CBD and Your Doctor: Getting the Guidance You Need
The media is full of stories of people benefiting from taking cannabidiol or CBD for a wide variety of medical issues. According to the Brightfield Group, for CBD users, the top 4 medical conditions are depression, insomnia, anxiety and joint pain. In addition, 80% of users found CBD products very or extremely effective. Not only is CBD proving to be effective for pain, sleep and anxiety issues, users appreciate the improvement of symptoms without any intoxicating effects.
So many choices
In this blossoming industry, the market is flooded with dozens of companies offering CBD in many forms (gel capsules, edibles, tinctures, vape pens, etc.). Not only must consumers deal with the type of delivery system, but understand the quality of the hemp-based product. CBD has over 200 known naturally occurring compounds that contain all the essential therapeutic properties. Shoppers need to make sure the product they buy contains phyto-cannabinoid rich hemp oil to ensure the best results.
Purchasers new to the CBD world need help to make the following choices:
- finding a reliable vendor that is producing a safe product
- choosing the type of product to take
- deciding how much to take
Many are at a loss and turn to their family practitioner. Getting this seemingly basic information can be a challenge. CBD does not come from a large pharmaceutical company that had to jump through the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) hoops to get the product to market. Doctors are familiar with the FDA process which provides a framework for safety, drug interactions and dosage. Despite growing state safety regulations covering growth and production for CBD, doctors must work outside the normal channels when talking about CBD with their patients.
Most Doctors don’t have the Training
A big challenge is doctors are not trained about CBD in medical school. Physicians who want to advise patients must make the extra effort to become educated through reading articles, and seminars. Some doctors that are dealing with cancer and chronic diseases are at the forefront of using CBD and marijuana to help patients, but most general practitioners are not up to speed.
Doctors don’t want to recommend what they don’t know
The three main questions doctors have about any new treatment option are:
- Drug interactions
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence and growing research points to the effectiveness of CBD, but there are no recommendations from either the American Medical Association or the FDA. In addition, CBD is still considered a Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. That means a doctor can’t prescribe only advise. This places doctors in a predicament. Doctors see that CBD is a great option especially for patients wanting to get off of opioids but struggle with recommending a dosage and the possibility of drug interactions.
Liability is an issue
Doctors who have dedicated their lives to providing care unfortunately still live in a litigious world and need to protect themselves. The federal government still considers CBD a Schedule One drug, despite over 20 states allowing its use. Even doctors in California, where marijuana and CBD are legal, worry about the federal government going after them if something goes wrong.
In addition, many doctors working for large healthcare corporations are constrained regarding cannabis by management because of the Schedule 1 status.
It is a harsh reality that there is a lot of perceived risk and not a lot of reward for doctors. The good news that perceptions are changing.
What you need to do
You can still have the conversation, just do your homework first. As ultimate owners of our health, you can do your own research by reading books, going online and talking with friends. There are a lot of websites talking about CBD. Pick a couple of sites that have a focus on education and are independent. For example, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a lot of information on research. Another site that focuses on the science of cannabis and has information regarding CBD is profofpot.com
Your research should cover the following:
Is CBD recommended for your issue?
Just with any substance natural or man-made, CBD is not the panacea for every ailment. Current research is pointing to the fact that CBD may excel in relieving certain medical issues.
Below is a short list:
Acute Musculoskeletal Pain
Cancer Treatment Related Pain including Chemo & Radiation
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
Diabetic Nerve Pain
PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Is it legal in your state?
Many consider hemp-based legal in all 50 states. It is readily available online. However, the conflicting federal and state laws have made it murky for consumers. It is best to check. For example, in Utah, you must be in a study to use CBD.
Check for possible interactions?
The risk for drug interactions with CBD is very low, but there are situations it is not recommended. For example, it is not advisable to take CBD if you are pregnant or taking beta-blockers.
Take the research to your doctor. The smart physicians know they learn as much from their patients as the patients learn from them. Your practitioner should review the information especially for drug interactions and develop a plan for dosage. The general recommendation is to start with low doses to let your body acclimate. Then check back in with your doctor regarding dosage adjustments.
Doctors do respond to patients interests and as they see more and more coming in to understand CBD, they will get educated to the possibilities CBD offers.