Here is my research on CBD, and what I take it for, and how I take it. I have rewritten my post, just expanded a little on information:
My medical history: I have CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). I have severe neuropathy in all 4 limbs (nerve pain, burning/searing pain that makes your skin feel like it is on fire, and a deep bone crushing ache in the bones and joints that are affected. The pain never ever leaves, but it does vary in intensity (from 6/10 to 9/10 in my case). CRPS can also cause ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) dysfunction. For example, my limbs: have stopped sweating, my blood vessels do not dilate/constrict like they are supposed to when cold or hot, so temperature regulation is off. I am no longer able to get goosebumps on my limbs (either from being cold, or emotions), I grow coarse, dark hair on my right arm/leg, and grow very little and thin hair on my left arm/leg. My legs turn dark purple and mottled red/purple without warning, and my upper arms turn pinkish to dark red. I am cold intolerant (no swimming pools or boating. I am also heat intolerant, (no hot tubbing or hot baths, EVER). Neuropathy (nerve pain) is notoriously hard to treat.
I studied CBD and the different ways to take it for 4 months before I tried my first brand, total research took 6 months. I researched everything I could find on the good and the bad of CBD.
Why vape vs take orally? Taking orally only lets about 15% of what you take make it to your body for use, so that is 85% of what you take does not get used. I read recently of a company that found a way to let the body “use” more of that you take, but until I see a medical study or 3, I do not personally believe it. Vaping it (the reason it must be so pure (see below), allows about 60-70% to be used by the body because it bypasses the liver, which is what removes 85% of the usable substance on its first pass through the liver, so you need less to get a good outcome. I had a person know try it orally via tincture, and besides the taste, which was apparently awful, he did not fid it as helpful as vaping, but plese do further reading before you choose. I also know another person who took it orally in pills, and slept really well, I do not know the dose. I like to get as much bang for my buck as possible. I do not advise against taking it orally, I just want you to know what happens when you take it.
I came up with a list of (personal) MUSTS for CBD Vape (and the reasons they are on the list): Must NOT have: PG (Propylene Glycol)/PEG (Polyethylene Glycol)/VG (Vegetable Glycerin)/MCT oil (usually coconut oil- as with all oils, is very fatty, and can cause lipid pneumonia, so if you have pre-existing lung or cardiovascular issues, be careful). Most if not all of these are approved for food/oral use, but NONE/ZERO are approved for inhalation, and have not been tested by the government for safety for such use. The companies argue that he artificial flavoring they use are “GRAS”, which is short for: Generally Recognized as Safe, but this only applies to flavoring used for oral use(like chewing gum)/swallowing it, NEVER TESTED FOR INHALATION!!! Natural terpenes from plants are okay Some of these actually emit harmful carcinogens if heated too a high temperature, so inhaling them repeatedly over can possibly cause cancer or other issues over time. If you use the pen and disposable cartridges, use the lowest voltage possible.
MUST be full Spectrum, I other words, you get the extra effects from the part of the plant that makes up the tiniest percentage of the plant, but isolates are not the way to go, please look it up online if you have questions. Look up ” CBD, Full spectrum vs isolate”- I have tried both, and the isolate was a complete waste of time and money for me. I did not sleep better, had to stop wearing sleeves, I had no help, but others might feel differently.
MUST be grown in the US (preferably on a certified organic farm, so no herbicides or pesticides are used). Because the cannabis plant, including the species they make rope/hemp out of and the one with THC, aka sativa is a plant that is highly useful for “scrubbing” the soil, that is, it pulls heavy metals and other hazardous waste including pesticides and herbicides and the like used for generations of farming out of the soil, when they extract the CBD out of the plant, any of these things that were in the soil are extracted too, and because each plant only contains a bit of CBD, any waste the plant pulled out of the soil is now concentrated in the final product so because of this:
MUST do lab testing that is a separate entity from the company itself, because you do not want the company changing the numbers to suit their needs, it is the only way to make sure the product is safe. The lab can be on site, but again, MUST be a separate entity, and management should have no input on the work they do, as it is critical that we know about any harmful substances/contaminants in the product, and with the sativa plant, the exact level of THC needs to be recorded, because in the US, sativa is legally called “hemp” if it has under .03% THC, which the companies do via early harvesting (only at the end of growing does the plant mature and the THC levels go high).
IMHO, MUST use the sativa plant, same plant that carries THC, but harvested early, so the THC level is legal (it does not make you high!!), legally they call it hemp, but I make no mistake, I have tried both twice, each with a month of bring CBD free in between, and for me, I prefer sativa- I slept better, my skin sensitivity was down so much more, and I was MUCH, MUCH more relaxed (but keep in mind that is only the experience of 2 people in my household, we did this on our own and compared notes at the end). I personally did not test positive for THC when using it, and I was tested 3 times while using the sativa so far, but the company did have ONE SINGLE report of a person testing positive (note, if this happens, tell the company that took the UDS that you want the definitive (specific) test that will tell how much CBD vs THC, note: the pee-in a cup UDS’s have a high false failure rate (ask for the brand name and model of the cup they use, and look it up online right there on your phone in front of them to prove the false positive rate(!!!), so if you know that you have not ingested/inhaled THC, demand for them to send it to a lab for definitive testing (GC-MS test!!!), or have them send you to a hospital for a blood test right then.
Remember the above is MY personal list, but I have explained why each is important so that you can decide if that is an important point for you. I have only found one brand that meets all of these above criteria. NOTE: I VAPE CBD. . Why do I only vape? Because first pass, the liver gets rid of 85% of the usable CBD if taken orally by tincture or by pill, so 85% never even gets used! Look this up for yourself to verify. Some companies say they have developed a “new way ” of having the body break down CBD, but since I have only seen this by 2 companies who sell CBD, and no one else, I am leery of such claims. Even inhalation does not deliver 100%, but about 70% is okay for me (vs 15% orally), and I hold it in my lungs, just as others would smoking it to get high. It is not cheap, so I make sure to get bang for my buck. If you vape, my research shows to use the lowest possible setting, around 3 volts or so for safest use of regular CBD (and no, you cannot buy CBD tincture and put it in a vape pen)! If you use a high voltage with the stuff that has the additives in it (PG/PEG/VG/MCT oil) & artificial flavors, it can be even worse for you by making carcinogens.
What improvements do I notice? I noticed after vaping for a week or two (IOW, it is not instantaneous for me (or the other several people I did a verbal poll with), about 20 inhalations a day is what I use, my skin on my limbs can again handle a breeze against it without me wincing and stopping me dead in my tracks, waiting for it to end due to the severity of pain, also, my nausea from pain is not so bad, I feel calmer in general, and I can sleep 8-10 hours total for the first time in over 15 years. I can wear sleeves sometimes now, for an hour at a time, without it being the softest material known to man, that is huge to me, as everything I own is sleeveless, so wearing sleeves is novel to me! If I stop vaping, I stop sleeping within 2 days, back to 2 hours max at a time, no sleeves, and walking through the refrigerated section in the grocery store is painful again. Does it help with the neuropathy (nerve pain)? Hard to say, maybe a little. The deep bone crushing ache in some of my joints? A bit. I reach for breakthrough meds a little less often. It only takes a couple days of missing vaping for me to have to vape for an entire week+ to sleep well again). My insomnia is almost 100% pain related. I sleep a max of 2 hours at a time if not vaping daily, I wake up in pain, I reposition and wait about an hour+ to fall asleep again, and sleep usually another hour or 2, rinse and repeat. When vaping, I sleep 8-10 hours, and wake up 3-4 times, reposition, and fall right back to sleep. It is heaven
Sorry to be so detailed, but I wanted to express the thought I put into whether to try CBD or not, and why I picked the brand and way of taking it I did. The brand is Nature’s Love in CO – I prefer blueberry vape, it was the only one (of 3 flavors) that was relaxing to me, and I tried them all (NOTE: I do not work for them, nor own stock, nor do I get money or product for referrals, they only know me by email from all of the questions I asked and continue to ask them). I only wrote so much here because of the amount of in depth research on my part, and I wanted that to be expressed well in my response here, so you would only have to look up what you need. I looked up over 200 brands/products, and have a PDF list of these still. “Vape Juice” is a no every time, it has artificial flavors with the GRAS designation, and they use that as proof that it is “SAFE”. Now, I did try a little of a cartridge with MCT oil only added to CBD, and I could “feel” the vape on exhale (no matter how long I held it in my lungs), whereas I do not “feel” that with regular CBD oil with no additives). I did it purely as an experiment. It made me feel a little ill. Usually I hold the CBD vape in my lungs until I exhale clear, no vape, and when I exhale through my nose, there is a very faint, though not unpleasant scent, but no vape/”smoke” visible, like there was with the MCT oil added that I tried.
The additives (PG/PEG/VG/MCT) are to make fake smoke, I guess maybe is more for the crowd trying to stop smoking, I am assuming, so it feels more like the real thing? I bet I would appreciate this if I were quitting smoking. People that make vape juice say the chemicals are safe, but look at the history of cigarettes, and how many years it took for cancer and lung issues to show up and kill millions of people over decades, so excuse me if I do not take their word for it, just because they mix it and use it. After learning abut what these chemicals are, and the known issues of what they turn into when heated for some of them, esp to high temps, it scares me (please do your own research on inhaling these chemicals!). I take it only so I can sleep, and so I can handle a breeze or a sleeve on my arms . No judgement there, for those of you struggling to quit smoking.
CBD indeed is not a cure, but it does help manage my CRPS, and I am not as miserable. If I had Fibro, or ME/CFS, or MS, and my state did not have MMJ laws for MS, esp, I would give it a try. My state does have MMJ, but it is new and too expensive in MN right now. CBD, last I checked, was still legal in all 50 states.
I did research for 6 months total, and found only one company that met my “checklist of MUSTS”. Please comment if you have found another!!
*1/2/21 Apparently Nature’s Love is now NUUME, and offers no vape. See below in comments for the long answer, but the company I use now is Primary Jane. Much stronger than NL ever was. No additives or preservatives, and test for heavy metals, pesticides and mold. Great company!
I do not say this will work for you, I only know it works for me. For my neuroinflammation, it works really well. During the Covid pandemic, I am not using vape AT ALL! Smokers/vapers outcomes seem to be worse in some cases. I am high risk for complications from Covid. My sleep suffers awfully now with no CBD use (oral use makes me feel ill). If you choose to resume after vaccination, ask your doc when they would suggest you resume. I am assuming it would be a couple weeks after the second dose, but please verify.