For the longest time, I viewed CBD/hemp oil as just another snake oil. I’ve tried so many supplements, diets, and lifestyle hacks over the years that have all promised the moon…but in the end, the only thing they’ve done is lighten my wallet. So when all the claims about CBD oil were first coming into the mainstream, it seemed like just another product that was too good to be true. Which is why I decided to save my money and not jump on the bandwagon…until now.
Fast forward to this fall/winter season and I’ve been battling my tell-tell Crohn’s symptoms of blood and mucus, along with occasional bloating and pain, for the past few months. I know things are getting worse, with regard to my Crohn’s, when the mucus during a bowel movement isn’t just present along with stool, but it’s only mucus with increased urgency and blood. On top of that, I developed a rash on my arms and legs that seemed to be getting worse each day and had already been around for over a week.
Since I’m trying to avoid going back on medication* and the symptoms haven’t been severe enough to keep me from going to work or do my daily activities, I didn’t call my doctor. Constantly searching for things I can do to improve my health, I recognized that there wasn’t a lot more I could change with my diet. There also wasn’t much to change with my exercise or stress levels; my workouts have been great and I’ve been doing much better with balancing work and my personal goals/activities. So, I was running out of ideas and unsure about what else to try.
That’s when I decided I would look a little deeper to see if I could discover what this CBD/hemp oil was all about.
My Crohn’s symptoms were worsening and so I wanted to try something fast. I didn’t even want to wait a few days for shipping on anything. Since I was being impetuous, I went to the nearest vape shop (the kind that looks like it was an old ATM building in the middle of a parking lot) and started asking questions to the employee who worked there. In our short 3-minute conversation, I quickly realized how much I didn’t know! Full-spectrum or pure, flavored or raw, tincture or vape, did I need additional products like lotions, and the list goes on. I chose a small bottle (mostly because I wanted something right away) and went on my way…eager to get home and start Googling to find the best product that could set me up for success 🙂
There’s a lot that I learned in the short time frame after getting home with my first bottle to researching and finding a product I wanted to order online. Since I want this post to be more about what I noticed after I started taking hemp oil, I’ll be making a second post about all the research and reasons why I finally settled on choosing the brand Endoca and what I learned along the way.
It was about four days before my order of Endoca arrived. During that time, I was taking the original brand I bought at the vape shop. Honestly, in those first four days I didn’t notice much change in anything. I also wasn’t taking very much, because I still wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing (I’ll talk more about quality and dosing in the next CBD post I write). By the time my Endoca came, I figured out enough to decide how much of the product to take as a starting dose.
I began with 10 drops in the morning and 10 drops at night of the 3% CBD+CBDa raw hemp oil (which is 1mg of CBD+CBDa per drop). As skeptical as I was, the next 72 hours changed my whole outlook on CBD. Here’s what happened…
Unrelated to my Crohn’s, about a year ago I noticed a small bump had appeared on my upper arm. It looked like a tiny, pale mole located near my tricep. I didn’t pay much attention to it or even worry about it, but over the summer, I started thinking about having it removed. In late July, I had my annual check up with my primary care physician and she noticed the spot and referred me to dermatology, just to make sure it wasn’t anything to worry about. Turns out it was nothing and the dermatologist said it was called seborrheic keratosis.
Now, as much as it pains me to say this, when you Google seborrheic keratosis, you learn that these harmless growths usually appear in middle age and are so common in people that they are often called the “barnacles of aging.” So, after that of course, I felt like a sea creature from the deep…
Anyway, in September, I began researching dermatologists and searching for one in my insurance network so that I could finally have it removed. But it wasn’t my top priority, so my search just sat on the back burner.
Now, back to when I started taking Endoca for my Crohn’s symptoms…after a little over 24 hours of starting the Endoca drops, I noticed the seborrheic keratosis on my arm looked like it was drying and flaking off. Sure enough, that’s exactly what was happening. I scratched it and it literally came off, just like a scab.
Then, between 48 and 72 hours later, I noticed the rash on my arms and legs had significantly improved. By day five, it was gone. That was enough evidence for me to recognize that the raw hemp oil was definitely aligning, fixing, or controlling something in my body. This time, I hadn’t changed anything else, so I can only attribute these things to the raw hemp oil. However, although I stayed the course for another week, my mild Crohn’s symptoms lingered.
Having read more about hemp oil, I decided I needed to increase my dose to see if I simply wasn’t using enough to be effective for my Crohn’s. I then ordered the Endoca 15% CBD+CBDa raw hemp oil (which has 5mg CBD+CBDa per drop) and starting slowly increasing the number of drops I was taking (6 drops in the morning and 6 drops at night). After a few days at that dose, I finally decided to increase the dose to 10 drops in the morning and 10 drops at night (which ends up being 50mg of CBD+CBDa twice a day). After 5 days, the mucus was gone and I finally had my first normal looking bowel movement in months.
If you’re unfamiliar with hemp or CBD oil, you might be wondering why it helps… While there’s still much we don’t know (it was only in 1992 that the first naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid, was found that led to recognizing the body’s own Endocannabinoid System), we are continually learning more about how CBD oil interacts with the body’s own CB1 and CB2 receptors. For IBD and gut health, specifically, CBD is being shown to improve gut motility and decrease inflammation. Here’s a great, easy-to-read article by Dr. Aimée Shunney, a naturopathic physician in California, that I stumbled across in all my searching that also helped me decide how much to increase the dose I was taking.
What does all this mean for me from here? So far, I’ve been ecstatic to see the results I’ve been getting: seborrheic keratosis gone, rash gone, and Crohn’s symptoms finally alleviated with a high enough dose. While I’m just one more anecdote to the many out there, I know the raw hemp oil is definitely having positive effects on me. So, even though a good quality CBD oil is pricey, I’m going to keep taking the 50mg dose 2x a day and see what happens over the next few months. I admit that I am impressed and feeling really good.
While I don’t think it’s a magic pill–I’m still watching what I eat, managing stress, and taking a few other supplements–I do believe it’s an important piece of the puzzle for me in managing my Crohn’s. And who knows…perhaps one day I’ll even be able to tolerate brussels sprouts again!
Do you have experience with CBD/Hemp Oil? Share in the comments!
* Side note: Earlier in this post I said that I am trying to not go back on medication, but in an effort to be totally transparent and honest with you–my readers–I wanted to share the fears I have about that, too. My goal right now is to try to be in remission without medications to hopefully prevent any unknown long-term side effects and to not be walking around immunosuppressed every day of my life (especially since my actual day job is marketing and graphic design at a school!). While I don’t know the outcome for me, personally, if I were to be on medications long-term, I also don’t know what the outcome for me not being on any medications for the long term will be. I know that a lot of damage and complications can come from the fact that there’s long-term underlying inflammation present. So, I wonder if not taking anything is actually allowing my body to have chronic, low, underlying levels of inflammation that might do more damage in the long run. There’s no way to really know, so I’m simply taking this one day at a time.