Functional Medicine and CBD Oil
In 2012, the Figi family of Colorado Springs, Colo., launched a movement to legalize cannabidiol (CBD), when parents Paige and Matt began using it to help ease the symptoms of their daughter’s, Charlotte’s, Dravet syndrome. This rare genetic disorder, which was first thought by her doctors to be Epilepsy, causes terrible seizures, requiring round-the-clock care. By the time she was 6 years old, Charlotte was having more than 300 seizures per week, was confined to a wheelchair, and had to use a feeding tube because she couldn’t swallow.
The family tried dozens of medications to no avail. When they ran out of options, Paige began to research CBD and discovered that it was being used overseas to treat epilepsy. Soon after Charlotte began taking CBD oil, her seizures subsided. Over time, she started talking, making eye contact, and walking. Doctors were able to remove her feeding tube, and the seizures were reduced to about once a month.
As Charlotte’s story spread, more and more people with epilepsy began taking CBD oil to help control their seizures, and other medicinal properties of CBD began to become more widely known.
Demand for CBD oil took off and legalization followed in many states. Today, CBD is being used to help in the treatment of numerous health conditions, including:
- Side effects of certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy
- Acne and other skin issues
- High blood pressure
People also use CBD as a more natural solution for addressing brain fog. That’s because CBD may offer the following benefits (claims that are not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration):
- Promotes alertness and clear thinking
- Alleviates pain and inflammation after physical activity
- Improves mood, relieves irritability, and increases resilience to stress
- Enhances performance and recovery from exercise
What Is CBD and How is it Different from THC?
CBD is one of many cannabinoids present in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants:
- CBD (cannabidiol) is best known for its health benefits. It’s not psychoactive, so it doesn’t get you high.
- CBDa (cannabidiolic acid) is the precursor to CBD. It converts to CBD when heated.
- CBG (cannabigerol) is not psychoactive and has some medicinal properties, notably as an antibacterial agent against the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) virus.
- CBN (cannabinol) is mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that’s produced when THC degrades over time. It also has medicinal properties.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive chemical compound in cannabis that can make someone high. It also has medicinal properties, and some evidence suggests that even a small amount of THC can enhance the effectiveness of CBD. Like CBD, there are variants to THC, including:
- THCa (9-tetrahydrocannabinol acid) is a precursor to THC that’s not psychoactive but has some medicinal properties.
- THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin) has some psychoactive properties at high doses and a few unique medicinal properties.
CBD oil contains a high concentration of CBD and little to no THC or other cannabinoids. As a result, it won’t make you high.
How Does CDB Work?
Your body is equipped with a chemical messaging system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — endomeans internal. The ECS engages with the body’s nervous system to help regulate appetite, digestion, pain, inflammation, immune function, memory, motor learning, stress, and more. The ECS itself contains cannabinoid receptors distributed throughout the body along with cannabinoids, which serve as chemical messengers.
Yes, your body has its very own, endogenous cannabinoids, meaning they’re produced internally. Cannabis plants contain phytocannabinoids, meaning they’re plant-based, but they function very much like your own endocannabinoids. Pharmaceutical companies can also produce synthetic cannabinoids as prescription medications.
The ECS plays a key role in enabling the body to maintain homeostasis — a state of equilibrium. When an imbalance occurs, the ECS jumps into action. The body releases certain endocannabinoids that travel to and dock with specific ECS receptors, sort of like keys in locks. The receptors then engage with the body’s nervous system to correct the imbalance.
Your body has two main types of cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors, located primarily in the brain and central nervous system, help to regulate appetite and pain and play a role in processing emotions and memories.
- CB2 receptors, located primarily in peripheral organs, help to regulate the body’s immune response and reduce inflammation, which is thought to underlie many of the chronic conditions that CBD is used to treat.
How Functional Medicine Doctors May Use CBD Oil
Here at Restoration Healthcare, we practice functional medicine — a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. We test before we treat, and we use safe, natural, and often the least invasive treatment options available to restore health.
Our treatment protocols typically include infusion therapy, diet and lifestyle recommendations, nutritional and herbal supplements, and, when necessary, prescription medications. CBD oil is just another tool in our medicine chest. It can be helpful in providing symptomatic relief and restoring balance and healthy function to the body. But it is not a cure-all.
Our objective is to restore health, so we don’t prescribe medication or recommend supplements (including CBD oil) just to make the symptoms disappear so long as you keep taking what we prescribe. We want to bring you to the point where your body no longer relies on medication or supplements for healthy function. CBD oil serves as a valuable tool in helping us reach that objective.
What CBD Products Do We Recommend?
The market is flooded with CBD products, good and bad. Finding a quality CBD product and understanding how to use it properly can be a challenge. That’s why we recommend the Healer brand of CBD products, developed by our friend and fellow medical doctor, Dr. Dustin Sulak, a renowned integrative medicine physician based in Maine.
Healer CBD is produced from selected strains of hemp organically farmed in the state of Maine. Each batch is third-party tested to ensure that it’s free of harmful contaminants and accurately formulated. The company’s patented process purifies and delivers more of the plant’s beneficial compounds, so you get optimal results. In addition, Dr. Sulak offers a free step-by-step Usage Guide and Response Tracker (note: link opens a PDF file)to eliminate any confusion over how much CBD to take and what to expect.
You can purchase Dr. Sulak’s line of CBD products by visiting the Healer CBD website, and when you use the discount code “rhealthc20, you’ll receive 20 percent off your total offer.
(Please note — FTC Required Disclosure: While this post is not sponsored or paid for, Restoration Healthcare will receive a small commission from the use of the “rhealthc20” discount code on the Healer website. If you have questions or concerns about this, please email [email protected].)
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post about cannabidiol oil, is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect current medical thinking or practices. No information contained in this post should be construed as medical advice from the medical staff at Restoration Healthcare, Inc., nor is this post intended to be a substitute for medical counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate medical advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed medical professional in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.