When we hurt, ache or strain ourselves, numerous treatments are available over the counter or by prescription.
When Nathan Damasius, pharmacist and co-owner of Vyto’s Pharmacy, with stores in Hammond and Highland, needed a remedy for severe pain resulting from a collision with a semi, he weighed the options.
“The pain due to the concussion and soft tissue injuries were debilitating. I did not want to take any opioids and wanted to watch the amount of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen) I was taking due to side effects on the stomach,” Damasius said.
“I tried CBD and went off all my prescription pain medications.”
CBD, or cannabidiol refined from industrial hemp, was legalized in Indiana in 2018. Its uses range from relieving pain, anxiety and insomnia to treating specific conditions, such as childhood epilepsy including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
“Unlike some supplements that showed little or no benefit, the mechanism of action of CBD and the science behind it is amazing,” Damasius said.
CBD works in conjunction with a network built into all vertebrates known as the endocannabinoid system.
“(ECS) is a biological system composed of receptors ... CBD binds perfectly to the receptors, allowing you to achieve something called homeostasis,” Damasius said.
Achieving homeostasis, or balance, through the activation of these receptors leads to a “two-way communication” between the body and the ECS system, allowing the body to heal from injuries and inflammation, Damasius said.
Dr. Jeffrey Smith, a physician practicing at the Healing Arts Center in Valparaiso, uses CBD to help his patients with muscle soreness and anxiety and to improve sleep.
“(CBD) helps the muscles to recover faster so that they can get stronger,” Smith said, adding that it also works for delayed onset muscle soreness from fitness routines or injury.
Smith uses CBD to help his patients combat symptoms associated with Lyme disease, which causes anxiety, muscle soreness and headaches from co-infections.
Ash Rahmany, sports nutrition and CBD specialist at Vyto’s Pharmacy, turned to CBD to manage pain from his muscle-building workouts.
“I have personally benefited from the CBD oil on so many different levels. I used it for pain management due to being a bodybuilder and lifting heavy over the years,” Rahmany said.
Getting back to the gym with less pain, Rahmany has also noted improved sleep quality, less stress and anxiety, and increased range of mobility in his shoulders since using CBD.
“My overall quality of life has been on the upside,” Rahmany said.
Though a 2017 study by a Penn Medicine researcher found mislabeling of nearly 70% of CBD products online, there are still issues in the CBD marketplace. The Food and Drug Administration is trying to catch up. According to its website, the FDA has approved only one CBD product: Epidiolex, a prescription for two severe, rare forms of epilepsy.
Side effects of CBD listed by the FDA include drowsiness or sleepiness, gastrointestinal distress, and irritability or other mood changes. It also notes the potential for interactions with other drugs and alcohol, as well as potential liver injury from CBD.
Smith said drowsiness can ease after the first few doses, but if it persists, he recommends the patient stop using CBD or try a lower dosage.
“As a consumer you should approach the CBD industry the following way: Regardless (of it being) natural or not, CBD is a drug and should be treated like one,” Rahmany said. “Sometimes drugs don't work for everyone and each person will experience different side effects.”