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Thoughts on CBD Oil

From Our Mailbag (shared with permission):

Hi Dr. Ben,

I have been a faithful reader and customer of your website for many years. Your wonderful Greens is my favourite, as well as the Acerola powder.

I was wondering, would you be able to write about CBD oil and/or provide it in your store? Please let me tell you my story.

I grew up within a verbally, mentally, and emotionally abusive family where I was constantly told that I was stupid and a burden. For many years my conscious mind was able to rebuff the attacks and I could continue to live my regular life. As I grew older I found, unbeknownst to me, my subconscious had absorbed all of the messages from my childhood and the negative thoughts began to intrude into my consciousness the older I got. I'm now in my late thirties and for the past few years have begun to notice feelings of anxiety and negative self-talk that are hard to quell. Each day has been a battle between the two sides of myself - one side feeling extremely anxious that I am good-for-nothing and will surely be punished for my worthlessness one day, the other side saying (to increasingly no avail) that I have many good qualities and all the negative thoughts are untrue.

Within the last few years I realized anxiety had taken hold of me and I was afraid of how bad it would get. I confided in a close friend of mine and she recommended CBD oil, but I've always been very wary of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. There was no way I could take a substance that came from marijuana. But then I met Sue at church. Sue was a kindly grandmother who loved everyone - at least that's how she made everyone feel. She had very bad arthritis in her knees and one day she told me that if it weren't for CBD oil, she would be completely crippled. THC is the compound in marijuana that gets people high but CBD oil doesn't have any THC, Sue told me. Surely CBD oil couldn't be all bad if this sweet grandmother was taking it! I was intrigued but still didn't pursue CBD oil.

Recently I experienced a bad anxiety attack that lasted for much longer than any had lasted before. After almost two weeks of daily anxiety I called my friend again, seeking reassurance, and she asked if I wanted to try CBD oil. I was in such anguish that I agreed and went to a store licensed to sell it. I took it as soon as I got home and the relief was almost immediate. It's unbelievable how quickly it worked.

The negative thoughts still try to pop up, but it's much easier to shush them and to affirm myself. I am no longer fighting against anxiety and it's so much easier to do my job and fulfill my responsibilities when I can focus my complete attention on what I need to get done. Don't worry, I'm currently looking for a therapist to help me deal with the source of my anxiety. I know that's important.

For all those years I had been battling anxiety and putting so much energy into managing it that I had little energy for other things, things I used to love doing. I'd stopped reading books because I no longer had the energy to concentrate, I stopped vigorous exercise because I felt too tired, and I was increasingly irritable with my children because they demand so much of my energy which I had in low supply. Now, after only three days of taking CBD oil, I started reading a novel, I enjoyed an intense class at the gym today, and I feel so much more relaxed around my children who chatter at me with stories about their day. I now have the energy to do the things I want to do.

CBD oil has been like a miracle to me and I'd love to be able to buy it in the same place as where I buy my other health products - your store! Please tell me that you are planning to carry it soon.

Also, would you be able to explain how CBD oil works? I still don't know exactly; I don't have a science background. You always explain things so well in your articles, I can understand and learn a lot from your explanations.

Thanks so much, Dr. Ben! I hope your newsletter tells me good news about this soon! :)

Sincerely,

Peggy
Mississauga

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Hi there Peggy,

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and for sharing your amazingly positive experience with CBD oil.  At this time, we haven't finalized any plans to carry CBD oil in our catalogue, as there are logistical and legal issues that we need more clarity on.

For now, for those in Ontario, I recommend going with CBD oil made by Cove, which is carried at the Ontario Cannabis Store and also at most legal cannabis outlets.  My understanding is that each province in Canada regulates its own distribution of CBD oil and other products derived from cannabis.

For those in the States, I feel there are several quality manufacturers of CBD oil, and my preferred supplier is SunSoil, a company that grows all of its own hemp in northern Vermont.  I had a chance to meet with one of the founders of SunSoil as well as a few of their team members at a tradeshow this past fall, and in researching their farming, manufacturing, and testing practices, I have a lot of respect and appreciation for their whole-plant, lipid-extraction approach to producing CBD of the highest quality with ethical pricing in mind.  

You can learn more about SunSoil CBD at the following page:

SunSoil CBD

I have only been able to take SunSoil CBD while in the States for work, as we aren't allowed to bring CBD products back to Canada.  In taking approximately 60 grams over 3 days, I can unequivocally stand behind its quality and effectiveness.

As for what we know CBD can do for human physiology, sleep researcher Matthew Walker has found that CBD makes us fall asleep faster and doesn’t appear to disrupt REM sleep. There isn’t enough data yet to make any broad statements on CBD’s impact on overall sleep quality in any long term context, but early evidence points to CBD being helpful for restorative sleep by reducing core body temperature and anxiety.

On anecdotal and experiential bases, I regularly hear from adults of all ages who are finding CBD oil to be highly effective in managing anxiety much like you have, Peggy.  

And though less frequent, I occasionally hear from parents who are finding CBD oil helpful for young children with autism and even for children with epilepsy.

There have been a few cases where those who have tried CBD oil on my recommendation reported feeling no benefit whatsoever, so for reasons beyond my understanding at this point, it seems that CBD isn't helpful in all cases, though my experiences tell me that it's worth trying for the health challenges mentioned above.  

Many take CBD for chronic pain and inflammation.  I'm not aware of any literature that definitively explains why CBD can help reduce inflammation on a systemic basis, but based on the feedback that I've received thus far and firsthand experience, I feel that a high quantity of CBD oil can have an anti-inflammatory effect not unlike that of ibuprofen or naproxen.  But again, I can't say with certainty that this would hold true for everyone.

As for how CBD oil works, I think it's fair to say that we don't yet know exactly how it interacts with all of the elements of our endocannabinoid system.  Working hypotheses suggest that CBD promotes better overall balance in endocrine health by acting on specific receptors that are a part of the endocannabinoid system - time and further research should clarify any such mechanisms.  For now, for those who wish to learn more about the endocannabinoid system and the role that it plays in central nervous system function, including with synaptic plasticity, I would suggest either of the following summaries:

An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain

Thank you again for sharing with us, Peggy - your experience is sure to be of interest to those who have long struggled with anxiety and related fatigue and depression.

With best wishes,

Ben

 
 

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