It may not be the most glamorous thing to talk about, certainly not within the world of CBD and its hype and flashy marketing. But is there anything more important than caring for our sick and elderly as they struggle through serious illness?
Probably not. According to advocates like The Center to Advance Palliative Care, the stats are staggering.
- Approximately 90 million Americans are living with serious illness
- Approximately 6 million Americans could benefit from palliative care
- A 2010 study showed that cancer patients who received palliative care lived 2.7 months longer
- Palliative care and related educational efforts are supported by over 90% of people [Public Opinion Strategies]
Much like the CBD world, the world of palliative care is lacking awareness and education. Some hospitals feature palliative care, some don't...usually it's covered by insurance, but sometimes care is still lacking.
Overall, it's clear there's much room for improvement. And this article will explore if CBD could help.
What is palliative care?
Palliative care is specialized medical care for those facing a life-threatening illness. People with cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, COPD, and other serious diseases are eligible for palliative care.
More than just providing medical care, however, people who give palliative care are true caregivers in every sense of the word - providing love, compassion, attention, and understanding.
Can CBD oil help?
CBD and palliative care might just be a perfect match.
Just to clarify, we're not claiming CBD is going to cure anyone's illness or prolong their lifespan. Government regulations forbid that, and the research isn't quite definitive yet anyways.
What CBD could help with is bringing light and life to the small moments. As the saying goes, hemp is hope - and there's some evidence that CBD could help rewire the brain towards hopefulness and wellbeing. For a patient doing battle against forces both internal and external, both mental and physical...every little bit of extra hope could be critical.
Cannabis may also help those in palliate care hold onto hope through the bleak moments. Interestingly enough, the state of Israel has permitted cannabis as palliative care since 2007. They've even researched it (more on that next).
Patients who have trouble eating may benefit most from cannabis' THC content, which is known to stimulate hunger. Could THC-free CBD do the same thing? Possibly. CBD may have anti-nausea effects, after all.
What research do we have on CBD?
Despite what some sources claim, there is some great CBD research out there. It's just mostly found overseas. Especially in Israel!
Take this 2018 study, which looked at 2,970 cancer patients over a 2 year period. 95.9% reported an improvement in their condition from using medical cannabis, while only .3% reported deterioration. Many of these patients found themselves needing less opioid medication, too.
The study's authors, which included the godfather of cannabis research Dr. Raphael Mechoulam himself, reported that "cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms."
And CBD likely has many of the same effects. Another 2018 study on patients with pain from kidney transplants demonstrated CBD's analgesic qualities in a real-world situation. Alongside some pain relief, its authors noted that "CBD was well-tolerated, and there were no severe adverse effects."
What doctors are saying about CBD and palliative care
Many doctors are unaware of CBD's role in palliative care. But they don't need to stay that way, according to MD Claude Cyr. CBD may help prevent pain enough to brighten a patient's quality of life and reduced their demands for opioids.
As D. Cyr tells Project CBD, "I think there is enough data out there to convince physicians that [cannabis is] safe for palliative care patients, and it's predictable." That means both THC and CBD! If you or a loved one are eligible for palliative care, you might consider finding a cannabis-friendly doctor to help guide you through the process. Thankfully, a growing number of doctors are open...at least to CBD.
What patients should know about CBD and palliative care
Do you want to integrate CBD into the palliative care routine of you or a loved one? If so, you should stay aware of a few things.
For one, you'll probably want the strongest CBD products possible. More severe illnesses often require more CBD to bring the body into balance. You might consider using a multifaceted approach incorporating both ingestibles and premium CBD topicals. Don't worry about taking 'too much' - CBD is very well tolerated even at ultra-high doses.
Opt for a high-strength full spectrum CBD, like this 1,000 mg Liposomal Hemp Oil by Elixinol. Its CBD comes in the form of highly bioavailable 5mg sprays, and it's flavored with stevia for a delicious but natural taste.
Also keep in mind that in the long run you'll actually save money by buying in bulk. Consider Elixinol's 3,600 mg CBD Tincture if the up-front cost is manageable - this tincture comes in at well under the industry's standard pricing of 10 cents/milligram.
There's one other important thing to consider. For the most part, CBD doesn't interact with pharmaceutical drugs...but if you're taking either high blood pressure or high blood sugar medications, use caution. CBD can make them more powerful, which necessitates staggering doses. Consult with your doctor to make sure such interactions won't affect you.
CBD oil for fibromyalgia
And CBD isn't just useful for end-of-life care. Anybody with severe health challenges may benefit from CBD use - those with fibromyalgia included.
Dr. Ginevra Liptan is an expert on CBD for Fibromyalgia. In addition to treating fibromyalgia patients, she herself has fibromyalgia! According to her CBD can be very effective...but your mileage may vary.
In her article "The Science of CBD for Fibromyalgia" Dr. Liptan shares her experience with using CBD:
"I have found CBD acts as a strong muscle relaxant and that gives some mild pain relief. When used topically in combination with other herbs such as arnica, I find it helps joint and muscle pain. Some of my patients report it gives them significant pain relief, others report only mild benefits and some report no benefit at all."
The Big Picture
At ProHealth CBD Store, helping people overcome their health challenges is what we're all about - whether these challenges involve end-of-life care or battling chronic disease.
Since 1988 we've been on a mission to help those with ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease and related health issues by offering world-class nutritional supplements. Our decision to provide premium CBD to customers from all walks of life? It's merely an extension of that.
Thomas Wrona is a cannabis consultant, health + wellness advisor, and former professional athlete. He enjoys writing about all things CBD, both here and at Wrona Inc.