Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of dozens of non-psychoactive cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. It is legal in the USA and does not have psychoactive effects. CBD and other cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that appear to have potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. They might promote the body’s healthy regulation of the central nervous, immune, and endocannabinoid systems. A solid body of research is as yet lacking showing the extent of the benefits, or lack thereof.
I am not a doctor, and none of what follows is medical advice! Consult your own doctor before using CBD.
Last summer’s smoke caused me small airway impairment (asthma) for weeks, in spite of doubled usage of my prescription asthma inhaler—that inhaler did no more than maintain the status quo, meaning continued impairment, no progress. I could not breathe fully, which feels crappy as anyone with asthma knows.
After 2+ weeks of seeing zero progress in small airway impairment, and having read that CBD might be beneficial for asthma, I figured I had nothing to lose, so I obtained a small vial of NuLeafNaturals CBD. Within 24 hours of taking the NuLeafNaturals CBD, my small airway impairment was GONE. This continued in spite of the continuing bad air problems. Later, I ran out of CBD and some impairment returned as I was exposed to smoke again—so I got some more and same result—the CBD cleared up my small airways.
Possibly it was a double coincidence.But continued usage on and off more and more persuades me that something is going on that deals with the inflammatory process.
I’m not a doctor and cannot recommend anything for medical use. I can say that it was either quite a coincidence (twice), or it worked ridiculously better than the big-pharma inhaler. That said, I am not yet fully persuaded, needing some more impairment/cure “OMG” episodes. But so far, CBD appears for me at least to have the potential of being a powerful new non-pharma way to deal with small airway impairment (asthma).
See also: The 17 Most Compelling Studies on CBD from 2017, keeping in mind that until there are half a dozen studies all confirming the same findings that any single study should be read with skepticism.
My doctor scoffed when I related my experience, and perhaps rightly so in general. But is it possible that doctors send patients down poor health paths because of knee jerk reactions and a failure to ask even a single question? In this day and age when so many scientific studies turn out to be non-replicable, I wonder how any doctor can say yeah or nay on the “proven” or unproven with total certainty and without taking a patient’s experience seriously (true anecdote re CBD: doctor: “don’t take this the wrong way, but recently my other patients suggested bear fat”). In this case it was harmless to me, but this was not so with another inattentive doctor emphasizing no risk (when I asked) who gave me nerve damage from double the usual dose for double the usual time of Metronidazole (and never followed up!).
First of all “hemp oil” is NOT the same thing as CBD, so if you’ve tried hemp oil, you have no basis for judging CBD. Hemp oil might have benefits, but the compounds in full-spectrum CBD are much more potent.
Do not buy cheap CBD, if it is “too good to be true” it is. Including the risk of dangerous synthetics or additives—there is a wild west out there since CBD is not a regulated product. Do your own research and buy only from a reputable company.
Jason W writes:
I was just discussing CBD with a friend the other day. He uses it for lower back pain says it works quite well. He also had a theory it helped "modulate anger / stress levels." I suppose this means he felt he had better emotional control with CBD. Any experience that can speak to that?
DIGLLOYD: I’m not ready to say yeah or nay on other benefits, but I think CBD probably helps with pain and has a slight relaxing effect. In general I’d say it is likely a generic mediator/supportive substance and that I sense that is indeed has overall benefits. But between dosing and normal variation due to sleep, diet, stress, etc it’s hard to be persuaded like I was with asthma.
Ferreting out the benefits or lack thereof is going to take science a long time if ever—who’s going to pay for that? It’s not something Big Pharma can make billions on.
It should also be noted that the Placebo Effect is real, and powerful. I try things skeptically, looking for the Real Deal but expecting nothing, but it may be a smarter move to expect it to work—and then it will—the placebo effect can be stronger than real drugs. If CBD does not work at all but taking it does, then it works.
Dr S writes:
Too bad there is a tremendous profit motive in the pharmacology industry that does not put its full resources into cannabinoid research and drug development (at least what is known publicly), but there have been a number of studies that indicate at least an "additive" benefit of the use of cannabinoids in a number of physical issues. A quick survey of the literature and websites (some overlapping) yielded the following:
NIH: Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain
NIH: Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
NIH: Cannabinoids in health and disease
Project CBD: Inflammation
The 17 Most Compelling Studies on CBD from 2017
DIGLLOYD: note that THC is the psychoactive part and that CBD is non-psychoactive (some of the studies above involve THC).
Since the profit motive is what has brought us all the Good Stuff in all fields of modern life, I don’t blame Big Pharma—going out of business is not a smart plan. But surely outfits like the Gates Foundation could step in and support research and cost-effective production of CBD (CBD is very expensive), which could ultimately put downard price pressure on regular drugs in areas that CBD is effective. That is, is government can get out of the way for both psycho and non-psychoactive cannabis research. People are dying from bad government policy on drugs.
Cannabidiol has been very helpful to reduce my stress in my body. I developed a burnout a year ago and would sometimes wake up with every muscle flexed in my shoulders & neck. A few drops of Cannabidiol would bring relief in 5-10 minutes. Not 100%, but so much more bearable than with regular stress medication. The only thing that works even better is meditation. I’ve been meditating twice a day for 15 minutes since June and hardly notice stress in my body anymore like described above. Just my 2cts.
DIGLLOYD: I’m not read to say this has worked for me too, but I suspect so.
Jim G writes:
Regarding your off-topic CBD post, I wanted to say thanks for the info and also to offer my own experience.
I'm about your age and work as an electrical engineer. I've been a horrible insomniac my entire life, but it has gotten much worse since I hit 50 a few years ago. Entirely by accident (details not forthcoming), I discovered a very effective treatment for my insomnia while on a business trip to Colorado earlier this year. Like you, I don't believe in pseudo-science, nor do I trust coincidences. But the effect sure seemed real enough. I slept like a baby for about a month thereafter.
So then I mail-ordered some CBD oil from a reputable vendor in CO, and after about a month of returning to my normal insomnia, tried it out. And somewhat to my surprise, it worked like magic. I've been using it ever since, taking a small dose an hour before bedtime. I sleep much better than I have in years.
Now I know this is just some random nobody you never heard of making unsubstantiated claims about CBD, but here's the thing. If one or two people say something, it's probably nonsense, but if lots of random folks start saying similar things, there must be something to it.
Also, although I can't get it here in KS, I have learned that CBD oil works even better if it has a small amount of THC, something like 8:1 CBD:THC, and dosing of about 5mg of THC and 40mg of CBD. This is below the psychoactive threshold for most people (though not all), and seems to help make the CBD even more relaxing without causing any intoxication, etc. Just my two cents worth. Keep up the great work.
DIGLLOYD: any measurable amount of THC is illegal I think (update: 0.3% is allowed), but that might change. I can’t speak to THC as I’ve not tried it.
As for “lots of random folks”, I doubt that it is random. I’d subscribe more to the group psychological effects that in turn enhance the placebo effect. Random is surely not so—the bandwagon is rolling. But if relief accrues whether from placebo or hypnosis, it’s way better than an expensive Big-Pharma pill.
Adam S writes (after trying NuLeaf CBD):
OK, the stuff works. It's more potent than Sabaidee, which you would expect given the price delta. The taste is kind of raunchy ("tastes like drugs"), but that's part of being stronger I guess. I'm using it to sleep, and it gets me to 6am or thereabouts before I wake up, just like a triple (!) dose of Sabaidee.
Their customer service is terrific, even given the Black Friday rush.
DIGLLOYD: I’ve come to like the taste, Pavlovian I guess. Very rich, earthy plant-like. Well, CBD-like. Nothing else I’ve tried comes close—it’s like a really rich dense complex wine, though not at all the same taste. It inspires confidence as to potency and makeup.
Cold air still pings my lungs a bit.