The Buzz on CBD, Cannabis and THC
By Dan Gleason, DC
Now that marijuana is legal in Michigan, The Gleason Center is receiving many questions about what it does and how to use it.
Cannabis is a family of herbs that includes marijuana and hemp. It has been used safely for thousands of years in many parts of the world. In the U.S., it has been criminalized for nearly 100 years.
“This prohibition for a victimless crime has ruined the lives of countless people by imposing fines and imprisonment,” says Daniel Gleason, DC, owner of The Gleason Center in Spring Lake.
CBD (cannabidiol) is the part of the cannabis plant that does not produce a “high.” THC is the psychoactive part that makes people feel high. Some CBD has a small percentage of THC in it, although there are some that have none. There have been many anecdotal reports over the years on the use of these cannabis products and, as of 2018, clinical studies were being run on CBD for issues such as anxiety, cognition, mood disorders and pain. A quick web search will produce tens of thousands of reports of success using CBD to treat myriad disorders. Many pet owners even use the THC-free formulas on their animals (please consult a veterinarian or animal expert as THC can be toxic to animals).
“There is some overlap in what THC and CBD can treat, but THC is particularly effective in relieving anorexia, insomnia and nausea. Products containing both may work where the individual components don’t,” says Dr. Gleason. “Now that it is legal in Michigan many people will try THC in the form of cannabis for recreational purposes. I suspect even more will experiment with it for its medicinal effects.”
Marijuana is from the cannabis sativa plant and has a high level of THC. CBD extracted from marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug and is not approved as a prescription drug or dietary supplement or allowed for interstate commerce by U.S. federal law. Therefore, nearly all the CBD currently available is derived from hemp.
How CBD Works
CBD affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is composed of a group of neurotransmitters and neuro-receptors found in all animals with vertebrae. The ECS affects nerves throughout the brain and peripheral nervous system regulating a variety of processes including memory, fertility, pregnancy, appetite, pain, mood, memory and mediates the effects of other cannabinoids and THC.
The ECS is also involved in physical movement and is responsible for the phenomenon of “runner’s high.”
In 2018, the FDA approved the CBD drug Epidiolex for epilepsy. This drug’s side effects include sleepiness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness and sleep disorders. Those who use CBD may experience some of these same symptoms. These side effects nearly always go away with discontinued use.
With the loosening of regulations on marijuana in general there is tremendous interest in CBD. The good news is that CBD has no lethal dose or known serious side effects. The bad news is that numerous products are marketed as containing CBD but, upon testing, are found to contain little or none of the active ingredient. It is best to buy from a known source that uses independent testing labs to assure label potency. There is much information online about how to dose CBD, including charts for micro, standard and macro dosing based on weight. Again, buying from a reliable source should include suggestions on how to dose.
CBD comes in liquid, capsules and other forms. It can be used topically, orally or sublingually. Some people are using it in a vapor form or in an infuser. It has a half-life 18 to 32 hours, which means that your liver and intestines excrete half of it in that time. This is good in the sense that it is somewhat time-released. Users may only need to use it every 12 to 24 hours.
“Our office is receiving many reports of success with CBD, including better sleep, less anxiety, less pain and stiffness, fewer headaches, better focus and more energy,” says Dr. Gleason. “It is great that the citizens of Michigan have made these herbal products legal to use. When used properly, they can help with myriad health problems. Hopefully, in the near future, federal legislators will do the same so that more research can be done, and more people can be helped.”
Dr. Dan Gleason is the owner of The Gleason Center located at 19084 North Fruitport Road in Spring Lake. For more info: go to TheGleasonCenter.com or call 616-846-5410. See ad page 27.