More people are using cannabidiol (CBD) oil for chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression
By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
In light of the opioid epidemic, many people want an alternative means to manage chronic pain without side effects and risk of dependency.
Others want pain relief for conditions difficult for typical pain medication to manage.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil may provide help.
One of the more than 100 cannabinoids inherent to cannabis sativa (cannabis or hemp), CBD oil is said to support the health of people who suffer from pain, inflammation, anxiety and depression without the “high” or lethargic effects typical of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
David Brickman owns Hemp It Up! stores in Rochester and Syracuse. The shops sell hemp-related gifts and supplements.
“People produce endocannabinoids in the body,” Brickman said. “As it turns out, by supplementing cannabinoids produced in a plant, we can do ourselves medical benefits.”
He said that many people come to his shop seeking relief from anxiety and depression and pain issues. And some of those have been sent in by their primary care providers.
Brickman sources CBD oil from vetted companies in Colorado, he said. Though it’s legal to grow industrial hemp in approved pilot programs in New York, it’s not widespread.
The producers supplying Hemp It Up! provide third party certificates of authenticity from independent labs. “The results of these tests are available to us and our customers,” Brickman said.
While FDA has not approved CBD oil as prescription medication (which, in New York, may include medical marijuana), CBD oil is considered a supplement, like vitamin C.
Hemp It Up! carries CBD in a variety of formats, including topical preparations, capsules, gummies, suppositories and edible drops.
“We’ve had many, many return customers and many having been referred by other customers of ours,” Brickman said.
He advises customers to check with their doctors before taking CBD oil and starting at a small serving and increasing until the desired result is achieved.
Jodi Tunison owns CBDepot in Rochester. Like at Hemp It Up!, her CBD oil products are all vetted and tested, she said.
“You’d be amazed about the number of doctors who are sending people in,” Tunison said. “I had a guy with migraine headaches who has basically missed the past seven to eight years of his life with his family.”
For someone taking moderate servings daily, CBD costs about $40 to $100 for a 30-day supply. Tunison said that her average sale is $66 and she offers CBD in numerous formulations. She said about half her business is repeat business.
Tunison opened the store in May 2018. She founded the store to bring to others the same relief her mother experienced in 2016, after she was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain. Tunison said her mother had six to 12 months to live, depending on treatment.
They eventually decided to forgo chemotherapy and try CBD. Tunison said that CBD helped her mother enjoyed a much better quality of life for the year she lived after the diagnosis.
That chapter in her life left Tunison with a desire to share CBD with others.
Brenda Vice owns and operates Kali Durga Grass Roots, LLC, an educational entity in Ontario that promotes the hemp industry, but doesn’t sell hemp products. She’s certified in medicinal marijuana medicine and has owned a life coaching business for more than 20 years.
She said that the endocannabinoids form the “very foundation of what our immune system consists of,” and that these compounds support the immune system, brain health, stress management, and “whatever your body needs.”
Physician Hemant Kalia, interventional pain and cancer rehabilitation specialist with Rochester Regional Health, said that the non-addictive, non-psychotropic qualities of CBD make it attractive to people seeking relief from chronic pain issues.
“CBD doesn’t act on receptors to make people high but has properties of anti-inflammation. Some preliminary studies may show it decreases inflammation and helps with pain, especially for cancer patients who have nerve and joint related pain.”
So far, the studies have been small. Kalia said that anyone interested in using CBD should discuss the possibility with their doctor to ensure no contraindications.
“This is definitely not the panacea for chronic pain,” Kalia said. “We have not advanced enough to come up for a cure for chronic pain condition. It may be helpful as a adjunct in the multi-disciplinary approach to pain. Patients shouldn’t rely only on medical marijuana or CDB oil to manage chronic pain condition.”
CBD Oil: Common Questions
She said the following represent common questions about CBD oil:
• Can I still pass a urine drug test? “The research shows no response on the drug test,” Pickering Picone said. “Tests were done on 700 mg. a day consumption, which is a large serving. It takes three to five days to get out of your system, but it doesn’t show up on drug tests. Hemp is not typically something that shows up on drug tests because it contains endocannabinoids, which are natural to our system.”
• How long do its effects last? “I use it on my hip flexors and knees, as I have rheumatoid arthritis. It works six to eight hours for me.”
• How can I find good quality? “It’s not just buying any kind from a gift shop. They may carry only 15 mg. strength, which isn’t strong enough for things like chronic pain. Get organic, pure and a product with party testing. You want 100-percent pure product. That’s the key to it. A lot of them use leftover stems to make a less expensive product. Make sure there’s an analysis certificate you can see.”
• What are its side effects? “Hemp or CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t cause a high.”
• What about contraindications? “I have not had anyone that has reacted with CBD.”
• Is CBD a drug? “It’s not a drug. It’s an herb, like passion flower, lemon balm and chamomile.”
• Can it help me? “It doesn’t help everything. It’s very specifically oriented to anxiety. Another aspect is if you have problems that are muscular like fibromyalgia, pain points, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases, you will definitely notice a difference because it calms the system down.”