I get my fair share of aches and pains: Shins when running; left knee when it decides to lock, lower back when I wake up; shoulder sporadically. I’m 55 years old and I've been suffering this sort of discomfort for the last 15 years.
I play a lot of golf which probably doesn’t help. Most of the time I just put up with the pain because I don’t want to turn into a complete pill-monkey.
Aspirin makes my stomach feel itchy and scratchy, and paracetamol tastes like battery acid. So, when I get proper pain I take ibuprofen. Seems to help. But it can’t be good for you, can it? Research has shown prolonged use can have detrimental effects on your liver, kidneys and blood pressure. So I started thinking about alternatives to the usual pain-relief solutions.
A friend of mine has been harping on about CBD (a chemical derived from hemp or cannabis) for months now, telling me how it’s been used for various ‘wellness’ conditions around the world for centuries, starting with the Chinese around 2900 BC.
The idea is to take CBD for a month and see if it helps any of my physical woes. I’ve chosen to use the same brand as my friend on the basis that he hasn’t grown two heads yet and it seems to comply with the current guidelines for quality control.
If you’re looking to buy a CBD product, check for COAs (Certificates of Analysis) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification.
I also consulted my GP about using CBD and he gave me a wry smile and commented that pretty much every other patient he has is asking the same thing: “Is it OK to take CBD?”. But in the absence of any serious medical testing, it’s impossible for anyone to categorically say you should or shouldn’t take it. One thing is seemingly apparent though, it shouldn’t do you any harm.
I have a 500mg tincture which I apply under my tongue every day. First impressions, it doesn’t actually taste of anything, it’s like slightly greasy water. I wasn’t expecting much to happen in the first few days, but after three days I noticed I could touch my toes more easily in the morning.
After seven days my lower back pain was 50 per cent as bad as it was pre-CBD. My knee had been behaving itself and I had no shin pain when running. I also realised I hadn’t taken a single ibuprofen during this time – ordinarily I would have tucked at least half dozen away in that seven-day period, plus some paracetamol.
In case you’re wondering, CBD won’t get you high and it won’t give you the munchies. The thing that gets you high in cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is extracted from CBD during the manufacturing process. The CBD you get over the counter legally is hemp-based.
CBD also has the added lure of being endorsed by sports stars and celebrities, most of whom you suspect don’t need the money. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been spotted chewing CBD gum during the stresses of the final day, while high profile boxers, surfers and skateboarders have declared their love of CBD. Oliver Stone takes it to treat PTSD from Vietnam. Morgan Freeman has been using CBD (and THC) for the fibromyalgia he suffers from after a serious accident in 2008.
A week later, and the end of my one-month trial, I’ve had to take ibuprofen tablets only once, after a rather undignified emergency 23-minute appearance in goal for my son’s football team during which I let in three goals in and ended up entangled in the net like a thrashing salmon.
My knee locked during the process and I had to ‘twist it straight’. Bit nasty, actually. I also damaged my little finger in the warm up and it’s started to go a bit black. So I took some ibuprofen on top of the CBD Cooling Cream.
But mid-life football crisis aside, I got all my pain relief and avoidance over the last four weeks from CBD. Five days after my CBD had run out I started to lose a degree of flexibility. Touching my toes in the morning was harder and I had my first headache for four weeks. It could all be a coincidence but I’m pretty sure I need to get some more CBD. Yes, I guess I’m a convert.