Dear Dr. Roach: CBD helps ease reader’s pain; sleep, BP improve – Herald & Review

Dear Dr. Roach: I am curious on your opinion of the benefits of CBD. I am a 73-year-old female with spinal stenosis that is pressing on a nerve. I also have pretty severe insomnia. I take 1,000 mg of hemp oil for severe back pain. I noticed that the CBD has helped me sleep mostly without drugs. A surprise effect of the hemp oil is my resting blood pressure has dropped. It used to range from 140-125/90 at doctors’ offices. Now I measure 110-118/86. I was so shocked at this I made them take it in both arms. As for the back pain, it has reduced the degree of pain I experience. Not completely, but it’s tolerable. I would be interested in a medical point of view.

A: Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major pharmaceutical extracts from hemp (cannabis), has been recommended for many issues, but is still poorly studied. Medical cannabis, which contains the psychoactive THC in addition to the nonpsychoactive CBD, has been studied for chronic pain and has been shown to be better than placebo. THC alone has also been studied for pain, but I haven’t found good studies on CBD alone for pain.

I might argue that you don’t need a study, that you have tried it and it works. It is true that some or all of the benefit you experienced could be due to expecting to feel benefit (the placebo response), but if you are having no side effects, I can’t argue with success.

I would note that chronic pain can cause sleep problems and raise blood pressure. Poor sleep itself can raise blood pressure. Thus, it’s not shocking that a treatment that improved pain also helped sleep and blood pressure.


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