To Be or Not to CBD

Disclaimer: To be completely transparent, I live in a state in the United States that has legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical use. This was passed with voter approval and the first legal recreational and medical marijuana dispensary opened in the summer of 2014. To be clear, I am NOT suggesting you use marijuana, cannabis, or any of its derivatives.

Don’t you love disclaimers? That’s a rhetorical question.  Every drug advertised on TV comes with a list of disclaimers and warnings.  My husband and I like to make fun of them. I do believe we’ve heard, “Medicine X may cause sudden death.”  HELLO….DON’T TAKE “X”! JUST DON’T! 

In my state, we are surrounded by marijuana dispensaries. It’s a serious business, but if one has paid attention, there has also been a lot of education around it, detailing the difference between hemp, cannabis, THC and CBD.  In our local news and newspapers, early in the legalization process, they talked a lot about it. I can recall signing a petition to legalize it about 20 years ago. It’s been on the table for discussion that long here.  

Let’s take a look:

According to Harvard Medical School, CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) has no psychoactive effect (meaning you can’t get high and have an overwhelming need to eat Cheetos from it). There are a few ways to use CBD: as a topical oil, a tincture you drop on your tongue, a mouth spray, soft gels, in the form of candies, and it can be smoked or vaped.  

Another Harvard Medical School article explains, “Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is primarily responsible for the mind-altering properties sought out by recreational users (this will make you high and in a daze you may chow down 2-3 bags of Cheetos), and cannabidiol may actually work to offset the psychoactive properties of THC. The magnitude of marijuana’s psychoactive effect depends on the THC level in the particular strain of plant, which parts of the plant are used, and the route through which the drug enters the body. Legalization in some states has led to the breeding of strains that are three to seven times more potent than those available three decades ago. A person can use THC in similar forms as CBD.”

You may be thinking…”What does this have to do with the pain in your arse (or your hip), Adversarial Invalid?”

Looking for relief, lots of people who suffer from chronic pain go online and research pain relief (and of course, consult their doctors).  At some point in their dive into the depths of the internet, they’ve found a reference to marijuana. It’s inevitable, there’s lots of talk out there about it.  But, I get a real snake oil vibe about some of the talk. I really can’t believe it can cure everything from cancer to GERD. I mean come on, are they smokin’ weed or something?  Hmm….yes, probably so. 

However, when I read about its use in treating migraines a few years ago in Prevention Magazine, probably one of the most mainstream health magazines you can buy, I took note.  

Recently, through text, I was “talking” about the issues with my hip with my sister-in-law Linda (a pseudonym*).   She asked me if I had considered CBD. Linda is a salt-of-the-earth conservative mom. When someone like Linda suggests it, again I take notice.  

My Big Question:

What about the chronic pain I live with every day? How can it pull the plug on the pain party in my hip called advanced osteoarthritis?

Into the research dive, again. This time I find that Canada is kickin’ butt in funding research on the use of medical marijuana for chronic arthritis pain.  The truth is there’s a shortage of pre-2002ish formal (non-anecdotal) research, as marijuana was and is trying to shed its taboo image. The Arthritis Society of Canada provided this great summary of info here, “Cannabinoid receptors regulate several systems in our bodies.  These include our pain perception and sleep cycles. Because the cannabinoids CBD and THC interact with these receptors, there are a variety of ways that medical cannabis can provide arthritis symptom relief.”

In 2019, the United States Arthritis Foundation released guidelines for use of CBD for arthritis pain and went farther to say, “The Arthritis Foundation sent a formal comment to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to expedite the study and regulation of CBD products to help make them a safe option for the 54 million people with arthritis.” Their opinion is they want to provide guidelines where there currently are none. In a sample survey of 2,600 people, 79% were currently using CBD, have used it in the past, or are considering using it as an alternative therapy to help manage their arthritis pain.  (link here)

Both the Canadians and the Americans Arthritis Societies pretty much agree that:

  • CBD may help with arthritis-related symptoms, such as pain, insomnia and anxiety, but there have been no rigorous clinical studies in people with arthritis to confirm this.
  • While no major safety issues have been found with CBD when taken in moderate doses, potential drug interactions have been identified.
  • CBD should never be used to replace disease-modifying drugs that help prevent permanent joint damage in inflammatory types of arthritis.
  • CBD use should be discussed with your doctor in advance, with follow-up evaluations every three months or so, as would be done for any new treatment.
  • There are no established clinical guidelines to inform usage. Experts recommend starting with a low dose, and if relief is inadequate, increase in small increments weekly.
  • Buy from a reputable company that has each batch tested for purity, potency and safety by an independent laboratory and provides a certificate of analysis.

To Be or Not to CBD?

Looking at this research, I guess it’s up to each individual. 

Will you CBD?

I may CBD, but first I’ll email my doctor for more FAQ.   

*Linda really isn’t a pseudonym. I’ve just always wanted to use that in a piece of writing.  

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