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What is behind the hype

Image: Phillip Steffan, Flickr

Unless you’ve been living a Salinger-esque life of self-imposed isolation over the past 18-months or so, you’ve likely heard by now about CBD and its wide range of “natural healing effects.” Some pretty impressive studies have come out over the last several years highlighting the therapeutic potential of the compound, and of course, the FDA approved Epidiolex – the world’s first-ever CBD-based prescription drug – earlier this year back in June.

And in addition to its seemingly endless range of therapeutic potential, another big appeal of the cannabis-based extract is apparently how safe it is; the World Health Organization has called CBD a “generally well tolerated” compound with a “good safety profile,” and has said that it poses “no adverse health effects” when consumed.

Is all of this too good to be true, though? Any time you consume a foreign substance you risk disrupting the body’s natural state of balance and homeostasis, so there’s got to be some instances where the consumption of CBD can produce an adverse response, right?

In this article, we point out a few key things to keep in mind when thinking about taking some of the best CBD oil brands for the first time. Most media outlets and advertisers alike will have you believe that the “wonder drug” is 100% safe and side-effect free, but as you’ll see here shortly, there’s a bit more to the story than that.

Can you overdose on CBD? Understanding Toxicity Levels, LD50, and General Dosing

Back in the 1970s researchers for the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology tried to establish an LD50 for cannabis by administering massive amounts of “Crude Marijuana Extract,” or CME (including CBD), to laboratory test monkeys.

In case you’re unaware, the LD50 for a specific drug is the dose it would take to kill 50% of a sample population; in other words, if 500 grams of “Drug X” were administered to 100 people and 50 of them died, you would say that the LD50 for “Drug X” is 500 grams.    

Anyway, after pumping their test monkeys full of about 40,000 mg of CME and observing no deaths, researchers were left to no other alternative than to claim that the LD50 for cannabis extract was “greater than 10,000 mg per kg of body weight.”

To put this in perspective, an average adult male weighs about 80 kg. At 10,000 mg per kg, it would take more than 80,000 mg of cannabis extract to produce a “hypothetically” lethal response. This would be the equivalent of consuming 266 bottles of a standard 300 mg CBD oil, within about a 15-minute time frame. In other words, a sheer impossibility.

That being said, the U.S. government’s Toxicology Data Network states that the LD50 for CBD in rhesus monkeys is 212 mg per kg of body weight, or about 17,000 mg for an average 80 kg human.

While drastically lower than the numbers suggested in the 1970’s study, these numbers still represent a far greater dose of CBD than any human being would ever typically consume (a typical daily dose ranges between 15-40 mg per day).

 

In other words, for all intents and purposes, it is essentially impossible to overdose on CBD.

Careful with that Vape Pen!

That being said, there are still some inherent risks involved with consuming CBD – particularly for those who choose to consume it with vape pens or portable e-cigarettes.

While not much is known as of yet in regard to the long-term health effects of vaping, it has been suggested that vaping “non-winterized” CBD oils may result in the inhalation of particulate cuticle waxes that could, over time, settle in the lungs as granulomas.

All cannabis plants have a thin outer layer known as “cuticle wax.” When you smoke cannabis regularly (i.e. in a joint or a bowl), the wax is simply burned off via the process of combustion. Since vaporizers operate at much lower temperatures, however, it has been speculated that rather than burning away, the waxy outer layer is simply broken up into microscopic particles that can be inhaled into the lungs. This is not a good thing, in case you’re wondering.  

The process of winterization removes the waxy outer layer from the plants (and indeed most high-quality cannabis vape oils are winterized), but this is still definitely something to keep in mind if you’re planning on using a vape pen or other vaping device with a CBD oil or CBD e-liquid.

Additionally, it’s been said that the temperature of your vape pen can play a huge role in the overall safety of CBD vape oil inhalation. Many vape oils on the market are thinned with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or propylene glycol (PG), both of which are understood to break down into formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) when exposed to temperatures above 200℃ (about 440℉).

Good, high-quality vaporizers should be able to operate at temperatures far below this, but studies have shown that low-quality single coil e-cigarettes can emit large amounts of gas formaldehyde. If in doubt, try and invest in as high-quality a vaporizer as you can, or at least look for a model that allows you to manually set and control the operating temperature.

Potential Dangers of Taking CBD with Other Medications

Another health factor to consider in regard to consuming CBD is the fact that the compound is known to inhibit several key enzymes that work to break down drug components in the blood.

In other words, if you are on prescription medication(s) and are thinking about incorporating CBD into your treatment routine, it’s highly advised you speak with a doctor first because the active compound may result in elevated (or decreased) levels of the drug compounds in your blood – which of course can lead to adverse reactions.

In fact, CBD is known to inhibit the action of cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are a class of compounds responsible for metabolizing the majority of prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) medications. In the FDA’s official Prescribing Information document for Epidiolex (a CBD-based epilepsy drug), it is specifically pointed out that “coadministration with a moderate or strong [P450] inhibitor will increase CBD plasma concentrations, which may result in a greater risk of adverse reactions…”

Again, make sure and speak with your doctor before taking CBD along with other medications.

What about the side effects of CBD?

Lastly, it’s important to point out that CBD does indeed pose some risks for mild negative side effects, regardless of what you might have heard or read about online.

For instance, the official FDA Medication Guide for Epidiolex points out that potential adverse side effects may include:

  • Liver problems
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Fever
  • Fatigue/drowsiness
  • Yellowing of the skin (Jaundice)
  • Itching
  • Darkening of the urine
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Suicidal thoughts in a “very small number of people” (about 1 in 500)

Of course, these are the noted side effects for Epidiolex, which is a prescription-only CBD drug available for victims of intractable epilepsy. In the World Health Organization’s global report issued in November 2017, it was noted that even among patients receiving very high doses of CBD (200-300 mg), the active compound was “tolerated in all patients, with no signs of toxicity or serious side effects.”

Final Thoughts: How safe is CBD, really?

All in all, CBD truly does appear to be a safe, well-tolerated compound for people of all ages — especially when compared to the harsh painkillers and prescription medications that so many millions of Americans take on a daily basis.

That said, it is not 100% devoid of adverse effects as some companies and media outlets would have you believe. Individuals taking other medications, for example, should use caution when implementing CBD into their treatment routine as the compound is known to inhibit enzymes that are responsible for breaking down drug components in the blood. Also, CBD vape oils can pose potential health risks, particularly when used with oils containing PEG, as exposure to high temperatures may result in the inhalation of carcinogenic compounds, including formaldehyde.  

Photo Credit: Phillip Steffan

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    Image: Yale Rosen, Flickr

    In the United States, statistics from the American Cancer Society show that about one of three women and one out of two men are diagnosed with cancer. Hearing those words is a life altering event. If often takes time to absorb what is happening and too often time is of the essence when making a decision as to what to do next. Family and friends can often be helpful in guiding someone through the decisions that have to be made, though even they have to go through the process of absorbing the scary news.

     

    Given that so many people will be affected by cancer, even if they aren’t the ones diagnosed with it, it helps to get an idea of what one can do in the situation.

    1. Get A Second Opinion

    See another doctor to get a second opinion. Don’t accept every word that the first doctor said as gospel truth. This is especially true if that doctor is dismissive of questions or if he/she has difficulties in communicating with you. You may even need to see a third doctor if you are not sure about the diagnosis of the second doctor.

    1. Be Sure Of The Facts

    Once sure of the diagnosis, get all the facts about the illness. Educating oneself about the disease is very important. The correct information about the disease is vitally important as it helps to determine, how to approach it, the treatment options, what to expect and what one needs to do. Beating and recovering from most cancers is possible and new strides are being made every day. Always get all of the facts.

    1. Write Down Every Single Question

    There will be lots of questions. Write them all down Ask the doctor every one of them. Never be afraid to ask. The official page of the American Cancer Society publishes a list of questions that a cancer patient needs to ask a doctor.

    1. Talk To Other Cancer Patients

    Getting support from those who have had cancer or are living with it will be very helpful. There are always support groups that any medical center can connect one with. It is important to talk with people who understand and have the shared experience of being diagnosed and treated for cancer. No one else can give quite the same perspective.

    1. Establish A Comfortable Level Of Information

    There is much to learn about cancer and it is not possible to get all of the information in one fell swoop. The process, the facts, and most importantly access to the ever changing modalities of cancer diagnosis and treatment are key to giving one the best chances for recovery.

    Tempus Offers The Right Information

    Tempus is customizing cancer treatments by building a cancer database that collects information on how each patient is treated, what medications worked/didn’t work, and where they saw improvement. Each person is different, but by making this database accessible to all healthcare professionals, the hope is to improve treatments and diagnosis by learning from cancer patients and possibly bringing us one step further to curing cancer.

    When it comes to getting the right information about cancer, Tempus is ahead of the others.

    It is an organization that aims to redefine how genomic data is utilized in a clinical setting.

    It is co-founded by Eric Lefkofsky, an investor in disruptive technology businesses and a University of Chicago adjunct professor. He is also the author of Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation.

    Tempus aims to leverage the massive clinical data of cancer patients that have already been gathered through the years, in order to give doctors, the information they need to properly diagnose and recommend personalized cancer treatment modalities. It has recently been granted funding of $80 million by a group of existing and new investors.

    Since 2015, this organization has already received $210 million investments. This latest investment puts the value of this organization at around $1.1 billion, giving it a “unicorn” status.

     

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    It will take some planning but you can increase your spouse’s credit score

    Freedom Debt Relief

    Buying your first home can be an exciting time for a new couple. But those hopes can be dashed when your spouse’s poor credit comes roaring out of no where, according to Freedom Debt Relief.

    All is not lost but it will take some planning to increase your spouse’s credit score.

    After all, this is not just your house, it’s also for your spouse. You’re buying the home jointly. But how do you buy a home jointly when your spouse’s poor credit will get an immediate denial on the mortgage?

    Quick Fixes With Credit Report Errors

    Getting a copy of your spouse’s credit report and going through it might yield some low hanging fruit. If you find any errors, report them to the credit bureau where you got the report. They might ask for some documentation to back up your claim.

    Depending on the severity of the error, it can mean a double digit boost in your credit score.

    Keep An Eye On Credit Utilization

    There’s a general guideline in the personal finance community that no more than 30% of any credit card limit should be utilized. This is definitely not a hard and fast number. It can vary. But the general consensus based on anecdotal evidence seems to settle on 30%.

    What exactly does 30% credit card utilization mean? If your credit card limit is $1000, you don’t want to have a balance of more than $300 (300/1000 = 30%).

    The 30% rule also comes into play with overall credit card utilization. If you have three credit cards with a $1000 balance each, that’s a total of $3000 of credit. Note this is different from available credit. That will depend on the balance each card is carrying.

    If each of those three credit cards has a balance of $300 for a total of $900, you are still only utilizing 30% of your total credit cards’ limit. If the balances are instead $0, $100, $800, that is still $900 and 30% utilization.

    However, if you have balances of $200, $300, and $600, that’s a total of $1100, or 1100/3000 = 36.7% utilization. This pushes you over the 30% rule and will likely have a negative effect on your credit.

    If You Have No Credit History, Build One

    Your spouse might not yet have a credit history, in which case their credit score can be low. Their score can be increased by building their credit history. Within only one year, you can see some great results. Below are a few ways to build credit history from scratch.

    Use Secured Credit Cards: A secured credit card is not the same as a common credit card. Secured cards require a deposit to use. But almost anyone can open an account. The benefit for building a credit history is that payments are reported to credit bureaus.

    Add Your Spouse To Your Credit Card: You can add your spouse as an authorized user to your credit card. Be sure the credit card company will report her payments to credit bureaus, which will help in building your spouse’s credit history.

    Debt can seem like a pesky gnat in the beginning. But before you know it, it’s grown into a oversized animal that you can no longer control. Freedom Debt Relief can help get your debt back down to a manageable level.

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    Make Christmas decorations instead

    Credit: New York City Files, YouTube

    Christmas is full of magic and there’s nothing more magical than turning rubbish clearance into beautiful Christmas decorations that can be used for years, even decades, all while keeping rubbish out of the landfill and the Christmas spirit close to heart.

    It would be a nice Christmas gift for Clearabee and all of Clearabee’s employees if you would be so kind as to send pictures of your creations to Clearabee’s Facebook page.

    While you’re drinking hot chocolate, and stirring it with a candy cane stick, you can ponder the ideas below to get your creative juices flowing. Then, after you get your Christmas sugar rush, we suggest you put on your Christmas Elf Hat and get to work!

    Unique Rubbish Garland

    If you’ve ever strung popcorn for the tree, you’ll know how simple it is to make garland. Every year, many families get dozens of Christmas cards. They display them for the season and then bin them in their rubbish clearance after the holiday is over. Rescue those Christmas cards and string them together to make a Christmasy garland for your tree or to swag across your doorways or high on your walls. You can leave the cards intact or have a family project of cutting out the best parts of the cards before you string them together. You could also use a cookie cutter to trace out Christmas shapes on top of decorated cards, such as stars or gingerbread men. Then, you can string these cut-outs to make a very unique Christmasy garland.

    You can use certain types of rubbish clearance to make garland that looks like old-fashioned popcorn garland.

    Here’s the idea above in reverse, so to speak. If you do any ordering online, no doubt you’ve gotten packages filled with white “peanuts.” If not, you can try looking through the rubbish clearance bins at office buildings to find some. Squish these a bit and they look a lot like popcorn!

    You can also find other items in rubbish clearance bins that can be made to look at lot like cranberries or gumdrops, two more classic garland items that are often alternated between the popcorn to give it a colorful festive feel! For example, the green, red, and orange styrofoam that is often used to hold dried bouquets together (or at the bottom of some Easter baskets) can be cut to look like colorful gumdrops! If you can’t find this, you can always wad up crinkled paper to make colorful balls to string between your peanut packaging material “popcorn!”

    Use Old Christmas Wrapping Paper Or Christmas Packaging For Origami

    If you receive a gift before Christmas, don’t throw away the gift wrapping. Save it and make Christmas origami out of it. You can do the same with the Christmas packaging found on so many items around the holidays that is often binned and headed to the landfill!

    An origami crane turns into an origami Christmas crane if you use Christmas paper to make it!

    Make eight of these origami Christmas cranes and then dig some pencils or other balancing objects out of the rubbish clearance bin to make a unique origami Christmas crane mobile for a kid’s room or to hang in your office. To learn how to make origami, turn to YouTube, as you’ll not only be able to read the instructions, you can actually watch exactly how they crease the paper and how they fold it.

    An origami rose turns into an origami Christmas rose, which you could then turn into a bouquet of origami Christmas roses! Salvage something out of the rubbish clearance bin to serve as a vase (or you can decorate it into a vase) and put your bouquet of Christmas origami roses in it for a Christmas gift straight from the heart that will be treasured for years by the recipient! Do you know someone who collects frogs, pigs, or cats? Learn how to make an origami frog, pig, or cat. Then use Christmas packaging to fold one. Now, you have the perfect Christmas gift for your collector! One they’ll treasure forever.

    Let the Shape Speak Christmas To You

    Many wood carvers say they let the wood “speak” to them and lead them to what they carve. They may see an owl in one branch and a rabbit in another. You can do the same with plastic containers or other items rescued from a rubbish clearance bin. Some people may automatically see a rotund happy snowman in the distinctive shape of a Pom pomegranate juice bottle!

    Others may see the shape of an angel in a Dawn dish washing liquid bottle!

    Disposable coffee creamer containers look a lot like little Christmas bells when turned upside down, perfectly sized for decorating a miniature Christmas tree!

    Around Christmas, every time you spy a rubbish clearance bin, you should be looking for junk shaped like an isosceles triangle or a cone! Large or small, you can easily turn items shaped like these into a Christmas tree decoration! You’ll just need to “spruce” it up some… pun intended folks… Merry Christmas!

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    Contrary to popular belief, varicose veins aren't always visible

    Credit; Metro Vein Centers

    Leg cramps are a common sign that you have may have venous insufficiency, i.e. varicose veins. The only way to know for sure is to go to a professional varicose vein treatment center and get a duplex ultrasound performed on your legs.

    A duplex ultrasound will allow you and the doctor performing the test to view the blood flow inside the veins in your leg.

    This test will also let you and your doctor take a close three-dimensional look at the inner portions of your leg veins to look for abnormalities, such as dysfunctioning vein valves and blood clots forming on the inner walls of your leg veins. It can be a little “spooky” to have such a good look inside your own body but most people find it fascinating nonetheless.

    Varicose veins can cause leg cramps with no visible signs of varicose veins.

    Some people don’t seek varicose vein treatment, or even realize they have varicose veins, because they don’t actually see the hallmark sign of blue or red twisted veins just under the surface of their skin. This problem arises from the fact that many varicose veins cannot be seen from the surface of the skin. Varicosity can occur in deeper veins and often do. It’s also true that if you see just a few minor signs of varicose veins at the surface of the skin, you may actually have a much more severe varicose vein problem deep down in your legs.

    We need to educate people more about the other signs of varicose veins than actually seeing them at the surface of the skin. Leg cramps is one of the main symptoms of varicose veins. The symptom of “leg cramps” can actually be expressed in a variety of ways.

    You may have a feeling of “heavy legs.” You may experience “restless leg syndrome” in the middle of the night.

    Your legs may ache for no obvious reason, such as over exercising. You may just be sitting at your desk in the middle of the day and find your legs staring to ache. Your legs may also swell and or throb to the point they hurt and cramp. The only way to know for sure if any of theses symptoms related to leg cramps are indicative of varicose veins is to go to a varicose vein treatment and get a duplex ultrasound test that will give you the inside 3D picture of what is happening when you have leg cramps.

    Leg cramps can be caused by several underlying conditions.

    There are many causes for leg cramps, whether they be persistent aches or sudden “Charley horses” in the middle of the night. For example, people who don’t drink enough fluids, and or who perspire a lot, may become dehydrated and this often causes leg cramps.

    Deficiency in minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium can also cause varying degrees of leg cramps.

    Intense physical exertion, like over exercising a long time on a treadmill or doing strenuous yard work in the hot summer sun can cause leg cramps, even days after you expend this extra energy and labor.

    Certain medical conditions, other than varicose veins, such as diabetic nerve disease, other forms of peripheral neuropathy, osteoarthritis, heart disease, thyroid disease, and peripheral artery disease due to high cholesterol can also cause leg cramps. The only way to know for sure if varicose veins are the cause of your leg cramps is to go to a varicose vein treatment center and ask them to do a duplex ultrasound scan of your legs. Please note too that the causes of arterial disease are not the same as venous disease, even though both involve blood vessels.

    Visit Metro Vein Centers for a free evaluation.

    Metro Vein Centers is one of the best known and well respected varicose vein treatment centers in the United States. They have several locations spread across several states. Some people actually make plans to go out of state to visit one when they want the best varicose vein treatment possible.

    It’s worth going a bit out of your way to go to one of the Metro Vein Centers because they are all staffed with highly experienced vein doctors who specialize in this one area of medicine. If you think you might need varicose vein treatment, it’s important to get highly specialized treatment in this area and not just depend on the advice of a doctor who may not deal with many cases of varicose veins each year and who may not be up on all the latest procedures available.