CBD is everywhere these days- in products from supplements to sparkling water to shampoo. What’s the best way to benefit?
“Hemp-derived CBD has a very large therapeutic potential to help in a multiplicity of ways,” says Joseph Maroon, MD, a neurological surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh, a pioneer in nutritional healing, and coauthor of a recent scientific review of CBD published in Surgical Neurology International. “It is a significant anti-inflammatory: it’s an analgesic-a pain reliever: and it’s an antianxiety agent.”And it does these things safely. In using CBD with hundreds of patients, Maroon has found no side effects other than some gastrointestinal upset in one or two cases. He recommends it for neck pain, back-pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, trauma, sleep problems, anxiety, and peripheral neuropathy, such as burning , painful feet that are a common complication of diabetes.
For any type of pain, CBD is a safer alternative to over-the-counter remedies such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
“Ibuprofen kills 16,000 to 17,000 people a year from gastric hemorrhage, and it hospitalizes over another 100,000 for gastrointestinal bleeds,” says Maroon. And acetaminophen, when used long term, is a common cause of liver failure and the need for liver transplant.
However, says Maroon, “CBD is not a cure-all” Rather, it works best when used much like aspirin or the other over the-counter pharmaceutical remedies, as a safer, plant-derived alternative.
How CBD Works
CBD, short for cannabidiol, brings about benefits by influencing the endocannabinoid system-a signaling system that helps to regulate inflammations, the brain and central nervous system, and the immune system. Although its effects aren’t fully understood, CBD has a balancing effect.
“It’s an adaptogen,”says Earl Mindell, a pharmacist, pioneer in nutritional healing, and author of Healing With Hemp CBD Oil. “It adapts to your needs” As an example, someone taking CBD for pain might also experience reduction in anxiety or improvement in sleep, even though these weren’t the symptoms that prompted the use of CBD.
Can CBD Get You High?
The short answer is “NO.” CBD can be extracted from hemp or marijuana. Unlike hemp-derived products, CBD rom marijuana may be combined with THC, the component in the marijuana plant that does produce a high.
The hemp plant contains traces of THC, but by law hemp many not contain more than 0.3 percent THC effect. -too little to produce a psychoactive effect.
CBD formulated as an FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex, is used to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy, and there is anecdotal evidence that over-the-counter CBD products can also reduce epileptic seizures. Other study highlights:
Pain one study tested hemp CBD extract among people who had been taking opioids for chronic pain for at least a year.
Sleep and anxiety: At a mental health clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., the effets of CBD were tracked in 72 patients suffering from anxiety or poor sleep. Nearly all patients took 25 mg of CBD daily in capsules (a handful took larger doses) as an adjunct to their usual drug treatment. After a month, there was mild improvement in anxiety.
Among those who continued to take CBD for another month-56%- sleep varied but improvements in anxiety were sustained. Results of the research were published in The Permanente Journal.
Parkinson’s disease: A review of studies that used CBD doses ranging from 75 to 400 mg daily, taken in addition to medications, found that patients experienced improved mental and emotional health and less disruptive involuntary movement while sleeping.