I suspect most of you are like I was. It used to be that I’d see the facebook posts or spy a random advertisement or overhear a friend expound on the life-changing virtues of CBD (Cannabidiol). Everything from soothing skin irritations to curing cancers. My eyes rolled back. I shook my head. I went about my day.
Perception and Reality
It’s easy to dismiss these kinds of things, though. I mean, cancers have taken lives for as long as lives have been … well … lived. If curing cancer were as easy as chewing on a hemp leaf, I suspect humankind would have discovered it long ago. And it seems as though there is no ailment which cannot be treated by CBD, if we are to believe all the hype. Right?
Our pharmaceutical industry hasn’t helped much, not that we would expect them to help us with this kind of thing. They have other priorities. Like the home remedy that’s been passed down for generations, there’s no money to be made in CBD research. Clinical trials cost a lot of money, and if Big Pharma can’t recoup those clinical costs, they’re not going to spend the money. All we can do is hope that university laboratories will fill in the gaps over time. For data-driven people like me, this is a tough situation.
And then there’s the pesky problem of THC, the psychoactive chemical compound that gets folks stoned. CBD comes from hemp. THC comes from hemp. Hemp comes from hemp. It’s just so easy to get these things confused with one another, which makes for a marketing nightmare. If I say hemp, you might think ganja, when I’m actually talking about shoes. If I say CBD, you might think stoner brownies, when I’m actually talking about bubble bath. You see what I mean? And the marketing is way behind the negative connotations. Remember “Reefer Madness?” Ah … never mind.
To make all this confusion even more … well … confusing, CBD can, in fact, contain THC, if that is how it was processed. Imagine some poor soul going to all the trouble of researching the differences between hemp, CBD and THC, and then unintentionally buying a CBD soft gel tablet that contains THC (either by design or by poor manufacturing techniques). It just doesn’t seem right.
So What’s The Deal?
But there it is, we have this rapidly growing CBD industry, with surveys showing that one in seven adults now use a CBD product in some form. And CBD products being produced by companies everywhere, some of which I respect. In fact, that was the turning point for me – a supplement company whose products I use regularly released their first offerings of CBD. That caught my attention, so it was time to dig a little deeper.
I have certain goals for myself. For instance, I’ve re-dedicated myself to discovering what I can still do athletically, while the ability is still there (to some degree). Life is short, and our ability to do awesome things is perilously brief and unpredictable. But like many of you, I have issues. I’ve mentioned in previous “And Me” posts that I have medical concerns which pose challenges to my physical performance (Celiac Disease and various gastrointestinal sensitivities), safety limitations to outdoor activity (Vitiligo), and challenges to comfort and appearance (psoriasis). Like many people, I used to think that the hurdles between where (and how) I was and where (and how) I wanted to be were too great, too many, too difficult. But I set personal goals because rolling over and surrendering is not an option for me.
Add to all of that, I often don’t sleep well. I’ve never had trouble falling asleep. Instead, I wake between 1:00 and 2:00, and my brain starts working. I think about my job or my household projects or my schedule for the upcoming day. Sometimes, I think about song lyrics. It’s crazy. My brain just wanders wherever it wants to. And then, before I know it, I’m finally drifting back to sleep … around 4:00. I’ve had occasional luck with meditation, shutting down my thoughts with silent non-thoughts. But meditation only works occasionally.
When you have multiple issues, it’s often best to tackle one problem at a time. For me, sleep was critical. There was literature which indicated that CBD has helped people with sleep issues. It seemed like a reasonably low bar that CBD might be calming enough to help me get a good night sleep. Since I am my own, best lab experiment, I ordered CBD soft gel caps in the lowest dose available – 10mg.
The CBD worked, but only to a limited extent. Sometimes, I stayed calmly restful through the night. Other times, I’d wake for 30 or 60 minutes before slipping back asleep. I noticed that the hours I spent asleep were much better quality. I spent more time in REM state (basically, more time dreaming). But in terms of getting a full night’s rest, the 10mg CBD wasn’t quite getting the job done. I’m 6’1” and weight about 170 pounds, and I was trying the lowest available dosage. The next step up from a source I trusted was 25mg. When I took 2 of the 10mg gel caps, everything fell into place. Suddenly and consistently, I was getting great nights of restful sleep with extended REM states. And when I quit using the CBD, the benefits slipped away.
And it’s interesting to note that since I started using our CBD Softgels for improved sleep, I also have fewer outbreaks of psoriasis, fewer gastrointestinal problems, and less muscle soreness from workouts. Coincidence? Perhaps. But a valid observation, nonetheless.
Clearly, I have become a believer that CBD can solve some problems. The question became, when else might CBD be useful? I have tested our CBD Salve Stick on skin irritations (including occasional psoriasis flare-ups) and had great results. I’m testing a CBD sports cream formula on a nagging bicep strain, the results of which are promising. Time and continued testing will tell.
Believer, More or Less
Don’t get me wrong. I approach everything with a good dose of skepticism. To begin, I don’t trust just any laboratory formulation or manufacturing supplier. I also don’t immediately assume that just because one product works for me, it means they all will work. I’m not convinced that hemp oil works any better on dry skin than does … say … avocado oil. As I said earlier, I am my own, best testing lab. And the tests will always be ongoing.
But for me, at least, CBD has proven to be valuable for specific life challenges.
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