Several weeks after a hysterectomy last spring, Bo Roth was suffering from exhaustion and pain that kept her on the couch much of the day. The 58-year-old Seattle speech coach didn’t want to take opioid pain-killers, but Tylenol wasn’t helping enough. Roth was intrigued when women in her online chat group enthused about a cannabis-derived oil called cannabidiol (CBD) that they said relieved pain without making them high. So Roth, who hadn’t smoked weed since college but lived in a state where cannabis was legal, walked into a dispensary and bought a CBD tincture.

Lisa Hamilton, a jeweler and doula in Brooklyn, NY, knows about the side effects. She recently tried CBD for the shoulder pain that plagued her five years after an accident. Her doctor certified that she was in chronic pain, which under New York State law allowed her to buy from a state dispensary. One Friday, she swallowed two 10-mg capsules, the amount recommended at the dispensary, then took another two on Saturday. “By Sunday, it felt like I’d gotten hit by a truck. Every muscle and joint ached,” Hamilton says. She cut back to one pill a day the following week, but still felt hungover. She stopped after that.
Thank you. I am 81 and started the CBD drops night and morning. I sleep better and no longer suffer the excruciating pain from diverticulitis. I saw somewhere that for my asthma I need the THC so got some (totally illegal here in South Africa). I think it is helping. The diagnosis of COPD was made some years ago and as a health psychologist I do all I can to remain healthy for my 97th birthday!! (Both my grandmother and greatgrandmother did so I believe I will too).
Our Best Value pick is CBDistillery, which offers a full spectrum CBD oil containing naturally occurring cannabinoids and terpenes, along with fatty acid Omega 3, B complex vitamins, and 20 essential amino acids. The oil is derived from non-GMO, U.S.-grown hemp. It also contains trace amounts of fractionated coconut oil for subtle flavoring. All product information and third-party testing results are found on the official CBDistillery product page.
In addition to an unflavored option, the drops also come in peppermint and goji berry flavors that are perfect for mixing with beverages. The nutritional information for all three flavors is found on the PlusCBD Oil website. The drops are fairly inexpensive, priced at $0.15 per mg or lower depending on the concentration. The brand offers fast shipping throughout the U.S. and to a wide range of international destinations.
Most human studies of CBD have been done on people who have seizures, and the FDA recently approved the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, for rare forms of epilepsy. Clinical trials for other conditions are promising, but tiny. In one Brazilian study published in 2011 of people with generalized social anxiety disorder, for example, taking a 600-mg dose of CBD (higher than a typical dose from a tincture) lessened discomfort more than a placebo, but only a dozen people were given the pill.
Ranging from irritating to debilitating, joint pain can be tricky to treat. If your pain is mild, ibuprofen or acetaminophen might be adequate. But the worse it gets, the more likely you are to be prescribed antidepressants, muscle relaxants, or even opioids. Because of the side effects associated with these prescription medications, there has been quite a bit of research on CBD and joint pain — with promising results. Here are a few studies that point to CBD’s potential:
All this talk about THC lands us nicely in the whole “Full Spectrum vs. Pure Isolate” debate. Once you begin shopping for CBD products, you’ll notice a lot of jargon that gets thrown around without much explanation. Now that we’ve introduced THC into the conversation, we can talk about the difference between, and relative benefits of, Full Spectrum CBD and CBD Isolate (and the lesser-known contender: Broad Spectrum).
But scientists have found that CBD doesn’t bind well with endocannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD influences the system indirectly. This creates many benefits, which is why you’ll hear of CBD as a treatment for so many different medical conditions. And, unlike THC, it won’t make you high. When it comes to pain, we know that CBD has multiple functions. First, it influences neurotransmitters and receptors. One receptor known to be involved with pain and inflammation is called TRPV1 — also known as a vanilloid receptor. CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptor, influencing the way you perceive pain. CBD can also affect the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and glutamate, which are related to pain sensation.
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. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
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Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Some studies have investigated the role of CBD in preventing cancer cell growth, but research is still in its early stages. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) says that CBD may help alleviate cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects. However, the NCI doesn’t fully endorse any form of cannabis as a cancer treatment. The action of CBD that’s promising for cancer treatment is its ability to moderate inflammation and change how cell reproduce. CBD has the effect of reducing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce.
Although CBD oils aren’t regulated by the FDA, purchasing products stateside from one of the nine states where recreational and medical cannabis use is legal will likely result in a higher-quality product than buying one made with hemp-derived CBD oil imported from abroad, says Martin Lee, director of Project CBD, a nonprofit that promotes medical research into CBD.
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