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All email addresses you provide will be used just for sending this story. Four years ago, swimmer and six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken was in an ATV accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down and suffering from debilitating pain. After three and a half years of trying to treat the pain with prescription medications, Amy tried something new: Van Dyken had originally purchased the CBD for her dog, who was being treated for cancer.
But during an excruciating flare-up of her own pain, she decided to try CBD herself. Now, Van Dyken, who told her doctor about the relief she has found with CBD—and who recently became a paid spokesperson for Kannaway, a cannabis company—says she doses herself with CBD every morning.
And she has given up cortisone shots and other prescription treatments. In a recent Consumer Reports nationally representative survey of 1, adults, 13 percent of American adults said they had used CBD to treat a health issue; of those, nearly 90 percent said it helped. The paucity of evidence, however, is not necessarily due to the ineffectiveness of cannabis or CBD. Partly because official evidence is so hard to come by, people often treat themselves on the fly rather than seek guidance from a healthcare practitioner, experts say.
Still, as more patients and healthcare professionals try CBD—and more states legalize its use—experts are beginning to develop strategies for how to use it more effectively and safely. He says he gets to visitors for each talk, many seeking information because their own patients are already trying CBD.
One way to choose wisely is to look for products from states that have legalized both the medical and recreational use of cannabis; they tend to have stricter standards. See our map, below, for the legal status of cannabis products across the country. Also, read more about shopping for CBD products , including the pros and cons of purchasing online; and look into the different forms of CBD —such as pills, rubs, drops, and vape pens.
Finally, consider the advice below. Preliminary research suggests that CBD could offer some health benefits, especially in treating epilepsy. Other research hints that CBD may also help with other health problems, including multiple sclerosis, pain , and anxiety. But you should recognize that its potential benefits are largely unproven. Consult with your doctor. Your healthcare provider should be kept informed of all the drugs and supplements you take, including CBD, in order to best manage your overall care, help you determine the best treatment options for your condition, and guard against potential drug interactions and other risks see below.
And while your primary healthcare provider may not be familiar with CBD, she might be able to refer you to a healthcare provider who is. Watch for harmful drug interactions. Research suggests that CBD can undermine the effectiveness of some drugs and increase the risks of others, especially at high doses. That includes blood thinners such as warfarin Coumadin and generic , antidepressants such as fluoxetine Prozac and generic , and cholesterol-lowering statins such as atorvastatin Lipitor and generic.
Also, cannabis plants contain other compounds often referred to as cannabinoids that could be in your CBD product. The most notable one, of course, is THC, which can alter your cognition and have long-term effects on learning and memory loss, according to the American Academy of Neurology. Use CBD to supplement conventional care, not necessarily replace it. The risks of replacing any proven conventional treatment with an alternative unproven therapy, such as CBD, have not been well-studied.
But there are some health problems, such as pain or anxiety, where CBD may be helpful in place of certain pharmaceuticals, according to experts. So if you and your doctor decide you can substitute CBD for a prescription drug, you need to do that carefully—and under the supervision of your doctor—to guard against withdrawal symptoms and to ensure that your health condition continues to be well-managed, Krishna says. While CBD seems to pose little risk of addiction and is associated with relatively mild side effects, there is sparse research on the safety of CBD in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
But if a plant has THC levels above 0. To protect against that risk, cannabis plants should be tested frequently while they are growing, and finished products should be tested, using validated methods, too, Boyar says. And among those that do, the details vary considerably.
As a result, consumers need to take matters into their own hands and often have to rely on CBD manufacturers to self-police. Meyer, at Veritas Farms, says consumers should learn as much as they can about CBD products they buy, including where they are grown and whether they were tested for both CBD and THC levels, as well as contaminants.
Of course, the first thing to consider is why you want to take CBD. Read more about the safe use of CBD. And even less is known about which forms of CBD—pill, topical, or drop, for example—might be appropriate. Still, experts do have some advice. For very quick relief of, say, muscle cramps or anxiety, inhaling CBD may be most effective, via either a vape pen think e-cigarette or cigarette-style. For effects within a few minutes, oil drops under the tongue may be useful.
Topical lotions, rubbed onto the skin, vary from person to person—some may feel it right away, others not for several hours. On the other hand, CBD in food products is likely to take longer—30 minutes or more—to be absorbed into your system. Read more about the pros and cons of each form. This is important mainly if you want to avoid the head-high that comes with THC, something that is important to many people who are considering CBD.
But knowing the THC level can be important for other reasons, too, including how effective a product might be, as well as where you can buy it. To be sure, that notion is more theoretical than proven. And only a small amount of THC—as low as the 0. So if you want a product that probably has a little THC but not so much to get you high, look for one made from hemp.
Such products have the added benefit of being widely available, including online and in retail stores. Maine and Vermont have legalized marijuana for recreational use but have yet to open recreational dispensaries. They may even sell buds or flower from marijuana strains that have been bred to have very low levels of THC, says Michael Backes, author of "Cannabis Pharmacy: Still, Lee cautions that some people are much more sensitive to the psychoactive effects of THC than others.
So if you want to avoid the head-high, it's better to stick with CBD from hemp. Many CBD products sold online and in retail stores come from hemp, not marijuana. And the source of that hemp can be important.
Most hemp used in CBD products sold in the U. Among those sources, Lanier considers Colorado to have the most robust hemp program. Note that the Farm Bill, now in Congress, may make it easier for farmers to grow hemp and expand the number of states where it is grown and tested.
Products made with hemp grown overseas can be even more problematic, because they are not subject to any state or federal testing, say both Lanier and Boyar. So for CBD products from hemp, check labels to see whether they say where it was grown, and look especially for those from Colorado.
Not all products, however, include that information. So in a dispensary or a retail store, ask the staff whether they know where the hemp was grown.
And for products purchased online, check the companies' website to see whether it has that information, or contact the seller to ask the same question. That document shows how a product performed on tests checking for CBD and THC levels, and the presence of contaminants. So any COA for those final products comes from testing the company arranged on its own.
Though not all manufacturers take that step, many do, Lanier says. One state, Indiana, has made it easier for consumers to find these COAs. That suggests the lab adheres to high scientific standards. Also look to see whether a company uses testing methods validated by one of three respected national standard-setting organizations: Unlike hemp-derived CBD products, those made from marijuana must undergo testing—at least in states that permit medical and recreational use of marijuana.
In some of those states, dispensary staff are supposed to have the COAs available and be willing to share them with you.
How to Shop for CBD
CBD oil reviews for the top-selling CBD oil brands for Including best for pain, anxiety, depression, weight loss, arthritis, cancer, vaping, sleep. See pictures, ratings, and Reviews of the CBD Vape Pens and CBD Vape Pen Kits. See why Cannabidiol is becoming so sought after in this easy form factor. This tiny heater is called an atomizer and it turns the liquid, oil, or flower into vapor. Reviews of the Top 10 Hemp and CBD Oils (Updated ). TOP PICK – Best Starter Kit Vape Bright excels in their single product offering: Thrive CBD vape kits. Each starter kit contains a mg CBD oil cartridge, a battery, USB charger, and cbd spectrum vs cbd isolate to both manufacturers as well as consumers.