Can CBD replace other medicines?

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A recent article in Forbes stated that, “Nearly half of people who use cannabidiol products stop taking traditional medicines.” I was intrigued. The Brightfield Group and HelloMD surveyed 2,400 individuals who use cannabis; the survey showed that women were more likely than men to use cannabis. Once survey participants started using CBD, 41 percent of respondents stopped taking other medications, and 58 percent added CBD to their medication regimen.

CBD for pain

People who use CBD most commonly use it for pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression. According to a 2017 study discussed in National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Emerging data suggest that use and abuse of prescription drugs may be decreasing in states where medical cannabis is legal.”

The Brightfield Group/HelloMD survey found that 46 percent of respondents who had used an opioid to control symptoms had stopped using it altogether, replacing it with cannabis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has also taken up the call for more scrutiny for cannabis and CBD. He recently sent a letter to Senator Jeff Sessions hoping to convince him to change the schedule 1 designation of cannabis. Gupta outlined how cannabis provides pain relief as well as opioids do saying, “I have seen this firsthand. All over the country, I have met patients who have weaned themselves off opioids using cannabis.

Other pain medications that CBD replaced, he noted, were Tylenol pain relievers and prescription medications such as Vicodin.

What about CBD and anxiety and depression?

Anxiety and depression are other conditions that have increased to the point where it affects nearly 18 percent of the population. At least 16.2 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode within the past year.

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on our bodies. From panic attacks to headaches and migraines to insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome. Heck, if stress goes on long enough, add acne, heart problems, hormonal issues and other disease. Mental health can falter, and quality of life can become compromised.

Medications for anxiety and depression don’t focus on the whole reason for the condition. So, sometimes they work, other times they don’t. Even if they do work, they can lose effectiveness as time goes by. These medications also can have adverse side effects.

CBD, however, communicates with the CB1 and CB2 receptors already present in our bodies and nudges them into action. The receptors, part of the endocannabinoid system, get to work to restore balance, subsequently easing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. CBD is often tolerated well and rarely do people experience side effects.

These are just two reasons to consider cannabis either in conjunction with or to replace medicines for some conditions, and it’s always a good idea to discuss using CBD with your doctor. At the same time, it’s true more research must be done. In order for that to occur, the silly schedule 1 narcotic stigma still attached to CBD must be removed. Until then, it’s an up-hill journey to get to evidence-based facts about CBD. Take heart, we’ll get there.