CBD Oil Works, But Maybe Not For You

Nowadays it seems as if every supermarket, coffee shop, and gas station are trying to cash in on the CBD craze, but does the drug actually do anything? With so many claims and diverse experiences it's hard to find consensus.

Two people, same exact dose and product, yet two very different responses. This is my own observation while experimenting with the substance. My friend’s mother tried a small dose of only 15mg and said that she felt drugged, and then passed out, later waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with tremendous anxiety.

On the other hand, I felt my anxiety subside within 5 to 10 minutes and a wave of warmth and calm take over. The tightness in my lower back melted away completely.

The product I took (accurately named Hemp Bombs) was a gelatin gummy bear that dissolved on my tongue within minutes. It's just one example of the plethora of oils, vape juices, vape pens, edibles, tablets, capsules, teas, and even dog bones and cat treats that have been flooding the market lately.

What exactly is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, one of the many chemical compounds that make up the cannabis or industrial hemp plant, but chances are that if you are reading this you already know that.

According to a study done in 2017, 45% of students have tried marijuana by the time they graduate high school.

In the U.S., however, CBD is more commonly derived from the industrial hemp plant because cannabis is still illegal in a majority of states. Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC (the main psychoactive constituent of marijuana) and won't get you high, thus it is the go-to source for companies aiming to extract CBD.

Is CBD a hoax?

At first I thought all the claims I'd been hearing were gimmicky, only being directed at individuals who might not know any better, making them think it was a form of legal marijuana.

In reality, there have been scientific studies done on the drug (yes, it is a drug) that suggest there is a place for CBD in our health care system.  

To be clear, however, on the back of CBD products you will often find a small bit of text that says "these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease" and this goes to show how companies have to hedge their marketing language until their claims are officially recognized as valid by the FDA.

Science backs up the benefits

There are scientific papers that suggest benefits from the drug. There are even randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (the scientific gold standard) and a decent amount of clinical trials that suggest a real use-case exists.

There are encouraging signs that CBD can reduce anxiety, lessen chronic pain, promote restful sleep, help with relaxation, aid with multiple sclerosis, and the FDA just approved a cannabidiol-based drug for a severe form of epilepsy.

There is also promising evidence to suggest social disorders could be treated with CBD.

Be careful what you read

CBD is not a cure-all. If someone or some site suggests CBD will prevent any disease don't blindly listen to them.

One way to get around this problem is to get your information straight from the source, as I have done. In this case, the research papers are the way to go when trying to get reliable information on a subject.

A research paper is a report concluded by a scientist, mathematician, biologist, chemist, engineer, or other person following the rigorous scientific method. The goal of a study is to learn about the subject they are studying in an unbiased way, rather than going in trying to prove or disprove something.

Unfortunately, these research papers can be boring, math intensive, and difficult to follow for the average person who just wants to find out what the paper concludes.

News sites will often spice up research findings a bit too much or misinterpret the conclusions altogether, making false claims.

Price gouging detected

If you take a trip to your local head shop and browse around you will find a massive difference in prices for similar CBD products.

A pack of 5 gummies might be $10 and contain 50mg each while right next to it is another pack selling for $20 and each gummy only contains 10mg. Even the same company will have a range of prices with products containing what appears to be the same amount of CBD with one being $175 while the other is $40. Why?

Some products claim to be higher quality than others. But if you are selling CBD than the molecular component should be cannabidiol. So they should, in theory, be the exact same thing.

There are people that swear by some of the “higher quality” products, suggesting it really is different than a lower quality CBD product. So be careful and keep in mind that there might be some price gouging going on here.

For me, it actually worked

I have anxiety and if I take CBD before experiencing an attack it takes it down to 5% or less of my typical symptoms, which is absolutely incredible. I can tell you this - it doesn’t feel like nothing.

Ingesting even small amounts of CBD had a noticeable effect. It doesn't make you feel high like you would eating or smoking weed. Yet, for those of you who have used marijuana, you might notice some similar, but far more subtle effects.

My personal favorites were the gummy products (though perhaps they should make a sugar-free version). Experiment and see which products work best for you.

Can I mix CBD oil with other things?

Alcohol and CBD tend to make the effects less noticeable. Frankly, I think it's wasteful to be using both at the same time. Alcohol tends to reduce social anxiety anyway, so it was difficult for me to tell to what extent the CBD was affecting me.

Nicotine products, on the other hand, seemed to amplify the effect of calmness when mixed with CBD (be smart - don't smoke cigarettes, instead vape or use gum).

Ok, is it worth it?

It's certainly worth trying out. After all, it's unlikely to cause any harm and it could possibly help, with few side effects. There are cheap ways to experiment with CBD without even having to break a $20.

You might want to research all the other products that CBD is being inserted into, such as topical lotions for pain, arthritis, and neuralgia. Vaping products are also on the rise. Don't worry, CBD isn't going away anytime soon.

P.S. My dog loves CBD

It breaks my heart to see my dog, Aries, quivering next to me during a thunderstorm. When we liberated him from the pound 3 years ago we thought he would outgrow it, but to no avail.

Eventually, we went to the veterinarian who prescribed a potent drug that knocked him out all day and made him groggy. We rarely use that, however, because my dog is still miserable just in a different way.

So we bought some dog treats infused with CBD. They make both small and large treats depending on the size of your breed, and for us it was a no-brainer because it's natural, has milder effects, and is cheaper.

Does it work? Well, I always thought I could see him smiling at me when he was happy or wanted something, and his grin looks a little bigger, assuming there's no placebo effect for dogs.