With the increased popularity of CBD has come an explosion of non-healthcare CBD retailers. For those of us in the healthcare space, particularly with a focus on functional medicine, this is a concerning trend. Many of these retailers, rather than just selling a product, are increasingly providing healthcare advice for which they are unqualified. We believe that this trend is denigrating the integrity of CBD as an effective and natural solution for numerous health problems.
The term CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound extracted from the resin of the hemp flower. Its popularity came from the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, which lifted restrictions on the manufacture of products derived from industrial hemp. Unlike its cousin, marijuana, hemp contains low levels of the intoxicating compound THC. Because hemp was considered a banned substance for so long, clinical research and physician education have been limited. Into this void stepped non-healthcare retailers to provide consumers with basic product knowledge.
But product knowledge is not healthcare experience. A healthcare provider knowledgeable in CBD and functional medicine can provide specialized services that other retailers cannot. As it pertains to CBD, coordination of care with other providers, clinical-based product selection focused on the consumer’s medical diagnosis, and an understanding of optimal dosing are just three examples of these specialized services.
Coordination of care with other healthcare providers is particularly important when a consumer is taking medications. CBD can decrease the effectiveness of or adversely interact with certain medications. Independent retail pharmacies, specifically, can play an essential role in coordinating care, since pharmacists can make suggestions as to when a patient should have their medications adjusted and communicate with the prescriber.
As for product selection, not all CBD is the same. First, for ultimate therapeutic value, you will want a full-spectrum hemp extract instead of an isolate. Full-spectrum products contain not just CBD, but also other active cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, omega-3s and omega-6s that naturally occur in the plant. Research supports that full-spectrum CBD is more effective. That said, not every hemp plant strain has the same chemical makeup so it isn’t enough to just look for a product labeled full-spectrum. Determining which combination of cannabinoids provides the greatest therapeutic benefit and developing those strains requires investment in lab research and clinical trials, which few CBD manufacturers can provide.
Second, many CBD products do not contain what they say they do, so just because it is labeled full-spectrum does not mean that it is. In fact, it may not have any CBD in it at all. A third-party Certificate of Analysis is crucial to understand exactly what is in the bottle, including testing for chemicals, pesticides, and dangerous additives. The Certificate of Analysis is the best way to compare different products, especially since there are no standard labeling requirements for CBD products.
Third, there is a wide range of dosage forms, but they are not all created equal. While putting CBD in a drink or food item is trendy, it is far from the best way to ingest CBD oil and it is not going to give you satisfactory results. Think about it, do you go to a coffee shop or cafe for your prescriptions or medical advice? A knowledgable healthcare provider can help select the most appropriate form for the patient’s needs or may combine forms for maximum benefit and will educate the patient on how to take it.
Dosing is another area where specialized healthcare knowledge is beneficial. CBD, especially when taken orally, provides a bell-shaped response curve. This means that the optimum dose is somewhere between low doses and high doses. However, since everyone’s biochemistry and physiology are different, there is no one-size-fits-all, so the optimal dose varies by individual. This places CBD in the category of “collaborative” treatment, where the patient and the provider must communicate to find the patient’s most effective dose.
Consumers who are serious about trying CBD should find a knowledgeable healthcare professional who can optimize their understanding of CBD while increasing the probability of improved clinical outcomes.
If you have questions, call us at (239)481-7322 or stop by to speak with one of our wellness experts. Your health is personal to us, and we are happy to answer your questions about this or any other vitamin, supplement, or medication. Click the button below to schedule a free CBD consultation.