This RI Writer Road Tested The Oil For Relaxation & More That's Suddenly Popular & Wow
CBD In The Ocean State
Okay, so go ahead and get all the pot jokes out of your system. All good? Great, now let’s debunk some of the myths right off the bat about cannabis, legal or otherwise, and what that all has to do with CBD, THC and how those two are chemically different from each other.
You’ve probably heard about CBD, but might not know exactly what it is. Even though as humans we’ve been using marijuana medicinally since… well forever, we’ve only recently begun doing research on using CBD the way we do any other off the shelf medicine. But research looks promising for treating epilepsy, anxiety, depression, aches/pains, insomnia, acne, and I’ve seen some interesting reading about Parkinson’s as well.
A quick history. In the early 70s marijuana was listed as a Schedule 1 drug by the government. That’s the same as heroin or LSD. I’m not a pothead, in fact, I don’t like smoking pot or much of anything else for that matter. But even if you barely know anything about marijuana, you can probably guess that it’s not anywhere near the same as LSD, heroin, or any of the other Schedule 1 drugs.
Why pot got lumped in with those is another story altogether and kind of a long one, so I’ll skip it for today, but just know that pot is closer to whiskey than it is to heroin. Here we are today and one-by-one states are legalizing it for recreational cannabis use, and now that Massachusetts has done it Rhode Island’s hand will be forced to in the next few years. That’s a LOT of revenue happening just above our state line.
For the record, I’ve done it, but honestly, I couldn’t have cared less for it. Not a fan of the smell, smoking, even getting it can be tricky. Plus, it doesn’t get me high, and before you even say it - yes, I was doing it right. I can also drink as much tequila as I want and not get buzzed, I’m weird I know. The few times I did smoke, the joints in my body felt better than they had in 15 years. And that’s what we’re talking about today, while my body ignored the THC (the chemical in pot that gets you high), it did very much like the CBD (the stuff that used medicinally).
Why CBD doesn’t get you high…Both it and THC live inside marijuana, but do different things to you. Inside you is a what’s called the Endocannabinoid System. That regulates things like your mood, appetite, and pain receptors. CBD and THC affect that system, but with very different results. I could go into a big ol’ science-y thing right here about binding chemical structures… but I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version instead. THC feeds into these receptors you have in your Endocannabinoid System, that makes you high (it’s similar to why you feel good after working out). Instead of feeding into those receptors CBD binds to you in a different way and can actually block the THC from getting you high, provided the percentage is correct. Say you buy something with 25% THC and 12% CBD, you’ll feel the medicinal effects more than the pot effects. The lower your CBD percentage the closer you’ll get to straight marijuana.
Hemp and marijuana are both in the cannabis family tree, kind of like how oranges and clementines are both citrus fruits. Similar, but different. Most legal CBD products are from the industrial hemp plant, and that’s true for Rhode Island too. You can buy it without a prescription and right off the shelves of any store that sells it. Which is what I did, here’s how it went.
I took a trip to Spectrum-India on Thayer Street and chatted with their incredibly helpful staff there. They ran down some options for me and gave me a little bit of information. In the end, I picked up an oil, gummies, and a chamomile infused tea. But those are just some of the options available to you. There’s also honey, topical creams, bath balms, and really just about anything else you can think of for you locally or online.
The gummies were 50mg each, I took one and it more or less just put me in a good mood and my body felt relaxed. It was a lot like the end of a really nice and calm day, maybe after a warm shower. Another day I tried the oil at the recommended dosage, about 100mg. Similarly, after about fifteen to twenty minutes I found myself in a nice mood but this time my body felt more noticeably better. Almost like I had dialed the clock back a few years. I’m 36 and I haven’t been gentle with my joints, taking the CBD was like giving the Tin Man an oil can.
It’s important to note, not once did I feel “high” or look stoned. That’s because I wasn’t… If you’d like another comparison I’ve had to take a good amount of Advil before because of soreness or aching and I would say it has some parallels. On that note, you should think of this as a drug in the same way caffiene should be treated as a drug. Mostly because it can interact with other medications you might be taking or how your particular body works. So it’s worth checking with your doctor to make sure it won’t cause any unplanned side effects. In general, the side effects, not associated with any other medications, are pretty minimal and not very common: change in appetite, fatigue (although I didn’t experience this), and they say possible diarrhea (again, not my own personal experience).
Let me recap for you:
PROS: It’s a good way to help with mood, anxiety, or aches and pains. It doesn’t have as steep of a crash as most pharmaceuticals do. I didn’t have to take as much to relieve my pain as I would with Advil, so I’m thinking my liver might be happier about that.
CONS: It’s not cheap and you need to do your research, especially if you’re buying online. There’s not a ton of regulations around CBD right now and you want to get the good stuff. Try to buy productions that have been farmed and produced in the USA. If you have an addictive personality or if you’re worried about being reliant on substances you should be cautious. I only say that because I could see myself using this to be in a better mood… then maybe needing it to be in a better mood*.
*This coming from a guy who requires four cups of coffee before 8AM in order to not be Oscar the Grouch’s understudy.
Final reaction? Look, everyone is different and like I said before pot didn’t affect me the way I’ve seen it affect others. But personally, I’d use CBD for joint relief and general aches and pains, but in a more casual way. I’m sure there’s also a chance of escalation too, the more you use the more you’ll need. I recently started cutting back on how many pots of coffee I drink for the same reason.
I know a lot of people are reluctant to try CBD because of its association with marijuana, but honestly, unless you are dealing with addiction issues I don’t see why you shouldn’t at least try it. Remember, it’s not pot, but it is from the cannabis family. I picked up the individual gummies for about $7 each, that’s enough for you to at least get a slight feel for it.
There’s not a huge amount of places in Rhode Island to buy it mixed into drinks or food, The Power Of Juice is one though. If you know of another we’d love to hear about it. There’s a fair amount of shops in Rhode Island that sell various CBD products, they’ll pop up in a quick Google search, but I only went to SPECTRUM-INDIA, so that’s where I would send you. They’re friendly and it’s a place that I think most of you have walked by at least once, so you might feel more comfortable asking questions there.
Thanks for reading,
+ Colin Carlton