Frankel had rarely tried cannabis until he was 49. He was a partner in one of the most successful practices in West Los Angeles and a clinical professor at UCLA Medical School. He’d been my family’s internist for 15 years, and I found him a skilled diagnostician, who listened carefully, and who cared. He had to quit practicing in 2000, after he’d suffered a disabling back injury, then developed a viral infection of the heart and was told he had six months to live. Some of his cancer and AIDS patients urged him to try cannabis. “They did a reverse intervention,” he said, and a year later, his heart was normal. He can’t be certain how or if cannabis healed his heart. “I’d been depressed and CBD stopped the depression,” he said. “It gave me something to look forward to. My brain was turned on.”
Frankel runs GreenBridge Medical, which he founded in 2006, like an internist’s office. He begins with a one-hour consult, comes up with a treatment plan, and recommends products for which he designed the formulas: ten oils with different combinations of THC and CBD. (THC gets you high; CBD doesn’t, but is alleged to have strong healing properties) The #1 oil is almost all CBD, #10 is almost all THC, and #5 has equal amounts of both. So the doctor, patient, and dispensary know how many milligrams of what chemicals the patient is taking, and the doctor can adjust the dose as needed.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
Frankel also asserts that CBD reduces appetite—the opposite of THC, which triggers hedonic over-eating. I hadn’t read this anywhere, so I invited two friends, Tina and Cha Cha, to try it with me. We would soon be calling ourselves the Ladies Weed Detective Society. We squeezed a few drops of CBD-infused oil under our tongues and waited. An hour later, at the time we’d planned to have dinner, we noticed we weren’t especially hungry. All thoughts of food had been swept away. If this effect were widely known, Tina said, “Cannabis would be legal in twenty minutes.”
Alicia Salazar, a New York state board certified health coach, uses CBD with her clients to maximize their health outcomes. “I don’t look at CBD as a magic bullet for weight loss,” she said. “But CBD along with a healthy diet – one that contains healthy fats, whole grains, grass-fed meat and dairy, and plenty of greens, without processed foods and sugar – sets the tone for a healthy weight. And for some, that can naturally include weight loss.”
Moreover, the inconsistency (to put it mildly) of the weight loss industry is probably more sketchy and less regulated than the current state of the cannabis industry. Google ‘weight loss scams,’ for instance, and you’ll get 5.76 million search results! There have been some shocking scams over the years, including vibration machines, weight loss pills (containing poisons such as arsenic), and ‘Vision-Dieter Glasses,’ just to name a few.
During a day at his office, I saw three patients who’d had success with CBD. The first was Sawyer Maddox, five, from Atlanta, who’d been diagnosed at three with a rare form of epilepsy, Doose Syndrome, which is resistant to medication. He was having more than 200 seizures a day, where he’d drop face first on the floor. His parents fitted him with a catcher’s mask for protection, and carpeted their home with foam to cushion his falls. The pediatric neurologist they saw in Atlanta gave him meds that made things worse. Desperate, the Maddoxes, a conservative Baptist family, flew to California to see Frankel. He started Sawyer on #1 oil, and three months later, the boy was seizure free.
A 2016 study in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry explored how CBD contributed to the fat browning process. Brown fat is a particular type of fat that works to increase energy expenditure, and it produces heat. This allows brown fat to burn more calories, but adults are mostly composed of white fat. In the study, the following was observed as a result of cannabinoid usage:
This is likely why CBD is capable of stimulating appetite among people that are in dire need of nutrition (such as cancer patients on chemotherapy), while at the same time suppressing appetite in those who need to lose weight. The active compound helps keep the body in balance, so if you need weight gain it can help you improve your appetite, but if you are overweight, it may be able to help curb your desire to eat.
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