Health: Getting dosage right for hemp or marijuana it can be tricky

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones

What’s the worst kind of pain? At the top of the list is debilitating chronic pain that, despite painkillers and other treatments, is unrelenting day after day. Chronic pain gradually destroys the soul. A study of suicide cases between 2003 and 2014 found evidence that as many as 10 per cent of cases involved chronic pain. Now, with the availability of marijuana for medical treatment in Canada and most U.S. states, is new hope being corrupted by false advertising?

No one should suffer pain that can be safely managed. The addition of medical marijuana as a treatment option has helped many. But despite heavy regulation, there are unscrupulous entrepreneurs ready to make a quick buck, and they are banking on your trust. What hurts, is that they are taking your money while also betraying your hope for pain relief.

People enduring chronic pain have probably heard their doctor say, “You have intractable pain and there is no cure.” Given new availability of medical marijuana, it should not be surprising that many have wanted to try it.

Chewable gummies are particularly attractive because they are so easy to take. You can find dozens of products online marketed as “300mg CBD Gummies.” CBD is short for cannabidiol, derived from the hemp plant. Hemp contains less THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana plants. While research continues, there is substantial evidence that CBD can help with both musculoskeletal and nerve pain.

But the marketing and labeling of these gummies is a despicable mess.

Let’s focus on the dosage. Getting the dosage right for any medication is important, and for hemp or marijuana it can be tricky. So, it’s good advice to consult your doctor. Don’t rely on the misleading information found on websites promoting these products. Typical dosages for CBD can range from less than 10 to more 300 milligrams daily. That’s a big range. Finding the dosage that meets the needs of different people usually means starting with a low dose and gradually increasing by about five milligrams daily until the desired effect is achieved. Most research to date suggests it’s safe to take up to 1,500 mg daily.

So back to those CBD gummies. It is very important to know what dose is in a single gummy. We shopped around to find out.

Dozens of products mislead consumers into thinking there are 300 mg of CBD per gummy. Not true. This is the total CBD in each bottle of 30 gummies. Other products falsely state on the label “300 mg per gummy” when in fact there are only 10 mg in each gummy. Indeed, a single gummy at 300 mg of CBD is an extremely high starting dose. Just two gummies would be 600 mg of CBD. It’s absurd. A phone call to these producers confirmed the outright error, and yet, these products remain on the market. Some companies have received warnings, but seemingly with no consequence.

For unsuspecting consumers seeking pain relief, this amounts to gross negligence by producers and regulators alike. Product websites show people cured of pain. But there’s scant information to clarify dosages and guide consumers on how to use this kind of medication in the treatment of pain. How can this be allowed by health authorities?

P.T. Barnum, the circus promoter, said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Entrepreneurs make a lot of money with such deceptive slick promotion. How many people in chronic pain with limited funds are fooled by ads about quick relief of pain and are still suffering. It’s shameful, and people in pain deserve better.

If readers have experience in easing chronic pain with CBD gummies, contact us.

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones can be reached at contact-us@docgiff.com.

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