CBD: To Use or Not To Use - That Is The Question

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I am going to start by answering the question of whether or not patients of my clinic have been using CBD products.

For more than a year, I have recommended and sold CBD products in my clinic. I always suggest the highest quality, best regulated products to be certain they are safe for use.

It is always surprising to me when I am perusing magazines like Cosmopolitan in the check-out line at the grocery store and find an article on the benefits of CBD oil. Just as shocking is all the research being done in medical and scientific journals on CBD. In the June 2018 issue of Cosmopilitan, they cite a study done by Bonn-Miller that tested 84 different CBD products and found that 26% contained less CBD than they actually claimed while 42% actually contained more than they claimed. High levels of CBD are not known to be dangerous, but too low of a level can render the product ineffective. Additionally, the study found that 21% of the products tested by Bonn-Miller in 2017 actually contained THC which can make users high and show up on drug tests.

This innocent scan of a magazine in the checkout line led me to consider the products I sell and recommend to my patients. I believe CBD products need to be highly regulated so my patients are not ingesting or topically using a product that could have a negative impact on their lives. Some of my patients work in law enforcement and it is important that the products I offer do not contain THC because it could have legal ramifications on their lives. 

It is important to understand the differences between Marijuana and Hemp. Both are derivitives of Cannabis and contain cannabinoids. The main difference is that marijuana has large amounts of a particular cannabinoid called tetrahydro cannabinol (THC). This particular cannabinoid can cause psychotic effects including hallucinations and altered brain states. Hemp has over 85 different cannabinoids including cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 0.3% THC. Hemp and Cannabinoid are legal in all 50 states and have been historically. 

How does CBD Work?

There is a system in the human body called the endocannabinoid system. It plays a part in the brain and the peripheral nervous system to control pain, inflammation, and modulation. This system uses 2 main pathways with lipid receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily expressed in the brain, spinal, and peripheral nerve tissue while CB2 receptors are mostly found outside the brain, especially in immune cells.

THC often interacts with CB receptor sites. Hemp oil usually interacts with CB2 receptor sites and can increase the anti-inflammatory effect. Researchers also believe that the cannabinoids can help the brain release certain neurotransmitters and is linked with serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, sleep, appetite and is known to prevent depression, which is the largest contributor to disability according to the World Health Organization.

CBD has been used for thousands of years and today is extracted directly from the Hemp plant. The endocannabinoid system of the body regulates a variety of functions like hunger/appetite, sleep, pain receptors, and immune functions. The endocannabinoid receptors interact with CBD and create a regulation of the neurotransmitters in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Proucers of CBD products claim that CBD can decrease nerve pain in certain areas of the body caused by neuropathy. This includes pain in the back, neck, shoulders, arms, legs, and hand. It can help with ligament pain from sprains and injuries as well as chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia. It can also help with joint pain from inflammation and arthritis.

There are also known side-effects from using CBD products. One of my staff members has to wear gloves when applying a topical CBD cream to patients. She has an allergic reaction to the particular cream we use in our office that could be attributed to the CBD itself or the natural emolients that dilute the CBD within the cream - beeswax, jojoba, etc. Our licensed massage therapist has reported a more relaxed feeling herself after doing a full-body massage using the CBD oil. Regardless, others using CBD products have experienced such side-effects as nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, change in appetite or sleep patterns. 

Most paitents who have used the cream see noticable benefits and repeatedly buy it. They have experienced singnificant relief for back pain and decreased inflammation when used in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments.

I want to re-emphasize how important I believe it is to use companies that have higher standards for their products and heavily regulate what they offer. The companies I have chosen to work with only sell to licensed practitioners to ensure that their products are being used properly.

I believe CBD is something you must experience for yourself to know if it works well for you.