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Cannabis, CBD, THC for Pain, Anxiety, Inflammation

cannabis CBD THC for pain anxiety inflammation

"Most people don't get informed about cannabis and CBD until themselves or someone they know need it." 
~Janice Newell-Bissex, RDN, Holistic Cannabis Practitioner

Welcome to Energize Your Life Podcast, episode 51. We're answering all your questions about cannabis, CBD, and THC with Holistic Cannabis Practitioner, Janice Newell-Bissex. 

I was a little leery about talking about any cannabis and CBD because I was taught from a young age to, "Just say no to drugs." That was, until I heard Janice's story. So whether you're a little skeptical about cannabis - or you're comfortable picking up CBD at your local gas station, I think you'll learn something from our conversation.

Below are some highlights from the podcast. To listen to the entire 30-minute conversation, play the recording at the top of this blog. 

How did you go from traditional dietitian to selling CBD products? 

Janice: I was the biggest skeptic of all. I used to use air quotes when I said haha "medical marijuana" because I bought into the "just say no" to drugs message.

Janice: Honestly, I tried it once in college didn't like it, and that was it. And then five years ago my dad suffered some very severe pain. They gave him the traditional pain medications because that's what doctors do. They made him very, very groggy and exhausted and so severely constipated that it required a four day hospital stay.

Janice: After that hospital stay I said to his doctor, "Isn't there anything else we can do? What about medical marijuana?" I said that only because it had just become legal in Massachusetts.

Janice: And to my surprise, he said, "I think that's a great idea." And I thought, no now, I have to figure out something I don't even believe in. 

Janice: So I started doing research. And that's when I learned that cannabis has been used as medicine for 5000 years.

Janice: We got my dad certified and brought him to a dispensary. He got a vapor pen and some CBD. And, he got significant relief from his pain, without the side effects. So that day I left my business of 15 years and went back to school to become a holistic cannabis practitioner.

What's the Difference Between Cannabis and Hemp?

Janice: Both the cannabis plant and the hemp plant are from the same plant family. The only difference is that the hemp plant has almost no THC (0.3% is the maximum).

Janice: And THC is the cannabinoid that will make you high if used in excess. But that's like saying that if you have a glass of wine you're going to get drunk. You're not going to get drunk on one glass of wine - probably only if you drink the whole bottle.

Janice: It's the same with TCH. If you have a micro dose of THC it can improve your pain or other condition without making you high. You just have to know how much that you can use.

Janice: CBD, another compound or cannabinoid in the plant, will not make you high, no matter how much you take.

Janice: CBD might decrease anxiety, help with pain and muscle spasms as does TCH because both of these parts of the plant is a potent anti-inflammatory. We know that inflammation is a contributor to almost all of our chronic diseases.

Janice: So all of these components in the plant work synergistically together. There are also terpenes, a component that's responsible for the smell of the plant. And, they also have health benefits. 

What About the THC in CBD? Does It Affect Drug Testing?

Janice: A CBD product that you get on the market could have a trace amount of THC. Not enough to make you high, but could affect drug testing. That's why you'll want to get a CBD product that has zero THC. 

Janice: And that's, not to say that the little THC is is a bad thing, but I sell CBD without THC because of my clients.

Isolate, Broad Spectrum, Full Spectrum

Janice: If you see the word "isolate" on a CBD product, it is not anything I would recommend. It's very cheap but it doesn't have any of these other components to boost the efficacy and it results in more side effects.

Janice: The beauty is in the whole plant. It's like saying to your client, "Broccoli is good for you, but instead of eating broccoli just take a vitamin A pill." The beauty of the hemp and cannabis plants live in the synergy between all these compounds that work together.

Janice: What you want is either broad spectrum, which means the whole spectrum of the plant, or full spectrum. The broad spectrum has no THC; the full spectrum is the whole plant with THC. Either of those would be a good option.

Medical Marijuana

Janice: Dispensaries selling medical marijuana will be selling more of the full spectrum. If you have a medical marijuana card, you can buy anything. You can buy a product that is very high in THC, or you can buy a product that has mostly CBD.

Janice: It really depends on your condition. I brought a client last week to a dispensary and we looked at at each product (she she's got lung cancer).

Janice: We looked at the product to see if the products have a particular terpene which is good for appetite since she's lost a lot of weight.

Janice: Some people don't want to get the munchies when they use cannabis, but for many of our clients that have cancer or elderly people want something that would stimulate their appetite.

Janice: And, look at how much THC and CBD is in there. You really have to understand all the different components of the plant before you make a decision.

Certificate of Analysis

Janice: You want a products that's of good quality. Make sure that wherever you buy it that you can get you ask for a certificate of analysis. That's because the FDA did a study and found that 70% of the products out there are mislabeled. Some of them have zero CBD.

Janice: it's an expensive process to organically grow harvest, dry, extract, and make products. It's not cheap. So there were bad the bad guys out there who said, "Hey, I can put olive oil in a little bottle put a CBD label on it and charge 100 bucks.

Caregiver Cards

Janice: I have a caregiver card for my client. Anyone who gets certified for medical cannabis card can can appoint a caregiver so that they can go with them to the dispensary to help them to select products. That could be a spouse, it could be a friend.

Janice: In most states, you can have a caregiver. Some people are too sick to leave their home. So you want someone to be able to do that for you.

Janice: After you get certified in Massachusetts, you apply to the state that the patient is in. Then you go online and you register and then they send you a caregiver card.

Janice: But every State has its own rules and nuances. 

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug? 

Janice: In the states that have legalization there's a 44% decrease in opioid death. We lose 100 people every single day to opioid overdoses. It is tragic.

Janice: Nobody wants to be addicted to opioids, but they were prescribed opioids legally and they took them and it is so incredibly addictive.

Janice: Cannabis is not a gateway drug. It's an exit herb that helps people get off of opioids. If you add cannabis to your regime, you can decrease your dose of opioids or even get rid of them all together.

Research and Statistics

Janice: Lots of people say there's not enough research. There is a lot of research on the medical benefits of cannabis and CBD. We need more. And the only way that's going to happen is if we legalize this plant. 

Janice: What I think about legalizing marijuana today is very different than what I thought, five years ago.

Janice: So 17 states allow for legal adult use cannabis and 37 States allow for medical cannabis use. In the states where cannabis has become legalized, teen use has either stay the same or dropped.

Janice: Do you know what the fastest growing segment of those using cannabis is? Those over 65 has seen a tenfold increase. Once you get beyond 65 you have a few more aches and pains.

Janice: In end of life situations, which I am very passionate about, cannabis can provide comfort without giving someone a huge dose of morphine which just completely drugs them up, and they are not able to communicate.

Different Forms of Cannabis

Janice: You can get cannabis by forms other than smoking a joint. There are tinctures that come with eyedroppers. Just put a little tincture under your tongue and it's absorbed within 15 minutes.

Janice: Then there are water soluble tincture. So you might put five drops in a little bit of water and you drink it. It's absorbed very, very quickly.

Janice: There are edibles so you can eat something. That takes the longest to see an effect; it can take an hour to two hours but it lasts longer. If someone is not used to taking an edible that has a TCH in it, they can run into some serious issues.

Janice: Because it takes two hours to see the full effect, people will take a couple of bites of an edible and then half hour, or maybe even an hour later say, "I don't feel anything. It must not be that that effective or concentrated. So they eat the whole cookie or brownie and then an hour later, they are completely stoned."

Janice: They feel paranoid, racing heart, dry mouth, and honestly people think they're going to die. It is that it is that uncomfortable if you take too much. No one in history has ever died of a cannabis overdose, but there are many people who eat too much of an edible who feel like they might die.

Janice: You have to take a small amount and wait two hours - minimum two hours. If it's your first time using an edible, take the same dose the next day because sometimes you will not see the effect until the second dose. If you still don't see an effect, then day three have a little bit more.

Janice: Edibles are in 10 milligram portions. So if you buy a chocolate bar it's got lines in it to break it into 10 milligrams. 10 milligrams is way too much for first time user. I advise people to cut it into quarters. Take a quarter today and a quarter tomorrow if you didn't see an effect on day to the next day, take a half. And then go from there.

Janice: A topical form is pretty amazing for people who have eczema, psoriasis, hives, TMJ, or migraines.

Janice: There are multiple ways to to get relief and some especially elderly people, some of them like to start with a topical because they're afraid of ingesting something. They might find relief from their arthritis. Well, you can attack the inflammation from the inside by adding a little bit of tincture. The topical is only going to affect that joint or area that you applied it to you're not going to get it within the rest of your body.

Help with IBS

Janice: Cannabis can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBC). It helps not only with the inflammation, but there is a connection we know about the brain and gut connection. 

Janice: We have what's called the endocannabinoid system. There are receptors in our body - places where the cannabinoids where the plant can cause an effect in our body. It's like a lock and key. The whole purpose of this endocannabinoid system is homeostasis or balance.

Janice: I have clients with constipation who see amazing relief using CBD. I have clients who have diarrhea who also see an improvement. That makes no sense at all, right? It doesn't make sense until you understand that this system, the role of this system is homeostasis and getting the body back in balance.

When is Cannabis Not Recommended?

Janice: Kids and teenagers shouldn't take unless there is a medical reason. CBD is a very potent anti-epileptic. Sanjay Gupta did a documentary called Weed. The movie followed a little girl who had 200 seizures a day. They started her on CBD therapy and she had only one or two a week. 

Janice: There are a some cancer patients who are undergoing immunotherapy who shouldn't use cannabis. CBD is an immuno-modulator. That means people with autoimmune diseases might find CBD helpful for them, because it prevents your body from sort of over-reacting. But if you're having cancer treatment and you don't want to quell that immune response.

Janice: If someone is taking coumadin or warfarin it doesn't mean they can't use CBD. It means that you don't want to take a soft gel or an edible at the exact same time as your coumadin because they're both processed in the liver, by the same enzyme. You just have to separate it by a few hours or use a tincture.

Janice Newell-Bissex is a holistic cannabis practitioner who offers consults and products. For more information, go to her website,

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