CBD has become a big buzz word in the wellness world, as a salve for everything from anxiety to gut issues to period pain. But what is it and how does it actually work? In today’s episode, I’m joined by Chloe Weber, a trained herbalist, acupuncturist and founder of Radical Roots, which combines the power of Chinese herbs with full spectrum hemp.
Chloe got into the world of hemp because of her son Remy, who has been using various CBD formulas to ease a neurological condition. She’s a wealth of knowledge about how the endocannabinoid system works, what deliveries best serve digestive disorders, and how to use both hemp and cannabis as part of your SIBO plant medicine cabinet.
If you’ve been wondering whether hemp-based extracts are worth all the anti-inflammatory hype, this episode has so many incredible takeaways!
A quick taste of what we’ll cover:
- The difference between CBD and THC
- How to use CBD and THC to treat anxiety, insomnia, SIBO, neurological issues and epilepsy
- The best formulas and delivery methods for gut health
- Why smoking hemp or cannabis might be a better choice in certain situations than taking an oil or edible
- Product terminology to beware of and what you want to see on a package to ensure its therapeutic grade and not snake oil
- And so much more…
Resources, mentions and notes:
- Where to find Chloe Weber and her full spectrum hemp line, Radical Roots
- SIBO Made Simple listeners can take 20 percent off her products with code SIBO20
- Charlotte’s Web TED talk
- Haleigh’s Hope – CBD for epilepsy
- Palmetto Harmony – CBD suppositories
- The Wellness Project Book
- Join the SIBO Made Simple Facebook Community Page
- Subscribe to receive a free download of the episode transcript
This episode is brought to you by Epicured, a low FODMAP meal delivery service that understands that food is medicine. Each menu is created by Michelin star chefs and honed by doctors and dieticians at mount sinaii to restore digestive health for those with IBS, SIBO, Celiac and IBD. Everything they serve is 100 percent low FODMAP and gluten-free, with no cooking required! My favorite part about their dishes is the healthy spin on takeout gems like shrimp laksa and PAD THAI! Their version had a great balance of fresh veggies mixed in with the noodles that left me feeling both satisfied and completely free of my usual carb coma. Listeners to this podcast can get 20% off their order by using code SIBOMADESIMPLE. Just click here to learn more.
THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN CBD AND THC, HEMP AND CANNABIS
PHOEBE: To get going, you have a very interesting story in kind of how you started to incorporate hemp and CBD into your medicinal toolkit. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and then some of your own personal turning points.
CHLOE: Cool, yeah. So I’m an acupuncturists and an herbalist. My son, Remy, who is now almost five and just took his first steps about two weeks ago – I’m still starting to wrap my head around that – was diagnosed with a rare neurotransmitter disorder when he was two and a half, which also causes lots of seizures and all sorts of global delays, Parkinsonian-like tremors. It’s a really complicated disorder and since it’s so rare, there’s really no Western research into it.
I started looking as an herbalist into CBD and see how that might be able to help him. Remy and I were trying all the CBDs we could possibly get our hands on, and some would help me with my sleep, some would help him with his seizures, but the research was really there, and as an herbalist I just sort of felt like it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all model, which is what everybody was using, so I combined Chinese herbs with CBD to potentiate the actions. Either way, everything that I’m studying, when it comes to endocannabinoid system and CBD and THC, it just really is such a remarkable medicine, and we’re just now scratching the surface of the possibilities of what we can do with it.
PHOEBE: Very cool. I know they’re both becoming real buzzwords in the wellness world, so for those who are just coming at it from square one, who have maybe heard the buzzing about CBD versus THC, can you just give us the endocannabinoid system for dummies? Explain the difference between hemp and cannabis, in terms of medicinal plants, and then the difference between the compounds CBD and THC.
CHLOE: Okay. So, basically, about 25 years ago, researchers found that we have an endocannabinoid system in our bodies. Throughout our entire body, we have different receptors for cannabinoids, and the main receptors that we found are CB1 and CB2. Actually, it turns out that we make our own cannabinoids, which are called anandamide and 2-AG – which is a really, really long technical term, so we’ll stick with 2-AG – but what’s interesting is that our body not only responds to the cannabinoids that we make, but it responds to the cannabinoids that are made by plants.
The two best-researched cannabinoids from plants are THC and CBD, as we all know. THC works directly on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, particularly in the brain, so that’s why we have the psychoactive aspects of THC. CBD works in a different pathway. While it affects both of those receptors, what it does is it sort of locks the natural “homemade” cannabinoids from being reabsorbed quicker, so it increases the amount of anandamide and 2-AG that’s available. It’s sort of like an SSRI in how that works.
Hemp versus marijuana; basically, as somebody recently said, it’s like a different breed of dog. Everything is under the cannabis plant, but hemp is legally classified as hemp as long as it’s less than .3% THC, so that’s really the only differentiation. There are ways to grow it in different ways, but it’s sort of like you’re breeding out the pit bull, or the psychological effects.
PHOEBE: Got it. So hemp doesn’t have THC involved in its makeup at all?
CHLOE: It has to have less than .3% THC in order to be called hemp.
PHOEBE: Got it. So for products where you’re seeing ratios of THC to CBD, are those primarily in the cannabis camp, or do you find those at all for hemp as well?
WHY FULL SPECTRUM HEMP IS A POWERFUL GUT HEALER
CHLOE: So full-spectrum is going to be anything that’s going to have a little bit of THC in it. Most research studies have shown that full-spectrum CBD extracts are more effective than isolate extracts. We’ve only really started looking into CBD and THC, and now we’re looking into other cannabinoids, so getting that full range of cannabinoids that are in the plant is most important and more effective than just getting the isolate of the CBD. There’s going to be THC in all hemp, but if you’re moving to a higher level of THC, then that’s going to be more considered cannabis.
PHOEBE: Got it. When you buy a full-spectrum CBD product from hemp, it’s assumed that there’s just a lot of other things going on besides the isolate, as you said?
CHLOE: Yeah, there’s going to be a full range of cannabinoids normally. There’s been a lot of research into CBN and CBG, which have both been really interesting, and there’s more research coming out every month; it’s really fun. There’s also a full range of terpenes, which are like the volatile oils that you smell. When you smell marijuana, hemp or cannabis, it always has that very pungent smell, so those are terpenes, and those are sort of essential oils. You’ll find terpenes in lots of plants. Also, hemp is very mineral-rich, which is really interesting because those provide important co-factors to potentiate the actions of the plant.
PHOEBE: Obviously, cannabis is not legal everywhere in our country. Is there any example of a case where you would not want to use cannabis, and you would only want to use hemp as a plant?
CHLOE: I mean, not as an isolate. I don’t think that the isolates are nearly as effective, and I think that that’s show in a lot of research across the board when we’re looking at pharmaceutical isolates of chemical compounds, as opposed to the plants they’re derived from. Most often, the research shows that the plant is more effective; the whole is greater than the parts. I think I would almost always want there to be some level of THC. Remy’s on CBD – he’s on a really high amount of CBD – to control his seizures and to help with his tremors and development, so that he can now walk.
CHLOE: Well, almost – but I would obviously prefer not to have my almost 5-year-old on THC, but THC is really important to activate those CB1 receptors in the brain to help with that function.
PHOEBE: But there’s so little in these full-spectrum hemp products that you’re not really going to experience any of the psychoactive effects, right?
CHLOE: Oh, not at all. Yeah, no. I mean Remy takes probably four times more than I would recommend most adults to take, no problem whatsoever, and I’ve played around pretty hardily and I’ve had no issues either.
PHOEBE: Very cool. We’re going to talk about gut health down the line in this conversation, obviously, since that’s what our show is all about, but can you tell us a little bit about the various ailments or maladies that people are using CBD and THC for these days, or I guess just hemp and cannabis for these days?
CHLOE: It’s been pretty incredible to see the vast array of ailments that CBD is being used for, or cannabis; I really think of them pretty interchangeably. Obviously, epilepsy is one of the things we got a lot of exposure for. The Charlotte’s Web strain and their story with Charlotte Figi and their mission has really revolutionized the field and brought so much more research and opportunity to get this medicine out there.
USING CBD FOR EPILEPSY AND OTHER NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS
PHOEBE: Can you tell us a little bit about that story?
CHLOE: Charlotte’s Web is a company out of Colorado. It was started by a bunch of brothers who – they have a really great Ted Talk – started making hemp salves for pain management, and then they were trying to figure out how to get this medicine out into the world. Then this little girl, Charlotte Figi, who I believe was having about 150 seizures a day, contacted them, started taking their CBD, and – she apparently was really sort of on death’s door, was really remarkably revived by this medicine. That’s the case with so many of these children with intractable seizures.
It’s really such a life-changer for these families. I can’t even express to you how horrendous it is to watch your child have seizures; I cannot imagine watching Remy have hundreds a day. That would – ugh! So they’ve been really active in getting a legislation passed and pushing the field forward overall. I really have nothing but respect for those guys.
PHOEBE: What exactly is happening in the brain that this endocannabinoid system is kind of heading off the seizures before they start?
CHLOE: That’s sort of a tricky question. There’s a lot of research going on right now to find out exactly what’s going on. We know that it works on certain biopathways, so it definitely works on the sodium pathways; it works on the tripB1 pathways; it works on the serotonin pathways, but, really, it also regulates the vagus nerve, the vagal tone. I’m sure we’ll be getting into the gut brain axis and how important that is.
PHOEBE: Oh, yeah.
CHLOE: But it’s really just bringing the body and the brain into homeostasis at the most basic level, but the chemical compounds and how that’s all working is still sort of being sorted out. There is some really cool research on it coming out now.
PHOEBE: Amazing. Yeah, I know a lot of friends who take it for sleep and anxiety. I don’t know. I’m kind of – I haven’t been – I’ve been very loosely using it, I’d say, for the past two years, so I haven’t been a true guinea pig to really see what the affects are. It’s also, you know, expensive, so I haven’t been that compliant.
I’m assuming that the sleep, the anxiety, and even, I guess, the gut health – which we’ll get into a second – it’s all because of that regulation of the brain, yes?
CHLOE: It’s all because of the regulation of the brain, but, also, you can sort of think of CBD as an adaptogen. It’s like if you need more energy, it gives you more energy. If you need more sleep, it’ll help you sleep. You know what I mean? It just sort of balances everything out. The receptors are literally throughout the entire body. The CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain, but they’re found throughout the rest of the body as well. Whereas the CB2 receptors are mainly found in the immune system. So it’s regulating the immune system; it’s regulating the gut; it’s regulating how the neurotransmitters are communicating. It has an anticholinergic effect. It’s really, truly pretty remarkable. It’s pretty fun.
While I was sort of doing a little bit of studying up on the gut and CBD, I would be like, okay, CBD in the guy microbiome, CBD in leaky gut, and it was just research paper after research paper saying, yes, it help this, yes, it helps this, so that was pretty fun.
PHOEBE: Okay, so let’s dig in! Tell me what you found. Let’s tackle, I guess, the microbiome as a whole. There’s research about it improving various beneficial populations. How does it work?
CBD FOR MICROBIOME HEALTH, MOTILITY AND DIVERSITY
CHLOE: So CBD has been shown to regulate your appetite, which can help with regulating the microbiome, and it also just helps with inflammation, which helps regulate the microbiome. One of the things that I found most exciting and super nerdy was that it potentiates – so there’s a research study on how CBD affects the microbiome and how that affects treatment for MS. One of the bacterias that it potentiates, Akkermansia municiphila – I can send you the research so you can post it if anybody wants it.
PHOEBE: Yeah, I’ll put it in the show notes for sure.
CHLOE: CBD potentiates this one specific bacteria to help with MS, which I thought was super interesting because I had just read a research study about the keto diet potentiating the same bacteria in order to help with epilepsy, so I was super stoked on that. Yeah, CBD helps balance microbiome and helps reduce inflammation in the gut, and it helps strongly with the tight junctions so that it helps prevent leaky gut syndrome.
PHOEBE: What happens there? How does it help that permeability?
CHLOE: It seems to help activate the immune system. Again, a lot of these things, in terms of the specific biomechanisms, are still being worked out, but it helps activate the immune system and reduce inflammation in the area, so that they can sort of reform those junctions so things aren’t getting out. It also down regulates leukocyte infiltration at the area, so that way it prevents adhesion and migration, so it’s pretty cool.
PHOEBE: For someone who has SIBO, a strange subset of general microbiome issues, also leading to leaky gut, what have you, what kind of application would you recommend? Do you think CBD would be something that’s interesting to incorporate during the recovery process after someone goes through treatment? How would you incorporate that into the toolkit.
CHLOE: I definitely think CBD would be helpful, especially in terms of balancing the microbiome, healing the gut, and its affects on motility, since SIBO has so much to do with motility as well. I was sort of thinking about it today, in terms of would I prefer somebody taking it under the tongue, which is one of the most common administrations of CBD, or whether it would be better taking it in a capsule. I think either would really be effective because if you take it under the tongue, you’re still swallowing it, and it’s getting to all of those rich capillaries under your tongue, so you’re getting an effect really quickly. Some of the affect that the CBD is having on the gut is through its effect on the brain, as you mentioned earlier. You want to get both of those going on.
If you take it in a capsule, it’s sort of getting closer to what’s the heart of the matter, so that might be better for some people depending on where they are. That’s one of the tricky things with CBD, is you sort of have to play around with it a little bit because it’s not one size fits all.
PHOEBE: I would think some people’s digestion is so messed up that like capsules are even hard to get the most out of.
CHLOE: Exactly, yeah.
PHOEBE: So I think having something that’s kind of built-in in liquid form is kind of a benefit, I think, for some people with SIBO.
CHLOE: Definitely. I’ve even had patients use suppositories for certain disorders, not really with SIBO but for Crohn’s, IBS, or endometriosis.
PHOEBE: That’s really interesting. Back to something you said before about appetite. When we think about these plants and appetite, I automatically go to the munchies from smoking cannabis. How does just the CBD affect appetite?
CHLOE: It seems, again, that it’s more of a regulatory mechanism. It seems like it acts upon the vagus nerve, to tell the brain when you’re hungry or not, and when you’re in a fasting state, anandamide, the endocannabinoid, is increased, so it seems like it helps with brain signaling, in terms of whether you’re hungry, whether you’re not, or whether you’re actually full. Yeah, again, it’s strain-specific and it depends on probably how much THC is in it. THC tends to make you hungrier than CBD does.
PHOEBE: It’s really interesting. I think, obviously, there’s a lot of things at play for SIBO people with appetite. If you’re extremely distended and bloated, it can make you feel full faster. Also, I think there’s just like a whole emotional component with the strict diet and starting to feel like food is the enemy. It’s nice to have something, potentially, that loosens your grip on that and potentially forces you to nourish yourself at the appropriate times a little bit more. I don’t know; just something that popped into my head.
CHLOE: No, definitely. Again, it’s really about balancing homeostasis action that it’s always looking for. If you’re using it to increase appetite or decrease nausea, it’s incredibly effective. Also, if you’re starving for nutrients, it’s going to tell your brain, like, you need to go and get food, so that’s really helpful.
PHOEBE: Yeah. So for hemp, if I’m understanding this correctly, you want to look for a full-spectrum product, but for cannabis – I mean, I basically just know as a casual consumer, the once or twice a year I visit Oregon or California – there is kind of a whole array of different products out there now, in terms of edibles, that advertise various ratios between CBD and THC. How do people navigate that who are in the states that are able to do so? Are there certain ratios that are better for certain ailments? Specifically people with SIBO or gut issues, what is the ideal there?
WHAT HEMP AND CANNABIS PRODUCTS ARE BEST FOR SIBO
CHLOE: Again, a lot of it’s down to personal preference and how your body responds, and how much THC, and thus psychoactive effects, you’re interested in having. A lot of people do 1:1 now because you’re getting a higher THC activation, but less of a high, so that’s sort of better for a lot of people who aren’t looking to sit on my couch and play video games all day. In terms of strains, there are so many different ones. You want to look at the terpene profile. Those can help. You want to look for terpenes like myrcene, which is really clovey and musky, it’s sedating, but it’s also antibacterial, anti-fungal and helps a lot with inflammations, so that might be a great one for SIBO – cumalin, also.
PHOEBE: Where do you find that kind of information? Is it on the back of most edible or oil packaging?
CHLOE: It should be on the back, or if you go to any of the company’s websites, they should have certificates of analysis, which should have all that information on it. Right now, it’s such the wild west out there; there’s so many products that really are just mass-produced and really not well-tested, don’t have good quality ingredients or have fillers. You really do want to do your homework and make sure that you’re getting a product that has what it’s listing on the label, especially if you’re spending $100 a product.
PHOEBE: Totally. We’ll get to that question down the line, of how to distinguish the snake oil from the real stuff.
CHLOE: The other thing is, also, CBG is one of the cannabinoids that’s not being further researched, and it’s coming out in more and more products, but that one’s been shown in research to be really effective for irritable bowl disease, and decreasing inflammation in the gut and potentially inhibiting colorectal cancer, and it also works as an appetite suppressant; it’s antibacterial, and there’s a really awesome research study about using it for Huntington’s Disease, which is obviously a debilitating neurological disorder. I think in the coming year to two years, you’re going to start seeing more of these other cannabinoids play a role in the industry as we get more and more research on them.
PHOEBE: So interesting. How are these being incorporated now? Is it in addition to both the CBD and the THC, or are people kind of starting to use that – I don’t know – on its own? How do people look for those types of products with CBG?
CHLOE: If you’re getting a full-spectrum product, you’ll probably be getting low levels of CBG or CBN in there and a bunch of other, sort of, undiscovered cannabinoids, which are all really exciting, but they’re working on genetics to increase CBG and CBN. I know that we were looking into getting some seeds for our crops next year that had an increased amount of CBG so that we could start developing products with that, for that reason.
PHOEBE: Very cool. I assume that Radical Roots does an oil. Let’s talk, just for a second, about, I guess – I don’t know what you call it – method of delivery. What are the different benefits between just an oil under the tongue, chocolate or gummies, or miscellaneous edibles, and then smoking?
CHLOE: Smoking, you’re going to get the fastest response to it, obviously, as we all know. That’s a benefit if somebody’s in acute distress and needs something to change, whether it’s anxiety or whether it’s visceral pain. Smoking can be really helpful for that and you can totally smoke CBD-rich hemp also, which is kind of fun.
PHOEBE: Where do you find smokable CBD?
CHLOE: They have stores. You’re in New York, right?
CHLOE: They have little store fronts with CBD flower. It’s kind of ridiculous.
PHOEBE: Wow! I had no idea, which it seems like I should’ve known.
CHLOE: I mean, it’s kind of crazy. I’m sure they sell it online now, also. We’ve thought about putting some on our online store but haven’t done it yet, but it’s kind of nice. I mean, I enjoy smoking CBD-rich hemp. You feel kind of rogue, but you’re not actually getting stoned. It’s kind of a mindfuck though.
PHOEBE: So you feel just immediately calmer? When I take CBD – I don’t know; maybe I’m not dosing myself high enough, but – I don’t always feel an immediate anything. I feel like it’s just weaved itself into my homeostasis, as you say.
CHLOE: No, it’s not normally like an immediate thing. You’re normally going to see a response, feel the effects, over the next hour or two. Whether or not you feel the effects is super personalized also. My business partner, Bart, is an herbalist and he does a lot of energy work, and he responds to CBD incredibly powerfully and, like, feels the effects immediately. For me, it’s more of, okay, this is part of my health routine and something that I take everyday. But I will say if I stop taking it for a couple weeks and then have a super stressful week, start taking it again, and within a couple days I’m just like, oh, I feel like myself again. I never feel like it’s some drastic thing; I just feel like it sort of keeps the highs from getting to high and the lows from getting to low, again balancing it out.
PHOEBE: Yeah, adaptogenic.
PHOEBE: Okay, so that was smoking. How about miscellaneous edibles and oil?
SMOKING, EDIBLES AND OILS: WHICH IS BEST FOR EACH AILMENT
CHLOE: Miscellaneous edibles obviously have to be digested by the gut, so you’ve got to be able to digest them by the gut. They’re also going to go through the liver more, and they have a longer time in your system. Also, I believe when you’re taking edibles, the THC activation is significantly higher than if you’re smoking it, so that’s why sometimes if you were to take a THC edible, you might get significantly more stoned than if you were going to smoke the equivalent amount, so just beware of that.
PHOEBE: I guess depending on motility, you’re going to get hit at very different times than other people.
PHOEBE: I know that when my husband and I occasionally have edibles, we get hit like hours apart.
CHLOE: Yeah, it’s so crazy. I’ve sort of backed away from edibles because they kind of scare me. I love them, but I’m just like I don’t know what to expect from you; I’ve got shit to do today; I’m not sure about all this.
PHOEBE: Yeah! That’s interesting about it passing through the liver. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
CHLOE: If you’re taking it under the tongue, it’s also going to pass through the liver. In many ways it seems like it’s good for the liver, but it does need to be taken into consideration depending on what pharmaceuticals you’re on. It is broken down by the cytochrome P450 enzyme in your liver, so that’s also involved in metabolizing about a quarter of our pharmaceuticals, so you just want to be aware of that. Normally, what it does is it slows down the metabolism of the drugs in the liver, so it can lead to an increase in the level of those drugs in the body. That’s why you sort of want to talk to your doctors, if you’re taking CBD or THC regularly, and just keep an eye on those levels. An interesting research study showed that about 50% of people who were on pharmaceuticals were able to get off of their pharmaceuticals while on CBD, which is pretty remarkable.
PHOEBE: Is that because it allows you to taper, since there’s more active drug going to be circulating in your system?
CHLOE: Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve seen in my practice, at least.
PHOEBE: Wow, that’s really interesting. Okay, so edibles go through your liver. You’re going to have a higher THC activation, but kind of dependent on how your digesting in the first place. What about oils?
CHLOE: Oils, most of that’s absorbed by capillaries underneath your tongue, so you’re typically told to hold the oil under your tongue for about a minute to two minutes. Most of the active ingredients are absorbed that way, and then you swallow the rest of it. That’s pretty cool because it’s getting into your bloodstream right away. Again, you don’t really see the results – you don’t necessarily feel anything with CBD, but you are getting that anti-inflammatory response; you are hitting those serotonin receptors. You’re doing all these positive things for you body just by taking it, even if you don’t feel it. That’s an interesting way to take it, and that’s how most people are taking CBD right now.
PHOEBE: For those who want to start trying this at home, or looking for a quality product, what are some of the things to keep in mind when doing your research, perusing the bottle? Besides full-spectrum, which we’ve already honed in, what are some of the other processing stipulations that you want to look for?
CHLOE: CO2 extraction is considered, sort of, the gold standard in CBD extraction; it’s very clean and it produces a high yield of cannabinoids, so a lot of companies are using CO2 extractions. Some use ethanol extractions, so that’s sort of extracted through alcohol and they put it into an oil tincture. Radical Roots uses a spagyric extraction, which is pretty unique. We use ethanol to extract the CBD and all the cannabinoids and all the terpenes, and then we take the leftover plants, the hemp and all of our Chinese herbs and we put them into a fire for about eight hours. From the ashes, our manufacturer, who’s this brilliant dude in the mountains of Colorado, reconstitutes the minerals, salts, and all these micro-chemicals and puts it back into the tincture, so that’s a really cool method. We found that using spagyric extraction, most of the people who are taking our products need about 50% less than they would do with other products they’ve been using.
You want to look at how many cannabinoids are in the bottle, and from that you can figure out your dosing. You want to make sure that if it’s not organic, you can online and see their COAs and see. A lot of places can’t have organic-certification because that’s expensive and tricky, and there’s a whole lot of bureaucracy around that, but you do want to go online and make sure you can see the certificates of analysis showing that there’s no pesticides, no heavy metals. Hemp is a really mineral-rich plant, so it also sucks up a lot of chemicals from the earth. It’s really important that it’s as clean as possible.
PHOEBE: This may sound dumb, but you pull up the COA and does it just say organic plants, no chemicals? How do you evaluate that?
CHLOE: If you go to radicalrootsherbs.com and go onto my website, you go and click on one of the COAs and it has not only a list of the cannabinoids and terpenes that are in each bottle and how much THC, but underneath that it has all the terpenes, and below that it has – we do testing for all the micro-toxins. We test for mold, and we test for pesticides and heavy metals. I’m kind of a psycho because I typically like to treat children with neurodevelopmental disorders, so I’m like there’s nothing bad going into our products. On that COA, it should have any of the testing that they’re doing listed, and it should say none detected or whatever percentage they find.
PHOEBE: Cool! Those are kind of the things you want to look for. Is there any language that should be a red flag for people?
HOW TO BUY THE BEST QUALITY CBD
CHLOE: Not really. One thing that’s tricky, that people should be aware of, is that it’s hard for CBD companies to say CBD on their bottle. GW Pharma got an FDA patent for Epidiolex, which is the first CBD-derived pharmaceutical, last year. Once the FDA is engaged with a chemical, supplement companies can’t use that chemical as a supplement. My wording is wrong, but it’s sort of tricky. On all my Radical Roots products it says “full-spectrum hemp extract” instead of “500 mg of CBD” because it’s sort of like one of those red flags. We all are sort of flying under the radar, but not really, so it’s a weird gray area in some ways, in terms of how you want to market it, but you want to make sure that it’s full-spectrum, and, yeah, you do want to be able to have access to those tests.
PHOEBE: I feel like I see CBD all the time. Speaking of snake oil, I think even at my local bodega there’s CBD candies on the [31:38].
CHLOE: Oh, yeah. No, there totally are!
PHOEBE: So those people are just being a little risky, making themselves liable to the patent of this drug company by advertising that?
CHLOE: Yeah. I mean, it’s a weird gray area because it is legal, but the FDA could potentially crack down on it. However, with the influx of thousands of CBD companies, it would be pretty hard to put the toothpaste back in the tube at this point, especially when so many people are having such remarkable results while using it.
PHOEBE: Yeah, I feel like it’s everywhere. Besides your own Radical Roots, which I will of course link to in this and Charlotte’s Web, which you mentioned before, do you have any other favorites that you would recommend in the good guy posse of products out there?
CHLOE: Of course! I really like Haleigh’s Hope; they do a lot of work for epilepsy. I took it also, and I really enjoyed it. I think it’s a really clean product. Palmetto Harmony is one that I recommend a lot, also. They’re the ones who have suppositories. Those, again, have been game changers for a lot of my patients.
PHOEBE: Oh, wow, so they sell them as suppositories?
CHLOE: Mm-hmm, yep. You don’t even have to make them yourself.
PHOEBE: Wow! That would be really great for people. I think a lot our listeners out there, who deal with IBD, would be interested in that.
CHLOE: Oh, yeah. No, it’s amazing. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to start getting those out with Chinese herbs, but we haven’t launched that yet. For now, Palmetto Harmony I think are the only ones I know of doing it, but hopefully more people will be doing it. I’m trying to think. There are a lot of good companies out there, but there are a lot of shitty companies out there; there lot of people who are taking advantage of the trend, so you want to do a little it of research. You don’t necessarily want to buy the gummies off of the bodega counter.
PHOEBE: I have not, yes.
CHLOE: I’ve debated sometimes. Like I’ll be at my bodega and I’ll be like, ah, that looks kind of good, and then I’m like, Chloe, you have so much CBD in your house, three steps away. I’ll buy some of the drinks sometimes, just to try it. Recess has a bunch of adaptogens in it; they’re doing really great and they’re stuff seems good. Most of that’s going to be an isolate though. I don’t know of any full-spectrum, water-soluble CBD, so that’s something that people should be aware of if you’re drinking it.
PHOEBE: So it’s not an oil being added to the drinks; it’s a water-soluble version?
CHLOE: Yeah. There’s some processing techniques, which I absolutely do not have the knowledge to go into, that can turn it into a water-soluble version. That’s what’s being used mainly in drinks, as I understand it, so that’s going to be an isolate. It is going to help you chill out. It’s going to activate your CB1, CB2 receptors, but it’s not going to be as effective as full-spectrum.
PHOEBE: It’s not going to give you that anti-inflammatory gut healing element as much.
CHLOE: Yeah, not in the same way.
PHOEBE: Besides the suppositories, are there any specific products or brands you would recommend for SIBO people or those dealing with gut issues?
CHLOE: Not particularly. As long as you’re going with a reputable brand, I would play around with – I think under-the-tongue would be a great way for people with SIBO to start, the oil sublingually, because that way you can sort of get a sense of how your body’s responding to it. Whereas I feel like with SIBO, sometimes, obviously, your digestion and your ability to break things down in an appropriate way are going to be impacted, so taking a capsule off the bat might not be as effective. Whereas once you’ve sort of gotten the hang of it – you figured out your dosing and your gut’s a little bit more healed – I think that a capsule might be really nice, in terms of potentiating the healing effects in the gut and getting right to the heart of the matter.
PHOEBE: Yeah. Actually, let’s talk a little bit about the best way to use it. Do you recommend it on an empty stomach, between meals, with meals? Obviously you want to let it rest under your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing, but are there any best practices in terms of taking it?
CHLOE: There are none established, really. As an herbalist in Chinese herbs, we always tell people to take your herbs before you eat, so I do the same when I’m taking my CBD or when I’m recommending it to my patients. That seems to work well. It really doesn’t cause any gastric discomfort unless you’re taking the capsules and have something going on. I haven’t had anybody have a problem with that. However, that being said, if you are taking the capsules or if your gut’s impaired, and that’s sort of iffy, then you can always take it with or after food. I think some of the research I saw a couple years ago stated that it normally just decreases the efficacy of the herbs by like 5%, so it’s really not that big of a deal.
PHOEBE: How about in terms of – there’s a medical term for this that isn’t coming to me, but – the habit of using it? It is one of those things that the effects get more dramatic the more often and more consistently that you take it. Is that right?
EFFECTS OF STRESS ON THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
CHLOE: It depends on the patient. A lot of times when somebody hasn’t had their endocannabinoid system stimulated or their endocannabinoids are low, which can happen with stress or that can – something that’s interesting for IBS in the endocannabinoid system is that in rat studies, it shows that in early life if a rat is stressed, it messes up their endocannabinoid system for the rest of their life and can predispose them to IBS, which is really interesting when you think of the epigenetic shifts that pass down familial IBS and IBS tendencies. I think that’s really cool.
PHOEBE: Yeah. Is it something that you want to consistently take? Are the benefits more pronounced if you’re doing it every day? This came to mind not from any sort of research on my part but just from something that a sales clerk in Amsterdam told me when I bought some oil. He was like, “You want to do it every day for a week, and then you’ll really start to notice some of the effects.” I don’t know if he described that it would amplify thereafter, but I was curious if that had any merit or if he was just trying to get me to buy more oil.
CHLOE: I’m sure he was just trying to get you to buy more oil. Yeah, it’s hard to say in terms of clinical and in terms of the research on it, because there’s really not much research on taking it long-term. In terms of what I’ve seen clinically, most of my patients will see a result after a week, and it will continue to improve. Sometimes people will be taking it for awhile and, like I did, they’ll stop naturally or sometimes you slow down and don’t need to take quite as much because your endocannabinoid – they call it endocannabinoid tone, which I think is sort of a weird catchall because they don’t know exactly what it is – but they say once your endocannabinoid tone is better, then you might not need as much of it.
Basically, once your endocannabinoid system is functioning optimally, perhaps you don’t need as much CBD and you’ll naturally drop off taking it; maybe you’ll take it once a day instead of twice a day; or for other disorders – for me, I use it mainly for stress and to help my sleep, so if I stop taking it for a little while, for a couple days, and then take it again, I’ll see the results much more powerfully. Some people do that and they call it a reboot. That’s common in the seizure world, for people to do that. After a couple months, they’ll just do like two or three days off, and then go back on it. It seems to sort of flush the endocannabinoid system with endocannabinoids and sort of help potentiate those effects again so that you see them really strongly.
PHOEBE: Obviously your son is an extreme case of someone who really needs it to balance out on a daily basis, but are you saying that, potentially, someone could take it for a period of time and kind of have their brain kind of rewired, retrained into where they don’t really need it anymore, or don’t need as much?
CHLOE: What it seems like is that you might not need as much over time, yeah, but it all depends. In times of higher stress, you might need more again. It’s all that balance within the body and sort of getting to the place where you can tell what your body needs, and this helps you be more aware of it. It really just balances the whole system. It helps you process trauma. It’s insane the different ways that it helps the body function. You definitely want to keep taking it, but, yeah, a lot of times you’ll see that you don’t have to take it as much. That’s one of the reasons we put the Chinese herbs in it, so that we can also help treat what we in Chinese medicine consider the root causes of some of these harmonies that lead to stress or anxiety, or insomnia, or anything else that’s going on.
PHOEBE: Yeah. I’m so glad you brought that up because I want to ask you that before we hop off. I know Chinese herbs are literally a different language, but not individual things that maybe a lot of laypeople like myself would recognize. Tell us a little bit about what you added there and how it allows the CBD to do its job better.
CHLOE: Oh, man. Okay, so Chinese herbology –
PHOEBE: For the layperson, if possible.
CHLOE: I can do it. I can do it. Yeah, Chinese herbal medicine, to me, has always been my passion. Making herbal medicine as accessible as possible is really important to me because it’s just such a remarkable, incredible medicine. Chinese herbal medicine makes custom formulations for people, and it’s really an individualized pharmaceutical from plant material. It’s using the whole plant. As I discussed, the whole works better than parts, normally, and it’s really looking at the patient, where they are today, and what’s going on in their body in a very different way than Western medicine does. I love Western medicine in many ways, but I’m obsessed with Chinese herbology.
In Chinese medicine, we look at disorders in terms of pattern differentiation. Let’s take insomnia. We look at insomnia; it could be caused because you’re really stressed out. In Chinese medicine, we would say that that’s a liver pattern; or it could be caused because you’re really sad, and you’re just kind of depressed, so that would be sort of more of a heart pattern; or it could be caused because you’re really worried, and you’re up at night with the monkey mind, and you can’t shut your mind off, so that’s more of a spleen pattern. What Bart and I did was we looked at all these different patterns to get to this endgame, this sort of prognosis or diagnosis, and try to make a formula that would be safe and effective for each of those patterns.
Our Rest + Relax is for anxiety and insomnia. We’ve got a Relief Remedy that really focuses on helping with underlying causes of pain. We’ve got a vitality one, which is sort of my adrenal kick, which saves my life instead of drinking my third or fourth cup of coffee some days. We’ve got Remy’s Revenge, which is Remy’s formula, obviously, which is great for all neurological conditions. I’ve treated a lot of children with ADD, autism and epilepsy, and adults with Parkinson’s and MS; and then we have one that just doesn’t have any Chinese herbs.
The herbs are just really amazing, and it’s so much fun because not only do we know the Eastern energetics of the herbs and how those work, but they’ve been around for thousands of years; we know the pharmacological actions and the chemical composition of all of these herbs also, so it’s not just adding the woo-woo into the CBD.
PHOEBE: Yeah. I know SIBO obviously – for those who have listened to both seasons of the podcast – has lots of different root causes, but if there was one you would point people towards from your product line, what would it be?
CHLOE: Our Revive is really a spleen and kidney tonic, so that one really helps with digestion and boosting what we consider vital Qi. It’s a really nice formulation and it helps with digestion, but all of them really have therapeutic doses of cannabinoids, so any of them would be fine, especially if you’re looking at the underlying disorder. If stress is really affecting your SIBO and your gut, then the Rest + Relax would probably be the best bet. You know what I mean?
PHOEBE: Yeah. Is that something that you would just take before bed, or would you take it before meals like you recommended before?
CHLOE: I typically take it twice a day. It depends on what you’re looking for. If you just have sleep issues, you might just take a bigger dose at nighttime and that’s it. The Rest +Relax doesn’t knock you out; it just helps take the edge of off things, so that’s really nice. Similar with the Revive, the Revive isn’t the same as drinking a cup of coffee, but it gives you that little bit of a boost, that little bit of a mental edge where you just feel like, alright, I can do this; I can sit down and study a little longer or work a little harder. I’ve taken the Revive. Depending on what I have at home, I’ll just grab whatever it is. I’ve taken the Revive at nighttime and not had any trouble falling asleep, but normally we have people take it two to three times a day.
PHOEBE: Very cool. Awesome. I can’t wait for everyone at home to experiment with Radical Roots and all the other fantastic resources you’ve mentioned. I will, of course, link to everything in the show notes. Thank you so much, Chloe, for coming on today. Is there anything else you’d like to add about gut health and this incredible plant medicine that we haven’t covered yet?
CHLOE: We covered quite a lot. I really can’t say again how blown away I am to see the research that’s coming out. Potential for innovation in this field is absolutely incredible, and the amount of people that it’s helping really is nothing short of amazing. I really do recommend that everybody gives it a try. Do your research; make sure you’re getting something safe. You’re welcome to holler if you have any questions, but I think it’s a very safe medicine, it’s incredibly effective, and the gut/brain access and how essential that is is really going to be so helpful for so many of the listeners out there.
PHOEBE: Amazing. Thank you so much. I will certainly let everyone know where they can find you.
Disclaimer: The information shared in this podcast is not meant to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, or treatment. The information discussed is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or professional care.