Does CBD as Daily Supplement Make Sense?Sep 01, 2023 06:00AM ● By Camille Lueder
CBD, or cannabidiol, is just one of many phytocannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, specifically hemp. From clothing materials to lotions, CBD offers many benefits to the human body. Unlike its sister plant, marijuana, hemp only contains about 0.3 percent THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the psychoactive component responsible for feeling “high.”
According to a Forbes Health study, out of 2000 U.S. adults surveyed, 60 percent have tried CBD products and believe it offers some medicinal benefits.
Does it make sense to take CBD as a daily supplement simply to bolster one’s health—even without any specific symptoms to address? Some think so, and others don’t. Natural Awakenings asked three area CBD experts to get their opinion on the question. However, ultimately, it’s up to each individual to make their own choice.
The Endocannabinoid System
Named after cannabis and discovered in the early 1990s, the endocannabinoid system, a biological system made up of endocannabinoids, allows cannabis to interact with the human body. Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, which are found throughout the vertebrate central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system. When one consumes cannabis in any form, whether its CBD or THC, it binds to those receptors, resulting in anything from pain relief to feeling “high.”
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating and controlling many bodily functions, such as learning, memory, sleep, eating, temperature and pain control, emotional processing and inflammatory and immune responses. The goal of the endocannabinoid system is to stay in homeostasis, but to do that, the body needs endocannabinoids. These molecules are produced by the body and allow internal functions to run smoothly.
Some people don’t produce enough endocannabinoids for their body to stay in homeostasis, and that’s where cannabinoids come in. Cannabinoids are essentially the same molecules as endocannabinoids; they just come from outside the body instead of inside. Having healthy eating habits and exercising can cause the body to produce more cannabinoids but, these days, when stress levels are high and people are busy, sometimes eating healthy and exercising isn’t enough, and a supplement is needed.
Perspectives in Favor of CBD as a Daily Supplement
Cannabis advocate, educator and consultant, Dr. Felecia Dawson, takes CBD as a daily supplement for mental health and longevity. She first heard about cannabis in 2013 by watching Weed, a documentary about medical marijuana treating childhood seizures. In medical school, Dawson had been taught that cannabis was a harmful drug, but she became fascinated with CBD and wanted to learn more. In 2016, she closed her brick-and-mortar ob/gyn practice and began advocating, consulting and educating about CBD.
“We’re starting to see people lecture about Alzheimer’s and dementia and say that perhaps we should all start taking a little bit of CBD. CBD is also a neuroprotectant, and it decreases the injuries from traumatic brain injury and helps new brain cells form,” says Dawson. “It wouldn’t hurt to do a daily CBD full-spectrum organic supplement.”
Dawson recommends “start low and build slow” when taking CBD. She says the dosage for beginners should start around 10 milligrams and eventually build up to 1,500 milligrams a day. If one is already on medication, it may be wise to speak with a doctor before taking CBD, but for someone who is typically healthy, it should be fine. Dawson has found no negatives side effects to taking CBD as a daily supplement, and she recommends choosing an organic supplement.
The “hemp guru” at Health Unlimited, Duane Piel, takes CBD as a daily supplement and recommends others take it as well. He started taking CBD after his doctor recommended it to help with pain from osteoarthritis and a congenital lower back issue. Piel now takes 50 milligrams of Water Rock Farming’s hemp extract twice a day. He says the product has helped to control his blood pressure, cholesterol and gastroesophageal reflux and has produced unbelievable effects.
“I’m able to stay calm, I’m able to stay focused, I’m able to have all the things that I’m looking for regarding pain. It’s not necessarily gone, but it’s much more manageable. It also helps with anxiety, tension, stress and sleep, so it’s pretty amazing,” Piel says.
Many people are excited about CBD products and enjoy taking them, says Piel, even those who were previously wary of hemp; his sales have been steadily increasing.
“All of us are changing and growing, and if you take CBD or any of the cannabinoid products, then you’re going to also be activating your endocannabinoid system, which is going to help your body work with balance,” says Piel.
Concerns Regarding CBD
The general manager of Good Nutrition, Greg Lee doesn’t take CBD as a daily supplement, but he has taken it a few times for sleep. Lee became interested in CBD after learning about how the endocannabinoid system interacts with cannabis.
“Five years ago, we didn’t know anything about the endocannabinoid system. CBD is what really kind of brought that to the forefront, and we all ended up learning that that system is connected to everything,” says Lee.
When CBD products, such as oils, gummies, creams and capsules, first became available at Good Nutrition, many people were wary of it, considering it marijuana. But now, Lee says, people understand that it comes from hemp instead. Sales were good in the beginning but have slowed down because CBD is available everywhere now.
“CBD is available now in every gas station and a lot of different places, but people have to be aware of what they’re buying. There’s an awful lot of junk out there,” he says.
Today, Lee has a steady group of customers who purchase his CBD products, but a lot of people have soured to CBD because of where they purchased it. Lee only recommends taking CBD as a daily supplement as a last resort. If someone is struggling with sleep, pain, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, seizures, depression or addiction, and that person has tried everything else, then Lee says CBD should be investigated.
Not everyone is as thrilled about CBD as Dawson, Lee and Piel. In January, the Food and Drug Administration decided not to declare CBD a dietary supplement because it didn’t find adequate evidence determining how much CBD can be consumed before causing harm. Dawson, Lee and Piel disagree with the decision. Lee says hemp growers have tried to educate the U.S. Congress about what CBD actually is, and Dawson says that CBD is a botanical or plant medicine, so it is safer than pharmaceuticals. Whether it’s for pain, anxiety, sleep or any other issue, there is growing proof that taking CBD can help ease negative symptoms and lead to a longer and healthier life. ❧
Natural Awakenings’ intern Camille Lueder is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration on journalism at Berry College. She is the upcoming issues and impact editor for Valkyrie magazine of Berry College.