Last year I was surprised when my professional holistic nutrition association, NANP, endorsed in-depth cannabis education created by other nutritionists. I’ve lived a lifetime with the stigma that marijuana is harmful, shameful, and better not discussed. With a jolt I realized it’s time to let go of this stigma so I can clearly understand the benefits and cautions. The most beneficial use I’ve found so far is pain relief with CBD.

Our EndoCannabinoid System

It is amazing to discover that we have a crucial physiological system called the endo-cannabinoid system. Cannabis affects us because we already make our own endo-cannabinoids like anandamide that fit into receptor sites all over the body. They regulate appetite, mood, memory, and pain sensation. According to neurologist Ethan Russo, MD, some of us don’t make enough cannabinoids. Health issues like migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS and some mood disorders may be symptoms of endo-cannabinoid deficiency. We can strengthen our endo-cannabinoid system with a healthy diet and exercise, as well as specific foods like fish oil, maca, black pepper, chick peas and brassica family vegetables. The cannabis plant is an important source of these chemicals and until the 1930s was widely prescribed by American doctors.

CBD Salves and Oils for Chronic Pain

I have many clients who suffer from various types of pain from arthritis, severe menstrual cramps, and back pain, and several have found relief from CBD. This is a key cannabinoid from hemp that has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties without the intoxicating effects of THC. Salves are rubbed into sore joints and CBD oil is taken internally. Other common uses are for reducing anxiety, eliminating epileptic seizures, and fighting cancer.

Everyone is Different

Cannabis affects each individual very differently. If you are taking CBD oil for chronic pain, start with a small amount such as 5-15mg. Estimate your pain on a scale of 1-10 and then check in an hour to see if it has shifted. It’s fine to go up to 25mg twice a day, but since quality CBD oil is expensive, you will want to use as little as possible to get the effect you desire. For perspective on dosage and safety, in a study where subjects took 700mg daily for 6 weeks, no toxicity was reported.


There is a concern that CBD oil may interfere with other medications because studies show that it affects liver enzymes that metabolize drugs. There are anecdotes that it may make birth control pills less effective, although definite studies have not proved this. Another important concern is the quality of the CBD products. Buy from a reputable source that can certify that what is on the label is what is in the bottle, and also that it is free of contaminants.

A New Designs for Health Product

The professional line supplement company that I’ve used for years recently launched a unique new product that has worked well for my clients. It’s called CannabOmega and it was formulated by Dr. David Brady, author of The Fibro Fix. It combines fish oil (200mg each of EPA and DHA) with 100mg of hemp oil. A lab analysis shows that each capsule has 11mg of CBD. In my Chico office I’ve offered clients with pain a few capsules as a sample, and many report excellent results, although it is not a solution for all.

Freedom from Limping

Recently I visited a beloved 88 year-old family member who limped over to me with a smile and a hug. She suffered terribly from knee and hip pain. I suggested CBD oil from hemp together with a salve. When she started taking it, her pain was an 8 on the 1-10 scale. After an hour it went down to a 6. After a week she felt no pain at all. She stopped the anti-inflammatory medication that is destructive to the intestinal lining. She is sleeping better and the limp is gone. Now that’s another kind of freedom.