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This is Episode 28 of The Natural Plastic Surgeon Podcast. We have a very special guest on the show today. This is Dr. Matt Dawson, founder and CEO of Wild Health CBD, amongst other things. CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is derived from the cannabis or marijuana plant and is gaining popularity as a remedy for inflammation, anxiety and pain. But what is CBD oil? And are there any CBD oil side effects you should know about?

Podcast 28: Everything About CBD with Dr. Dawson–Founder / CEO of Wild Health CBD

You are listening to The Natural Plastic Surgeon Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Barrett, board-certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon located right here in Beverly Hills. I specialize in cosmetic surgery of the face, nose, breast and body. This podcast is dedicated to those deciding if plastic surgery is right for them and revealing all the latest beauty secrets. Let’s get started.

Dr. Barrett: This is Episode 28 of The Natural Plastic Surgeon Podcast. We have a very special guest on the show today. This is Dr. Matt Dawson, founder and CEO of Wild Health CBD, amongst other things. And I’m really excited to have him on, on, on the show today because I really think CBD has been a game-changer for my patients. And I think it has the potential to be a game-changer for all surgical patients, plastic surgery or not, in addition to people that are not getting surgery. But, you know, me specifically, I deal with a lot of surgery patients. And Dr. Dawson, I’m, I’m, I’m happy to have you on, on board. And, and I want to, kind of, figure out, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got, how you got into Wild Health and CBD.


Dr. Dawson: I practice, I don’t practice just plastic surgery like you. I’m not a surgeon, but I practice genomic space personalized medicine. So we have a lot of patients who we see them, and everything we do is, kind of, personalized, depending on their genomics and just whatever their complaint is and the preference in the lab work. CBD itself, I got into just because I had so many patients that would come to us and it was either already working for them really well or they had a lot of questions about it. I had read the studies, I was very bullish on it. I knew that it worked just from our patients’ experience. But I was somewhat worried just by the fact that it was a completely unregulated environment. We were seeing so…products having not what they said they had in them, tainted with some, some pretty bad things. There were some bad actors in the space. So I met some chemists and some farmers here in Kentucky, Kentucky happens to be the best place in the world to grow hemp.

Dr. Barrett: No kidding. I had, I had no idea. I mean, you know, we’re here, we’re out here in California, where we have a lot of that going on here. And, and, you know, I never thought of Kentucky. I mean, I’m from Virginia originally, so your neighbor. And I’ve been to Kentucky a few times. I actually interviewed a couple places there but, when I was looking at residency, but I had no idea that it’s a great place to grow hemp.

Dr. Dawson: It is. If you ask the experts they’ll tell you the Ukraine and Kentucky are the two best places in the world for growing hemp.

Dr. Barrett: Wow. Okay. Well, great, well go ahead and continue on. I’m sorry to interrupt you there.

Dr. Dawson: So we…I met a few chemists, a couple PhD chemists, one of the PhD in plant physiology, the other with a PhD in genomics and some others who really knew the science behind growing hemp. And they were already extracting, they were doing it the right way, and I was really impressed with their lab. They had a lab on University of Kentucky’s property. They were doing all the testing for all the farmers in the state of Kentucky. They had a million-dollar, million-dollar GC mass spec, multi-million dollar biotech company. And I was, like, that…this is the type of product that I want to give to my patients.

Dr. Barrett: Yeah, no. So let’s back up a little bit because you mentioned a couple points…extraction method, mass spectrometry. So mass…so I have a Master’s in Science back in the day, I did some research. I was pipetting in the lab a lot. And mass spectrometry you’re, like, looking at contamination or purity. You know, this is, this is beyond, you know, your typical homegrown, kind of, situation. And then, and then your extraction method…so I originally heard about you about…on the Ben Greenfield podcast. And some of the stuff that you guys do, and that extraction method, and all the, all the different things that you guys do. Can you tell us a little bit about that and, and, and why that makes you guys different?


Dr. Dawson: Sure, so these chemists in the biotech lab, they were doing the testing for farmers, looking for pesticides, other contaminants. And so we, kind of, had a big advantage knowing who was growing clean and who’s not. So that’s why they had all the lab equipment.

Dr. Barrett: Wow. So you could test, you could test for contamination in, in the actual hemp product that you’re getting? Or the CBD product?

Dr. Dawson: Exactly. And you have to. Any good product is going to have a CLA or should give analysis.

Dr. Barrett: Okay.


Dr. Dawson: These guys were already doing that. So they knew who the good at, good players were. And their extraction method itself. We do a cold ethanol extraction, different than the supercritical CO2. The supercritical CO2 is what most companies do just because you can scale and you can produce a large quantity. Our focus isn’t quantity, it’s on it’s quality. And we think this is a gentler method that you obtain more of the important components from the plant.

Dr. Barrett: Got it. You know, I can tell that right off the bat. I actually, I tried, you know, after that podcast where I, I heard you talk to Ben Greenfield, I went and I actually tried to check out a bunch of different CBDs. And I ordered your product, I, I tried a couple other products that I, were just not anywhere near what you guys had, and the effectiveness, and, and the dosage and, and everything else. And even just the, the, the flavor of the CBD. I know it’s, kind of, the, the one product that I use is a 1500. It’s the, I guess the full-spectrum and it has some of the cannabinoids, like, the color and, and so forth in it. And I wanted to ask you about the difference in your products that you have and, and what are the advantages and, and of the different things that you have going on?

Dr. Dawson: Sure. So if you do taste it, it is a very cannabis-forward product. It’s full spec…tell the plant that it comes from. I personally, when I see companies with these orangesicle flavor and things like this…this is a plant medicine, not candy.

Dr. Barrett: Right.

Dr. Dawson: We’re just pretty straightforward. We have a pretty simple line, we think that the plant does the real work, we’re not trying to add or subtract very much from it at all. The full-spectrum is the main thing we have. We, we do have a few lotions or other topicals. But in general, I think the oil is the best product, it’s gonna have, be the most efficacious for people. And only if you really can’t stand the taste then maybe try the topicals but otherwise…

Dr. Barrett: Yeah.

Dr. Dawson:…oil is the way to go.

Dr. Barrett: Okay, and what kind of patients do you typically prescribe your products to? Because, now, you see patients as well. Do you prescribe your CBD to, to patients or CBD in general?


Dr. Dawson: Yeah, we do quite a bit. We, the things that we see it helping patients with for the most are things like sleep, chronic pain, anxiety. There’s pretty good literature to back that up. Now we see patients again for so many different things. But I generally like to stick with the things we’ve got good literature for it and good evidence and those are the three big ones that, that people tend to have really good results with.

Dr. Barrett: Yeah, now let’s, let’s dive into that a little bit. So when it comes to people undergoing surgery, have you had an experience with people that have had procedures that have used CBD as perhaps like a, an additive or supplement to either help them with pre-operative anxiety or post-operative, like, surgical pain?

Dr. Dawson: Yeah, absolutely–both. The, the post-op pain is the main thing that we really use it for. It’s, kind of, it may not completely eliminate the need for narcotics, but sometimes it does and at least it’s gonna decrease that need. And also it’s gonna decrease your need for things like Tylenol, ibuprofen, things that we think of safe, but they really don’t have the safety margin CBD does. Their, their, their therapeutic window there is smaller before we start getting into harm with those.

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Dr. Barrett: Now, that’s, that’s really key because we’re going through an opioid crisis in this country and I, I really feel that opioids…I, I prescribe them from my post-surg, my surgery patients, but I, I don’t like doing it. Because I know it’s not the best thing to treat their pain. And, and when I convince somebody to try that, your CBD product because that’s what I carry in my office now, it’s like a game-changer for them. They don’t need, they don’t need the opioids as much or at all and they, they sleep better. They, prior to surgery, they don’t have anxiety. So I haven’t run any studies. I’d love to try to do some specific studies or see what else is out there about surgery, you know, pre-op and then post-op, but I, I agree with you that opioids for sure decreases that in my patients.

And then, you’re right, I, I don’t think Tylenol and ibuprofen are safe medications. I do try, if I’m, if I’m faced with the opioid versus Advil, I try to go for Advil or the ibuprofen. But it can cause problems like leaky gut and bleeding and things like that, especially in the surgical realm, and CBD doesn’t seem to have any of those side effects.


Dr. Dawson: No, and you made a great point about sleep. The improvement in the sleep is really going to help the healing process as well. Everyone knows how important sleep is and when you get that help you’re just going to do so much better.

Dr. Barrett: And, Dr. Dawson, I, I get so crazy at my patients, they hear this on the Internet, they’re like, I just took a Norco to help me sleep. And I’m, like, that’s the worst thing you could do. It’s, like, it’s, it’s just gonna blunt everything. It’s probably not, it’s not, it’s gonna make your sleep worse. And you’re gonna, you know, you’re gonna delay your healing, because you’re not getting good quality sleep. So my, my, my, what I’m telling patients now it’s, like, wherever you heard that, forget about it. Take, try your CBD first. Before you start thinking about taking Norco to help you sleep, because I think it’s the last thing you want to do to, to try to get you to go to sleep.

Dr. Dawson: Yeah, when I have patients talking about taking things like Ambien and narcotics for sleep, I frequently tell them look, if I hit you on the head and knocked you out, you wouldn’t call that sleep. Most medications knock you out, but you’re not getting the sleep you need.


Dr. Barrett: Got it. Now, are there any side effects of CBD or any contraindications?

Dr. Dawson: There aren’t any really hard contraindications. I mean, if someone has a, a history of psychosis perhaps, and, or maybe even THC-induced psychosis, then the cannabis plant may be a little riskier for them. But it, it really is just such a safe medication. There’s no real hard contraindications, everyone responds differently to everything. If you take really high doses, you take too much, there can be bumps in liver function tests. So that’s something that we’re watching, we want to be real open about.

Dr. Barrett: Now, is that shown in, in human studies or is that in just animal studies, because I, I thought the evidence was kind of conflicting there in terms of…


Dr. Dawson: Great question. So the animal studies is what’s been shown so far. However, just full disclosure, because I’m a, I’m a scientist first, and patient safety is of the utmost concern. I have talked to some researchers who are doing current research in, in humans, and they are saying that you when you get to two to three milligrams per kilogram, which is a big dose, they’re seeing a little bit of bump in LLT, which doesn’t mean it’s actually causing liver damage. It just means it’s something to watch and follow.

Dr. Barrett: Got it. Okay. And, and what, how would you recommend, how do you dose for your patients’ CBD?

Dr. Dawson: It depends on what his indication is. If it’s something…anxiety and pain, lower doses tend to work–15 to 25 milligrams. For sleep, if you look at the studies, it’s really more in the 100 to 150. So it kind of depends on what you’re taking it for.

Dr. Barrett: Okay. And how long does it take, typically, for someone to feel or see results with, with CBD.

Dr. Dawson: The really cool thing about the oil product is it’s sublingual, and it’s absorbed into the bloodstream immediately. So 15 minutes, you’re probably gonna feel an effect. It’s got a long half-life of about 24 hours, so if you’re taking it daily then it’s not gonna be in a steady state until day, kinda, three or four, but you’re gonna feel the effects immediately of what you’re taking right then.

Dr. Barrett: Okay, no…do people take it in the morning too. I noticed some of the recommendations we got for your products, specifically, is people can actually take it in the morning as well.

Dr. Dawson: They can take it in the morning. What I generally recommend to my patients, though, is I think nighttime, in general, is, is a better time to take it. Because of the higher dosing that’s needed for sleep, I generally recommend for my patients to take it at night in a bigger dose. And then with the long half-life, they’ll still have enough of it in their system for the anxiety and the pain the next day.

Dr. Barrett: Do you have…for, for you…so I, I, I deal with surgery patients that are interested in plastic surgery, typically cosmetic, some reconstructive. Do, for people out there listening to this, are there, are there gen, specific genetic issues, or other, other clinical indications or things that you, kind of, treat the CBD with that, that people may not be aware of?


Dr. Dawson: Yeah, I mean, CBD is an anti-inf, is anti-inflammatory and nearly every chronic disease is a disease of inflammation. I mean, people talk about the term inflammaging. So it definitely works for a lot of things.

Dr. Barrett: I like that. I’m gonna write that down. Inflammaging, that’s great.

Dr. Dawson: As far as genetics go, there, there are specific genetic snip, snips, specific FAAH–or fatty acid amide hydrolase–and depending on someone’s genetic snip there, we may recommend different amounts for different indications.

Dr. Barrett: Got it. Okay. Is, is there anybody that, you said someone with a history of psychosis would probably not be a good person to get CBD, was there anybody else that, that, that maybe want to be cautious?


Dr. Dawson: I guess if you’ve had liver disease in the past, but in general, no, it’s really safe medication.

Dr. Barrett: Okay. Now I’ve got a question about c8 oil. What is c8 oil?

Dr. Dawson: Sure. So that’s pure caprylic acid or c8. It is the medium chain triglyceride, that your body converts most efficiently into ketones.

Dr. Barrett: Okay.

Dr. Dawson: It’s a beneficial oil. I mean, everyone knows about ketones and why that’s important. And so we just thought that would be a little more sophisticated of a carrier oil to, to put it in. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s a little higher quality, we think,

Dr. Barrett: Okay, and now tell me, let’s back up…you know, we’re in California, and everybody’s all about the organic frou-frou, you know, non-GMO, kind of, environment, in terms of buying produce, and so forth, and ingredients. And sometimes people are, like, you know, I want certain things non-GMO, but it doesn’t even make sense, you know? So we’re, we’re pretty crazy with that stuff out here. Tell me, tell us about the source…I know, you know, it’s all grown in Kentucky, but is it, is it organic, the hemp that you guys grow? And…


Dr. Dawson: Yeah, we completely control the entire process. It with, with hemp specifically, the USD’s going back and forth on whether there are organic or not. And there’s all these regulations, and even when you look at your food, in the grocery store, if it’s called organic, there’s still 80-something chemicals that can be put on it. We’re not happy with that.

Dr. Dawson: So we, when people ask me that, I, I used to say we’re “moreganic,” a word that just kind of made up. But it’s, it’s really, what you put in your body is paramount. And so what we put in the bottle is extremely important. And that’s why, from the seed to the, through the entire process, we’re in control of that entire process, and keep any chemicals and pesticides and bad actors out of that.

Dr. Barrett: What do you see going on next for your, for your company? I mean is this, is this, like, your main, your main focus right now? If not, what, what else is out there right now that you think is going to be the next game changer? Or is it CBD, and you’re just trying to promote that?

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Dr. Dawson: Yeah, our, our main business is genomic-space personalized medicine. We have offices in, in Kentucky and Bend, Oregon, and New York. We’re opening up soon in LA and Portland, and quite a few other places. So…

Dr. Barrett: Oh great.

Dr. Dawson: We think that, that the way of the future in medicine is genomics-based personalized medicine and, and we’re very bullish on the cannabis plant in general, as well. So CBD is something that we’ve been very excited to bring a good product to our patients.

Dr. Barrett: Now Kentucky is a little different than California. Are you meeting a lot of resistance, locally or nationally, with trying to promote CBD?

Dr. Dawson: You’re slightly different, you’re right. I was in California a couple weeks ago. It was definitely a different culture. Kentucky, it is a more conservative place in general, but at the same time, it’s doing incredible things for our farmers in the state. So we…

Dr. Dawson:…you know, there’s pretty good support here in Kentucky.


Dr. Barrett: Now do you work with veterans? I, I, I read that somewhere, that I thought was pretty neat. Do you, do you work with veterans?

Dr. Dawson: Yeah, we have a great partnership with a great group of, of veterans and they make a brand called On-Duty CBD. And technically, it’s the exact same product as our Wild Health. But it specifically goes to the fire, EMFs, military, and they have a THC- free blend. Ours is full-spectrum. They also have full-spectrum, but for some police and others who are gonna get drug tested and who can’t have any THC period, they don’t want to run that very, very small chance of testing positive.

Dr. Barrett: Okay, got it. So, if someone is coming for surgery here and they, and they do get drug tested, is there a different variety that we, we should prescribe them, instead of the, the full-spectrum?

Dr. Dawson: So personally no. When I talk to people, it’s, it’s, it’s a tremendous amount that you would need to ingest but..

Dr. Barrett: Okay.

Dr. Dawson:…if you are paranoid about it, or really worried, or to boost your, your company’s policy, there is a THC-free blend of the On-Duty CBD that we make.

Dr. Barrett: Is there any, because, like, I remember, I, I, my family’s in Virginia, I flew back for Thanksgiving and I brought CBD with me and I’m like, whoa, crap, I think it’s actually illegal in Virginia. I guess I’m a doctor, I could probably say I prescribed it to myself or something. I don’t even know. I don’t even know what the rules are. But are you guys do, are you guys doing anything to, kind of…it, it, it’s so funny because you can get way more lethal things over-the-counter, and way more dangerous things than CBD. Are you, are you working on any, kind of, awareness of this, and, and, and it’s medical promise?


Dr. Dawson: Just a year ago, it was illegal in quite a few states. Since the Farm Bill, it’s legal in all 50 states.

Dr. Barrett: Oh okay.

Dr. Dawson: A few months ago, the problem then even, though, was that, that TSA. You couldn’t fly with it or you’d be in trouble. A few months ago…so it’s totally fine, so you can fly with it. It’s legal in all 50 states now.

Dr. Barrett: Okay, that’s really good news. Yeah, because I get a lot of patients that are super skeptical. They’re like, am I, you know, they’re worried, you know, I get drug tested at work, or am I gonna get high? Or am I gonna get busted? And you know, I’m like, look, first of all it’s California, you know, there’s hardly any, any issues here. But I, I was actually worried when I flew home for Thanksgiving. I was like, oh my gosh, I hope I don’t get…I didn’t even realize it, because I bring it, bring it home and it, it worked out fine. Nobody, nobody…I was TSA precheck so I, I didn’t seem to have any problems. But, that’s great. The Farm Bill…and, and what do you think is, is going to be, is the main challenge to, kind of, bring CBD to, to like a, like a over-the…do you think we’ll ever get to the over-the-counter-level for, for CBD products?


Dr. Dawson: I’m not sure. It, it’s being evaluated with FDA right now. There’s a lot of conversations. Personally, what I hope for is more regulation. There, there are a lot of companies in the space and that’s what really worries me, and scares me, is there are a lot of people who aren’t doing it the right way because there are no rules that says you have to. So I personally am hoping for a lot more regulation from the FDA and others so that everyone can trust all the brands that are on the market.

Dr. Barrett: That’s, that’s actually really key because the way that a lot of people get CBD is they go to certain dispensaries. There’s, there’s not even information about where, I’ve, I’ve gone through some of them, and I’ve looked at them. There’s not even any, like, sourcing information you don’t know where this stuff is coming from you don’t even know if it’s got CBD in it, or whatnot. And it’s, there’s, I, I, i see your point and that there’s so much misinformation out there that perhaps yeah, getting it regulated to a point where people can, kind of, there’s some standards to it. I, I mean, I think you guys are leading the way, when it comes to your product. And it’s, like, I, you know, that’s why, that’s why I decided to carry your product. Because I went, I went elsewhere, I was like, let me see what else is going on with CBD, and there is nothing compared to what you guys are offering right now in terms of quality, quality-control and, and really clean sourcing of your product that, that I think is the best, and that’s really…

Dr. Dawson: I really appreciate that. I do tell people, I mean, we’re not the only good company. And if someone really likes a company, the things you can do to, kind of, vet them is, are go to the website and make sure they have a COA, or certificate of analysis.

Dr. Barrett: Okay.

Dr. Dawson:…great. I mean, to be honest, you could technically make that up. There are no regulations, but that should be the minimum bar. And then try to get a hold of someone at the company and talk to them, as well. If you can’t, that’s a red, red flag.


Dr. Barrett: Okay, awesome. Well, Dr. Dawson, I, I can’t thank you enough for being on the show. We have an actual discount code that you guys have generously offered our listeners. It’s DrBarrett and you said listeners will get 20% off if they use that promo code on your website. Can you tell, would you be kind enough to share with the listeners your website where they can go to, to find out more about your product and possibly order it.

Dr. Dawson: So WildHealth.com is where our medical practice is and WildHealthCBD.com is where you can find the product and I think it was a, it was a 10% discount, but that doesn’t sound enough to me, so we’ll change…we’ll have it 20% like…

Dr. Barrett: Yeah, that’s…

Dr. Dawson: There’s…

Dr. Barrett: Well Dr. Dawson. That, that is so generous. I, I can’t, I can’t thank you enough for being here. Is there anything else you want to share to the listeners out there that, that, that you think is pertinent? That you want to share with us?

Dr. Dawson: No I really appreciate you having me on. If you want to get a hold of me and ask more CBD questions you can find my contact just at WildHealth.com and, and reach out and I’ll hap, be happy to answer any of your questions.

Dr. Barrett: Amazing. We’ll make sure to put that in the show notes. Dr. Dawson again, thank you very much for being on the show and, and sharing with us that generous discount code. You guys, if you haven’t tried CBD, Wild Health CBD is the best and only place in my opinion, in my humble opinion, to start with CBD and to try it out for yourself.

Dr. Dawson: Thank you so much.

Dr. Barrett: All right. Thank you, doctor.

Thank you for tuning into our podcast. If you liked today’s podcast, don’t forget to share, rate, review and subscribe. Also, find out if plastic surgery is right for you by using our virtual consultation at DrDanielBarrett.com/virtual-consultation. See you soon.

What Is CBD Oil—And Is It Really Good For You?

Yes, it comes from the cannabis plant; no, it will not make you high.

You can sprinkle a few drops in a smoothie, put it under your tongue, or even vape it. We’re talking about CBD oil. It’s from a cannabis plant, but you can tell your mom not to worry: It won’t get you high.

To say there is hype surrounding CBD right now is no exaggeration: “CBD is showing promise as a pain reliever, epilepsy treatment, and for wasting disease associated with cancer,” says Taz Bhatia, M.D., an integrative health expert.

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But does the stuff really work?

What is CBD?

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 80 phytocannabinoids, or chemical compounds, produced by the cannabis plant,” says Sarah Cohen, secretary, R.N., of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

CBD oil is what you get when you take cannabinoids from cannabis and mix them with a carrier oil, like MCT (a form of coconut oil), explains Devin O’Dea, the chief marketing officer at MINERAL Health. Until recently, THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound in cannabis that gets you high, was the most well-known element of the plant—but now CBD is giving THC a run for its money.

Can CBD oil make you high?

Let’s be very clear: “CBD oil will not get you high,” says Bhatia. “The compound in marijuana that causes the characteristic psychoactive ‘high’ is found in THC, not CBD.” That doesn’t mean it’s not psychoactive, though, says Cohen, as it just might help reduce anxiety and depression.

FYI: It is possible for extracted CBD oil to contain trace amounts of THC, since both compounds are present in the plant. So if your workplace has a zero tolerance policy, you might want to steer clear.

CBD is legal in all the states where recreational marijuana use is legal—eight states, including California and Colorado—according to Quartz. The same goes for states where medicinal use is allowed; but from there, the legality of CBD gets a little murky.

Basically, you’ve got to do some digging to find out of CBD is legal in your state.

Why do people use CBD oil?

What don’t they use it for? People say CBD help reduce pain, anxiety, depression and stress, improve the immune system, reduce inflammation, and more.

Forty-two percent of CBD users said they stopped using traditional medications like Tylenol or prescription drugs like Vicodin in favor of CBD, in a survey conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online community bringing doctors and cannabis patients together. Eighty percent of those people said they found the products to be “very or extremely effective.”

What’s a typical CBD oil dosage?

While it varies by product, Bhatia says most CBD oil comes in 10 to 15 milligram doses per one milliliter of oil (the size of a standard dropper).

But the actual amount of CBD you’re getting in your oil can vary hugely. That’s because the FDA generally considers the oil a dietary supplement—which they don’t monitor or regulate.

“There’s no real control, and there’s no requirement for content or dose in the generally-available dispensaries sold or distributed in the states where it’s legal,” says Welty. He notes that multiple studies have found that over half the time, the dose of CBD on the label is not what’s actually in your bottle. “Ultimately there’s no way to tell how much is in a product,” he says.

The only real guideline for an “effective” dose is what’s been studied for treating seizures—a use that was recently approved by the FDA, says Timothy Welty, PharmD, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The most-cited study used 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day in children, with a max dose of 50 milligrams per kilogram per day. “But the dose may be less for adults, because children tend to metabolize more rapidly than adults,” says Welty.

Can CBD oil really help treat pain and anxiety?

Some promising research has started to back up claims about CBD oil and pain. “Several studies show that CBD reduces chronic pain with muscle spasms, arthritis, and nerve pain,” says Bhatia, who referenced a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine and a 2016 study in the European Journal of Pain, both of which found reduced chronic pain or arthritis pain levels with CBD.

Welty explains that CBD oil likely enhances the effects of pain-relieving medications (like Tylenol or Advil)—but on its own “likely doesn’t control pain.”

That said, there really isn’t enough research yet to know for sure either way. “There are small studies and case theories, but they’re not well-designed,” says Welty. “The problem is that you’re not using a standardized product. Only the epilepsy studies are highly-controlled in different settings.”

The same goes for CBD’s effect on anxiety. At this point, it’s not really clear how or why CBD may help with anxiety, although the drug is well known to have a sedative effect. “It may work on what’s called the endocannabinoid system in your brain,” says Welty. That endocannabinoid system, which impacts the central nervous system, influences neurological activities like pleasure, memory, and concentration.

But we may have a more definitive answer soon. “There are ongoing, well-designed studies for pain and anxiety using new pharma-grade CBD products. They will show us pretty clearly whether or not the drug is effective,” says Welty.

What about all those other benefits of CBD oil?

The one use for CBD oil that has been given a gold star by the FDA: epilepsy. However on announcing their approval this June, the agency released another statement cautioning that lots more research needs to be done before CBD oil can be considered safe and effective for other uses.

With that said, CBD oil has been researched quite a bit—albeit again not quite up to snuff for many mainstream medical experts like Welty.

Some studies show that CBD may reduce inflammation, which can be caused by physical or emotional trauma, diet, food intolerances, diseases, and viral and bacterial infections, says Bhatia.

Since autoimmune diseases are almost always linked to inflammation, it makes sense that research shows CBD may help with inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s disease, asthma, lupus, celiac disease, and more.

Researchers have also found that giving CBD to schizophrenic patients appeared to reduced psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and disordered thinking.

“But the main things that have been studied are pain and anxiety, and a lot of work has been done around multiple sclerosis,” says Welty.

Does CBD oil have any side effects?

The simple answer here is that researchers don’t fully understand the downsides to CBD oil. “We haven’t seen a lot of negatives with CBD oil,” says Bhatia. “But we don’t know the long-term effects yet of using this yet.”

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If you suffer from anxiety/depression seriously. Get off the pills and try some CBD oil. Changed my life!

— Dj TeeBee (@DjTeeBee) March 23, 2018

The most common side effects of CBD oil are sedation along with GI symptoms like diarrhea, says Welty. Studies have also found that about one in 10 people taking CBD had higher levels of liver enzymes, which can be a sign of liver damage. “About 1 percent of patients in the epilepsy studies had to discontinue use because liver enzyme increases were high enough that they were dangerous,” he adds.

Beyond that, there are no other known chronic issues, Welty says. In fact, the World Health Organization has said that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential,” and that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

Still, purity is a cause for concern: A 2017 research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed 84 CBD products sold by 31 different online companies, and found that one in five contained marijuana components like THC, which could result in intoxication, especially if children were to take them.

Other studies have shown that about half of CBD oils have other contaminants like herbicides, fungicides, and fungus, adds Welty. But some states (like Iowa) are developing a system in partnership with manufacturers where government regulators will monitor and check CBD oil for purity Welty notes.

CBD oil may also interact with other drugs. It appears to be dangerous in combo with valproic acid—a common seizure medication used to treat depression and bipolar disorder—as well as blood thinners. “As with any new drug, there are still a lot of unknowns,” says Welty.

Like any medication, “if you are considering trying CBD oil, do your research and discuss it with your doctor before making a decision,” says Bhatia. Sure, while isn’t any research that should have you running to your doctor for a prescription just yet—there is some pretty convincing anecdotal evidence.

Ashley Mateo is a writer, editor, and UESCA- and RRCA-certified running coach who has contributed to Runner’s World, Bicycling, Women’s Health, Health, Shape, Self, and more. She’ll go anywhere in the world once—even if it’s just for a good story. Also into: good pizza, good beer, and good photos.

Colleen de Bellefonds is an American freelance journalist living in Paris, France, with her husband and dog, Mochi. She loves running, yoga, and wine, and is very particular about her baguettes.

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