Go Green: The ABC's of CBD
Kathi Kridler was first introduced to hemp in 2017 after she was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. “I was having debilitating episodes of pain where I could neither stand nor sit for more than five minutes,” she says. But doctor after doctor refused to see a patient with her diagnosis. “[It] seemed very strange to me and was frustrating,” she shares.
Ultimately, Kridler decided to do her own research, focusing on homeopathic treatments. “I found articles on the immune system and how it’s compromised with this disease, [which] is where I read about cannabinoids, or CBD.”
CBD is a non-intoxicating, non-addictive compound derived from cannabis, a plant in the mint family that grows wild all around the world, explains Lauren Mathewson, ND, at Revolutions Naturopathic, with locations in Roseville and Folsom. The difference between CBD and THC (another cannabinoid found in hemp/marijuana plants) is that THC is the intoxicating component that gets you high.
In recent years, CBD has exploded in popularity. Various products—including capsules, tinctures, patches, gummies, oils, and balms—have hit the market, often promoting an ability to improve your sleep, memory, appetite, mood, stress response, immune function, and pain regulation.
To help with her pain, Kridler started taking supplements to boost her immune system, as well as hemp oil. “I read a lot about different types of hemp oil and selected what I thought was the best, started taking it twice daily, and haven’t stopped,” she says. “I’m happy to say that I haven’t had an outbreak of my debilitating pain since. I am in no way making a medical claim that this is due to the hemp oil, but what a coincidence!”
Kridler isn’t the only one with an experience like this, however. Bob Campbell, co-owner of sBarkles in Folsom, has been selling CBD products for pets for more than two years. “It’s our belief that anyone can benefit from CBD, [especially] dogs or cats with arthritis, pain, seizures, and anxiety,” he says. “Most people continue to return for more, as they see a positive effect in their pets.”
While there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence, doctors do warn that scientific studies and research on CBD is still very limited. “CBD is often promoted to relieve stress, pain, and inflammation and help people sleep, among other uses. However, there are no rigorous clinical studies or evidence at this point to support these claims, [and] it’s currently illegal to promote non-Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CBD products for health and wellness use,” warns Michael G. Chez, MD, FAAN, FAES, and regional director of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Research at Sutter Health Valley Area. With that said, the FDA has approved one pharmaceutical form of CBD (Epidiolex) to treat seizures associated with two types of severe epilepsy.
If you’re intrigued by the potential benefits of CBD, medical professionals give two warnings: first, consult your doctor; and second, read product labels. “It’s important to know what you’re taking and to do so under a doctor’s care. CBD can have side effects—although typically mild—and may also interact with other medications that people are taking,” Dr. Chez says.
Yu-Fung Lin, PhD, associate professor in the Departments of Physiology and Membrane Biology and Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, School of Medicine at UC Davis echoes those concerns. “You may be thinking about the benefits of CBD, but you should also be informed on the other ingredients,” she says. “You could be harmed by what else is in the product.”
Additionally, the long-term effects haven’t been studied. “We don’t have a follow-up study or data that shows whether it’s safe [in the long run]. That’s not to say it’s unsafe, but we just can’t say it is safe for long-term use,” she warns.
What’s ahead for CBD? Dr. Chez says there will likely be more research available in a few years. “FDA approval of the first cannabis plant-based medicine established parameters for how CBD should be studied for consumer use, opening the door to further studies in other medical conditions and setting the stage for what’s to come in the use of cannabis for health and wellness,” he shares. “Like any medicine, consumers deserve access to CBD products that have been proven safe and effective and meet quality standards.”
by Kourtney Jason
CBD PRODUCTS TO TRY
1) Lord Jones CBD Gumdrops. Handmade in small batches with natural fruit flavors, sugar, citric acid, gelatin, hemp-derived CBD extract, these gluten-free, flavor-packed gummies help promote a calm sense of well-being. $45 at lordjones.com
2) Recess Sparkling Water. Infused with hemp extract and adaptogens for balance and clarity to help you reset and rebalance, these eye-catching cans come in three refreshing flavors (blackberry chai, peach ginger, and pomegranate hibiscus) and pack a chill punch. $39.99 (for eight) at takearecess.com
3) Omax Health CryoFreeze CBD Pain Relief Roll-On. Mimics the therapeutic effects of cryotherapy by numbing pain points and reducing inflammation; ideal for athletes, extreme sports enthusiasts, and anybody living with mild to moderate joint and/or muscle pain. $29.95 at omaxhealth.com