Governing Magazine reports that, as of March 30, 2018, 30 states have legalized marijuana in some respect.
While many of them have made this drug legal for medical purposes only, eight of these states (and the District of Columbia) have also legalized it for recreational use. With these relatively new changes, there has been increased interest in one compound in particular that is found within cannabis plants. This is cannabidiol, or CBD.
Today, CBD can be found in a variety of products, many of which are designed to help individuals ease pain and achieve a higher level of health. It can be delivered in capsules, soft gels, and powders, and it is also in quite a few topicals and oils, making it a substance that patients can take in whatever form they’re most comfortable using.
However, although marijuana―and CBD specifically―are becoming more commonplace, there is still a stigma around these two substances and a lot of the products derived from them. This leaves many patients with some concerns when trying the latter.
As a healthcare professional, this puts you in a position where you’re likely to be questioned about CBD and its use. So, if your goal is to help your patients ease their angst about this particular substance, you’ll want to answer some of their most burning questions about CBD and address those CBD concerns that they may have.
What exactly is CBD?
Though this term is thrown around quite a bit nowadays, many people still have no clue what CBD is. Therefore, a little education can go a long way in helping them decide whether it is the right treatment option for them.
If you’re still unclear yourself, CBD is a compound found within cannabis plants and research has shown that it has been used for centuries for many different chronic medical conditions related to pain and inflammation. Other more recent studies have also connected CBD use with mental benefits as well, such as lower levels of anxiety.
As Medical News Today explains, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound within marijuana that alters the mind, not CBD. Thus, the answer to this question is no, CBD does not cause a high type of effect.
In fact some research, like a critical review published in Current Pharmaceutical Design, references CBD as an “antipsychotic” cannabinoid that can actually help prevent this type of response. That being said, there are some CBD products that do contain both compounds, so if this is a concern, then it’s important to choose ones that either don’t have THC in them at all or have it in such minute amounts that it won’t have any effect.
How CBD works
Though the way CBD works is fairly complex, an easy way to explain it to patients is that it serves two functions: The first, according to a marijuana expert at Leafly, is that it helps keep the body from breaking down some of the cannabinoids it produces naturally on its own (called endocannabinoids). CBD’s second function is to indirectly interact with specific receptors in the brain (namely, CB1 and CB2 receptors) that are responsible for regulating pain.
How CBD can help
In a presentation to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Council, Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shares that CBD has been found to provide benefits for a number of conditions by serving in one of these capacities:
- Anti-tumor (testing has not been explored in human patients)
Therefore, CBD’s potential reach is extensive as a number of health conditions fall under one or more of these umbrella categories.
Drug tests and CBD
A routine drug screening for marijuana use, such as for a new job, are designed to detect THC and its main metabolite (THC-COOH) and other illegal drugs or prescription medications. The typical urine drug screen for THC is known to have little cross-reactivity to other cannabinoids that are not psychoactive such asCBD, CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and others. Since CBD oil is derived from hemp containing only trace amounts of THC, use of less than 1,000 mg a day should not cause a failed urine drug screen, though false positives do occur.
If a patient tends to use higher doses of CBD of 1,000 mg a day or more they may be exposed to around 3 mg of THC per day, so the chances of it showing up on a drug test do increase.
Which CBD products to take
With any dietary supplement, not all products are created equal. It is important to consider factors relating to quality and absorption.
Fat-based supplements such as phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil (CBD) are difficult to absorb by the aqueous human digestive tract. Some healthcare professionals recommend taking these supplements along with fatty foods, but studies show that the VESIsorb patented delivery system provides significant improvements in absorption and bioavailability of CBD supplements.
A natural approach
Because prescription drugs are more well-known and widely accepted, patients may be wondering why they should try CBD at all. This is where it helps to educate them about the current opiate epidemic.
For instance, you can explain to them how prescription painkillers can actually do more harm than good since they are highly addictive in nature and contribute to more than 115 deaths every day due to opioid overdose. Therefore, by choosing CBD products instead, patients are able to handle their pain and inflammation naturally.
By giving patients the information they need about CBD, they’ll be enabled to make a more educated decision about whether these products align with their treatment-based beliefs. This makes them a true partner in looking after their own health.