Recently, I had my first experience with CBD oil and wrote a post about it on my blog. That was almost two months ago. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot more about using cannabidiol and the benefits associated with use. In this post, I’ll expound on the things I’ve learned through firsthand experience.
One of the first things I learned about taking CBD (cannabidiol) is that there’s no “one size fits all” guideline on dosing. When I was given a recommendation for CBD by a naturopath, I assumed I’d be sent to the pharmacy with prescription in hand complete with dosage and other instructions. That was not the case. When I met with the naturopath, I was given the name of an online source for obtaining CBD and encouraged to purchase products there. It was also recommended I take an additional cannabinoid, CBG (cannabigerol). Using both CBD and CBG cannabinoids, I was told, would provide greater benefits.
Before my visit to see the naturopath, I’d been reading a lot. Through social media and news outlets, I’d become aware of CBD’s popularity. Everything I’d read made CBD sound like a godsend, a remedy for whatever ailed me. I was excited to begin using it and made my first purchase of a CBD tincture on my way home from the cancer treatment center.
Without knowing how the CBD would affect me, I reluctantly took the first dose. It wasn’t clear how long the oil would take to act. As I waited to have my first CBD experience, I couldn’t help but remember life as a teen in the 1970s. Back then, marijuana, though illegal, was easily accessible. The drug, obtained from the plant Cannabis Sativa, contained a powerful psychoactive component called Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC. This cannabinoid affected the brain and brought about feelings of euphoria. People enjoyed using it and found that getting “high” helped them cope while providing an escape from reality.
Marijuana and CBD, although derived from the same plant, are very different. Marijuana contains various amounts of THC – with certain strains grown for medical use containing up to 20% or more. CBD, however, contains only trace amounts of the cannabinoid, usually under 0.3%. As a novice, I wondered if that tiny amount of THC in CBD would negatively affect me, but found out quickly, after using my first couple of doses, it did not.
The CBD takes anywhere from thirty to ninety minutes to take effect. The first thing I noticed, after taking it, was a profound sense of calm. After about an hour, I no longer felt pain. Usually, I suffer from pain on a daily basis both from degenerative spinal issues and from fibromyalgia. I was pleasantly surprised.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve experimented with dosage. When I first began taking the CBD, I took one dropper full a day but soon found that wasn’t enough. The effects of the oil wore off halfway through the day. Now I take 2 to 3 droppers full a day and find this works well for my situation.
Dosage is unique to the individual and since CBD is currently unregulated by the FDA, there’s no way to determine the best dose for everyone. The best way to figure that out is by trial and error. From what I understand, it’s best to start out with a lower dose and gradually increase as necessary based on health benefits expected. Dosage is also affected by the quality and purity of the product. The product I use is a good quality and has been third-party tested. Another consideration when determining the proper dosage is the strength of the product. CBD comes in a wide variety of strengths and potencies. A beginner may want to start out with a low-potency product containing only 300 ml of CBD per dropperful as opposed to a higher potency.
Something else I hadn’t realized before beginning the use of CBD was that our bodies have their own endocannabinoid system. This system helps our bodies maintain homeostasis. We have receptors in our bodies that interact positively with cannabinoids from CBD, CBG and various other cannabinoids. That was pretty amazing.
There has been much to learn about using CBD and I’m learning more every day. I’ve found there are many terms associated with the use of cannabidiol that I don’t understand. One of the terms that baffled me was “entourage effect.” I still don’t completely understand it but apparently it has to do with the way CBD and THC work in our bodies. When paired together, in a perfect balance, they create this specific effect.
Using CBD for the past two months hardly makes me an expert but I have learned enough to feel comfortable with CBD. One of the things that’s helped me feel CBD is a good choice for my body is the fact that a certified naturopath recommended it to me. When searching for a non-opioid solution to pain, CBD made sense.
There are so many choices when selecting cannabidiol products. Since my experience has been with the CBD oil-based products, I will focus there. When using a tincture, an oil-based cannabidiol, I’ve found a flavored product to be more palatable than an unflavored one. The unaltered tasted of CBD isn’t necessarily unpleasant, but it does have a more earthy flavor. Personal choice will dictate whether to flavor or not, but if you so choose, there are a wide variety of flavors available. My personal preference is peppermint flavored CBD.
For the first time user, it’s important to find the “sweet spot”. This is a term that relates to finding the exact timing, potency, and dosage that works best for your individual body. It may take several tries to find your personal sweet spot, but once you find it, you’ll know.
Overall, I highly recommend using cannabidiol to help with post-cancer health issues. Using CBD has helped me combat overall body pain, insomnia and anxiety. I have been extremely impressed with how it’s helped me cope with cancer PTSD, which affects me on a daily basis.
If interested in trying CBD, talk to your health care provider first. He or she may have recommendations that would benefit you and help reduce your time searching for the right product.
Since medical marijuana is still illegal in many states, CBD is the next best thing but without the mind-altering effects of THC. For some, especially those with stage 4 cancer or those in the end stages of life, medical marijuana may be available and offer a better fit. For those people, it’s important to talk to a doctor and obtain specific advice pertaining to that individual case.
Cannabidiol will remain a vital part of my post-cancer regimen. In the near future, I plan to try some of the other products available but for now, I’ll continue using the tincture. I don’t know who coined the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but that advice seems pretty sound to me.
I hope you’ll consider giving CBD a try. If you do, please make sure to do your research. Choose a product that is third-party tested for purity (Like Mary Jane CBD!). There are many products claiming to contain sufficient doses of CBD but, when tested, contain very little of the cannabinoid.
Key points for making your selection:
- Talk to a doctor for recommendations pertaining to your case.
- Choose a high quality, third party tested product.
- Experiment with dosage until you find the sweet spot.
- Enjoy relief from symptoms.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor do I purport to be. The information shared in this post is from my experience using CBD oil. It is up to each individual to consult a medical professional before beginning any new health regimen.
Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.