Is CBD or Medical Cannabis Right for Me?
by Fred Harvey, MD
It seems that this world continues to challenge us in many ways. It has been an unprecedented time of both uncertainty and confusion. We all have different methods of coping with this historical pandemic season.
When physical distancing was announced months ago, some people entered a fight-or--flight nervous system response (and bought excess toilet paper too). When we are stressed, we sometimes behave in less beneficial ways. As a compensatory mechanism, some have been binged on “comfort” food. Some have felt depressed and anxious from unemployment or isolation. Those on the frontlines are exhausted or be recovering from the virus. Some of us are unable to participate in our routine therapies, so our bodies ache more than usual. Many even describe sleep disturbances due to stress, anxiety or pain.
Although these issues seem as if they require traditional pharmaceutical treatments, there is a common plant which has solutions for the pandemic stress-related challenges. I am referring to cannabis sativa and Indica. The cannabis plant contains many psychoactive components including cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There are others, but for simplicity, I will expand on those two in this article.
CBD is the widely available chemical found in legal hemp cannabis. CBD is the least psychoactive of the cannabinoid family, and can help calm nerves, reduce muscle spasms, improve sleep quality, assist with weight loss and reduce inflammation. It is available in the Harvey Center Nutripharmacy to rub topically on sore muscles, ease a tension headache or relieve symptoms of nausea.
Topical application has the slowest onset, lowest psych activity and longest duration. The premium organic, oil-based tinctures that I have selected to carry in my practice, when used orally or sublingually in drops, have a slow to medium onset with positive mental and physical effects in 30-90 minutes with two to six hours of duration. Vapor pens deliver a rapid onset response within 10 minutes which can provide relief when feeling panic after trying breath control and other relaxation techniques.
THC products are available only at local Medical Marijuana dispensaries to clients certified by a physician for Medical Marijuana use. There are a number of different products available, so we recommend that you first seek out the guidance of an experienced Medical Marijuana Physician.
These doctors who recommend cannabis in the state of Florida are only required to take an online education course. Their prescription allows you to purchase medication on a predetermined schedule. If you have questions about the process of acquiring a Medical Marijuana Card, please contact my practice.
THC is the chemical which is known for the most psychoactive of the “high” effects of the cannabis plant. However, when used precisely, as a therapeutic remedy should be used, one does not need to experience this high to achieve a therapeutic benefit. For example, a small inhalation from a vapor device will deliver approximately 0.5 mg of THC which. for most people, is a non-euphoric dose that will not result in a high sensation. However, it can help to reduce acute pain within moments.
Small doses of a THC tincture in the range of two to five mg sublingually will start to take effect in 10-30 minutes and last several hours. When ingested orally in doses of no more than 10-15 mg, it takes much longer for the onset and varies depending on stomach contents. An empty stomach will result in faster onset, but still likely to be 60-120 minutes. However, the effects will last much longer—eight hours is common.
There are many reputable Medical Marijuana treatment centers or dispensaries where a client with an MMJ card can purchase THC products. Each dispensary has areas they specialize in which I discuss with my clients when certifying their MMJ registration. The CBD and Medical Marijuana registration business has blossomed in the last two years.
Be selective and work with a trusted physician’s office that has in-depth CBD and THC knowledge. With so much misinformation out there, it is wise to research the products before purchase. Please do not randomly purchase CBD from a gas station, grocery store or gift shop. The effects of various cannabis vary from patient to patient depending on co-occurring disease, weight, diet, and other prescriptions. Treat it as a medication.
The Medical Marijuana qualifying process requires an MD consultation, and in this pandemic, telemedicine has been provided as an option by the state of Florida. A new patient MMJ consultation with Dr. Fred Harvey, either in-office or via telehealth is only $199. Once certified, he will discuss your questions regarding which products and dosage would be of most benefit for your conditions and how to use them during the consultation.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call The Harvey Center for Integrative Medicine at 941-929-9355 or visit HarveyCenter.com. The Harvey Center is located at 3982 Bee Ridge Road, Suite J, Sarasota.