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Why CBD Helps You Get Off Pharmaceuticals

If you’ve done any research into CBD, you’ve likely heard it touted as a miracle compound with uses in medical applications ranging from chronic pain to epilepsy to even cancer.  While we’re firm believers in the necessity of further scientific research on CBD and other cannabinoids, preliminary studies, combined with the stories of thousands of patients, are compelling—CBD has been known for decades to be a potent antioxidant (a compound with cancer-fighting properties), and recent research has shown it to effectively treat a variety of symptoms.

The reason CBD is so effective against so many conditions is its anti-inflammatory action. Think about it: inflammation is the root of a variety of conditions, from type II diabetes to heart disease to epilepsy, and treating that inflammation can help alleviate symptoms. CBD also has analgesic (pain-relieving) and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, broadening its potential applications to cover a wide variety of illnesses. This is all great news, as it means that it is possible to replace your pharmaceutical regimen with CBD!

That said, CBD has another added benefit that is less well-known: it helps stave off the symptoms of medication withdrawal. This makes it an especially good choice for those seeking to get off the pharmaceutical roller coaster, as it can help ease the transition when discontinuing your medications. Today, we want to discuss the science of how CBD alleviates withdrawal symptoms, and how you can use it to get yourself off of pharmaceuticals, many of which carry the potential to cause undesirable side effects, including addiction and dependence.

How CBD Acts On the Body

CBD works naturally with your endocannabinoid system, which is a system of two different types of receptors (called CB1 and CB2, though scientists suspect there may be one or more other types that have yet to be discovered. There are also other cannabinoid receptors that do not bind to THC (which we’ll discuss in more detail in a moment) working together to help regulate your body and maintain homeostasis. A term originating from the Greek homio meaning “stable” or “equal,” homeostasis refers to the stable, natural condition of your body in a relaxed state. CBD helps stimulate the endocannabinoid system to support this state, bringing your body closer to homeostasis and soothing a variety of bodily systems.

The Science of CBD at a Molecular Level

CBD is interesting in that it doesn’t directly act on either the CB1 or CB2 receptor. Instead, it acts on a variety of other cannabinoid receptors like TRPV-1, adenosine, and serotonin receptors to regulate the systems of the body. This sounds complex, but we’ll explain what each of these actions mean in practice.

The TRPV-1 receptor regulates things like body temperature, pain perception, and inflammation, and is responsible for many of the primary effects of CBD. CBD binds to this receptor like a lock to a key, stimulating it and helping regulate these symptoms.

CBD’s action on adenosine receptors is especially interesting: not only does its action on the receptor help reduce both anxiety and inflammation, but the adenosine receptor itself is involved in the production of glutamate and dopamine. Dopamine is a familiar compound that is involved in motor control, cognition, and motivation, while glutamate mediates excitatory signals and is involved in memory, learning, and cognition.

Now, directly to our point: CBD acts on serotonin receptors—specifically the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, which is involved in a variety of systems, including pain perception, nausea, appetite, anxiety, sleep and, most importantly for today’s purposes, addiction circuits.  Stimulation of this receptor can help alleviate some of the physical symptoms of withdrawal, as well as soothing the neurons involved in the addiction pathway created by many pharmaceuticals.

Using CBD to Help Get Off Pharmaceuticals

Studies so far have shown that it takes a fairly high dose of CBD to stimulate the 5-HT1A receptor, so you may need to take a higher dose while you’re tapering than you might otherwise in order to keep withdrawals at bay. That’s okay! Unlike pharmaceuticals, CBD doesn’t require you to wean yourself off, so you can always decrease your dose when you’re out of the withdrawal period.

While CBD can work nearly instantaneously depending on the method you use to take it, it is most effective when used over time. This is why we recommend starting your CBD regimen and finding a comfortable dose, then maintaining that for at least two weeks before you begin your chosen tapering program. This will allow the CBD to act as a preventive for withdrawals while also giving you the flexibility to adjust your dose if necessary.

A Quick Note About Types of Withdrawal

Before we close, we need to discuss the nature of withdrawal symptoms, the types of withdrawal periods, and how to adjust your tapering schedule if you feel withdrawal symptoms coming on. First, you need to know what to expect from discontinuing your particular medication: some withdrawal symptoms, like those from opioids, are fairly well-known, while others, like the “brain zaps” associated with withdrawal from some antidepressants, are less well-understood and can be very disconcerting if you don’t know what they are. Furthermore, some medications, particularly psychotropics, have a notoriously long withdrawal period, and riding it out may not be feasible or healthy.

While increasing your dose of CBD can be helpful in treating your symptoms, don’t rule out temporarily restoring your pharmaceutical dose before trying tapering again, this time at a lower increment. Tapering safely may not be a perfectly linear process, and that’s okay! Try using CBD to help ease your withdrawal symptoms, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work for you or your withdrawals are too severe and you have to temporarily restore your dose. It doesn’t make you weak or less determined to discontinue these medications, and eventually you will succeed. Listen to your body and treat yourself with kindness during this time, and the rest will come. We’ve written a comprehensive CBD eBook designed to make this process even easier for you!

A Note on Drug Testing

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, and the ones available paint a rather murky picture:  avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.  A single study (as yet unconfirmed) suggests that even isolate-based products may not be completely risk-free under certain circumstances.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you’ll need to consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

Conclusion

CBD can treat withdrawal symptoms at a variety of levels by acting on multiple different cannabinoid receptors, alleviating not just the physical symptoms of withdrawal but also soothing the circuits underlying addiction. Since it carries no potential for abuse, addiction, or overdose and can be applied to a vast array of medical conditions, CBD is a viable and attractive option for many patients looking to abandon the pharmaceutical carousel.

CBD for Sleep Disorders like Insomnia, Daytime Fatigue and More

Many people find high-quality CBD helpful in the treatment of sleep disorders like insomnia, insufficient sleep, and restless leg syndrome. Sleep disorders refer to changes in sleeping patterns or habits that negatively impact health. Sleep disorders are surprisingly common, affecting 50-70 million adults in the United States. Unfortunately, most physicians prescribe pharmaceuticals to combat sleep disorders rather than managing the disorder naturally. Medications like sleeping pills and allergy/cold medicine are habit forming, unhealthy, and induce negative side effects when taken regularly. Your body develops a psychological dependency on sedative-hypnotic drugs like Ambien and Lunesta, and they often leave you with residual feelings of grogginess in the morning, even after a full 8 hours of sleep. The good news is that natural, plant-based remedies like CBD have helped thousands get off pharmaceutical sleeping pills. In addition to making lifestyle changes that facilitate a better night’s sleep, ingesting CBD oil before bed will help provide you with a restful night’s sleep – naturally.

Imagine waking up in the morning feeling rested and awake – no more residual grogginess or impairment. In order to understand how CBD helps modulate sleep, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of sleep disorders. We will address the results below.

The interesting thing about CBD and sleep is that in small to medium doses, CBD is mildly alerting – stimulating the same receptors as caffeine. However, several patients with insomnia report that consuming CBD oil (in tincture or extract form) a few hours before bed leads to a great night’s sleep. So why do the anecdotal results contradict the reported medical studies?

For starters, research on cannabis and sleep is in its infancy and has yielded mixed results. But there is more to it than that. The root cause of many sleep disorders is actual another disease like anxiety, stress, PTSD, or chronic pain – and CBD helps manage all of these conditions. So, while CBD may not be inherently sedative, it combats the underlying condition that is the root cause of many sleep disorders.

Study Results: 

A 2016 study evaluated the effects of CBD on a 10-year-old girl with pediatric anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. “Pharmaceutical medications provided partial relief, but results were not long-lasting, and there were major side effects. A trial of CBD oil resulted in a maintained decrease in anxiety and a steady improvement in the quality and quantity of the patient’s sleep. CBD oil, an increasingly popular treatment of anxiety and sleep issues, has been documented as being an effective alternative to pharmaceutical medications. This case study provides clinical data that support the use of CBD oil as a safe treatment for reducing anxiety and improving sleep in a young girl with post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Learn more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27768570

A 2017 peer review of the existing studies relating to cannabinoids and sleep concluded that “CBD may hold promise for REM sleep behavior disorder and [combating] excessive daytime sleepiness…”

Learn more: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11920-017-0775-9

Recommended CBD Regimen for Sleep Disorders

When formulating a CBD regimen for a specific disease or illness (like sleep disorders), it’s important to understand that high-quality CBD should be used regularly for maximum relief. It’s also helpful to understand whether another condition like anxietyPTSD or pain is actually the root cause of your sleep disorder. The recommended regimen will also vary slightly based on the type of sleeping disorder you have – i.e. those suffering from insomnia will need to consume their CBD at a different time of day than those suffering from excessive daytime fatigue.

Daily Maintenance

In order to manage sleep disorders, we recommend ingesting full spectrum CBD oil daily in the form of tinctures or gel capsules. The ingredients in the two products are the same, the only difference between the two is the form factor and dosage – pills vs. sublingual tinctures. The time at which you should ingest the CBD oil will vary based on your specific sleeping disorder. Meaning those with insomnia should ingest a few hours before bed and those with excessive daytime fatigue should consume when waking in the morning.

We suggest those suffering from anxiety start with 5-10 mg per day of CBD. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10 mg until the desired effects are achieved. These ingestible products provide sustained relief for several hours – many people find they provide relief for the whole day – or night as the case may be! The one thing to keep in mind with ingestible CBD products is the delayed onset time – it can take up to 90 minutes for the full effects of the tinctures or capsules to be felt.

For more immediate results, we recommend vaporizing CBD isolate  to combat sleeping disorders. The benefit of vaporizing or dabbing CBD isolate is that the relief can be felt almost instantaneously. CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD and provides a wave of relief that can be felt throughout the whole body.

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

How to use CBD for Arthritis & Joint Pain

You’d be surprised at what a joint can do for joint pain. CBD and THC—two of the active compounds in cannabis—do wonders for those suffering from joint pain, whether due to injury or a chronic condition. That’s because weed doesn’t just get you high; it can also naturally help you effectively manage pain, increase dexterity, and improve your overall quality of life.

If you’ve been relying on synthetic pain medication and pharmaceuticals, this article is for you: it’s time to say goodbye to the pharmacy, and say hello to CBD. Read on, and learn how to best medicate and manage your joint pain through smoking marijuana or organic hemp flower, vaping oil, topical applications, and more.

What is CBD?

what is cbd oilLet’s start with the basics. You’ve probably heard quite a bit about THC over the years, but are you familiar with CBD? Unlike THC, the psychoactive compound and main factor responsible for marijuana’s high, CBD doesn’t produce mental effects. Instead, CBD works on anti-inflammatory and analgesic pathways in the body to supply relief to those suffering from pain.

In fact, according to California organization Project CBD, a non-profit “dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of cannabidiol (CBD),” the uses of CBD go way beyond simple pain relief:

“Scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.”

How do CBD and THC Relieve Joint Pain?

Check out this video. After a brutal bout against UFC legend Conor McGregor, a bloodied up Nate Diaz is seen vaping in a press conference. He claims, “It’s CBD. It helps with the healing process and inflammation.” Nate might not have rheumatoid arthritis, but if anyone can attest to the pain relieving properties of CBD, it’s a bruised and broken man after a battle with one of the world’s most notorious fighters.

CBD affects your immune system, which makes it a natural for applications in autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis—and the science doesn’t lie. A study published in the journal Rheumatology from Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai of China’s Second Military Medical University found that CB2 receptors are found in unusually high levels in the joint tissue of arthritis patients, making them more sensitive to the effects of cannabinoids like CBD. The use of cannabis is shown to fight inflammation in the joints by activating the pathways of these CB2 receptors.

It’s not just CBD that can lend a helping hand, either: “Chronic pain is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, and when it comes to chronic pain, we have 9,000 patient years of data showing that THC [the active ingredient in cannabis] effectively treats it,” says Jahan Marcu, PhD, the Chief Scientific Officer for Americans for Safe Access, an organization devoted to the legalization of cannabis for therapeutic use.

Marcu continues, saying, “Cannabinoids stop the transmission of pain and decrease inflammation, and that’s very important for people with joint issues.” On a basic level, THC is anti-inflammatory and analgesic (it alleviates pain and the inflammation it’s often caused by), and it’s also known to reduce the anxiety and depression that often comes with chronic illness (especially ailments that are cause a loss of mobility, like rheumatoid arthritis).

Have you ever read about how smoking weed can cause seizure patients to physically relax and resume more normal brain function? Based on similar physiological principles, people with chronic pain and stiff joints may find that their body naturally loosens when using marijuana.

Essentially, all of these scientific studies support one of the key principles of medicinal marijuana: both non-psychoactive CBD and psychoactive THC work wonders for those suffering from joint pain.

Smoking, Vaping, Tinctures, and Topical Ointments

Marijuana isn’t a drug of the future, it’s a drug of the past. People have been using marijuana as a source of pain relief for thousands of years. Gooey Rabinski, an aptly named author considering he writes about that sweet sticky icky, writes, “Until the dawn of the 20th century, pot—albeit in tincture form, not smoked—was the primary form of pain killer in the United States. One hundred years ago, if a young girl skinned her knee, she was given a marijuana tincture, not an orange and white Bayer aspirin.”

THC is omnipresent, but CBD has been historically more difficult to come across. However, thanks to the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, industrial hemp, a high-CBD, low-THC variant of the cannabis plant, is legal to cultivate and ship nationwide.  Read on for tips to use CBD oils, concentrates, and high-CBD hemp flower to treat your joint pain:

5 Tips to Relieve Joint Pain with CBD Weed:

1. Start with Smoking or Vaping

You can use CBD vape oils (just look out for propylene glycol!) or even raw organic hemp flower (like Lifter strain from Canna Comforts shown in image below), which can be vaped or smoked, to receive a fast-acting dose of CBD for expedient symptom relief.  This is often the easiest way to get CBD, especially if you’re in a state with less-than-hospitable marijuana laws, as you can have the products discreetly shipped to your home. Be sure to check out our CBD consumption guide to figure out the best method of CBD intake for you.

cannabis

2. Apply a Topical Salve

Much like IcyHot or Tiger Balm, a topical CBD salve will help relieve pain from your joints and muscles. Of course, these are easily found in dispensaries in legal states, but likely need to be ordered online in states without a legal cannabis program in place. Worry not, you can buy a salve specifically designed for joint pain management and have it safely, legally, and discreetly shipped directly to you.

 

3. Sample Each Strain Type

Sativas, indicas, and hybrids all have their strengths and weaknesses. Sample different strains, much like a wine-tasting, and see what works. You’ll be surprised at the sensation supplied by CBD-heavy strains—they’re calming, relaxing, with a powerful soothing effect that is a blessing for those with sore muscles and painful joints.  If you live in a state without medical cannabis, don’t worry!  You can still reap the benefits of whole-flower, full-spectrum CBD strains with raw hemp flower.  Our favorite hemp flower source is Canna Comforts — their organic, batch-tested strains provide a broad range of cannabinoid compositions, creating an option for every need and purpose.

4.  Experiment with THC and CBD Ratios

If you’re buying your cannabis from a dispensary, you’ll notice that they typically list both the THC and CBD contents. Heavy-hitting, THC-dominant strains are often in the 20-25% range but may contain a negligible trace of CBD. Alternatively, CBD-dominant strains may have 10+% CBD and little to no THC at all. There are also blends and hybrids that meet somewhere in the middle.

5.  Try a Tincture

Nothing says old school like using a consumption method that’s been relied on for thousands of years. Though hilariously old-fashioned, the method is still incredibly effective and one of our personal favorites—a tincture can be just the ticket for your joint pain.  The effects of tinctures last much longer than those of CBD that is inhaled through smoking or a vape — they can even provide some people with all-day symptom relief.

Buy Colorado-Grown Organic CBD Legally

safety case

One thing’s for sure: for those suffering from chronic pain in their joints, a little bit of chronic can go a long way. Give CBD a shot — you might love the effects, and the worst case scenario is that nothing will happen at all. We rely on CBD after every ski day, backpacking trip, and workout—there’s just nothing better from a natural pain relief and relaxation standpoint.

A Quick Note About CBD & Drug Testing

If drug testing is a part of the conditions of your employment, you might be concerned about the potential of CBD to cause you to test positive for THC. This isn’t an unfounded concern — however, there isn’t exactly a cut-and-dry way to answer it.

Much of the data we have about CBD is anecdotal, and its potential impact on drug testing is no exception.  There are very few peer-reviewed studies on the subject, but there appears to be a small risk of a false positive for some users. Avoiding full-spectrum products containing traces of THC can reduce your risk of a false positive, but that may not eliminate the risk entirely.

If you are concerned about passing a drug test, you should consider this potential risk when deciding whether CBD is right for you. To learn more about the science of CBD and drug testing, check out our article for a more thorough discussion of how to minimize your risk of a false positive.

Blazing on a Budget: 11 Tips for Conserving Weed and Still Getting High

Unfortunately, the cannabis coffers aren’t always overflowing for most of us. To quote Boston George’s father from Blow, “Sometimes you’re flush, and sometimes you’re bust.” Whether you’re between jobs or between dealers, it’s worth knowing how to best conserve your weed when resources are tight. We put together this guide to blazing on a budget to help you extend the life expectancy of your stash.

    1. Don’t Roll Joints

      puff puff passAs much as we love joints—they’re our personal favorite way to smoke—they’re horrible from an herb conservation standpoint. Every swirl of smoke that spirals off of the cherry and into the sky? That’s wasted weed, because every second that joint burns and your lips aren’t locked on it, Mother Nature is bogarting your bud. If you just love to smoke joints and can’t bear to part with them, here are three tips to help make your weed last: avoid sparking up in high winds, roll regular size papers, and opt for a pinner roll instead of a cone-shaped cannon.

    2. Use a 4-Piece Grinder

      4 piece grinder for weedWhen smoking at home, using a quality 4-piece grinder is a smart move. Finely ground herb is preferable for all smoking styles, whether you’re vaping, rolling a joint, or packing a bong. This is because a fine grind produces slow, even-burning bowls. Plus, that kief collection will be a life-saver when your stash runs out—it’s like an insurance policy on your supply! Of course, if you’re on the move, a grinder can be impractical, in which case a Grinder Card will also help you conserve cannabis in a low-profile format.

    3. Get a Snap Bowl

      snap bong pieceThe snap bowl is a must-have for a bong smoker who is trying to conserve their weed. Bigger bong bowls are meant to be “cornered,” which means a smoker can torch a section of the bowl and leave “greens” for the next person. On the other side of the spectrum, a snap bowl is personal-sized. No need to order an XL-pizza when a slice will do, right? Snap bowls follow this same principle. Buy a snap-sized bowl from your local smoke shop, and pretty soon you’ll understand why some bong smokers swear by these babies—they’re compact, powerful, and effective.

    4. Pack a One-Hitter

      one hitter on the go smokingThis is our preferred method for smoking on the go while trying to conserve weed. Not only does the one-hitter pack a surprising punch for such a small and simple smoking device, but it’s also the most reasonably priced pipe you can buy. Not to mention the fact that metal one-hitters are virtually indestructible, so you don’t have to worry about breaking an expensive glass piece on a sidewalk or rocky trail.

    5. Pre-grind your Flower

      cannabis groundsThe size of a nug doesn’t matter—it’s the density that counts. That said, nug size can be misleading, and the best way to figure out exactly how much weed you have is by pre-grinding your flower. Especially when you’re nearing the end of your stash, grinding up that flower will help you better gauge how much is left in your arsenal.

    6. Direct Inject vs. Carb Pipes

      dugout one hitter on the goCarb pipes have little thumb holes on the side of the bowl that may seem useful, but can cause you to burn more herb than necessary for each hit. Direct-inject pipes ensure that all of the smoke hits you where it counts, and none of it swirls stupidly out of a hole on the side. You want a streamlined airflow—like a one-hitter—for increased smoking efficiency.

    7. Go For a Glass Blunt

      glass bluntAnother highly-underrated smoking device, the Glass Blunt punches high above its weight class. It can be loaded like a chillum and hits like Barry Bonds on steroids. After the one-hitter, the Glass Blunt is our second choice for squeezing out a maximum high from minimum weed.

    8. Pick the Right Strain

      sativa versus indicaIt’s an established fact:  some strains get you higher than others. Not only that, but different highs feel different to different people. It’s important to know the difference between a head-focused sativa and a deeply physical indica. We recommend speaking to your local budtender, or, if that’s not an option, to do some research on strains on a site like Leafly.

    9. Buy Better Pot, and Buy More of It
      strains of cannabisThis seems counter-intuitive, as better green costs more green, but paying more upfront means that your stash will actually last longer. If two hits of top-shelf will get you high versus four hits of mid-grade, it’s well worth the extra cash in the long run. Consider buying premium flower a long-term investment, and then it’s easier to stomach the upfront cost. In the same vein, buying in bulk seems like a rookie mistake, but it’s really an intelligent play with the price breaks. As long as you have decent self-control and don’t mind smoking the same strain for a while, buying an ounce or a half ounce instead of an eighth or a gram will stretch your dollar further.
    10. Sip a Little Coffee

      coffee and cannabis in the morningWe are big fans of a morning cup of java and a joint—it’s how we start nearly every morning before sitting down to work. Even if you can’t make a joint happen, pair a little coffee with a bowl or an espresso shot with your bong snap. It’s scientifically proven that enjoying coffee with your cannabis actually extends the life of your high.

BONUS! Mix in CBD Flower:  Symptom Relief Without the Buzz


cannabis


Everyone loves a classic cannabis joint, but did you know you can also roll a jay or pack a one-hitter with organic hemp flower?  It’ll not only extend the life of your cannabis, but hemp is naturally high in CBD and can provide fast-acting, full-spectrum symptom relief when smoked, alleviating anxiety and inducing an overall sense of wellbeing.

We enjoy the organic, non-GMO, sustainably-grown hemp flower strains from Canna Comforts, which look, smell, taste, and smoke just like the top-shelf marijuana strains that inspired them.  Federally legal and batch-tested for quality, purity, and potency, we trust Canna Comforts for a delicious and therapeutic hemp flower experience.