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The Plant Oil One MD Calls “Game-Changing” for Pain Also Improves Sleep & Anxiety

Plus, how it helped one woman restore her vitality when nothing else worked

Headaches, backaches, stiff joints and sore muscles — ugh! JAMA findings suggest 54% of us have been impacted by pain in the past two weeks. And when pain becomes chronic, it can prove both physically and emotionally draining, warns Fred Pescatore, MD. We have many options to ease pain, from prescription and over-the-counter medications to lifestyle changes like eating anti-inflammatory foods and exercising. Then there are supplements. Many are marketed to ease pain, and one that’s growing increasingly popular is CBD. Just ask Connie Stauffer, who used it to overcome decades of pain. Read on to learn more about CBD benefits and how you can use it to ease pain.

What is CBD?

CBD oil; cbd benefits
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“Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD stimulates the body’s endo- cannabinoid system,” explains Mary Clifton, MD, an expert on the use of medical CBD (cannabidiol) and consultant for “This helps keep all the body systems — immune, respiratory, digestive, etc. — balanced and working together.” And as certified holistic cannabis practitioner Brooke Alpert points out, “The cannabis plant is basically broken down into two types of plants, what many call marijuana and hemp. CBD is found in both of the strains of plants, but the CBD most people are using comes from the hemp plant.” That’s key for women who want health benefits without a buzz, since since hemp-derived CBD contains only trace amounts of THC, the compound responsible for marijuana’s ‘high.’

What are CBD benefits?

“CBD can safely treat a variety of symptoms,” notes Dr. Clifton. Just some of the science-backed CBD benefits:   

CBD eases pain

CBD can be game-changer for alleviating pain, according to Dr. Pescatore. Indeed, experts reporting in the journal Postgraduate Medicine found 53% of chronic pain sufferers who took CBD reduced or eliminated their opioid medications within 8 weeks. Plus, 96% reported improvements in quality of life. And experts writing in the journal Cureus deemed CBD an excellent alternative to opioids for treating chronic pain, thanks to its non-intoxicating nature.   

Related: Doctors Reveal the 5 Best Self-Care Tips That Ease Arthritis Pain — No Rx Required

CBD alleviates anxiety

woman sitting in window looking calm
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Findings in the journal Neurotherapeutics suggest CBD acts on mood-regulating serotonin receptors in the brain to ease stress and anxiety. In fact, study authors determined CBD has “considerable potential” as a treatment option for a variety of anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. What’s more, a report in the Journal of Cannabis Research found CBD eased moderate to severe anxiety within 3 months.

Related: Revolutionary ‘Tapping’ Technique Dials Down Anxiety By 67% in 10 Minutes, Says Study — MDs Weigh In on Whys and Hows

CBD deepens sleep

“CBD helps reduce inflammation, which lowers pain and anxiety and improves sleep,” explains Dr. Clifton. Research bears out these CBD benefits: Experts reporting in The Permanente Journal found folks who took CBD oil experienced significant improvements in anxiety and sleep within one month. And in the same Postgraduate Medicine study that found CBD eased chronic pain, subjects reported it also enhanced their sleep quality.

Related: CBD Oil For Sleep: Top MDs Explain How It Works and When To Take It For Best Results

How to harness CBD benefits

woman putting cbd oil in a drink
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As promising as CBD is, Dr. Clifton cautions that it doesn’t work for 20% of people who try it. Plus, products can differ in quality: When authors of a study in JAMA Open Network tested products sold online and in retail stores, 76% didn’t contain the amount of CBD listed on their labels. To optimize your odds of getting CBD benefits, experts recommend the following:  

Look for third-party testing

For quality assurance, make sure the CBD you’re considering is backed by a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The document certifies that a product has been independently tested for purity and potency by a certified laboratory. “Some products have a QR code on the label that you can scan with your smartphone to access a COA, but if you don’t see one, call the company and ask,” advises Harvard-trained physician Ian Smith, MD. Need help interpreting a COA? The New York State Office of Cannabis Management offers a free guide on their website.  

Opt for “full spectrum” oil

 “The cannabinoid compounds in CBD oil reduce inflammation and act on the body’s pain-regulating endocannabinoid system,” notes Dr. Pescatore. But for optimal benefits, he advises choosing a full spectrum product that contains CBD and other cannabinoids (such as CBG and CBN) that work in synergy to relieve pain and anxiety. A full spectrum, third-party tested product they developed: Phyto Select Drops for $89.95.

Increase your dose gradually

Responses to CBD differ from person to person, so check with your doctor before dosing. Once you get the go-ahead, Dr. Pescatore recommends starting with a dose of 20 mg daily, then gradually increasing to as much as 80 mg per day as needed.

CBD success story: Connie Stauffer, 71

Just 5 more minutes of rest, Connie Stauffer promised herself as she put off getting off the couch to start dinner — again. “I constantly felt drained,” she recalls. “Usually, I loved hiking, walking and socializing with family and friends, but at that point in my life, I just didn’t have the mental or physical energy to function normally.”

Connie was tired all the time

“I had always been vibrant and felt so alive—until I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue in 2012. The condition occurs when the adrenal glands are not producing the correct amount of hormones. It’s marked by extreme fatigue, dizziness and feeling faint — symptoms that left me struggling to muster the energy to make dinner or stay awake past 7 pm. It also forced me to forgo taking walks around my scenic Highlands Ranch, Colorado, neighborhood, meeting friends for lunch or even watching a movie with my husband.’

“Adrenal fatigue also robbed me of the ability to handle any trace amount of stress or adapt to change and minor stressors. That meant that I was always feeling edgy and irritable, and I would snap at loved ones unnecessarily.

“Thankfully, I found a doctor who prescribed a combination of supplements and dietary changes that included avoiding inflammatory foods like gluten, nuts and corn. Strategies like these restored my adrenal function.

“I was thrilled when blood tests indicated my cortisol and other hormone levels were back in the normal range and that my adrenal function was normal. But I was devastated to find that I was unable to reclaim the energy and vitality I once enjoyed.

“My doctor was baffled when I explained that afternoon fatigue still plagued me. And despite reclaiming my adrenal health, his lack of suggestions left me wondering if I’d ever restore my energy…and my life. Frustration, sadness and despair set in.

Connie was also plagued by pain

“Compounding my frustration were the chronic back issues I experienced due to scoliosis and lower lumbar degenerative disk issues. I was also dealing with shoulder inflammation that left me with painful ‘frozen shoulders.’ I lived with daily pain that often sent tears rolling down my face, yet I forced myself to push through and try to do as much as possible, refusing to surrender to the pain and exhaustion.

“My medicine cabinet was full of over-the-counter ointments, creams and medicines that provided relief for little more than a few hours, and I didn’t want to start on a path of needing prescription pain medicines, so I stared doing my own research, looking for pain relief.

A simple solution

“Everything changed for me one day in January of 2022, when I was searching for natural pain remedies on the internet. I read that oral cannabidiol, or CBD, drops containing CBG (cannabigerol) might be the key to relieving my pain. CBG is a more concentrated compound derived from hemp, and it doesn’t have intoxicating effects.

“I was intrigued to learn that CBD and CBG work together, strengthening the benefits of both. The duo eases anxiety and reduces inflammation, which helps with joint pain. I read that reducing inflammation might not only ease my pain but also help me sleep better and clear away the brain fog. I was open to holistic and natural treatments, so I thought, What do I have to lose, and ordered a bottle.

Today, Connie feels fantastic

“Within a few days of taking half a dropper twice a day per the instructions on the packaging, I noticed that I was able to move my arms with less shoulder pain and stiffness. Soon, my neck no longer felt achy or stiff. While I was thrilled my pain was finally easing, even better was that I also no longer needed to catch a catnap or sit down to rest in the middle of the afternoon. Instead, I felt more energized than I had in a decade!

“Once again, I turned to the internet to understand a possible connection and was shocked to learn that inflammation in the body can contribute heavily to exhaustion as well as pain.
“For years I had been stuck in an endless cycle of pain and exhaustion, but these simple natural drops gave me back mobility in my shoulders and neck that I haven’t had for years!
“I believe CBD provided an answer to my prayers in keeping my body strong and resilient. Today, I look forward to taking CBD every day because I know I’ll have the energy and ability to tackle anything that comes my way.”

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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