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Cannabidiol Oil: Miracle Medicine or Dangerous Drug?

Bottle of CBD oil

There’s a new herbal supplement, legal in most states, that treats pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and even psychosis, with minimal side effects. Really?! What is this “CBD oil” stuff, where can I get it, what’s the evidence that it really works, and is it safe?

Here at Kitchen Stewardship® we are always looking for ways to stay healthy and the best items with which to stock our natural remedies medicine cabinet. Being a conscious health consumer can mean doing some research on your own, especially when it comes to alternative remedies.

I’ve been learning all I can about cannabidiol, or CBD, since I first heard about it last October. It’s not what I thought it was–and there’s good scientific evidence that it works.

Some promoters are making extravagant claims that CBD is just good for everything, so I sorted through the research to find out what the studies so far tell us about the effects of CBD. I also bought three different CBD preparations and experimented on myself!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. My profession is data management for research studies, so I’ve read a lot of scientific papers (and written some) and I know how a research study should be properly conducted. I’ve mostly worked in social science, but I recently worked for a department running clinical drug trials, where I learned more about the process of comparing a new treatment to existing treatments that are already proven effective. I understand terms like “anxiolytic” and “murine” and “nociceptive” that come up a lot in these papers. I’ve identified some claims about CBD that appear to me to be supported by good scientific evidence.

 

But herbal supplements, although loosely regulated, aren’t necessarily safer than prescription drugs. CBD comes from a plant that has been used by humans for millennia, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe in every way it could be used or for every person. Consult your doctor about what’s right for you and any other medications you’re taking.

I’m not a lawyer, either. I have collected information on the current (early February 2018) state and federal laws about cannabis products and how the state vs. federal conflicts are presently resolved. Laws and regulations on cannabis have been changing rapidly, and I’ve done my best to explain them.

Read carefully and make informed decisions!

Cannabidiol (CBD oil) and Marijuana Are NOT the Same

It’s easy to get confused: Cannabidiol is obviously related to cannabis, and cannabis is another word for marijuana, right?

It’s true that marijuana comes from cannabis plants. But, like many plants that have been cultivated by humans, cannabis has diverged into varieties that are good for different purposes. The growing conditions–things like the distance between plants and the amount of light–also influence the amounts of different chemicals that occur in the plants.

Cannabis contains over 100 chemical compounds, known as cannabinoids. The primary cannabinoid that creates the “high” or “stoned” feeling people get from marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which attaches to brain receptors associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, appetite, and time perception. The other cannabinoids may be involved in supporting or modulating the high, but THC is what makes marijuana intoxicating.

There are two main types of cannabis: marijuana and hemp. The difference between these two types of cannabis plants is that marijuana is bred for THC content for intoxicating effects, whereas hemp is bred for food (oil, seeds, or protein powder) and/or for fiber. Hemp flowers contain no more than 0.3% THC, whereas marijuana flowers contain at least 10% THC. You can’t get high on hemp.

CBD can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana. However, CBD products are usually made from hemp for legal reasons. Here in Pennsylvania, anything made from marijuana can be sold only from a state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary, to a state-registered medical marijuana patient, under the supervision of a state-registered medical marijuana recommending physician.

CBD that you can buy in a store simply by proving you’re 18 years old is made from hemp. State laws vary, but I would assume that hemp CBD is going to be easier to get in any jurisdiction.

The World Health Organization determined in 2017 that CBD is not habit-forming or subject to abuse. They recommend that governments not treat CBD as a controlled substance–a dangerous drug subject to criminal penalties for possession. Most sources say that CBD is classified as a dietary supplement in the United States, but the Food & Drug Administration says it actually isn’t. There are good reasons why CBD should be classifed as a non-intoxicating hemp product rather than a version of marijuana!

Here’s more about the legal issues.

Part of the reason for the FDA’s position on CBD is that it comes from the same plant as marijuana, but another reason is that CBD is considered a “new investigational drug” because of the research being conducted on it. Investigational drugs can’t be sold as dietary supplements. That doesn’t mean they are dangerous…and it also doesn’t mean they are effective…. It means we’re just starting to learn how this stuff works!

Why haven’t we heard about CBD until recently? An article from Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry explains:

First isolated from Cannabis in 1940 by Roger Adams, the structure of CBD was not completely elucidated until 1963. Subsequent studies resulted in the pronouncement that THC was the ‘active’ principle of Cannabis and research then focused primarily on it to the virtual exclusion of CBD. This was no doubt due to the belief that activity meant psychoactivity that was shown by THC and not by CBD. In retrospect this must be seen as unfortunate since a number of actions of CBD with potential therapeutic benefit were downplayed for many years.

The United States banned the growing of any cannabis–marijuana or hemp–in 1937. (Here’s some history.) Industrial hemp growing was re-legalized at the federal level in the 2014 Farm Bill, with each state working out the details for what is allowed in that state.

Hemp isn’t just a source of CBD: Hemp also can be used to make plastics, biofuels, rope, textiles, high-tech materials, foods for people and animals, and body-care products that are moisturizing but not medicinal, like lotions and lip balms.  Check out my hemp sweater, which still looks great after 18 years!

Legal hemp growing in Pennsylvania (where I live) just began last year in a pilot program with 14 research permits issued. This year, the program is expanding, and up to 5,000 acres of industrial hemp may be grown in Pennsylvania alone.

Bottle of CBD oil

Can I really buy and use CBD legally?

In 32 states, yes, any adult can buy hemp CBD to use as you see fit. CBD oil is widely available and openly advertised here in Pennsylvania, and an informal survey of my friends tells me it’s easy to get in several other parts of the country, including states where marijuana is legal. In West Virginia, I’m told, CBD is not advertised but is available if you ask for it, in vape shops or health-food stores. (The food co-op here in Pittsburgh has CBD oil on display but in a locked case.)

There are 18 states with laws restricting CBD, mostly limiting it to treatment of severe epilepsy. Also, Nebraska’s Attorney General has challenged the legality of CBD, and a bill making CBD illegal was just introduced in Kansas. If you live in one of those states, many online sellers will ship hemp CBD to your home. It is unlikely that you’ll get into trouble for it, but please study your local laws and make an informed decision!

Katie here, hopping in with a couple CBD oil brands that Becca didn’t get to try but that I have heard are excellent from a couple very smart blog colleagues whom I trust. SOL*CBD is available online with free shipping at a certain threshold (US only).

They offer CBD in both topical and oral formulations – tincture, liposomal, herbal infused balm, and more. CHECK SOL OUT HERE! 

There’s also Green Roads CBD found here, comes highly recommended as well.

DirectCBDOnline has a lot of brands included, so I haven’t even tried to inspect them all for purity, etc. But I wanted you to know it’s out there in case budget is your primary concern.

If you’re still not sure about CBD after reading Becca’s great post, there is a free downloadable book at SOL*CBD that might be very helpful. They also have a private Facebook group where you can learn from others’ experiences.

There’s another comprehensive article here explaining what CBD oil is and what the benefits are.

Although the Drug Enforcement Administration considers hemp CBD to be a version of marijuana, this conflicts with the 2014 Farm Bill legalizing hemp, and therefore the DEA is not able to prosecute people for buying, selling, producing, or transporting CBD.

The tide is turning for legal and social acceptance of cannabis, in both hemp and marijuana forms. It’s an exciting time! Laws and the real-life enforcement of laws keep changing, and science changes even faster.

Medical research on CBD is so promising that I expect CBD to become properly legal soon, although it may be regulated as a drug. At the moment, CBD is easy to get, so let’s look at why you might want to try it.

Our Bodies Are Designed to Use Cannabinoids

New research in the past 25 years has identified two endocannabinoids–chemicals naturally produced by the human body that are similar to the phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis plants. (“Endo” means “within” and “phyto” means “plant.”) The same body systems set up to process endocannabinoids also work with phytocannabinoids if we add them to our bodies.

Endocannabinoid receptors are not just in the brain. They are found throughout the immune system, organs, glands, and connective tissue. They pick up cannabinoids from the bloodstream and use them to moderate stress and anxiety, enhance appetite, decrease nausea, inhibit tumor growth, fight inflammation, and reduce tissue damage.

CBD is similar to one of the endocannabinoids our bodies naturally produce, 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). CBD and 2-AG have very similar effects on the human nervous system.

Is it bad to use CBD in isolation from THC?

Both CBD and THC naturally occur in cannabis plants, so is it healthier to use the whole plant as God made it?

Well, since hemp is naturally very low in THC, it isn’t “unnatural” to use CBD without THC. There are some health conditions where research indicates that CBD and THC work better as a team than separately, but many studies show positive effects from CBD alone. Other non-psychoactive beneficial chemicals from the hemp plant are still present in CBD oil.

But here’s something interesting I learned: When people use marijuana, the naturally occurring CBD actually blocks some of the effects of THC, especially anxiety. So marijuana users should smoke buds or use extracts that contain CBD as well as THC, to avoid that notorious paranoia!

How can CBD improve our health?

Like any “alternative health” product, CBD is surrounded by snake-oil hype suggesting that it can fix everything! I read lots and lots of research findings to sort out what’s really supported by science (so far). These are some situations in which I found good evidence that CBD is a useful treatment.

CBD for Pain, injuries, and chronic inflammation

This rat study found CBD effective in treating chronic pain from both nerve injuries and inflammation.

A mouse study showed that CBD helps arthritis both by decreasing inflammation and by suppressing immune system over-reaction.

This study showed CBD reduces intestinal inflammation, so it might be a good treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Many other studies show that marijuana (or medication with both THC and CBD derived from marijuana) helps people manage pain, especially the severe pain of multiple sclerosis or cancer or peripheral neuropathic pain or spinal-cord injury. It appears that CBD without THC may be less effective (except in this study)–but treatments including more CBD than occurs naturally in marijuana can help people to be more functional by reducing THC intoxication.

CBD for Anxiety

Just one treatment with CBD improves Social Anxiety Disorder symptoms the same day. This means CBD could be used “as needed” by people whose anxiety is troublesome only in certain situations.

A review of 49 anxiety studies found CBD more effective in calming the response to specific anxiety-provoking situations than in treating chronic generalized anxiety.

CBD for Brain injuries and neurological disorders

It’s been shown CBD improves cognitive functioning in some patients with neurological disorders or damage. It may reduce the difficulties with learning, memory, attention and executive functioning that make life so difficult for people with Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, or neurological damage from diseases like meningitis.

CBD has shown to improve psychotic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease without worsening the tremors.

They have also found CBD prevents mice with Alzheimer’s disease from losing the ability to recognize each other. It’s so upsetting when your loved one doesn’t know who you are anymore–wouldn’t it be great to have a medicine that could delay that?

I read a lot about the treatment of concussions with cannabis, but most of what I found investigated marijuana rather than CBD. However, nutrition writer JJ Virgin credits CBD oil from hemp with helping her son recover from brain injury when he was hit by a car–but she also gave him a lot of fish oil, so it’s hard to say which oil is more responsible for his excellent recovery.

CBD for Addiction

This study was small and only one week long, but it found that tobacco smokers who vaped CBD when they felt like smoking were able to cut their smoking by 40%!

This is also a small study but promising: Just one dose of CBD significantly reduced heroin cravings for a week!

This mouse study suggests that CBD might help alcoholics reduce their drinking.

Marijuana isn’t physically addictive, but some users become psychologically dependent on THC. CBD oil can decrease a person’s desire to use marijuana. In this case study, a man with bipolar disorder and a daily marijuana habit started taking CBD oil and not only stopped using marijuana but also experienced decreased anxiety, improved sleep, and the ability to hold a job!

CBD regulates emotional memory processing, which may be helpful both to people recovering from trauma and to people struggling with addiction. One common reason addicts relapse is finding themselves back in a situation where using the drug helped them feel better last time; if they can process those memories, they may be able to think of other ways to cope with challenging situations.

CBD for Epilepsy

CBD may be an effective treatment for epilepsy, especially very severe epilepsy that does not respond to other treatments. A recent review of the science concludes that it’s promising but really needs further study.

Another review agrees that CBD is safe, even for children, and low in side effects, but its effect on epilepsy needs better-controlled studies.

This article explains how the endocannabionoid system interacts with epilepsy.

CBD for Preventive medicine

Mice bred for susceptibility to Type I Diabetes were less than half as likely to develop diabetes if they took CBD. Does that mean that children at risk of Type I Diabetes should take CBD as a preventative? Let’s not jump to that conclusion, but it looks like the idea is worth studying.

A review of studies on CBD and cancer concluded that CBD slows tumor growth and helps prevent cancer from spreading. There are lots of theories about how CBD could prevent cancer from even getting started, but that would require a long-term study….

CBD for Schizophrenia

In the 17 years I worked on a longitudinal research study of young men, I learned a lot about patterns of marijuana use and also about how mental illnesses develop. Schizophrenia almost always begins when a person is in his late teens or early twenties, which is also the stage of life when people are most likely to have access to marijuana.

Schizophrenics are more likely to be heavy marijuana users than the average person–but does this mean that marijuana triggers schizophrenia or that people developing schizophrenia tend to enjoy marijuana? It’s a fascinating question that is not yet resolved. (There is a similar correlation between tobacco use and schizophrenia, by the way.)

That’s what makes this study so exciting: People with schizophrenia were randomly assigned to take either an established antipsychotic drug or CBD, with the patient and caregivers not knowing which medication it was. Both treatments improved symptoms, but CBD had fewer side effects and increased the patients’ anandamide levels–meaning that CBD helped their bodies to produce their own endocannabinoids to calm their minds!

A better medication for schizophrenia would be especially welcome because the established antipsychotic drugs have such serious side effects.

Bottles of CBD oil.

What are the Side Effects of CBD?

Most studies have looked at oral administration, and they say that CBD oil does have some common side effects:

  • dry mouth
  • low blood pressure, leading to dizziness
  • drowsiness or wakefulness shortly after use
  • CBD interacts poorly with some prescription drugs that affect liver enzymes–the same drugs that interact poorly with grapefruit–and a few other prescription drugs.  This article in Pharmacy Today mentions interactions between CBD and cyclosporine, calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines, the antipsychotic haloperidol, and the seizure medications zonisamide and eslicarbazepine acetate.

Epilepsy studies that used very high doses of CBD reported side effects of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, extreme sleepiness, and decreased appetite.

These side effects could be too much for some people, but they compare favorably with a lot of prescription drugs. It’s great to know that there is no lethal dose of cannabis because there are no cannabinoid receptors in the brain stem–it’s impossible for CBD (or marijuana) to stop your breathing or heartbeat.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

The tests that some employers and athletic associations use to screen for drug use are designed to detect THC, not CBD. Because products made from hemp are very low in THC, using only CBD should not cause you to test positive for marijuana. However, if you expect to be tested, it would be wise to use a CBD product that has been refined to contain zero THC rather than a “full-spectrum” CBD oil which can contain up to 0.3% THC.

Be particularly careful if you are buying from a medical marijuana dispensary because “full-spectrum” CBD oil sold in a place where marijuana is legal may be CBD derived from marijuana and therefore could contain more THC.

What forms of CBD are available?

Here’s what I’ve seen in my local stores and online:

  • CBD oil in a bottle with a dropper–place a drop under your tongue, rub the oil into your skin in the area you want to treat, or mix the oil with “vape juice” in an electronic cigarette.
  • CBD oil in gel capsules to swallow.
  • Candy, chewing gum, bottled water, or other food products with CBD added.
  • CBD mixed with other plant oils in a cream to rub into your skin.
  • Syrup containing CBD, sometimes with another supplement such as melatonin.

In research studies, sometimes CBD is injected or made into a spray that patients apply to a painful area–but these variations don’t seem to be available to consumers.

Katie again! It looks like Amazon isn’t quite getting into the CBD oil business yet, but I wanted to let you know that the online SOL*CBD company does have most of the forms of CBD Becca mentioned above. They’re truly a resource for quality CBD oil we can all buy from. SOL*CBD has been in the business since 2015 and their commitment to integrity is why they are a company I am proud to support.

My Experience Using CBD for Arthritis

Just before my 40th birthday, I was diagnosed with arthritis in the joints of my big toes. The podiatrist said that the high arches of my feet cause extra stress on the big toes, which can be relieved by using orthotics (arch supporters) in my shoes to shift my weight toward my heels and the outside edges of my feet. He was right: The orthotics help a lot!

But the podiatrist, my primary care doctor, and two dermatologists all were baffled by the extremely dry, thick skin just on the tops of my big toes. This problem had started a few years before the joint pain. It was different from the calluses that form where my shoes rub my feet, and it’s persisted through years of choosing shoes that don’t rub that area. I tried all kinds of lotions and oils, but they only softened the skin temporarily. I exfoliated with a pumice stone; the thick skin just grew back. Despite its thickness, it would sometimes crack and bleed, and it itched and burned all the time.

Last summer, 4 years after arthritis diagnosis, I had a couple of bad flare-ups where my left foot hurt so much I could hardly bear to put weight on it.

Taking lots of ibuprofen got me through the 3-5 days this lasted, but I was concerned. I saw a rheumatologist, who said he’d never seen skin like the tops of my toes but it might be a sign of an immune-system problem that would also cause the arthritis flares. He ran a bunch of bloodwork…and it all came back fine! My X-rays only show osteoarthritis, ordinary “wear and tear” inflammation.

I’m a medical mystery! If I have another bad flare, he wants to see me while it’s going on….

I resigned myself to feeling a little pain with every step. I walk a lot in my daily life, so constant foot pain is annoying, but I was used to it.

An Unexpected New Approach

During church coffee hour one Sunday, I was talking with some people about Pennsylvania’s legalization of medical marijuana. An older lady, whose arthritis in her hip has been crippling at times, mentioned that she was feeling much better since she’d begun treating it with CBD oil, a “marijuana relative” that was already legal! I was astonished and got as much information from her as I could. She said she’d bought it at the nearest vape shop.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the vape shops springing up everywhere–having never been a cigarette smoker, I had no interest in addicting myself to nicotine vapors. I’d only noticed this particular vape shop because of its obvious (and weird) attempt to market to the Orthodox Jewish community. When I looked more closely, I saw that the shop was in fact advertising CBD oil.

Store where you can purchase CBD oil.

On impulse, I walked into the shop and asked the clerk about CBD oil. She explained that this oil with a dropper can be added to “vape juice” and it’s supposed to help with anxiety. I explained that I wanted to treat arthritis. She said vaping might help with that, or I could apply the oil to my skin or take it by mouth. It was available in mint or apple flavor, or unflavored. They only had one brand. It was $23.

I bought the unflavored kind and took it home to read the label carefully–which raised some questions!

What’s the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?

Bottle of CBD oil

The bottle says, “100% natural hemp oil.” Well, I’ve bought hemp seed oil before, at the food co-op. While it was illegal to grow hemp in the United States, hemp food and fiber products could be imported from Canada.

Is this just the same stuff, packaged for vaping?

No.

The Hemp Industries Association explains that hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of hemp plants, while CBD oil is made from hemp flowers. Hemp seeds contain CBD but in much smaller amounts than hemp flowers.

Hemp seed oil is nutritious and tasty in salad dressing or on oatmeal, but don’t cook with it. (Hemp protein powder, which I use in my Raisin Bran Bread, is safe when heated.) Hemp seed oil is also an excellent moisturizer used in products like lotions, soaps, and lip balms.

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD resin from hemp flowers and then mixing it with enough oil to distribute it by the intended method of administration.

What the heck is PG and/or VG?

Warning label on a bottle of CBD oil.

Hey, this stuff isn’t 100% hemp oil! It has other ingredients, and it has a warning about containing “PG and/or VG”!

A quick Internet search turned up this informative article about vaping liquids. PG is propylene glycol, and VG is vegetable glycerin. One or both of these liquids are used to convey nicotine in electronic cigarettes–or, instead of nicotine, they can be mixed with CBD or any other substance to be inhaled in vaporized form. The article gives lots of detail about PG vs. VG; the known risks are mild, but we won’t really know if they’re safe to vaporize and inhale until we have data on people who’ve done it frequently for years….

Anyway, both of them are common additives in lotions and soaps. They’re “generally regarded as safe” for topical use by the FDA. But there are some doubts about propylene glycol. I decided to try this product but look for something better next time, especially after investigating my next question…

200mg per what?!

I get so irritated with labels that give incomplete information! This bottle of “premium drops” contains “30mL” and “200mg.” Okay, 30 milliliters is the volume of liquid in the bottle. What portion of the product contains 200 milligrams of CBD?

I don’t know. But when I bought from a more knowledgeable business (see next section), the pharmacist talked about the topical medications in terms of how many milligrams of CBD are in the whole bottle or jar. My best guess is that 200mg is the amount in this bottle. But that’s only a guess–grr!

So…how did it work on my arthritis and dry skin?

Since my left foot had been worse, I decided to try CBD on my left foot only. Every morning after showering and every night before bed, I rubbed CBD oil into my left big toe and coconut oil into my right. (I’d been using coconut oil on the dry skin for a long time. It helped, but not enough.) If my left foot improved enough that my right foot started to be the ouchier one, I’d know that the treatment was working.

That’s exactly what happened! It took about 3 weeks to be certain. At first, I felt that both feet were having much less joint pain than before, which may be systemic action of the CBD or may be just a coincidence of changes in the weather, breaking in my new shoes, or something. With time, though, I could see and feel a big improvement in the dry skin on my left foot, while the right remained unchanged.

After 2 months, I left my CBD oil and coconut oil at home while I went on a plane trip, so I didn’t use anything on my feet for 6 days. Both feet got drier and more painful. When I got home and resumed my routine of CBD on the left, coconut on the right, my left foot’s skin recovered faster, and I was having joint pain only in my right foot. I continued the experiment for another week before I started using CBD on both feet.

Would it be better to take it orally?

This rat study suggests that applying CBD to the skin in the affected area is the way to go: “Topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

The only side effect I’ve noticed is dizziness. It doesn’t happen every time, but sometimes I’ve felt mildly dizzy for an hour or so after applying CBD. I’m prone to low blood pressure already. Drinking coffee helps!

I also found that this oil left a film on my feet that attracted lint. Hours later, I’d find a thin layer of gummy, sock-colored stuff stuck to my toes. That’s a minor problem, but it’s annoying!

How Can I Find a Better Quality CBD Product?

Although I was wary of experimenting on myself with an inadequately-labeled product from some random vape shop, I’m glad I did, because I learned that CBD is effective for me even if it’s not the very nicest CBD one can find. That’s good to know. If I had held off trying CBD until I could do all this research and make sure I was buying the best kind, I might have lost my nerve and never tried it.

A study of CBD products on the market last year found that only 31% were accurately labeled with their actual CBD content! Also, 21% of the samples contained a detectable amount of THC. (That might not be enough to cause a noticeable psychological effect, yet might be enough to show up on a drug test.)

With that in mind, and with my first bottle getting low, I had decided my next CBD purchase would be a product designed for topical application. Just then, I happened to read this article featuring the compounding pharmacy that’s within walking distance of my home! I’d been there before, but I had no idea they’d gotten into the CBD business….

Store where you can purchase CBD oil.

Murray Avenue Apothecary sells the LabNaturals PCR line of CBD oil products. PCR stands for “phytocannabinoid rich,” and the idea is to give you all the phytocannabinoids naturally found in hemp (which may have benefits we haven’t yet discovered) except THC; they say they have removed all the THC.

The hemp is organically farmed, and they have standards for processing. (I haven’t investigated what all the standards mean–I’m just glad to see a manufacturer talking about what they do to make a good product, instead of being vague!)

I bought the $10 “travel size” Pain Balm to give it a try before committing to the $70 jar. The label doesn’t give details, but the pharmacist told me this 7.5mL contains 50mg of CBD and I should use “a pea-sized amount.” I found that a blob the size of a large pea is enough to divide between my feet for a moisturizing massage of both big toes.

Jar of CBD cream.

It smells wonderful! It includes mint and lavender oils. The mint gives it just a bit of that “warm-and-cool” feeling that can be helpful on aching areas; it’s less intense than a product like Ben-Gay or Tiger Balm.

It works just as well as the Keystone oil, but it feels better on my skin. It’s probably the PG and/or VG that gives Keystone such a slimy, sticky feeling. LabNaturals PCR Pain Balm sinks into my skin so that, hours later, I just have moisturized skin with no lingering film on the surface.

Walking home from the apothecary, I noticed a vape shop on the same block was also selling CBD oil, so I decided to check it out.

Store where you can buy CBD oil

This looked like a place for smokers and vapers, and the clerks were about half my age and had a lot of piercings…but they were very nice and informative. They said they’d been selling CBD vaping liquid for a while but just that week had gotten some topical creams made by two companies: Creating Better Days and Carter’s Aromatherapy Designs.

I didn’t buy anything in this store but took brochures and later looked at the Creating Better Days website. Their products are not organic but are THC-free, produced to high standards, and clearly labeled. The pain cream includes a bunch of ingredients I don’t want: propylene glycol, mineral oil, etc. But they also have a CBD oil specifically for sublingual (under the tongue) use, which does not contain PG or VG.

As for Carter’s Aromatherapy Designs, their website isn’t up yet, but I don’t trust a company that says its product won some “best CBD” awards but, when listing the ingredients of the product, does not include CBD! Huh?!

Continuing my investigation of what’s available in my neighborhood, I walked into another vape shop and ended up buying a bottle of Green Roads CBD oil because it was clearly labeled and the clerk was so conscientious about making sure I understood how to use it. This is a higher concentration than my bottle of Keystone from the first vape shop: 250mg of CBD in 15mL of liquid.

Store where you can buy CBD oil and a bottle of CBD oil.

But now that I’ve looked at their website, I can’t really recommend Green Roads. They say, “In order to produce high levels of CBD, hemp must be genetically modified. This process is both healthy and necessary.” Well, gee, if it were necessary, then there wouldn’t be any CBD products that are GMO-free, would there? (LabNaturals PCR is GMO-free!) The answer to the next question in the Green Roads FAQ indicates that they may not even know what genetic modification is, and have it confused with selective breeding.

I’m also irked that Green Roads markets a “Daily Dose” product that is a disposable plastic syringe in a plastic packet, and you’re intended to use one every day! That’s too much plastic littering our planet, and plastic releases hormone-disrupting chemicals. All the CBD products I’ve purchased are packaged in glass.

Why was I buying another bottle of oil? Well, I used up the first one, and I’d like to have some on hand because…

Will CBD Soothe My Sore Throat?

I had an annoying illness that persisted from just before Thanksgiving all the way through December and into the new year. The main symptom was coughing. I just kept coughing and coughing for weeks!

In early December, I had a particularly bad coughing fit that left my throat feeling like it had been slashed with a knife and tied in a knot! It was horrible. I was afraid to breathe because I didn’t want to start coughing again!

As I was oiling my feet that day, I had a sudden inspiration. I dripped a few drops of CBD oil around the back of my mouth and let them slide slowly down my throat, waiting a while to swallow. The unflavored CBD oil tasted fine, kind of fruity.

Within two minutes, my throat muscles relaxed and stopped hurting! I continued coughing frequently, but it didn’t hurt at all anymore!

At first I thought, “This oily stuff is very soothing to my throat, just like it’s been soothing to my skin.” But as time went by, I knew that the effects were more than just coating my throat with oil.

The impressive pain reduction lasted 5 hours, even after eating, which surely removed lingering oil from my throat. When my throat started hurting again, it wasn’t nearly as bad as before!

I’ve tried a lot of sore-throat medications: I had strep throat over and over again before getting a tonsillectomy. The only other medicine that ever worked this well on a sore throat was Lortab, the addictive narcotic syrup I was given after surgery.

Given the choice between a prescription drug that could kill me with an overdose or ruin my life with opioid addiction, or an herbal medication that has no fatal dose and is good for lots of other things, I know what I’ll choose!

Have you tried CBD oil?

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

7 thoughts on “Cannabidiol Oil: Miracle Medicine or Dangerous Drug?”

  1. Hi Katie, in all your reading of the research, did you come across anything that said this might be a problem for people with kidney disease? I’d ask my nephrologist, but he (and my general practitioner) have very little knowledge about vitamins, herbs, etc. and which ones are a problem. They know of a few that have made big news from time to time, but not enough to answer all my questions when I ask. After a round of infection with a MRSA that forced me into the hospital and on massive doses of antibiotics (the most that could be given) I ended up with kidney damage and it makes it hard to know what I can use at times.

    Thanks for all your effort to do the research and provide the source links.

    1. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

      I’m Becca, the author of this article. I didn’t recall seeing anything about kidney disease in my research, so I did a quick search at scholar.google.com (which brings up only published research papers, not random stuff from all over the Web)–and here are some things I found that might be relevant:

      This review of research on treating kidney pain says CBD without THC appears to be the better choice (so, use CBD rather than marijuana) and is safer for the kidneys than opioid painkillers.

      This article is about cannabinoid receptors in the kidneys, but I bogged down in the medical jargon–I don’t know very much about kidneys! Maybe the terms will be more familiar to you.

      Searching Google Scholar for “cannabidiol and antibiotics” might also be helpful.

  2. My husband uses CBD oil daily. He puts 3 drops under his tongue each night. Having used it for almost a year now; he has lost 50 pounds and his PSA levels have gone down. He originally started using it to get his PSA levels down – he had prostrate cancer and underwent radiation.
    His doctor just told him to continue using it and recommended it to me for my IBS.

    1. Wow! That is great news! I did see some evidence that CBD can help IBS, but I’m not aware that it’s connected to weight loss. However, because it can help people recover from addiction to a variety of drugs, it’s possible that it helps moderate addictive/compulsive/habitual behaviors in general, and that could help with overeating. It is interesting to know that it can bring PSA levels down!

  3. This was very interesting and informative at the same time. I never knew that it was good for so many things. I am glad that I came to this site. Thanks and keep it up.

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