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  • Josh Regel

Pharmacy School Brain Washed Me! A primer on CBD oil.

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

Ever wonder why things work? Read further to help understand how CBD oil works and how it may help you.

Most people are curious about CBD and the benefits that it can bring to their specific issue. Usually, when asked about CBD oil I can get by with stating how it is working for other patients that have tried CBD oil. More or less a patient testimonial. If I am ever asked “why does it work,” my answer can get a bit involved. As a pharmacist, I am curious about the question of “how it works”.

I have been brainwashed

I will never regret the years spent studying medications during my 4 years in pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. But I will say that I was trained to understand “How” medications work. To many health care professionals we make an assumption that I have found to be wrong in many situations. One situation is assuming that a product like CBD oil does not have enough proof to validate a recommendation. What I mean by this, is that pharmacists are trained to look at medical literature to determine if the medication has a proper medical study. This validation often requires an article published in medical journals such as JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association), Lancet, NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine) etc.

If a medication has been studied and an article has validated it, then usually a pharmaceutical company is selling this medication. If you ask most pharmacist, physicians and nurse practitioners they will say that all it takes for their recommendation is the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) approval and a pharmaceutical company producing the medication.

My “Brain Washed” statement is related to this thinking that if there is not a pharmaceutical company selling the medication, then it must not have enough evidence for me to recommend the medication. Therefore a product like CBD oil is not something that I am going to recommend.

Flip the page

Over the last 20 years practicing as a pharmacist and meeting unique needs of patients I have an appreciation for non-pharmaceutical company products. CBD oil is a plant based product (Hemp plant). It is not considered a medication by the FDA. Interestingly enough there are many plant based medications that require a prescription that have been used for a hundred years that we accept and prescribe for patients every day. To be completely transparent, most medications over the last 100 years have been developed by manipulating the specific chemicals that are found in plants that people have been using for 100’s of years to treat their medical needs.

CBD oil is made up of several cannabanoids. Through recent research we now know that the human body has places that these molecules fit called receptors. When the cannabanoid contacts a receptor in the body it causes a reaction. The reaction leads to the benefit of the cannabanoids. Note: This is also the exact way medications work.

This lead me to question, “where are the places where Cannabanoid receptors are located in the body?” Here is a list:

BrainLungsHeart and Blood VesselsSpleenPancreasLiverReproductive systemColonBonesMuscles

Ok, so now that I know where the receptors are located, my next question is, “How does CBD oil work in these areas of the body?” Over the next several weeks I will discuss each area where CBD oil works. Today I will focus on the Brain.

The effects of CBD oil on the brain

CBD oil functions like a “dimmer switch” for brain cells. CBD oil limits the amount of dopamine that gets released. This limitation of dopamine affects how messages are sent, received and processed by each brain cell. Dopamine is involved in some parts of the brain as an excitatory neurotransmitter. When CBD limits the affects of Dopamine then the brain is not “excited”. This is the benefit that provides relief from anxiety or nervousness as well as insomnia or the inability to sleep. Below is a link to a video that provides a quick overview of CBD and the brain.

If you are interested in purchasing CBD oil stop in to the pharmacy or Click Here to order online.

If you have questions, send me a note in the comments below. Next time I will discuss CBD and the effects on the immune system.


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