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Cannabis from your doctor.

Has the door opened to medical cannabis?

Perhaps we need to understand what medical cannabis is before I answer that question.

Currently there is one approved cannabis medicine that can be prescribed called Sativex but at present it is only given after all other medication has been tried as a last resort and only for people who have muscle spasms as a Multiple Sclerosis related symptom.

This is a very narrow group of people that can use the medicine. This product contains CBD like the beautiful products we have here at CBD One and THC – the cannabinoid that is psychoactive which means it can get you high or stoned.

 

So medical cannabis has THC in it which is currently a schedule one drug which means it is regarded as having no medicinal value and can only be used for research with a licence. As of November 1st this year it will be classed as a schedule two drug because there is growing evidence that it has medicinal benefits and it no longer has to be used as a last resort but can be prescribed if your doctor feels it will be appropriate for your problem.

Cannabis research has exploded in the last three decades from just 200 research papers in the early nineties to approximately 20,000 on PubMed today.

However, that does not mean the door has been opened to us all charging down to the surgery today to get our hit of cannabis!

Because it is psychoactive you cannot drive whilst using it and many work places would sack you if they found you had THC in your system as it can affect your state of mind. THC is also a substance that does not agree with everyone, it can make you feel nauseous or anxious amongst other issues. Of course it can also make you euphoric and happy! I don’t think cannabis has ever caused anyone to have a fight whilst using it or kick in a shop window…unlike a drug we find acceptable called alcohol.

Here is a description of how sativex can make people feel:

“The most common side effects with Sativex are dizziness and tiredness. Some people may also feel depressed or confused, may feel over-excited or lose touch with reality, may have difficulties with memory or trouble concentrating and may feel sleepy or giddy.”

Though there is no doubt it does help people too so we must not look at that description negatively and especially compared to the long list of horror story side effects most modern pharmaceutical drugs come with.

Fortunately, this does not happen with CBD type products which are incredibly safe to take and those of you who regularly use CBD One products will undoubtedly recognise the benefits that cannabis products can bring to your quality of life.

Thus it is fair to say the door has opened to the wider use of medicinal cannabis but it will not be suitable or appropriate for everyone.

 

Watch Your Back!

This time of year brings me a host of patients who have injured their backs whilst doing the gardening.

We sit around all winter and with the first sign of spring dash out to sort the garden out – spend a productive day sorting out the mess, go inside to have our dinner, then seize up.

The next day we can barely move and our lower back is in agony and away we go to the osteopath.

Yet this is such an easy problem to avoid with a few simple changes to how we do things.

The first thing to do is to take a look at all the jobs that are waiting for you in the garden. I can guarantee that there will be some that require you to kneel, some that require standing and others that demand you lift and move things.

 

Step one is to plan a ‘round robin’ of tasks that require different postures and spend twenty minutes on each job, gradually getting each job completed over several hours. The commonest mistake I see is one of people focussing on one job, such as weeding a flower bed, and starting it and finishing it all in one go – regardless of time. This may mean someone spends several hours kneeling down, leaning over and reaching across the flower bed.

Now, if you were a professional gardener and used to such work this would be less of a problem but when you are not used to such work there will be enormous strain placed on your body from maintaining a posture for a long period of time. Pressure through your knees and through your flexed lower back with a double whammy on your lower back from the weight of your upper body reaching across to pull weeds up.

The same is true for digging and even more so if most of your life is spent working in a sedentary job.

 

Therefore, the golden rule is to never spend more than twenty minutes on any one job and after twenty minutes switch to another job that requires a different posture. After twenty minutes in your new posture change again, either back to job number one, or to a new job with a different posture again.

Of course, this requires a little planning and above all else you must think about your body rather than ignoring it to get a job done.

An easy reminder to do this is to set a timer on your phone for twenty minutes and when it goes off you change to job number two, reset the alarm and go again.

Step two in preventing injury in the garden is to make sure you do a warm down after you have finished. This can be some simple leg and whole body stretches such as standing, then bending forward to touch your toes with legs kept straight, or gently rolling your shoulders and arms to release all the muscles that have been working hard. There are a myriad of stretches that are really useful.

 

Gardening is a physical activity and our body should be gently warmed up and warmed down afterwards to enable it to reset and recover from the work. It may not be a sport but is using your body in a very strenuous way so please stretch it afterwards.

An Epsom salts bath is also useful so add that into your post gardening routine once a week. You can even apply Magnesium oil to any aching muscles and this will also help them recover.

And if the worst comes to the worst there is always your local osteopath to help you out – and if it is me, I will also tell you how to prevent future trouble, the question is…will you heed my advice?

CBD and medication

A very common question that many people ask is whether CBD interacts with any of the medication they are taking.

There is an easy to follow rule which I shall discuss later, however, there is very little evidence about CBD and medication so the important thing to bear in mind is that if you are taking any medication prescribed by a doctor you must always go with safety first.

Speak to your doctor – they may or may not be able to offer objective advice. There is precious little, if any, education for doctors in the mainstream health system regarding cannabis products so they may know less than you do but there is no harm in asking.

It is worth noting that CBD products are very safe to take compared to much over the counter medication Tweet: CBD Fact: CBD products are very safe to take compared to much over the counter medication. https://ctt.ac/ugLG3 – a simple example being that around 3000 people a year die in the UK from taking Ibuprofen. This does not happen with CBD. In fact, I think it is safe to say that no one has ever died from an overdose of cannabis in the history of humanity!

One estimate I’ve seen is that you would need to take 1.5 tonnes of cannabis in twenty minutes to overdose on it – you are actually in more danger from having 1.5 tonnes of cannabis dropped on you.

There is some evidence that CBD interacts with an enzyme called cytochrome P450. This enzyme helps your liver process and remove certain medications from your body. CBD appears to inhibit this enzyme, in other words, it slows down the action of it.

Therefore, the most important piece of knowledge you need to acquire regarding your medication and CBD is – does your medication need cytochrome P450 to remove it from your system.

Finding this out is actually very easy because there is another commonly taken food that also interferes with this enzyme and that is grapefruit.

All you have to do is check the literature with your medication – if it says do not drink grapefruit juice when on this medication you can extend that to say ‘do not drink grapefruit juice or take CBD when on this medication.’

Once you have established this you have to decide either that you will stay on your standard medication or speak to your medical team about coming off the medication so you can try CBD. Be aware that very few medics know much about CBD – they are simply not taught about cannabinoids in their training. This means you may well know more than they do.

I have encountered all manner of reactions from medics from blatant prejudice based on no knowledge of the facts to others who are very interested and willing to encourage their patients to try something that may help them. Do talk to your GP/consultant and do ask what their knowledge is, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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I’m worried about trying CBD…

I speak to many people who are genuinely concerned and worried about trying CBD – mainly because it comes connected to the name Cannabis.

We have been educated to believe that Cannabis is dangerous, bad for us and is an introductory drug into a whole world of trouble and addiction. In the media you do not have to look very far to find scary headlines such as “cannabis killed my son” (it did not when you read the full story) and ‘dangerous drug linked to dozens of deaths’ (actually an article pointing out that synthetic cannabis may help sleep problems).

Stepping aside from this controversial topic it must be pointed out that CBD is NOT psychoactive and you cannot get high or stoned from it. The cannabinoid THC that gets you high has been removed so there is less than 0.2% in the legal CBD sold in the UK. Tweet: CBD is NOT psychoactive and you cannot get high or stoned from it. The cannabinoid THC that gets you high has been removed so there is less than 0.2% in the legal CBD sold in the UK

This means that when you take CBD there is no change in your state of mind – except perhaps feeling pleasantly relaxed and de stressed!

It is non addictive and is also not a cure all for living an unhealthy lifestyle.

I have encountered people who are curious about CBD and keen to try it all the way through to people who get very angry and dismissive when cannabis is mentioned.

However, I would say that if you are in anyway worried about trying CBD but have heard it may be of some benefit to you, rest assured there really is nothing to worry about. It is incredibly safe as it is a plant extract and such food supplements tend to be gentle acting. Hence their effects may take more time but their risks are far less than a modern pharmaceutical.

I would be more worried about taking an Ibuprofen tablet over CBD – thousands die every year taking ibuprofen – there are no such figures for CBD.

So it is safe.

You cannot get high on it.

It is non addictive.

If you do not know where to start – do send me a message via our healthcare advice page and I’ll do my best to help.

Have a great day,

Nick Tofalos

Cannabis Trade Association Member

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