Maybe it’s time to talk to your pharmacist about CBD

By Holly Hanchey

It’s a new year, and you might be thinking of how to make your life better. Last year, more than 188 million Americans made a promise to themselves to make changes in their lives, and those resolutions encompass everything from weight loss to more exercise to eating healthy or balancing their budget.

Self-care always tops the list of resolutions, and for many, self-care includes reducing stress and anxiety in their lives. There are a number of ways to do that, but if you can’t remove stressors, you can do something to alleviate your reaction to those stressors. One way to reduce anxiety is through over-the-counter CBD oil supplements.

If you’re ready to take CBD products, the first step should be to talk to your doctor or pharmacist, like Jonathan Garvey at Paul’s Pharmacy in Evansville, IN. Garvey has a thorough knowledge of CBD products, and the pharmacy carries only one brand, imbue botanicals™, known for its high quality products.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a substance found in both cannabis (the plant from which marijuana is derived) and hemp plants. Hemp plants, unlike cannabis plants, contain CBD but are missing THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the part of the marijuana plant that causes impairment and the high associated with it.

In 2018, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act, or the Farm Bill as it’s commonly known, which recognized hemp and marijuana plants as two distinct plants, and legalized the use of CBD products that came exclusively from hemp plants so long as they contain less than .03% THC. Since then, the market for CBD products has exploded, and sales are expected to reach $17 billion annually by 2025.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one product for prescription use, called Epidiolex, for control of certain kinds of seizures, other CBD products available over-the-counter remain unregulated, so that means care should be taken before using CBD products.

Garvey has a number of patients who use CBD products for anxiety, as well as other issues like chronic inflammation and pain.

“The majority of our people use it for anxiety, pain and inflammation. We have a handful of people who took it and they didn’t think it was working until they looked at their anxiety medication and noticed they hadn’t taken as much,” Garvey said.

CBD is a great option for those who don’t want to — or can’t — take more addictive prescription anxiety medication, like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.

According to Garvey, those prescription drugs “are chemically made to trick the brain into thinking it’s a natural chemical in their brain, but CBD is doing the same thing in theory,” he said. “The prescription drugs can be taken and abused and you get euphoria, if you’re not taking them properly, and they have addictive properties. With CBD, there’s no high to it, there’s no addictive properties to it because it can’t latch on to the receptors in the brain.”

CBD products work in our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for many of our daily functions, including learning, memory, inflammatory responses and emotional processing.

“Our body has two different types of receptors that they know of, CBD1 and CBD2, that mimic our natural cannabidiol,” said Garvey. When our naturally occurring endocannabinoids bond with CBD1 or CBD2 receptors, they send signals to the entire ECS to take action, depending on which receptors are involved.

When you take CBD products, they mimic the natural reactions of the bond with CBD1 and CBD2, which can tell the ECS to reduce pain or inflammation, or relieve the stress response in the body.

In order to get the best results, it’s important to talk to your pharmacist about the proper dosage, and Garvey recommends a stair-step program designed by the team at Paul’s Pharmacy. “They [patients] start out at a 40 mg bottle, we usually recommend to start out with that, a fourth of a dropper full 2x a day for 10 days,” he said.

Then patients increase dosage by one-fourth each week, which should take them to week five of treatment.

“If they feel like they have adequate pain control or feeling better, we tell them to stay on that. And if they’re not, we have them increase to the next dosage, 100mg which is 2 ½ times stronger,” Garvey said. “Ultimately, we want to make the sale but we don’t want to waste their money, that way when they find a dose that works best for them, they’re not spending as much money.”

He also recommends a product that is labeled full spectrum.

“Full spectrum seems to work better for people in some of the research that’s been done. There are a lot of products that have really high milligrams, and that’s what we call an isolate, so it’s been processed to extract just the CBD and leave everything else out,” Garvey said. “We’ve been selling it for five years now, and we probably have a handful of people who said they didn’t get any results.”

Taking a dosage higher than where you see results can be a waste of money, Garvey said, which is another reason to use the stair-step method. “The way CBD works, it’s a bell curve, and eventually when you get to a high enough dose it’s not going to work. Sometimes the low dose works just as well as a higher dose.

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“The majority of our patients stay on lower dosing, and they’re saving money. The higher dose is more expensive. Now we have a handful of people who have worked their way up to the high dose, and that does cost about $90 a month, but the majority of our customers who’ve stayed on it are at the second to lowest dose and it’s $37 a month.”

Garvey stresses that the quality of the CBD products is essential to proper use and treatment with CBD.

“Where the hemp is sourced or grown is important because hemp actually cleans the soil, so if there are any toxins or chemicals in the soil, that hemp plant is going to absorb and it’s going to get passed on to the oil that’s processed,” he said.

“The company we use and we carry, imbue™, they grow their hemp in the mountains of Colorado, and they do that because it’s on agricultural ground, not ex-factories or cheap land. Hemp is a weed, it will grow anywhere you plant it. But the important thing is the soil content.”

In addition, imbue™, sold at Paul’s Pharmacy, grows their hemp plants at the highest elevation possible, which gives the plants more UVB rays and helps them produce the most CBD they can.

If you’re suffering from pain, inflammation, arthritis, or generalized anxiety, stop by Paul’s Pharmacy and talk to one of their pharmacists about CBD products and what they can do to decrease your symptoms and improve your quality of life.