I'm pleased to share a post written by my friend and colleague Chris Goddin, of Balance Acupuncture in Austin, TX. Chris and I both have been asked a lot of questions by our patients about what CBD is and whether it can work for you. So Chris dove in and gathered some great research and wrote a summary which I find enormously helpful. So I'm sharing it with you all. Any interjections I make below are in red.
Please note that in my clinic, the only CBD I carry and prescribe is topical for muscle or nerve pain. I do not carry or sell any to be ingested. The only laws that cover CBD, apply to the ingested form, not to topical forms.
And now, to Chris:
It’s not just your imagination – new CBD shops are popping up all over Austin! (and in NYC)
But what exactly is CBD? What does the research say about it? Is it worth trying? Good questions! Let’s dig into what we know and how this could be of use to you:
CBD stands for “cannabadiol” which is a type of cannabanoid found in cannabis plants, marijuana and hemp. Cannabis plants have a second type of cannabanoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in them as well.
THC is the compound that produces psychoactive effects in marijuana, whereas CBD does not produce these effects.
Because marijuana is illegal in the state of Texas (and in NY), all of the CBD sold in Texas (and in NY) is derived from hemp plants. Hemp plants naturally have far less of the psychoactive THC, and there is a law requiring the amount of THC to be less than .3%. Take note that any CBD oil labeled “full spectrum” will NOT be completely free of THC, but the amount of THC will be lower than what would be needed to have psychoactive effects.
CBD works on the body’s existing endocannabinoid system (ECS), a part of your nervous system that was only first discovered about 25 years ago, so we are still learning a lot about it. What we know so far is that the ECS plays an important role in modulating nervous system function, particularly in motor coordination, sleep, inflammation, pain modulation, and in the stress response.
CBD works by inhibiting the reuptake (or disposal) of the endocannabinoids the body naturally creates, thereby making them stay in the blood longer and have greater effects than they would otherwise(1). This is why CBD is being used so widely now to treat sleep issues, anxiety, stress, pain; a wide variety of nervous system related disorders that can be affected by the ECS.
And, though it is still in the relatively early stages of research, there is some solid research to back up the claims. For example, CBD was shown to reduce anxiety compared to placebo in a double blind study, and several studies have been done to show it’s effects on pain and inflammation (2, 3, 4).
Although CBD has far ranging effects, it is not going to be the best choice for all conditions. In fact, this study found that a higher dose actually increased anxiety in patients, so more is clearly not always better.
Thanks, Chris! I'm just going to add some final thoughts:
CBD is available at various specialty drug stores and as many have you have asked me about it, I did some research and gathered some guidelines. Please note that am not weighing on whether you should or shouldn’t take this, but I many of you are, so I want to make sure you know the following:
Reputable brands provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for every batch of CBD they make. Always check this as it confirms that you’re really getting what they claim and that there is nothing else mixed into the product. You can use newer phones to scan the QR code on the box or just look on their website. Don’t buy from a company that doesn’t provide this.
Check with your doctor – particularly if you are taking other medications. For instance, ingested CBD can increase the effects of blood pressure medication, and you don’t want to do this without consulting with your doctor.
Dosing should generally be 1mg per 12 lbs of body weight. Start lower and work up. Wait at least 24 hours after first dose to assess your reaction.
As for reputable sellers: the East Village is the CBD epicenter. The most lauded shop is called The Alchemists Kitchen for safe and high quality products
I will reiterate, as I do for all herbal interventions – there is no one-size-fits-all remedy. CBD, like any herbal remedy works for certain people in certain situations and should be monitored. The closest to a one-size-fits-all situation is using it topically at the site of pain or inflammation.