Tales of medical patients and cannabidiol (CBD) are plentiful. The story of Charlotte Figi, a child with Dravet Syndrome, inspired the FDA-approved use of CBD for epilepsy. But how are physicians responding to CBD? The current medical landscape is mixed: personal anecdotes often play just as significant a role as research.
Some doctors have been directly affected by CBD. They sing a sweet tune. Dr. Aimée Shunney is a naturopathic physician. CBD improved her husband’s insomnia and helped her manage stress. “In most cases, CBD works faster and better than the other tools in my toolbox. It has been a game changer.”
Physical therapist Isa Herrera suffered a bout of Lyme disease that left her with systemic inflammation and physical pain. Her patients mentioned CBD oil with increasing frequency until she decided to give it a try. “I have less pain, less anxiety, less inflammation and a sense of overall peace,” she writes.
A number of doctors have personal stories relating to patient success. In an interview with ProjectCBD, Dr. Boni Goldstein, MD, described a 15-year-old boy crippled by anxiety. Two weeks after starting CBD oil, the child texted his father, “I’m having a good day, I’m really happy, dad.” This was enough to bring his father to tears. Goldstein commented, “I’ve seen a fair amount of teenagers who are struggling with various psychiatric diseases… Most of them who come to me have tried pharmaceuticals and have not done well on them.”
In her interview with The Well by Northwell, palliative care physician Diana Martins-Welch, MD, admitted that roughly five patients a day ask her about CBD. “I have many patients who have cancer and who can’t sleep because they are so worried. CBD sort of shuts off all of that. You can have a better sleep because you’re more relaxed.”
Nonetheless, conventional doctors usually avoid CBD. The rigors of clinical research and medical/legal liability reinforce a conservative, cautious approach. Contributing to Fox News, Dr. Nicole Saphier reminded audiences that “the research is still sparse regarding many other touted health claims.”
At worst, CBD suffers from unjustified stigma. There are reports of children with seizure disorders using CBD oil with great results only to be dropped and blacklisted by their pediatricians.
Regardless, those interested in trying CBD would be wise to discuss it with their physician. Speaking with the FOX Medical Team, Dr. Sharon Bergquist supported CBD as an alternative to ineffective prescription medicines, particularly opioids. But she cautioned that CBD can interact with other medications, dosing is nebulous, and products are unregulated.