CBD formulated as an FDA-approved drug, Epidiolex, is used to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy, and there is anecdotal evidence that over-the-counter CBD products can also reduce epileptic seizures. Other study highlights:
One study tested a hemp CBD extract among people who had been taking opioids for chronic pain for at least a year. The study, published in
Postgraduate Medicine, tracked 94 patients of a pain clinic based in New Albany, Ind., who took an extract containing approximately 15 mg of CBD, twice daily in most cases. After 8 weeks, 53 percent of patients had significantly reduced or eliminated use of opioids, and 94 percent reported better quality of life.
In Poland, researchers tested a topical hemp CBD oil against a placebo for jaw pain in 60 people. In the study, published in the
Journal of Clinical Medicine, applying hemp CBD oil topically to jaw muscles, twice daily for 14 days, significantly reduced pain intensity—by 70 percent in those using hemp CBD oil, compared to about 10 percent in those using a placebo oil.
Sleep and Anxiety:
At a mental health clinic in Fort Collins, Colo., the effects of CBD were tracked in 72 patients suffering from anxiety or poor sleep. Nearly all patients took 25 mg of CBD daily in capsules (a handful took larger doses) as an adjunct to their usual drug treatment. After a month, there was mild improvement in sleep and greater improvement in anxiety.
Among those who continued to take CBD for another month—56 percent—sleep varied but improvements in anxiety were sustained. Results of the research were published in
The Permanente Journal.
A review of studies that used CBD doses ranging from 75 to 400 mg daily, taken in addition to medications, found that patients experienced improved mental and emotional health and less disruptive involuntary movement while sleeping. The review was published in the
European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.
What to Look for in a CBD Product
The quality of CBD products varies a great deal. Look for a company whose website describes its agricultural, extraction, and testing methods and provides a Certificate of Analysis (COA)—results of testing by a competent lab. Tests should be done to ensure that products do not contain any microbial contaminants, pesticides, or other toxins that could be harmful. In addition, products should be tested to make sure that the label accurately states quantities of CBD and other ingredients.
In capsules and tinctures, hemp CBD should be extracted from the aerial parts of the plant and should be “broad spectrum,” or “full spectrum,” meaning that in addition to CBD, it contains other beneficial components found naturally in the hemp plant. On labels, take note of the serving size and look for the quantity of CBD per serving.
When choosing topical CBD balms or lotions, check other ingredients on labels for possible skin irritants or allergens.
How to Use CBD
CBD is best absorbed with fat, and some tinctures and soft gels contain fat. Otherwise, take CBD with a fatty food.
Tinctures and sprays: For fastest absorption, try an oil-based hemp CBD tincture or spray designed to be taken under the tongue or into the cheek. These are absorbed from your mouth, rather than going through your digestive system.
Pills: If you prefer to swallow pills, capsules and soft gels are available.
Balms and lotions: Rub on a painful area and reapply as needed.
How Much CBD to Take
The overriding recommendation is “Start low and go slow.” Maroon recommends starting with 15 mg daily for three days and if needed, increase to 30 mg for another three days. If needed, keep increasing the dose by 15 mg every three days, up to 100 mg.
To enhance sleep, take CBD in the evening. To relieve anxiety, pain, or other symptoms, take it during the day. In some cases, it makes sense to split the daily amount into two or more doses—if you experience anxiety relief for only a few hours, for example.
For localized pain, such as a painful joint, start with a CBD balm or cream, rubbed on as needed. If, after a few days, you need more relief, try adding a tincture or pill.
What Conditions Can CBD Be Used For?
Conditions for which CBD may be beneficial include:
Age-related macular degeneration
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Cancer treatment side effects
Headaches, including migraines
High blood pressure
Irritable bowel syndrome
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Skin conditions including acne
Traumatic brain injury
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