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  • Writer's pictureShari Berman

Help! I Want To Try CBD/Cannabis

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

Are you curious about cannabis? New to cannabis? I can help you get started.

People are turning to CBD/cannabis to find relief from achy bones and joints, arthritis, sleeplessness, anxiety,migraines, and many other ailments. Currently, I use cannabis to help me sleep and what I use works well for me. I will never go back to an Ambien prescription again. When I had cancer I smoked pot to alleviate my symptoms of nausea and lack of appetite. It worked better than the anti-nausea drugs I was prescribed and so when it was approved for medical use in my state, I was supportive.

But will it help? Should you try it? Have your tried it with no success? Figuring out what to use, proper dosing and delivery methods can be overwhelming and require more effort and experimenting than you might think. To highlight some of these challenges, I wrote an article that was published in STAT/The Boston Globe “I wanted to try medical marijuana. Why couldn’t my doctor help me?”

The response to the article was overwhelming and I had reach-outs from patients, cannabis doctors and nurses and start up companies wanting to talk to me. I clearly saw a need for more education for people using plant medicine both as a complimentary and alternative therapy.

Eight months later, I have learned a tremendous amount from others in the cannabis field as well as my own learning. I completed a training course in cannabis medicine and have just been accepted into a Masters Program at the University of Maryland in Cannabis Science and Therapeutics. I am excited for the opportunity to further my knowledge, in an academic and credible way. 

This new path has lead me to set up a Canna Healing Consulting to help people navigate the very confusing cannabis environment. The purpose of my practice is to help you learn about cannabis products, delivery methods, dosing and most importantly, I will help guide you through different options and dosing methodologies.

My goal has been to educate myself as much as possible to help patients by giving them reliable information about what the current research says and how people are using cannabis. Unfortunately, there is little coordination between doctors and patients which leaves people to experiment on their own.

If you have a medical condition or use certain pharmaceuticals there may be safety concerns and you want to ensure you have the best information possible before experimenting. In addition, CBD is not regulated by the FDA, though the FDA does recognize the potential opportunities that cannabis compounds may offer. I will be speaking at the Women's Health FDA Conference in the fall.

Did You Know?

-In the old days, it was simpler as you just smoked "weed". Today there are many strains, with a variety of compounds that give certain effects, and a wealth of different product and delivery types. Understanding and choosing products can be overwhelming for many people.

-Today's marijuana is different than what many of us remember from the 1970-90's, when THC content averaged around 4-5%. Currently, THC averages around 20%. The largest growing segment of cannabis users are over the age of 65, as they view cannabis as a safer alternative to medications with harmful side effects. Older folks, with little experience with cannabis, can potentially have bad experiences without proper guidance.

-CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound that comes from both the hemp and the marijuana plant. The CBD you see on the shelves and on-line comes from hemp, which is a variety of cannabis. It can be legally purchased if it has less than 0.3% THC.

-Many people are fearful of THC and think its' sole purpose is to get you high. THC can be very therapeutic especially for nausea and pain as well as many other conditions.

-CBD may work better in combination with THC than alone. CBD and THC are just two of hundreds of other cannabinoids in the plant that work together to create unique effects and benefits which has been coined “the entourage effect.”

-You don’t have to get high to attain symptom relief with THC and you certainly don't have to smoke it to receive benefit.

-The CBD market is unregulated. Up to 70% of products tested are mislabeled. Did you know that some products don’t even have CBD in them? Products may have less/more CBD than advertised and sometimes actually contain THC, even though the label says "no THC".

-Safety is a concern as CBD products could contain pesticides or heavy metals. Just because it says something on the bottle doesn't mean it is true. Check out my podcast "Educating Consumers on the CBD Market." I can guide you to products that have been tested and are reputable.

-There is no "one size fits all" in dosing. It takes a methodical approach to determine what works for you. Often it can take weeks of regular dosing and readjusting the dose to get a positive effect. So, those labels on CBD bottles in the store with dosing information may not help you at all.

-There can be drug interactions with cannabis/ CBD products. It is important to understand the effect of combining certain drugs with cannabis not to overload your liver or change the potency of the pharmaceuticals you are taking.

-Cannabis as a therapeutic medicine is not new. The documented use of cannabis as a safe and effective therapeutic botanical dates to 2700 BC. Between 1840 and 1900, European and American journals of medicine published more than 100 articles on the therapeutic use of cannabis. In fact, cannabis was part of the American pharmacopoeia until 1942.

-Cannabis is not a cure-all. It may help you find relief so you can use it as an alternative to pharmaceuticals or may help you get relief in combination with pharmaceuticals you are taking. It is also important to combine with a regimen of healthy eating, exercise and stress-relieving activities.

If you or someone you know has wants to try cannabis but isn't sure how to start or has tried CBD and then given up, I would be happy to talk to you.

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