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CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.

Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.

The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been recently covered in the media, and you may have even seen it as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why is it suddenly so popular?

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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Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ “high.” With roots in Central Asia, the plant is believed to have been first used medicinally — or for rituals — around 750 B.C., though there are other estimates too.

CBD is advertised as providing relief for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of CBD’s popularity is that it purports to be “nonpsychoactive,” and that consumers can reap health benefits from the plant without the high (or the midnight pizza munchies).

What is CBD?

Some CBD products may contain unwanted surprises. Forensic toxicologists at Virginia Commonwealth University examined nine e-liquids advertised as being 100 percent natural CBD extracts. They found one with dextromethorphan, or DXM, used in over-the counter cough medications and considered addictive when abused; and four with a synthetic cannabinoid, sometimes called Spice, that can cause anxiety, psychosis, tachycardia and death, according to a study last year in Forensic Science International.

“Our top therapies attempt to break the association between reminders of the trauma and the fear response,” said Mallory Loflin, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego and the study’s principal investigator. “We think that CBD, at least in animal models, can help that process happen a lot faster.” While large clinical trials are underway, psychologists say there isn’t compelling evidence yet as to whether this is a viable treatment.

Up in the wee hours of the night, stuck watching videos of puppies? CBD may be promising as a sleep aid; one of the side effects of the Epidiolex trials for epilepsy was drowsiness, according to Mr. MacKillop, a co-author of a review on cannabinoids and sleep. “If you are looking for new treatments for sleep, that may be a clue,” he said.

If you’re not the kind of person who’s willing to “hack” CBD and THC edibles to pair with each . [+] other. Valhalla’s individual doses are ideal, ratio-wise.

I’m a sucker for packaging. And so I was immediately drawn to Lord Jones’ gumdrops, which are infused with broad spectrum CBD (not to be confused with full spectrum and isolate). It’s mighty convenient for frequent travelers like me who may want to take CBD while out and about: Just drop the (chichi) box in your purse—as opposed to worrying about leakage from a bottle of tincture. It also helps that they’re delicious—a little overly sweet but that’s hardly a crime. The downside? It’s pricey. Purchased online a nine-gumdrop box will set you back $45. In a shop like Clover Grocery in New York, it costs $50.

Aurora Elixirs is one of many CBD drinks in the market. But this one is the most refreshing.

But be wary of the products you buy and do your research. Some cannabis products work while many don’t, mainly due to lack of regulatory testing from the powers that be and quality control within companies, which is apparently common in the cannabis industry. Your best bet to avoid buying bogus products is to purchase your goods in states where cannabis is legal—because certain systems, standards, and protocols have already been put in place (such as seed-to-sale tracking).

These days I’m a believer. It’s difficult to ignore the fact that Epidiolex—the CBD-based epilepsy medication—was approved by the F.D.A last year. Or that athletes are abandoning NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen) for greener alternatives. Then there are Alfie Dingley and Billie Caldwell in the UK: Their cases involving rare forms of epilepsy have prompted UK home secretary Sajid Javid to say that specialists will soon be able to prescribe cannabis-based medication. Beyond that, nearly 7% of Americans are already using CBD—and given the population, that’s a staggering number.

This is what you’ll want (or need) if you’re looking for a “light” reprieve from discomfort. Or if you’re trying a THC:CBD edible for the first time—without any of the unpleasant side effects. Or if you’re taking CBD on a daily basis as maintenance. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Plus’ pineapple and coconut gummies will do you no harm. It’s a safe bet for beginners.

And dosing is crucial.