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.
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 CNN program that featured Charlotte's Web cannabis in 2013 brought increased attention to the use of CBD in the treatment of seizure disorders. Since then, 16 states have passed laws to allow the use of CBD products (not exceeding a specified concentration of THC) for the treatment of certain medical conditions. This is in addition to the 30 states that have passed comprehensive medical cannabis laws, which allow for the use of cannabis products with no restrictions on THC content. Of these 30 states, eight have legalized the use and sale of cannabis products without requirement for a doctor's recommendation.
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.
CBD oil products are liquid drops of hemp which are taken orally. They are non-psychoactive and are available in low and high concentrations. Hemp oil tinctures are easy-to-use and offer all of the benefits associated with CBD. Hemp oil can be used sublingually via a dropper, or it can be added to your food and beverages which is why most customers have made it their go-to CBD product.
The good news is that most of the official research done on CBD oil has shown that there are very few negative side effects from using it. However, CBD is not without some side effects. Most notably, in the clinical studies for epilepsy, sedation was one of the more common side effects. Decreased appetite and diarrhea were also seen in some patients. Depending on what other medicines they are taking, certain patients may need to have periodic blood tests to check on liver function.
Though very rare, some people report side effects when using hemp oil. These side effects include low blood pressure, dry mouth, slowed thoughts, lightheadedness, and sedation. Animal studies have not found any toxicity issues with using CBD. In fact, a study in 2006 found that "the available clinical data suggest that CBD can be safely administered over a wide dose range." As always, because there aren't long-term safety studies, you should always check with your health care provider before starting hemp oil.
“I don’t like to take stuff like ibuprofen or prescription medications,” says Andrew Talansky, a professional triathlete from Napa, California, who, as an elite cyclist, rode in the Tour de France. “I’m always looking for natural alternatives.” When Talansky heard an increasing number of athletes talking about CBD, “I went from skepticism to being interested to asking advice on how to use it,” he says.
As the environment around us affects our normal state of balance, the endocannabinoid system keeps us level by mediating our body’s reaction to external stimuli. Taking a whole-plant hemp oil supplement can enhance your body’s ability to maintain homeostasis and manage physical and emotional stress as a result of changes in your immediate environment.
Whether any of these CBD products will do anyone any good (or bad) is moot. “Cannabidiol is the hottest new medicine in mental health because the proper clinical trials do suggest it has clinical effects,” says Philip McGuire, professor of psychiatry and cognitive neuroscience at King’s College London. “It is the No 1 new treatment we’re interested in. But although there’s tons of stuff in the news about it, there’s still not that much evidence.” Large, long-term studies are needed; a 2017 review paper into the safety profile of CBD concluded that “important toxicological parameters are yet to be studied; for example, if CBD has an effect on hormones”.
“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 equivalency factor is not designed to compare the effects of cannabis oil to dried cannabis, or provide dosage information. For many patients, consuming cannabis orally will produce much stronger effects than inhaling it. For example, when considering a product that has an equivalency factor of 12ml of oil to 1 gram of dried cannabis, and a patient who usually consumes 1 gram of dried product a day, this patient will likely use less than 12 ml of oil per day. Even for patients who have previous experience of using cannabis oil, it is recommend that you start with a low dose and go slow.
In terms of cancer, the suggestion is to have three doses of CBD oil each day, and gradually increase the amount to 1 gram per day. The full treatment is believed to take 90 days. Please note that CBD oil is still illegal in many countries, but there is a significant amount of research being done on its medical applications, and a number of reputable sources have put out guides regarding the use of CBD oil for treatment of many diseases.
Selective breeding of cannabis plants has expanded and diversified as commercial and therapeutic markets develop. Some growers in the U.S. succeeded in lowering the proportion of CBD-to-THC to accommodate customers who preferred varietals that were more mind-altering due to the higher THC and lower CBD content. Hemp is classified as any part of the cannabis plant containing no more than 0.3% THC in dry weight form (not liquid or extracted form).
Awesome Product! I used it on my face the first night I got it and woke the next morning to already see results. Within a week and a half of using it morning and evening my complexion has cleared tremendously! And my skin tone is a lot more even. I am thrilled with what this product can do. I have also been giving it in my dogs food morning and evening for helping with inflammation in her back. I have not noticed a difference in her gait yet but am happy to say that she is not worse! Will continue to give it to her because it is so amazing for so many things. GO HEMP!!!
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All this means that scientists can still only obtain marijuana-derived CBD from farms licensed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (which until this year meant only one farm owned by the University of Mississippi). As for whether you should have a preference for CBD that comes from hemp, marijuana, or a pure synthetically produced version, there are some theories that THC—and even the smell and taste of cannabis—might make CBD more effective, but Bonn-Miller says these ideas have yet to be proven.
"The data supporting efficacy and dosing are specific to one product: Epidiolex," Bonn-Miller says. "That's not necessarily translatable to 'Joe Bob's CBD Blend.'" A CBD extract you buy online or in a dispensary will almost certainly have less CBD in it, he explains, and will contain other cannabinoids—meaning that it will work differently and will need to be dosed differently. "This is not to say that 'Joe Bob's CBD Blend' definitely isn't going to be effective for pediatric epilepsy, but it means that we need to study it before we know."
I lean over to sniff one of the powdery, tightly clustered flower buds, purple-brown and coursing with white wisps. These tiny trichomes fairly ooze with cannabinoid-rich resin. This strain is called Highway Man, after a Willie Nelson song. Hybridized by Hague, it’s a variety loaded with THC. The best parts will be trimmed by hand, dried, cured, and packaged for sale at one of Mindful’s dispensaries. “This whole room will be ready for harvest in just a few days,” Hague notes with the subtle smirk of a competitive breeder who’s won international awards for his strains.
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