If you’ve ever taken more than the recommended dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, it’s often because more is needed. Maybe you’re suffering from the flu and need to break a fever, or have an especially bad headache. Most painkillers, prescription or over-the-counter, work in this way: more medicine means more relief.
One of the largest learning curves when it comes to cannabidiol is that it’s biphasic: more CBD does not necessarily mean more relief. It means different relief. The science of cannabinoids is still developing and there’s a lot of trial-and-error for patients and caregivers. The ratio of CBD to THC is also important rather than a straight dose of CBD. Researchers are unclear as to why small amounts of THC bring out the benefits of CBD, but they do. I’ve noticed a pattern that suggests the higher the ratio of CBD to THC, the better it works for medical conditions that are difficult to treat.
Multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and Dravet syndrome are diseases CBD can potentially treat when conventional methods have failed. MS an\d fibromyalgia occur often enough in the population that pharmaceutical companies have devoted resources towards developing new treatments, but Dravet syndrome is more rare. It presents in children less than a year old and is devastating to their quality of life. Treatments for epilepsy in general requires heavy doses of tranquilizing drugs, and this can cause long term harm to a growing child. CBD’s potential to treat Dravet syndrome is significant enough that pharmaceutical companies have taken notice and are studying CBD in full scale clinical trials.
I was curious if an 18:1 ratio could work for my seasonal affective disorder. Luckily, southern California has very few cloudy days, but those days can stop me in my tracks. Care by Design’s collection of CBD sprays has been great for my pain and IBS symptoms in lower ratios, but I didn’t notice any antidepressant qualities. During a rainy week, I tried their 18:1 sublingual spray.
Having used Care by Design’s sprays before, I knew 3-4 sprays works well for me. For reference, I’m 5’11” and height and weight should be considered when determining a proper dose. The company suggests 1-2 sprays and that is an excellent place to start for a full grown adult. While I’ve heard patients sometimes mix the spray into a drink or food, I would not recommend this when you’re relying on this medicine for acute conditions. I find the taste of the sprays to be very mild, but “chasing” the spray with water will all but eliminate the cannabis flavor after you’ve used the spray.
On a typical cloudy day, normal tasks require a lot of motivation for me. I have to force myself to get up, make coffee, read my email and so on. Each step feels like my mind and body are saying “NOPE.” After three sprays in the morning, it felt like a totally normal day. Compared to typical antidepressants, I noticed a change rather quickly. I also noticed when it tapered off in the afternoon, so I took 3 more sprays around 4pm. With a week’s worth of El Niño weather, I was able to see what daily use was like. It was a nice feeling to know that the spray works as needed and doesn’t linger in my system. I’m not opposed to long-term therapies at all, but I am opposed to taking something when it’s not necessary. As soon as the sun came back, I wanted to go back to my normal routine. Even when I was using the spray, it felt like my normal routine. I didn’t feel “high” or even a reduced amount of anxiety (there are other ratios and other cannabis products I would use for that effect). I simply was able to function normally without the heaviness that depression brings to the mind and body.
One of the great aspects of CBD, and cannabis in general, is that I experience no withdrawal. While there is anecdotal evidence that suggests marijuana withdrawal exists, I personally have not had that experience, nor have I with any CBD product (in contrast, my caffeine withdrawal symptoms might be the worst withdrawal I’ve ever experienced!). That can’t be said for prescription antidepressants, some of which can lead to seizures and comas when stopped abruptly. Because of this, antidepressants in general require a significant time commitment to see if they work, and more time to taper off should they be ineffective or produce unwanted side effects. For those who experience temporary depressions, this could be an option in dealing with those situations. Depression is a complicated illness with many causes and even more treatment options, and this product is unique among those options.
In choosing a CBD treatment, dosage is critical. Care by Design thoroughly tests their products, and I’m confident that I’m getting what I pay for when I choose their products. CBD products are an investment and Care by Design has taken steps to establish trust with patients by being transparent about their manufacturing process and their testing. I will continue to search for their products when looking for a reliable CBD medication.
Photo credit: Care By Design
I’ve had the unfortunate experience of witnessing what long-term use of conventional painkillers can do to the body. Seeing people suffer from liver disease, kidney infections and permanent damage to the digestive system due to long-term use of over-the-counter medication is a reality. This doesn’t even include prescription medications, of which we are currently experiencing an epidemic of abuse in this country.
These medications are often used to treat common conditions. Almost everyone has used ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat a headache or muscle pain after a workout. Some people need them regularly to treat arthritis or chronic pain conditions. As a dancer, I’ve had a long history of using ibuprofen to treat pain consistent with physical overexertion. The fact is, its effectiveness leaves a lot to be desired. You still need to treat swelling and stiffness due to inflammation, and ibuprofen only goes so far.
Care By Design, a medical cannabis company in California with a reputation for giving back to the community and producing consistently dosed, high-quality products has disrupted the medical industry with their CBD Rich Sublingual Sprays. They currently offer five of these concentrated cannabis tinctures, designed to be sprayed under the tongue, with different ratios of CBD (cannabidiol) to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, 8:1 and 18:1. Each ratio is formulated to treat different symptoms and conditions.
What I’ve found with using Care by Design’s 1:1 CBD (cannabidiol) Rich Sublingual Spray is that it can treat all of the symptoms I commonly suffer from (pain, inflammation, stiffness, soreness) more effectively than any other medication available to me and with no side effects. While it may seem extreme to use a cannabis product in place of an OTC treatment, I’ve discovered it treats a wider variety of discomforts, some of which I’d given up on trying to treat and instead have been forced to cope with.
A balanced ratio of two cannabinoids, CBD and THC, working together synergistically in a process known as the entourage effect has the best of both worlds for my physical discomfort. With CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation and THC’s ability to reduce the sensation of pain, it covers the spectrum in treating the various causes of pain. Combined with rehydration, balanced electrolytes and the right diet, my recovery time after a rough workout is hours, not days.
A dose of two sprays every 4-6 hours is enough to keep me relaxed. If I need to be more focused, I can switch to a 2:1 ratio that will keep me comfortable and alert.* If I’m particularly dehydrated or have an empty stomach, I like to use this spray in combination with food and water. It results in time-released relief rather than a shorter burst. As with other sublingual sprays, I hold them under my tongue and swish it around my mouth before swallowing. The veins and thin skin under the tongue allow the active ingredients in the Care By Design CBD Rich Sublingual Sprays to be absorbed into the bloodstream faster.
I’ve previously mentioned how lower CBD to THC ratios have treated some of my other ailments, and that’s what I like about lower ratios: they treat a wide variety of common conditions. A 1:1, 2:1 and 4:1 will all treat my irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and calm my nerves without the strong high I get from my favorite cannabis strain. However, I still reach for the 1:1 more often when pain is involved. When pain is acute, I think the THC calms some of the reactions my body has to pain, like increased blood pressure and anxiety. If IBS is my main concern, I can switch to a 2:1 or 4:1 and leave the high for a later time (and keep my THC tolerances low).
There’s a lot to think about before using any cannabis product on a regular basis. More data is surfacing on how cannabis can treat chronic pain, which backs up my experiences in using Care By Design’s CBD Rich Sublingual Sprays. Someday, I hope someone makes a “sampler pack” of CBD ratios since there can be trial-and-error in finding the right ratio. And as CBD is biphasic, different ratios treat different conditions, so you may find a couple of different ratios have a place in your medicine cabinet. Because of this, consistency and quality are the main priorities in choosing a CBD product, and Care by Design has established a dedication to both.
*Please investigate how cannabis-based substances affect you before performing any activity.
Years ago, I was searching for different ways to consume cannabis besides smoking it. Tinctures in the form of sublingual drops or sprays seemed like a great way to go, but there were very few on the market. They were also notoriously weak and inconsistent. I never knew how much to take since the general “1-2 sprays/droppers” was never enough. Even when I doubled or tripled the dose, the sensation was mild at best, making it a poor choice in terms of value.
We’ve come a long way since then, and advances in the manufacturing of concentrates helped create much stronger and more consistent products. I have a few cannabis oil tinctures that I use regularly in lieu of vaporizing, but none of them are a strong or fast acting as AbsoluteXtracts sativa spray. As with every other product I’ve tried, the directions suggest an initial dosage of 1-2 sprays. Based on previous experience and my known tolerances, I typically double the doses for sprays and tinctures.
Knowing that AbsoluteXtracts makes potent products and for the purpose of this review, I followed the single-dose recommendation of 1-2 sprays.
I’m glad I did, because two sprays was enough to give me a moderate high. It was surprising to see such a small amount of product could have such an effect. Since this was promising, I tried the product again several times and I’ve come up with a scale to help describe my dosing:
- 1-2 sprays: a mild-to-moderate high appropriate for day use
- 3-4 sprays: very comfortable. strong pain relief and relaxation
- 5 sprays: slightly too much/starting to see noises
Some of the inconsistencies with tinctures can be the application, and “shake before using” cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s oil or alcohol or another substance, there’s enough going on inside a cannabis tincture that requires regular mixing. The ingredients are different enough that they will separate over a relatively short period of time. You can’t always witness this as manufacturers put their tinctures in dark bottles to protect the product from light, but it does happen and it can make two sprays seem like five and vice versa.
While this spray is labeled as a sativa product, oral consumption of cannabis has a very different effect on the body compared to smoking or vaping, and I definitely had more of a body high that I would normally associate with an indica product. Unlike oil and alcohol tincture drops, the AbsoluteXtracts concentrated spray allows me to hold the product under my tongue comfortably for a few minutes — perhaps because it’s made with coconut oil. This can be unpleasant with a mouthful of alcohol when using weaker products. Although I expected to taste strong cannabis flavors with such a concentrated product, it was very mild. I didn’t feel the need for a “chaser” of water or juice like I have with similar products.
Putting its sativa heritage to the test, I went for a hike by my house. I’ve been reading more about cannabis and fitness goals and wanted to give it a try. Thanks to the sublingual application, I started feeling the effects of two sprays within 15 minutes. The most difficult part of the hike is a steep hill that’s a few miles long and I often have to give myself a pep talk to keep going. Not this time! While I was definitely still winded, I was able to power through some of the heaviness in my limbs and had a much better attitude as a result.
One of my favorite uses for tinctures is as an after-dinner dose. The last thing I want to do after, for example, Thanksgiving dinner is eat something, and vaping around guests isn’t always an option. Cannabis is known to relieve symptoms for those suffering from various gastrointestinal conditions and it certainly helps mine. This spray was as fast-acting as any drugstore remedy but with the added benefit of cannabis for relaxation.
AbsoluteXtracts makes an indica spray as well as a “sleepy time” spray. My local dispensary sells them for $50 each. The amount of doses will depend on how much you take, so the value is relative in this situation. However, at my personal dose of 2-3 sprays each time and with the effects lasting a few hours, this is a great value for me. I’ve come to really respect the AbsoluteXtracts brand for its consistency, potency and transparency by providing testing results and I hope to see them at more dispensaries in my area.