This continues on my last post discussing herbal alternatives for pain relief. I talked through medication alternatives given the difficulty navigating uncontrolled pain. I highlighted my experience with kratom and here I will cover my experiments with CBD (cannabidiol).
CBD is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, but does not produce the “high” found in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). People usually say “marijuana” when referring to a product with THC, and “hemp” when referring to CBD. Clarification is necessary, especially as CBDs can contain trace amounts of THC.
I struggled in locating a non bias article on this, but this WebMD article explains it in simpler terms.
As someone who lived in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana, I feel the CBD industry boomed in part due to:
- Medical and/or recreational marijuana is still illegal in many places
- Medical marijuana can be stressful to obtain even when legal
- Database tracking of medical marijuana registrants
- People wanting to avoid the “high” of THC
- Individuals unable to use THC due to employment type or employer rules
I lived in Colorado for 14 years prior to moving in 2020 and marijuana has been legal since 2012. However, the majority of Colorado employers either drug test at hire or drug test under certain conditions. I didn’t know anyone whose employer allowed even medical marijuana usage.
Consuming either recreational or medical products was a gamble and there was always the possibility of being fired. Marijuana works for me, but I was easily affected. I only tolerated small doses and became jittery when I consumed caffeine with edibles.
My issues with marijuana
- Urine drug tests can show THC use for up to 30 days
- Many potential employers requested a drug screening
- All my employers drug screened for on the job injuries
- Edibles contain sugar (I avoid sugar)
- Mild asthma made smoking it difficult
The “high” sometimes affected my ability to stay focused, it was better taken at night.
CBDs are more widely accepted and legal in all 50 states when meeting specific guidelines (such as the trace amount of THC is below the .3% threshold). Thus some form of CBDs should be purchasable in person or online for U.S residents no matter the city and state.
Come in a variety of forms, including:
I prefer capsules for convenience, but also like the tinctures. The gummies I’ve used work well except they have sugar or sugar substitute. Topical is best for someone who doesn’t want to consume them orally.
Tinctures have an alcohol base, which some people may want to avoid. Oils are usually a MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil base, but there are alternatives. MCT oil can cause digestive issues in some people, so this is essential to note. I also suggest checking the capsule ingredients if you are concerned or have a known sensitivity to MCT oil.
Conditions helped by CBD’s
- Epilepsy (seizures)
- High blood pressure (likely because it reduces anxiety)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Drug addiction and withdrawal symptoms
- Diabetes (some studies indicate this)
Like kratom and other herbs, CBDs are not FDA approved. I have focused my research and experimenting on finding ones that relieve pain, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
As with any herb, there are possible side effects. Besides the gastrointestinal issues I experience with MCT oil, anything I’ve experienced has been mild. A high dosage can cause some lightheadedness, but it always passes.
Side effects include:
- Gastrointestinal (in particular diarrhea)
- Drowsiness/Sleepiness (some CBDs assist with sleep)
- Nausea (though CBDs often help nausea)
- Dry mouth
CBD company/product reviews
Companies I have tried:
- Charlotte’s Web
- Santa Cruz Medicinals
- Eaton Hemp
I will highlight my purchases and experiences with these companies.
**I am not currently an affiliate for any of these companies, merely sharing my journey**
- One of the first companies I shopped
- Emphasis on high quality, lab results viewable on website
- Currently buy the pet line for my cats and dog
- Worked well for pain and anxiety
I did experience digestive discomfort (diarrhea) from the oil. I am sensitive to some MCT oils, so I need a different oil or more concentrated product. The company has rebranded since I originally tried the CBD oil.
- Paved the way to legally use CBD for cutting down/eliminating seizures in children
- Readily available in many Colorado stores (also seen in Florida stores)
- Certificate of Analysis available on website
- Olive oil based capsules
- Some of the strongest CBDs I’ve tested for pain, anxiety, and sleep
I appreciate their use of olive oil in the capsules as an alternative to MCT oil. The hormone melatonin is in the sleep gummies, so I didn’t use them long term. A note for those concerned about glucose levels, the “other ingredients” include 3 forms of sweetener. Most gummies contain sweeteners because of the strong, unpleasant taste of CBD.
- Hemp seed oil based tinctures with pleasant flavors
- Work well for pain, anxiety, and sleep
- Most efficient sleep product I’ve used
- Recently ordered the 5000mg pain salve (update 9/2021- I really like the pain salve and having a topical choice. The scent is pleasant and the product works well.)
They offer a variety of tincture flavors. Additional ingredients in the sleep caps are L-Theanine and Valerian root.
- Newest CBD I’ve tried
- Works well for pain
- Emphasis on organic ingredients
- Hemp lab results available on website
I purchased the unflavored tincture. It worked very well at relieving my pain but the “grassy” taste of the CBD was off-putting (I find this true of all unflavored CBD products). This might be easier to consume in a blended shake or flavored beverage.
There are numerous companies selling CBDs and quality varies tremendously. It is imperative to conduct your own research and observe how you feel when consuming.
I hope these last two posts on herbal alternatives assist you regarding pain choices.
Have you tried CBDs for pain control and associated conditions?
If yes, have you found a company whose products work well for you?