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CBD oil for pain: experiences and an (honest) guide to microdosing

CBD Oil for Pain: A Review and Guide to Microdosing

I have remembered pain since early childhood. My teenage years were full of hospital visits and calendars of surgery appointments circled. When I was 13, my spine rotated more than 80 degrees in one night, like a siphon under a sink. At one point, a piece of metal from the titanium bars that support my spine pierced my skin. It was like a bomb exploding in my bones.

Later, a pain-related breakdown on the beach with friends resulted in kidney failure. Then there were menstrual cramps and chronic fatigue. Even later, a suspicious lump on my thyroid that turned out to be malignant resulted in ear-to-ear surgery - like a permanent smiley face on my neck - and severe radiation therapy. For the past 27 years my body has been rendered useless and immobile. I know what it feels like to climax on the Pain-O-Meter.

In an effort to regain some autonomy over my pain - and rid my body of the toxins of recent years - I have spent the past few years looking for alternative pain treatments. I've tried Reiki sessions and mindfulness training, Pilates and swimming, non-drug pain patches, and hot water bottles. Then I found CBD oil (cannabidiol). Unlike medical cannabis, CBD is made from hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that has a low level of the psychoactive ingredient THC. In the right dose and form, CBD can really help manage - not cure - a wide variety of health problems, including chronic pain.

"It is likely a false claim that CBD is solely and exclusively a cure for chronic pain," says The Drug Store's scientific advisor, Dr. Julie Moltke, whose book "A Quick Guide To CBD" was published in June and is a handy guide for anyone interested in learning more about CBD. Studies show that CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system - the body's own antidepressant - to restore balance and reduce inflammation. So if you take it in high enough doses, you get "anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body," explains Dr. Moltke. "It can also be used for endometriosis ... and it has even been medically proven to relieve symptoms of epilepsy," she continues.

CBD won't heal a broken bone or fix my crooked spine - but for some it is the holy grail of fear management. For others, like me, it can provide a brief moment of recovery from the stabbing sciatic nerve or the dull pelvic pain during your period.

Here is a guide to using CBD for effective pain management - with the caveat that you should always seek advice from a doctor:

CBD oil: from A to Z

Not all CBD oils are created equal, and neither do they behave the same. There are currently two flavors of non-drug CBD (i.e., CBD without THC): full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. The full spectrum is when the entire hemp plant - stem, seeds, root leaves - is used to manufacture the end product. Cannabidiol is one of at least 140 different cannabinoids found in hemp plants, each with its own chemical properties, so with full-spectrum CBD the oil is mixed with other cannabinoids from inside the plant. "That can often contain a bit of THC," says Olivia Ferdi, co-founder of "Trip". “In theory, this means you can reap the benefits of other cannabinoids that work with the CBD in a number of ways. They haven't necessarily been fully studied, but studies suggest that they have beneficial effects.

The second version is CBD isolate, in which only the CBD cannabinoids are extracted. Essentially, this is a refined version of CBD and is beneficial for those looking to measure their full CBD intake.

The "Millennial Pink" bottle of 300 mg "Orange Blossom" CBD from Olivia Ferdi was one of the first ones I tried during the lockdown and which is great for CBD beginners. Olivia Ferdi compares the two ends of the CBD spectrum to consuming an orange versus taking a vitamin C tablet: "We know that a vitamin C tablet works well and that you will absorb it well, but maybe the orange is better for you because of the fiber and fructose it contains. "

The so-called broad-spectrum CBD falls exactly between isolate and full-spectrum CBD, because neither of the two variants has so far proven to be right or wrong.

"Medical cannabis is very good for relieving central nervous system pain," Dr. Moltke on her experience in treating chronic pain sufferers with CBD and THC (the main psychoactive component of cannabis). "We know for a fact that the endocannabinoid regulates pain and pain perception. If we use the whole plant, you can reduce pain - especially chronic pain, also known as neuropathic pain."

CBD Oil: Find the Right Brand for You

From chewing gum to bath bombs, from balms to serums, there really is a plethora of CBD products to choose from (the CBD market will hit $ 1.8 billion by 2022, sales were half a billion in 2018). I tried oral oil first because it has a faster rate of absorption. I liked the selection of "Trip" because of the natural flavors (elderflower-mint, peach-ginger, lemon-basil) and the oils were found to be calming and pleasant to the taste. Just taking CBD oil is in itself a form of self-care. It is important to let the oil dissolve under your tongue rather than randomly swallowing it. Olivia Ferdi explains, "If you keep an oil in your mouth for 60 seconds, whether you realize it or not, you've basically just created a ritual of self-care. It's so hard not to speak in that one minute! It is a moment of calm. "

The medium strength 5% CBD oil from "Celtic Winds" is a good option in the medium range if you can tolerate the earthy taste. A small amount of Greenheart's "Full Spectrum Hemp Homogenized Oil" is very long-lasting and has been effective in relieving a muscle spasm in my back when combined with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Pollen's "Powerbank CBD gummies" didn't prove to be particularly effective against my stiff joints, but they did cheer me up at lunchtime and dampened my everyday stress (chewing distracts my thoughts a little). The limoncello packaging also beautified my desk.

Ohana skincare line combines gentle, nourishing ingredients with the calming benefits of CBD. When applied to the face with a cold jade roller or a gua-sha stone, I found the all-in-one miracle balm a welcome rescue before bed. Similarly, Otos rosemary and peppermint "focus roll-on" provided targeted light relief, and the scent made me feel grounded.

"It's all about finding consistent, high-quality products," notes Olivia Ferdi, whose premium brand Trip has seen sales jump 420 percent since the impact of social distancing. Olivia Ferdi's advice sounds particularly true when you consider that more than half of the most popular CBD oils sold in pharmacies, health food stores and online do not have the CBD content promised on the label. "In general, I would go for a broad spectrum product: a product that has all the different cannabinoids in it," says Dr. Moltke. "It's worth trying a reliable brand. If they have good delivery options, that's a plus."

CBD Oil For Joking: Keep a Pain Journal

To Dr. Agreeing with Moltke: CBD isn't the definitive solution to pain management, but it can greatly reduce inflammation and decrease muscle fatigue - and yes, it helped ease my quarantine pain as well. Incorporating CBD into my daily routine enabled me to pay more attention to my body and when it needed rest. A daily pain diary helped me differentiate aches and pains from severe cramps and menstrual cramps from a leaky bowel. I learned to listen to signals and know when CBD on its own would be enough and when assistance was needed.

Overall, there is an amazing lack of information online when it comes to accurate CBD dosage recommendations, but through research I have learned that a reasonable and manageable dose of CBD is around 10-40 milligrams per day. My dose fluctuates until I feel like I've reached my optimum.

A word about CBD and addiction: While it is possible to develop a tolerance to CBD - similar to caffeine and sugar - an overdose is not possible. Similarly, research suggests that CBD has no cognitive effects - unlike THC, which we know cannabis smoking can cause cognitive and memory impairment. As Dr. Moltke explains, "It's not what we see with CBD. We do need real long-term data, however. We don't have consistent data on very long-term effects, but as far as we know - and the World Health Organization has endorsed it - CBD consumption is safe." . "

Find your community

My initial impulse to lump CBD together with other dubious "alternative" drugs was rooted in my own lack of knowledge and understanding. For beginners, Suzanne Gatt's "Easy Listening" podcast is loose and packed with information. It is similar with Dr. Moltke's podcast, "The Holistic Medicine," debunking common myths and delivering bite-sized snippets backed up by science and research.

And for the skeptics? If you have endured constant pain for a long time, after a while you will try everything. For me, CBD is a gentle elixir that helps to quench the burning sensation of nerve pain and reduce the surge of anxiety. If it's good enough for Queen Victoria's menstrual cramps, it's good enough for mine too.

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