With CBD’s increasing popularity across the world, now more than ever is the time to look into this alternative health product. A growing body of research has shown positive results from CBD in participants suffering from anxiety, chronic pain, inflammation, epilepsy, and other physical and mental ailments.
As mentioned above, CBD comes from Cannabis Sativa and is extracted from the plant, then diluted by oils known as carrier oils, which are usually hemp and coconut oil. CBD is diluted using these carrier oils because they bind to the chemical compound the best. However, oils are only one of the many ways that store CBD. There are also edibles, bath bombs, lotions, and many more products that contain CBD.
What is POTS?
No research has shown that CBD can cure POTS, however, CBD is known to treat symptoms associated with POTS such as dizziness, general pain, and anxiety. Patients with POTS have reported positive effects from using CBD, and unlike other drugs used to treat POTS symptoms, CBD has minimal side effects.
The acronym “CBD” usually gets lumped in with THC and marijuana, which leads many people to have a negative perception of CBD. Even though these three words are somewhat related, there are key differences when it comes to CBD and THC. Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is extracted from Cannabis Sativa . Unlike THC, however, CBD does not produce a “high” when it’s used — you basically get the same bodily effects without the mind-altering effects of THC. Which makes it an appealing option for people who want the physical effects of the plant but do not want to experience the hallucinogenic properties of THC.
It has recently been discovered that the body contains an endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which regulates body functions such as sleep and pain. This system produces endocannabinoids, which bind to cannabinoid receptors that are found in the nervous system. According to some research studies, CBD impacts the endocannabinoid receptors in the body, which in turn can reduce inflammation and pain. This can be especially helpful for people suffering from POTS, which is an autonomic condition of the nervous system.
Months went by and my dysautonomia symptoms were continuing to worsen. I had continued to up my CBD intake over this time – both orally and via inhalation. Dr. Gebhardt was still in my ear about my CBD use dropping my blood pressure and contributing to my orthostatic episodes. I really really didn’t want to hear him.
When I tell people that I have a condition called POTS they often laugh and crack a joke about how it’s the perfectly named condition for me given my line of work and passion. I can’t help but chuckle and agree, but the reality of living with a condition like POTS is far from a laughing matter.
Every time I faint or have a near fainting episode I feel a little piece of my independence slip away. Not wanting this anymore, I finally gave in and stopped my CBD intake all together – no oral and no CBD dominant strains or 1:1 via inhalation. I had to make adjustments to my overall routine to better manage my pain without the CBD, but to my surprise I went THREE MONTHS without having a fainting episode, something that was happening far more regularly prior to stopping. The first syncope episode I had after cutting out my CBD was when my air conditioner broke (heat is a major trigger). I’ve experienced a drastic reduction in orthostatic intolerance with almost no pre-syncopal episodes.
My Personal Experience
Every single person will respond to cannabis differently. Patients with dysautonomia find that cannabis helps them immensely for some symptoms, but can exacerbate others. Being aware of these potential side effects is important to getting the most out of your cannabis routine.
Benefits are varied and affect multiple systems.
Cannabis has neuroprotective and anti-oxidant properties. There is some suggestion that cannabis may be healing for dysautonomia patients by addressing the underlying nerve damage. However, this is a theoretical assumption and beyond our current understanding of the plant. Most dysautonomia cannabis patients use it to manage day to day symptoms including nausea, fatigue, and pain. Cannabis may also be effective in managing inflammation and other symptoms associated with commonly co-morbid conditions. For example, patients with related MCAS my find cannabis topicals helpful for localized reactions and those with gastroparesis may find it helpful for appetite.
Cannabis has been life changing for me in so many ways, but when I started experiencing symptoms of dysautonomia, primarily fainting episodes, my world was thrown upside down. My cannabis physician and friend Dr. Scott Gebhardt suggested to me that my CBD intake could be contributing to my episodes and recommended I take it out of my routine to test if it could be contributing. I was less than willing to take on this experiment, so I initially stopped my oral doses for only a week. My dysautonomia symptoms weren’t improving and my pain was increasing so I called the ‘experiment’ a loss and started taking my oral CBD again.
Before I was dealing with the symptoms myself I had no understanding of or awareness of the disorder or it’s umbrella category – dysautonomia. This was a bit of surprise to me considering I’d devoted my entire career to helping people with chronic illness. So how did I learn about it? By passing out cold in the bathroom and slicing my head open on a cabinet and toilet roll holder – more than once. What can I say, I like to learn things the hard way.
My girlfriend suffers from pots and is on steroids and a couple other medication to help control it. She was diagnosed last year around April/May and she wanted me to ask on Reddit and see how CBD oil could help her, thank you all.
CBD does seem to help for me. THC can exacerbate my tachycardia but not if my tolerance is high. CBD is super relaxing and distracts from a lot of symptoms, and it doesn't really make you feel "high". I recommend it, personally.