First thing's first...
All content presented is for informational + educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, as well as when starting any new supplement or medication, "natural" or otherwise.
My goal is #WTFWednesday is to provide information & guidance into health & wellness topics of interest so that you can do more research for yourself. For most of these topics, I wouldn’t consider myself a full-on “expert” - but I have familiarized myself enough with the basics to talk intelligently about the topic and to know where to look (or to look at all!) for more information. I’m always interested in hearing your personal experience or opinions based on your own research.
Now that I got that out of the way, let's chat all things CBD :)
This week's #WTFWednesday topic was much requested, and I was more than happy to oblige. Not only am I fascinated with all of the research and potential applications of CBD, I have incorporated myself with great results! While CBD is certainly the health-and-wellness "it" product of the moment, I am even more interested in the medical applications for chronic conditions + diseases. As I mention in my video, much of my inspiration + references came from fellow Institute for Integrative Nutrition-educated health coach and CBD-advocate, Jenny Sansouci of Healthy Crush. Jenny has done an incredible amount of research into not only CBD, but medical marijuana and its applications. This was all instigated by her father's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. If you know anything about pancreatic cancer, it's that it's known as a "bad" cancer to get; treatments are more palliative than anything else, and it's not really possible to cure or go into remission. As someone who lost her father to colon cancer, I empathize with and appreciate her determination to help her father along his cancer journey any way she can. Many of my references came from Jenny, and she made my work compiling information that much easier. Please take the time to check out her very thorough research + personal experiences:
Now, onto the discussion! This chat is a little longer than usual because there was SO much information to cover - and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. My intention was to give you some of the most important key points, as well as direct you to other resources (both published research + personal accounts, like Jenny's) for more information.
Give it a watch, let me know what you think, and remember much of what's included is outlined below.
CBD is one of those topics about which I’m not an expert, but I have done my research and have some personal anecdotes to offer. It’s a very controversial topic, not just related to efficacy, but legality. The laws around CBD (and marijuana) are evolving quickly. The DEA considers it a schedule 1 drug, but many online retailers sell CBD products to all 50 states. (More on why CBD "allowed" vs. marijuana below.)
WHAT IS CBD?
Jenny of Health Crush offered this really succinct explanation: “CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It’s one of over 100 chemical compounds called 'cannabinoids,' found in various breeds of cannabis plants. THC (the psychoactive compound that makes you feel high) and CBD (non-psychoactive and considered to be therapeutic) are 2 of the most widely used cannabinoids.” [pronunciation videos provided :)]
(Cerebrum, 2013) Getting High on the Endocannabinoid System: “The endogenous cannabinoid system—named for the plant that led to its discovery in in the 1990s—is one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. With its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and virtually all of the body’s organs, the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind. By understanding this system, we begin to see a mechanism that could connect brain activity and states of physical health and disease.
Our body produces endocannabinoids, and the cannabis plant produces similar compounds called phytocannabinoids. Cannabinoids from cannabis bind to receptors in our body’s endocannabinoid system to produce therapeutic effects: on inflammation, pain, mood, energy, brain health, the nervous system, hormone balance, sleep, disease and more.”
Marijuana vs. Hemp, CBD vs. THC
Ok, but isn’t it illegal?: (Cannabis Business Times)"Hemp and marijuana are 2 different plants within the cannabis family. Plants in the Cannabis Sativa L. species, which includes both marijuana and hemp, contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenoids (organic chemical compound), which all interact with the mind and body to various degrees - and they all interact differently.
While two cannabinoids—psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD)—have received the most attention among researchers and consumers, more than 100 other cannabinoids have been identified so far. Terpenoids/terpenes, are found in many other plants including spices, herbs, trees and fruits, and are what give cannabis strains their distinctive smells and flavors."
"CBD from hemp (which contains .3% THC or less) is currently being sold in many US stores and online. CBD from the marijuana plant (often formulated with higher levels of THC) can only be purchased at dispensaries in states with medical or recreational legal use. The CBD molecule is virtually identical from each plant, but some report more significant effects from marijuana-derived CBD vs. hemp-derived CBD (as the marijuana plant often contains higher levels of other cannabinoids, contributing to the 'entourage effect' — the presence of more cannabinoids strengthens the effect of the others)." (From Healthy Crush)
(Pharmacological Reviews, 2006) Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target for Pharmacotherapy: mood + anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis
Like many other drugs as well as natural supplements, marijuana and hemp have been used for hundreds if not thousands of years for medicinal purposes. I’m not going to get into the legalization of marijuana for recreational use (you do you), but there is also promising research on the effects of other compounds like THC on conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer’s + cancer (Check out Jenny’s blogs on her dad). I do believe Mother Nature is awesome and powerful and there’s much we don’t understand about how these compounds we’re extracting and using in isolation work when still part of the whole plant.
(Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2017) An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies: The most commonly reported side effects were tiredness, diarrhea, and changes of appetite/weight. In comparison with other drugs, used for the treatment of these medical conditions, CBD has a better side effect profile.
It’s a supplement - you should ask where/how it’s grown, if pesticides or chemical fertilizers are being used (as it’s concentrated), how it’s produced. Look into the supplier.
Usually in a carrier oil, like MCT
There is a lot of controversy around this and you need to experiment. Jenny provides a great dosing guide.
Consider microdosing (for sleep, stress, anxiety) vs. standard dosing (for pain, inflammation, autoimmune, IBS, other chronic conditions) vs. macro dosing (for cancer, epilepsy, seizure, other serious conditions).
Microdosing (a little every night or a few times a day) is best for sleep, stress, anxiety, headaches, and other common complaints. For a 150lb person that's 1.5-15mg per day, vs 22.5-75mg per day for a standard dose. Gummies and edibles generally don’t have a significant amount of CBD per serving, and it's difficult to assess the effectiveness of vapes (since you are inhaling); capsules or tinctures/droppers are probably your best best.
Guidelines: start low and go slow, base on body weight.
Packaging should include dose per bottle as well as per serving, which I don’t always see. I hear a lot of people on Instagram say, “This CBD has 250mg per serving” and they show the bottle... and it’s really 250mg for the whole bottle. Read your labels! Ask the company if you are unsure.
Keep in mind because they compounds are so unique, response from person to person will vary. You may have to try more than one brand.
MY FAVORITE BRANDS:
CBD for Life: I've used (and loved) the 300mg tincture (peppermint) as well as the Pure CBD Oral Spray for convenience
Lord Jones: I've tried the cult favorite High CBD Formula Body Lotion (didn't do much for my chronic neck pain), and currently use the CBD Infused Tincture (peppermint) before bed
Note that while not always the case, quality-focused brands often come with a heftier price tag; once you get over the initial sticker shock, consider if you want to pay less (and get less benefits) or invest in something that may help more in the long run.
Have you tried CBD?