As of March 30, 2018, 30 states have legalized marijuana in some respect, reports Governing Magazine
While many of them have made this drug legal for medical purposes only, eight of these states (and the District of Columbia) have also legalized it for recreational use. With these relatively new changes, there has been increased interest in one compound in particular that is found within cannabis plants. This is cannabidiol, or CBD.
Today, CBD can be found in a variety of products, many of which are designed to help individuals ease pain and achieve a higher level of health. It can be delivered in capsules, soft gels, and powders, and it is also in quite a few topicals and oils, making it a substance that people can take in whatever form they’re most comfortable using.
However, although marijuana―and CBD specifically―are becoming more commonplace, there is still a stigma around these two substances and a lot of the products derived from them. This leaves many individuals with some concerns when trying the latter.
As a healthcare professional, I have been questioned about CBD and its use. In alignment with my goal to help my patients as well as my community ease their angst about this particular substance, I felt it was time to answer some of the most burning questions about CBD and address those CBD concerns that many have.
What exactly is CBD?
Though this term is thrown around quite a bit nowadays, many people still have no idea what CBD is. Therefore, a little clarification can go a long way in helping one decide whether it is the right treatment option for them.
To start, CBD is a compound found within cannabis plants and research has shown that it has been used for centuries for many different chronic medical conditions related to pain and inflammation. Other more recent studies have also connected CBD use with mental benefits as well, such as lower levels of anxiety.
As Medical News Today explains, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound within marijuana that alters the mind, not CBD. Thus, the answer to this question is no, CBD does not cause a high type of effect.
It may also be interesting to note that the extraction methods of CBD are lower temperature methods. When smoking marijuana the high temperature actually eliminates most of the beneficial properties by destroying the CBD. Leaving only the psychoactive THC. Perhaps in this way one is too “high” to even care about pain. However, the medical benefits to smoking the substance is dramatically reduced. Which gives yet another distinction between the two category of substances.
In fact some research, like a critical review published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, references CBD as an “antipsychotic” cannabinoid that can actually help prevent this type of response. That being said, there are some CBD products that do contain both compounds, so if this is a concern, then it’s important to choose ones that either don’t have THC in them at all or have it in such minute amounts that it won’t have any effect.
How CBD Works
Though the way CBD works is fairly complex, an easy way I like to explain it is that it serves two functions: The first, according to a marijuana expert at Leafly, is that it helps keep the body from breaking down some of the cannabinoids it produces naturally on its own (called endocannabinoids). CBD’s second function is to indirectly interact with specific receptors in the brain (namely, CB1 and CB2 receptors) that are responsible for regulating pain.
How CBD Can Help
In a presentation to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Council, Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shares that CBD has been found to provide benefits for a number of conditions by serving in one of these capacities:
- Anti-tumor (testing has not been explored in human patients)
Therefore, CBD’s potential reach is extensive as a number of health conditions fall under one or more of these umbrella categories.
Drug Tests and CBD
A routine drug screening for marijuana use, such as for a new job, are designed to detect THC and its main metabolite (THC-COOH) and other illegal drugs or prescription medications. The typical urine drug screen for THC is known to have little cross-reactivity to other cannabinoids that are not psychoactive such as CBD, CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and others. Since CBD oil is derived from hemp containing only trace amounts of THC, use of less than 1,000 mg a day should not cause a failed urine drug screen, though false positives do occur.
If a patient tends to use higher doses of CBD of 1,000 mg a day or more they may be exposed to around 3 mg of THC per day, so the chances of it showing up on a drug test do increase.
Also, just for the record. I am actually not a proponent of smoking marijuana and feel it should fall under the same controls as other substances used by responsible adults understanding the risks of its use.
However, CBD is truly a different substance and has shown many benefits without the psychotropic effects associated with THC.
Which CBD Products To Take
With any dietary supplement, not all products are created equal. It is important to consider factors relating to quality and absorption.
Unfortunately, many have experienced unreliable results when using products obtained on the internet or in dispensaries. It is a common occurrence to use a product that seems to work and then to purchase that same product again and have negative side effects such as feeling “high”, excessive drowsiness or no effect at all. Because the emphasis to date has been on the recreational market, there is a fundamental lack of quality control and dose reliability in this new and rapidly-growing industry.
Those who are seeking alternative treatments to serious disorders have not been the primary target audience for these recreational products. Dr. Shapero and Premier Health Care work with very select vendors whose target audience is the patient looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical medications that are either ineffective or fraught with side effects. Many patients can take less medication or even eliminate medications when using high-quality either No-THC or low-THC CBD products. We want to know what medications you ore taking, and what specific medical problems you are dealing with before taking any CBD products. Therefore, we only work with venders using medical-grade, organically grown products. We are able to introduce our patients to high quality higher dose products which have been third party tested.
A Natural Approach
Because prescription drugs are more well-known and widely accepted, some people may be wondering why they should try CBD at all. This is where I’d like to mention that we currently have a serious opiate problem across the country. Please take a look at an earlier post about the current opiate epidemic.
It is well known that prescription painkillers can actually do more harm than good since they are highly addictive in nature and contribute to more than 115 deaths every day due to Opioid overdose. Therefore, by choosing CBD products instead, those in pain are able to handle their pain and inflammation naturally.
Quite possibly you may have more questions regarding the information you just read about CBD and if that is the case please feel free to contact my office. May this information enable you to make a more educated decision about whether these products align with your treatment-based beliefs. May this also make you feel better about your choice on this topic and for your own health.
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Yours for Better Health, Dr. Shapero
EXPECT MIRACLES – WE DO