Cannabidiol (CBD) – the chemical compound from the cannabis plant – is a big trend in the health and medical marijuana industries right now. But what’s really important for people to realize is what CBD does and how it interacts with your body.
There’s no magic bullet. You can’t just take a CBD pill or smoke cannabis and magically make all your problems go away. Eventually, you have to be responsible if you want the health you’re seeking. It’s a constant struggle for everyone.
However, some people can utilize CBD and effectively deliver appropriate doses that work. But how?
Our endocannabinoid systems naturally produce cannabinoid compounds. We happen to have a plant in the world called cannabis that mimics these compounds that our bodies already produce. We didn’t realize we had this important feedback system until we started studying what cannabis does in the body.
Essentially, an endocannabinoid system is a regulator. It’s like having all the firefighters, police, and social workers making sure a city – or in this example, the body – is functioning properly.
If that system gets out of balance, then our immune system and nervous system can be out of balance as well. If our nervous system is out of balance, we can have anxiety and pain. People with Parkinson’s and tremors suffer because the nervous system is firing too much. If our immune system is out of balance we can have autoimmune disease such as IBS or hives in which the body attacks itself.
The endocannabinoid system is essential in regulating these ailments. This is why so many people respond to medical marijuana, because THC and CBD interact with our endocannabinoid system.
THC is the active and most prominent chemical in the cannabis plant. For decades, people bred the plant for that chemical. That’s what the DEA is trying to stop because it gets people high. It’s a controversial molecule despite being a chemical we naturally produce. Even if you can’t stand the idea of smoking pot, you have to understand that you have cannabinoids coursing through millions of cells in your body every second.
Using THC is like calling the fire department when a cat is stuck in a tree. They’ll come with ladders and big, loud trucks and they’ll get that cat out of the tree. That’s fine, but sometimes that’s too much for the job. If you use THC for anxiety for example, it might make your anxiety go up. That can be a problem.
CBD is much subtler. It’s more like a social worker. If you have a cat stuck in your tree and you call a social worker, that social worker might coax the cat down, but the cat is doing the work of getting itself down. Like a therapist who works with somebody to prevent future issues, CBD trains our endocannabinoid systems to do its own work of staying balanced. CBD is clinically “toning” your system, not changing it automatically the way THC does. That’s an important distinction.
But this begs the question: How much therapy do millions of cells need? How much CBD does your system need to be toned and coaxed out of the tree and back into balance?
It’s very difficult to determine proper CBD doses or for CBD to uniformly perform in a trial. Because just like therapy, some people need more frequent or intense sessions than others. Studies have indicated individuals have slightly different sweet spots for the right dose that works for them. Too much or too little doesn’t work. We have a dose spectrum that is almost impossible to nail down.
This is pretty common sense. The right amount of ice cream tastes delicious, whereas too much or too little can be disappointing.
The solution is to work with people one-on-one to find proper doses of cannabinoids that will help clients’ health. We try to puzzle out what an individual’s needs are and factors that affect a person’s response to CBD. Some people are simply more sensitive to the chemical than others, and even one milligram of CBD can cause strong reactions and increase anxiety. Nobody wants that. It might be like going to a therapist that you don’t trust.
For another example, take people who have been athletes their whole lives. They’ve been injured many times. Maybe they’re in their 70s now and just want to work in their garden. They need to take a much higher dose. We might recommend they start with five milligrams and progress to 20 milligrams and then 50 milligrams per day – gradually trying to find a dose where they can actually feel some pain relief and tone their cells back into balance.
It’s sometimes good to have THC users back off their dosage and see if CBD can have a stronger effect in the body. CBD can only help so much if all the THC in their body is just hammering their endocannabinoid system. It’s like sending the social worker to an area where there’s 15 fire trucks. It’s going to be very difficult to have a noticeable effect.