“Have you tried CBD?” I asked my 83 year old landlord who hadn’t been able to sleep for the past month due tremendous back pain. “Does it make you high?” she asked as I handed her the Lure relief stick to try. 

Her question, a little funny to those of us who know the difference between CBD and THC, isn’t uncommon and is often the reason so many are afraid to try it. In reality CBD is more like THC’s younger sister, sure they grew up in the same household but they’re not the same person. 

Aside from the differences between THC, there’s a lot of misconceptions about CBD and with an overwhelming amount of information—and misinformation—available online it’s not always easy to decipher fact from fiction. One article says lemons might kill you while another claims they’ll keep you alive, and while living in the digital age has its benefits, it isn’t always easy to do your own research when it comes to making decisions about your health. 

A recent study stated that 22% of people say they don't trust CBD, but 68% of CBD users find it effective. The most common uses? Anxiety and chronic pain. 

To get a better idea of how CBD naturally works with our body, I spoke to Integrative Medicine physician, Dr. Sarah Cohen of the Resource Medical Center. Dr. Cohen is a forever learner of cultivation, pharmacology, and the clinical application of medicinal plants and fungi. She believes the meeting place between time-honored healing wisdom and modern science is where medicine is most marvelous and effective.

According to Dr. Cohen, the calming effects we feel from CBD are due to the fact that it helps to balance our nervous system through the process of homeostasis. “Every organ in our body has cannabinoid receptors because we make our own cannabinoids. This is why we refer to them as endogenous, meaning growing or originating within our bodies. Endogenous cannabinoids play really important roles in nervous system regulation, immune regulation and even our nervous system development in utero,” said Cohen. 

“The cannabinoids that come from a different source, not endogenously, but from the cannabis plant are very similar to the ones that we make ourselves so you can almost think of them as any other supplement you’d take to assist in regulating your body.”

When I asked her if there’s any risks to look out for she said it’s important to be mindful of your dosage. “When we get into doses higher than 50 milligrams that’s when I’d be a little more cautious. While it’s not necessarily a deal breaker and everyone’s tolerance isn’t the same, it’s a good idea to check in with a pharmacist or your physician especially if you’re taking any additional medications.” 

When it comes to trying CBD for the first time, she recommends keeping it simple, listening to your body, and be sure to check the label. One of the most important things to look out for is to purchase a full spectrum CBD and be aware of the additives. She also says it’s important to know that isolated CBD is not quite as effective as a full spectrum extract from a hemp plant, which is probably why I find Lure to be more powerful than any other CBD brand I’ve tried. 

So while Dr. Cohen’s overall consensus is that CBD is quite safe with very few potential adverse side effects, it’s important to check with your physician first and find what works for you. As for my landlord, she’s sleeping better than she has in years.