KosAbility: My CBD:THC Experiment – Week 7 update

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Sunday 29 September at 4pm Pacific Time is our regular monthly meeting with a story about disability and disaster.

Next Sunday is the regular 4pm PT KosAbility monthly meeting with a story on how disabled people fare in a disaster.  Also, check at the end here for an announcement about the presidential forum on disability issues planned for early 2020.

Last month, I told the story of how I stumbled into a study of CBD:THC tincture for insomnia. To recap, a friend took me to a local business that manufactures CBD products from the cannabis strain Cannatonic. Here’s Leafly’s description of this strain.

Cannatonic is a unique hybrid strain bred by Spanish seed bank Resin Seeds specifically for its low THC content and high CBD content.  A cross between a female MK Ultra and a famous G13 Haze male, it produces a relatively short-lived, mellow high that is also uplifting and powerfully relaxing, thanks to the high CBD content.  As one of the premier medical strains, Cannatonic is often used to treat pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, migraines, and a wide variety of other physiological and psychological symptoms. 

Serendipitously, they were initiating a trial of a new formula for insomnia and the samples were available right there and then. I was invited to be in the study and given two vials of CBD:THC extract in coconut oil, 2:1 and 5:1 potencies. On August 3rd, I began by taking one drop of the 2:1 an hour before bed. For over 18 years, I’ve been taking 5 mg diazepam (Valium) and 7.5 mg mirtazapine (at much higher doses this is an anti-depressant but it is sedating at low dose) to help me sleep, due to pain, muscle spasms, and adrenal problems associated with Lyme disease. The first night trying CBD, I took the usual dose of both Rx drugs. I was slow to fall asleep (not usual with those medications) but my sleep was normal for me. 

The second night, I took the same dose of CBD:THC 90 minutes before bed. I also took the same dose of mirtazapine, but cut the diazepam tablet in half (2.5 mg). I fell asleep easily, but had intense disaster evacuation anxiety dreams. I woke later than normal, groggy with a headache. The headache and evac anxiety dreams aren’t unusual; the grogginess is. 

Over the next eight nights, I varied the 2-CBD:1-THC dosage and timing before bed and took a halved diazepam dose and normal mirtazapine dose. My sleep was normal, but I continued to wake up feeling groggy although usually without a headache. I decided to try the 5:1 version thinking that if the CBD made me groggy a higher ratio of it would increase the grogginess. I skipped the CBD for two nights and took just my regular doses of diaz (5mg) and mirtaz (7.5mg). 

Then I began a trial of 5:1 with 2.5 mg diaz and 7.5 mirtaz. That first night, I took longer than usual to fall asleep, but slept well with vivid dreams, and was not groggy in the morning. After a few nights of trying greater and lesser amounts of the 5:1, I settled on a half dropper (about 0.25ml), 90 minutes before bed and stopped the diazepam entirely. Slept well.

Conclusion at the end of Week 7

All in all, after another month of experimenting, I learned that for me, 90-120 minutes before bed is the best time to take it. CBD is energizing (for some people) and needs the THC component to balance this for insomnia. But THC is psychoactive and that can interfere with sleep so it benefits from the CBD to mellow it out. What ratio and dose works best varies depending on the user’s tolerance to THC and sensitivity to the cannabinoids, so we must experiment. For me, a dose of 0.25 ml of the 2:1 (4 mg CBD and 2 mg THC) or the 5:1 have the same results for sleep. Higher and lower (1-2 drops) doses result in poorer sleep. I’ve not taken a diazepam since 15 days after I began this trial. Yay!

Unexpected Effects

After taking several doses of the 5:1 formula, I had a sore throat all day every day for a week. This is an unusual symptom for me, and I couldn’t find any particular trigger such as increases in pollen or dust. I don’t have seasonal allergies, but I do have chronic Epstein Barr virus (EBV, mononucleosis). I also have chronic Lyme disease and for me (along with many others), it is immunosuppressive and I don’t get signs of mild acute viral illnesses like colds because the symptoms are due to the immune response. Now and then, my immune system “wakes up” and tries to fight EBV, and I get a sore throat and other symptoms from the cytokines released to fight infection. Of course I don’t know that the CBD is the cause, but the last time this happened with the sore throat was in 2014 when I started taking low dose naltrexone, known to modulate the immune system.

Notes on CBD Sources

The tinctures I’m using are not from hemp but from the Cannatonic cannabis strain that has a higher THC level than hemp. The company makes CBD:THC products for the legal market in California and is held to high standards regarding potency and purity. The company (CBD Alive) has their own quality standards, too.

. . . product is grown outdoors, in natural sunlight, using organic, sustainable farming techniques. Outdoor, as opposed to indoor, greenhouse-grown cannabis, has no high-carbon-footprint energy use associated with it, because it is grown and harvested in accordance with the natural ebb and flow of the seasons. Outdoor, sun-grown cannabis yields plants and flowers with better CBD/THC cannabinoid profiles, due to the broad spectrum of natural sunlight it receives, something not possible with indoor, synthetic lighting. Organic, chemical-free growing practices mean our cannabis is free from toxins, pesticides, and other residuals that may be harmful to humans, animals, and our environment.

CBD Alive grower/producers are strongly encouraged to collect and store rainwater in storage tanks, and to not draw from streams, creeks, or wells during habitat-critical months for fish and wildlife. We encourage sustainable soil-building practices and the use of bulk soil over packaged soil, and require soil and amendments to be organically sourced. Bio-diverse plantings, including border plants that naturally attract beneficial insects and keep pests away, are also recommended to all CBD Alive Collective growers.

CBD Alive maintains clean growing and processing conditions. All products are tested for mold, mildew, pesticide residue, and potency, ensuring that our patients receive products that are reliable, consistent, and of the highest quality.

CBD products from industrial hemp do not provide much THC (generally around 0.3%, this is why they are legal) and are not regulated. Hemp-based CBD products are not held to the standards of state-legal medical cannabis and are not tested for quality, contaminants, and potency. The CBD and THC in the tinctures I’m using were extracted using CO2, whereas the cheaper over-the-counter CBD products from hemp plants might use benzene or alcohol extraction that can leave behind toxic residues. 

Conclusions

I’ve not taken a diazepam for over a month. I still hope to quit the 7.5 mirtazapine, but I’m almost out of the CBD:THC samples. This insomnia product isn’t yet available for sale, but the same company has other CBD products. The main obstacle for me is the cost because of high taxes on legal cannabis in California. Buying CBD for sleep is much more expensive ($45/month compared to $5/month) than the Rx drugs covered by my drug plan. I needed a CBD:THC product with known doses that are repeatable to shift off the diazepam. Now that I’m this far, I might make my own tincture in coconut oil using a high CBD strain of cannabis available locally on the black market. Also, because recreational cannabis is legal in California, next summer I could grow six plants for my own medicine.

Presidential Forum on Disability Issues in 2020

I’m interested in this forum for many reasons, but one of the less obvious is that it can show  candidates how to organize for accessibility. The sponsoring groups must be aware of the range of access options for diverse types of disabilities and how many of each are appropriate. The 2016 Democratic Convention and 2019 Netroots Nation illustrated some problems with under-estimating disability needs. Onsite facilities and adaptable tech are important, but the need begins before attendees arrive at the facility. The 2016 convention didn’t have adequate wheelchair-capable transportation to the convention site from the airport.

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas are proud to announce Elected for Inclusion, our national nonpartisan Presidential forum on disability issues. The forum will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas in advance of Super Tuesday and the November 2020 elections.

Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate.

AAPD and REV UP Texas are hosting Elected for Inclusion as a means of highlighting the power of the disability vote. In 2020, over 35 million eligible voters will be people with disabilities. The number of “disability voters” increases to over 62 million when we consider the ripple effect of the disability vote that connects families, friends, advocates, educators, providers, and other individuals that interact with people with disabilities. 

* I’m outside cell phone coverage today. Later tonight I’ll read and respond to comments.


a block of nine abstract depictions of disabilities

Kosability is BY and FOR

  • PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIEs;  
  • WHO LOVE SOMEONE WITH A DISABILITY;  OR
  • WHO WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE ISSUES.

OUR DISCUSSIONS ARE OPEN THREADS IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS COMMUNITY.

FEEL FREE TO

  • COMMENT ON THE DIARY TOPIC;
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bullies WILL BE ignored and/or obliterated.

for more elaboration on our group rule please read this story.

At KosAbility we amicably discuss any and all matters pertaining to health. Our discussions are not medical advice. Medical advice can only be provided by a qualified physician who has examined the patient.  If you have worrisome symptoms please see your doctor!

Join us next Sunday for disability and disaster planning. 



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