Q&A

What is “What You Is”?

What You Is is a community to explore the idea and use of cannabinoids as a exit drug in the trudge forward to stay sober and manage life well. We are not medical or legal professionals. We just care.

What is an “exit drug”?

Using one drug to help you stop using a stronger, more damaging drug. 

What are CBDs?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a chemical. It is extracted and compounded from cannabis plants. From Wikipedia (“Cannabidiol”, 2018):  

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis. It was discovered in 1940 and initially thought not to be pharmaceutically active. It is one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in hemp plants, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract.”  

How are CBDs administered?

Cannabidiol can be taken into the body in multiple different ways, including by inhalation of cannabis smoke or vapor, as an aerosol spray into the cheek, and by mouth. It may be supplied as an oil containing only CBD as the active ingredient (no added THC or terpenes), a full-plant CBD-dominant hemp extract oil, capsules, dried cannabis, or as a prescription liquid solution.

Wikipedia “Cannabidiol”, 2018. 

Who should not be using cannabis as an exit drug?

We don’t know yet.

  • We don’t know of any physical or psychological harm from taking very low dose CBDs.
  • And the tradeoff of using harmful opiates is severe.
  • Minor potential risks outweigh known immediate harm.

What don’t we know?

This is a long list. Scientists haven’t conducted enough medical studies. There’s a lot we don’t know about:

  • Dosage strategies
  • Side effects of CBDs, short and long term  
  • CBD interactions with other medicines and common foods.
  • CBD effects on women vs. men
  • CBD effects on pregnancy and fetal health, on nursing moms and babies, and on childhood addicts.
  • Variations in the quality and nature of CBD from various types of hemp
  • The psychology of this including eliminating placebo effects.
  • The role of medical professionals, mental health professionals, and rehabs in helping us effectively and safely use CBDs as an exit drug.

What can go wrong?

  • You can’t overdose on CBDs at this level.
  • CBDs can impair your driving.
  • If you’re subject to drug tests, CBDs may show up on drug tests. Discuss with your probation officer or HR department.

How long do CBDs stay in your system?

Three to four hours.

How long until CBDs are effective after you take them?

20 minutes to an hour. Faster on an empty stomach.

What do CBDs do?

CBDs are not a psychotropic drug. They are used by doctors to manage inflammation, anxiety, and other chronic conditions. 

For you: 

  • Less inflammation means less pain. 
  • People with anxiety disorders have severe withdrawal symptoms. CBDs help. Anxiety disorders include panic, GAD, SAD, and PTSD.

What are the side effects of CBDs?

  • Side effects of CBDs include:
    • sleepiness
    • decreased appetite
    • diarrhea
    • fatigue
    • malaise
    • weakness
    • sleeping problems
    • and others
  • It does not have intoxicating effects like those caused by THC, and may have an opposing effect on disordered thinking and anxiety produced by THC.
  • CBD has been found to interact with a variety of different biological targets, including cannabinoid receptors and other neurotransmitter receptors.
  • CBD’s mechanism of action (exactly how it works) in terms of its psychoactive and therapeutic effects is not fully clear.
    Wikipedia “Cannabidiol”, 2018.

What does the government think of CBDs? Legal? Approved?

  • CBD in vegetable oil is sold in stores in states where marijuana is legal.
  • FDA. In the United States, the CBD drug Epidiolex has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two epilepsy disorders.
  • DEA. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has assigned Epidiolex a Schedule V classification while non-Epidiolex CBD remains a Schedule I drug prohibited for any use.
  • World. CBD is not scheduled under any United Nations drug control treaties, and in 2018 the World Health Organization recommended that it remain unscheduled.
    Wikipedia “Cannabidiol”, 2018.

CBDs are sold in stores in states where marijuana is legal.

Is this proven?

No, this is unproven. But we believe the risks are low and the benefits outweigh them.

What to take? How much to take? How often?

We’re still figuring this out. There are no formal guidelines. This is a sponsor counseling approach to guide the prospect with sensible suggestions.   

David (63, 191 lbs, male) says that from his experience:

  • The friendly and sound approach to CBDs in the marijuana cannabinoid family is a “Full Spectrum Hemp Extract.” 
  • This hemp oil supplement comes in 1 ounce (30mL) bottles. The bottle pumps 1 mL per spray containing about 1 mg of cannabidiol with each spray.
  • Several supplement makers suggest 2 sprays per serving, so 2 mg per dose.
  • CBDs last 3 to 4 hours in your body. How long depends on your size, metabolism, and physical activity.

You’re not David so how much to take and when to take it will be different. Only you, your body, and a medical pro will know as you get experience.

What if I’m using opiates and other substances currently

We suggest:

  • Detoxing from the opiates and incorporate manageable regime of low THC marijuana and the “Full Spectrum Hemp Extract” (containing CBDs)
  • The gradual transition of using only the CBDs can take place during the simple 12 step accommodations and commitment.  

Will I need more or less CBD over time?

We don’t have research yet. We expect use of CBD extracts can be lessened as time goes. But we don’t know if other factors like rising resistance or interactions may require more CBDs or a different approach.   

Should I check with my doctor before doing this?

Yes. Ask your doctor about medical marijuana.

How much does this cost?

In November 2018, a bottle of generic CBD oil was going for $20 for 30 mL in Washington state. That’s $0.13 per pump.

If you’re consuming 8 to 10 pumps a day, that’s $1.00 to $1.25 daily and $365 to
$456 yearly.

Is this covered by insurance?

We have not learned of any company or government health insurance covering CBDs as part of opiate recovery. Let us know if you hear of any.  

What interactions make this more or less effective?

Monitor your coffee intake and sugar use daily. Too much may cause you to need more CBDs more often for the same results.    

Why should I do this now?

  1. You want to lessen or end your suffering now. Motivation is important.
  2. You trust 12 Step programs will help you change your thinking and behavior.
  3. CBD pain management may make sticking with your program easier.  

You can wait for more research, someday. But why not now?

What should I do first?

First, 12 Steps. If you’re not already on the path, look for a local meeting

Next, be responsible. Check with your doctor, your sponsor, yourself. 

Then, try it. Buy a small bottle of CBD oil, and take your first double-tap spray under your tongue.

Observe yourself. How do you feel? OK? Any side effects? Adjust if you need to. 

Longer term, think about dosing more or less to fit your body size and more or less often to fit your level of physical activity. 

Who can I talk to about this?

My name is David Hopper. Talk with me. Text or call 919-802-1769. Or email. More contact info.

Talk with your sponsor.

Talk with your doctor or another clinician you trust.

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