Barbara Lee was a nurse for 44 years. The job was hard on her, leaving Lee with chronic back pain.
She tried everything to get relief, including acupuncture, going to a chiropractor and even steroid injections. CBD did the trick.
“It has changed my life,” said Lee, while giving a presentation Monday on CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, and CBG at the DeForest Community and Senior Center. “Nursing was not kind to me. It gave me terrible back pain.”
Now an ambassador for Zilis, based in Jefferson, where she calls home, Lee is making the rounds, giving talks to seniors about CBD and CBG. She’s passionate about the topic. Her goal is to inform and educate about good CBD or CBG products and what to look for in making a purchase.
“It’s easy to buy a bad product,” said Lee. “That’s why I’m talking at senior centers, so you don’t end up buying what’s basically a jar of olive oil sitting on your shelf.”
Lee gave a history on hemp, the natural material that produces CBD. It dates back 10,000 years. Italian ships used hemp for ropes and sails. Ancient Chinese used its seeds and oil, and the first draft of the Declaration of Independence is said to have been written on hemp paper, according to Lee.
In 1937, hemp was declared illegal; however, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 proposed to remove it from a list of banned controlled substances in the country, and the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill that became law included its provisions.
“That paved the way for CBD products everywhere,” said Lee.
Lee also said that hemp has 50,000 different uses that involve everything from the stalk and roots to seeds and leaves. She also said hemp is good for the environment and can clean impurities from soil.
So, why is CBD such a hot topic these days? Lee said that’s due in part to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, in the 1990s. ECS touches every system in the human body, said Lee, including the circulatory and respiratory systems. CBD attaches to one kind of receptor, Lee explained, and said it is beneficial for chronic pain, anxiety, sleep and as an appetite suppressant. The only U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved CBD product on the market has to do with seizures.
CBG is different in that it attaches to a different receptor in the immune system. It is beneficial in treating glaucoma and decreasing inflammation, Lee said. It can help those with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome, and it has antibacterial qualities. Plus, Lee said it can be effective in treating bladder issues and protect against nerve damage. However, Lee said CBG can be difficult and expensive to get in large quantities.
Lee touched on safety issues related to CBD. She said it has no addictive component. The biggest concern, said Lee, is that it is not currently regulated. That means consumers have to be careful when purchasing it.
Lee also said they should first consult with their physician about CBD. She explained that CBD benefits could include lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which eliminate the need for other medications.
Not all doctors are completely sold on CBD, though.
“Are you going to get pushback? You may get that,” said Lee. “Physicians are study driven and FDA driven.”
Don’t give up on conversations with your doctor about CBD, Lee said.
“It’s your body,” said Lee. “You have a right to be a participant in your own health care. It has to be a partnership.”
There’s no insurance coverage for CBD, said Lee. Also, without FDA regulations, some products could contain very few or no milligrams of CBD.
On the other hand, Lee said more deaths occur with opiods and even Ibuprofen than with CBD, which comes in a variety of forms. It can be ingested through vaping. It can be taken orally, with an oral spray or by patches. It can also be delivered sublingually or topically. Absorption rates differ with each form.
Dosing is also different across the board, according to Lee. She advises started very slowly with CBD, maybe beginning with three to five drops of CBD oil underneath the tongue and then gradually increasing the amount until achieving the desired effect.
Lee said not to get frustrated if it doesn’t work right away. For people who have had chronic pain for years, relief may not come instantaneously. Lee said it may involving gradually increasing the dosage until it begins to work.
As for online purchases of CBD, Lee advises that consumers may not get actually receive what’s on the label. Affordability is a concern for customers, but in choosing that over quality, Lee said consumers probably will not get the results they want.
Lee said it pays to know what you’re purchasing. She also does not recommend buying CBD from a video store or gas station.
Knowing how your CBD oil is extracted from hemp is also important. The cleanest and purest method is through CO2, said Lee. Others involve olive oil, alcohol, solvent, butane and dry ice.
There are three types of CBD product: full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate. The isolate type has only CBD oil and is best for those concerned about drug testing at work because of its low amount of THC, the psychotropic material in hemp. Full spectrum is what most people need, according to Lee.
Lee also said to look for certification from the U.S. Hemp Authority on any product and use products from a Certified Organic Source.
Absorbability is also something to consider. Products can range from 3-6 percent absorbability to 83-94 percent.
Lee said CBD and CBG can lead to less pain, better sleep, more energy and even weight loss. She advises going to a store where staff will talk intelligently with you about the product.
“It could assist in having a better life,” said Lee.