It won’t get you high, but it might really help you.
Cannabidiol, known more commonly as CBD, is a chemical that is naturally occuring in our bodies, and is a part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Now that’s a pretty long word, but in short, the ECS plays a key part in human biology by supporting homeostasis, and allowing our cells to function at maximum efficiency.
Kristin Henriksen of Reindeer Bridge Holistics in Tisbury suggests CBD for any number of ailments, chronic conditions, or disabilities.
Henriksen is a cannabis trained practitioner, and received a degree in cannabis science from the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine.
“CBD really benefits everyone. Depending on the formulation you use, CBD can be used to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, chronic pain, epilepsy, glaucoma, and myriad other afflictions,” Henriksen said.
Not only are there benefits to ingesting CBD, but Henriksen said it can also be applied topically to treat burns, cuts, and rashes of all types.
“It really is one of nature’s most beneficial creations,” Henriksen said. “The reason it is so beneficial is because it is naturally occuring in our body, and can be used in so many different ways.”
Although the other cannabinoid found in marijuana, THC, is the chemical that gets people high, it can also be mixed with CBD in small doses to create what is called the “entourage effect.”
Henriksen explained how THC, even in minute concentrations, works together with CBD to create a more comprehensive treatment by using what she called “whole plant science.”
By combining both cannabinoid chemicals, along with other naturally occurring compounds and fatty acids found in cannabis, Henriksen said, a synergistic effect is created.
“Instead of taking one chemical independent of another, I always suggest that people try a little tiny bit of THC along with the CBD,” Henriksen said.
Even better is to consume the whole plant, instead of one particular part of the plant that produces CBD, such as the seeds, stems, and stalks.
Although Henriksen is not legally certified to sell THC, she said people have come to her with their own vials of THC and CBD and asked her to formulate a special combination to treat a specific illness.
As opposed to pharmaceutical medications, Henriksen said, CBD and other naturopathic remedies look to address the root of the problem, instead of just allaying the symptoms of a condition.
“We try to really sit down with the person and understand who they are, what their lifestyle is like, what their diet is like,” Henriksen said. “This allows us to address any deficiencies and create a formulation that works for that individual.”
But Henriksen said there will always be a place for Western medicine in the world, because there are many conditions that need treatment from a licensed doctor. And Henriksen isn’t afraid to suggest that someone visit a doctor if she thinks a condition is too severe or cannot be treated effectively by CBD.
“Doctors don’t have the time or the ability to really sit down with a patient and get to know their whole lifestyle,” Henriksen said. “Sometimes doctors send patients to me, and sometimes I send patients to doctors, if I think their level of necessary treatment is too high.”
As of now, Henriksen said she is seeking help in lobbying for practitioners to work directly with dispensaries, because they often have the most immediate access to medical-grade cannabis.
“I think doctors and cannabis specialists and dispensaries should be working hand-in-hand to support patients by making these types of products [CBD, THC] more readily available,” Henriksen said.
For Henriksen, the stigma surrounding cannabis use for its medicinal properties has impeded the progress of a promising area of science. She said that if cannabis specialists had more funding to conduct research and tests, the medical cannabis industry could be helping thousands more people.
“Some people hear the word ‘marijuana’ and shy away from it. The truth is, there are many uses to cannabis, endless uses, in fact,” Henriksen said.
One campaign Henriksen mentioned is the leafy green campaign — an effort by dieticians and cannabis scientists to encourage folks to include parts of the cannabis plant in their everyday diet.
Things like cannabis seeds, leaves, and even the flower can be mixed with food or cooked by themselves. All parts of the plant, Henriksen said, contain healthful properties that can benefit long-term health.
“Things like omega oils normally found in foods like fish and nuts, these are the types of beneficial properties that ingesting cannabis regularly has,” Henriksen said.
With so many potential benefits to the consumption and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, Henriksen said that in the future she hopes the mom-and-pop practitioners will be able to hold their own against pharmaceutical industry giants.
“It’s going to be hard when the word really gets out there, and this type of science and medicine gets more popular,” Henriksen said. “I hope I can continue to sell CBD here for a long time. But the truth is, it may get restricted from sale at some point, and you will need a special license to sell it.”
Henriksen said people should try CBD if they think it might work for them. “If it doesn’t work, stop taking it, or try a different formulation. CBD is incredibly diverse, and it might really help you, if you give it a chance,” Henriksen said.