Hugh Hayward - Chinese Medicine Practitioner
I am starting to notice a growing number of patients using CBD oil (short for cannabidiol oil) and getting great results for a bunch of issues like chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, digestive complaints… the list goes on.
It is NOT for everyone though!!! Read to the bottom of the article to get an idea of what I am talking about, because there is a misconception that CBD is totally harmless being plant based.
It is a molecule derived from the hemp plant and no it doesn’t give you the munchies unfortunately. If it did, it would be a very expensive way to get high …
If you get your CBD from a reputable company it should be ORGANIC, individually batch tested and should contain undetectable traces of THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis)!
It should be mixed with an oil that is stable at heat like MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride coconut oil) so that it does not go rancid.
I have patients who work in the mines and on ships and with heavy machinery and need the assurance that this stuff is made from purely legal A grade hemp, so wont show up in a drug test and isn’t considered a schedule 4 regulated medicine.
See here for more information on the legality of CBD in Australia
So how does it work? It activates your bodies innate balancing and healing ability… Homeostasis! Via the endocannabinoid system. Sounds too good to be true right… Well studies are showing that acupuncture might work along similar lines, which makes sense, because what cant we treat!? haha…
This is a very informative podcast which sparked my interest in CBD and its use along side acupuncture and herbal medicine.
In fact, the Chinese have been using hemp products as medicine and clothing and rope and paper, long before anyone else got their hands on it. They invent all of the good stuff.
History aside, I just want to show you a bit of an anecdotal list of what I have been noticing it works well for and also a rough guideline for dosage and proper use.
This is purely based on my experience in the clinic and I think that we could really benefit from further studies on the use of CBD in conjunction with acupuncture. In no way is this information intended to lay out the therapeutic effect of cannabidiol or acupuncture.
Keeping in mind that these patients are also receiving acupuncture regularly and that a small handful of them had not noticed any results just on the CBD itself; here is what I have noticed it works well for.
6 - 20mg / day
Reducing the pain associated with chronic injuries such as osteoarthritis, cartilage degeneration, musculoskeletal injury, disc bulge and pretty much any kind of inflammation or muscular stiffness in the body. It seems to give longer lasting relief than any pain medication or even medicinal THC containing cannabis pain therapy, which makes me think it is actually healing and reducing inflammation rather than masking pain.
It has also been applied topically (on the skin) at the site of injury or pain, which seems to work well.
20mg / day
Reduction in acute pain from sports injury, surgery or trauma and hugely improved recovery and healing time.
20mg / day
Reduction in frequency and severity of headaches and migraines, especially when related to muscular tension or chronic neck injury.
20mg / day
Reduction in feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
20mg / day
Improvement with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
6 - 20mg / day
Improvement with appetite and digestive upset… like nausea and constipation.
Most patients start out taking a relatively small dose for the more chronic conditions where the pain is sporadic and less intense. They then slowly upped the dose until they got the desired effect and then dropped back down again to find the sweet spot, to make sure they were not taking an unnecessary amount.
For a small number of people it had not worked as well as they liked…Initially myself included. This is probably because for chronic pain, it might take a couple of weeks to kick in. The patients who skipped doses and took days off in that first two weeks of treatment had far less improvement than those who took it religiously. I also noticed that once having had it for a couple of weeks straight, topping up when relief was needed gave almost instantaneous results, despite having had a week or so off the CBD.
NOW BE WARNED! It is not for everyone. There is a common misconception that hemp products are largely risk free due to them being plant based and generally needing little to no processing.
If you are taking certain medication and also taking CBD this can be very wrong.
CBD, like grapefruit, can indirectly cause interactions with other medication based on the effects in deactivating the cytochrome P450 enzyme and its role in liver metabolism of those drugs. So basically, if you take CBD and are currently taking any of the following medications (this is not an exhaustive list), you may find that these medications build up in your system, giving nasty side effects or toxicity.
Everyone has a different metabolism so the effects can vary greatly. To be absolutely safe, just avoid taking or prescribing CBD if you or your patients are on any of these types of medication.
If you are on any prescription medication for that matter, check with your GP and prescribing practitioner before ingesting any over-the-counter supplement or herb.
-HMG CoA reductase inhibitors
-Calcium channel blockers
-Angiotension II blockers
Good times ahead with plant medicine! Cant wait to see what the future holds.