “research” cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp if those activities aren’t in violation of state laws. Only four states—Idaho, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas—have strict no-CBD laws. Since 2014, there has been little to no federal enforcement against commercial hemp products. The upshot: Functionally, hemp-derived CBD products are safe for interstate commerce.
Watch Out For: Companies that do not have test results or refuse to give them to customers. Also be wary of companies who only test one batch of finished product and then assume that all future batches will be the same – big mistake. Hemp is a product of nature and thus, no two batches will ever be identical – even in the most regulated environment. The company must provide you test results for the actual product you intend to purchase as well as the plant material used to make it – otherwise you are jeopardizing your safety and the medical efficacy of the product.
While it’s surely a good thing to make CBD oil easily available for people all over the world, the increasing popularity of products rich in cannabinoids has a not so pleasant side effect. Driven by the desire to explore this business opportunity and get the most of it, producers use misleading marketing and deceptive advertising to increase profits.
CBD has been touted as a bona fide anxiolytic, and possibly an antidepressant. Whether it's social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, CBD may be the solution you're looking for. "Most patients seem to be using CBD as an anxiolytic [anti-anxiety medication]... it helps calm them down and relax them," said Dr. Solomon. "The biggest clinical studies [that have been done] show it does help decrease anxiety when you take 300 to 600mg of CBD."
In the U.S., we live in a culture where more is often perceived as being better. And it’s easy, without even thinking about it, to apply that approach to CBD dosing. But when it comes to CBD, more is not necessarily better. In fact, for many, less CBD is more effective. One way to determine your optimal dosage is to start with a small amount of CBD for a couple weeks and then slowly increase your dosage, carefully taking note of symptoms, until you’re seeing the results you want.
Conversely, to preserve most of the plant’s trichromes – these are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids – look for Supercritical (or subcritical) CO2 extraction. This method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. While this method is more expensive and involves complex equipment and expertise, it ensures quality.
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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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