bob livingston recommendation for cbd oil

More than a dozen marijuana bills were filed in the Tennessee legislature. Here’s what they’d change

At least 17 pieces of legislation related to marijuana have been introduced this year in Tennessee. Many of those bills pertain to medical cannabis, while others seek to reduce penalties for marijuana possession.

Neither approach is likely to succeed this year, largely due to top Republican officials’ resistance to permitting the drug even in medicinal form.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, who presides over the Senate, and House Speaker Cameron Sexton both reiterated last week they won’t support a change in law until the federal government reclassifies marijuana from its current status as Schedule I, which the Drug Enforcement Administration considers the most dangerous.

That means efforts to enact medical marijuana in Tennessee will likely fall flat for the foreseeable future, despite a growing number of Republican state legislators — including those in rural communities — speaking out in favor of the change in law.

“In order to be consistent, it needs to come off that Schedule I and go anywhere from II to V or even off, and then we can have that debate,” Sexton said Thursday. “It’s very hard, even though other states are doing it, to break federal law.”

Two of the state’s previous top GOP champions of enacting medical marijuana are no longer taking part in the conversation at the legislature. One, former Sen. Steve Dickerson of Nashville, lost his reelection bid in November.

A second, current House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison of Cosby, became quiet on the issue after he was elected to his leadership role in 2019.

“Since I’ve come in leadership, my job is to make sure I’m helping the body as a whole,” Faison said. “Obviously, it’s not a secret where I am with the medical use of that plant.”

Nearby states like Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, West Virginia and Missouri have all allowed medical cannabis, joining a total of 36 states that have done so.

Illinois, a short drive from the Tennessee border, has legalized recreational use of marijuana.

And then, of course, there is the proposed constitutional amendment by Rep. Brandon Ogles, R-Franklin, to ensure recreational marijuana use is never legal in the state.

McNally on Thursday said he is inclined to back the measure.

“I would vote for it,” he said. “I think I’d support it, to make sure that you couldn’t go into Walmart and just buy a pack of marijuana or a bag of marijuana or however they sell it. I’m not that familiar with it.”

The lieutenant governor confirmed he has never smoked a “marijuana cigarette” or consumed “marijuana brownies,” to his knowledge.

The following are cannabis-related bills filed during this year’s legislative session.

Resolution to reclassify marijuana on federal drug scale

A resolution introduced by Rep. Sabi Kumar, R-Springfield, acknowledges “certain medical benefits” offered by marijuana and urges the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana, which top legislative officials say must happen before changing state law.

Kumar is a surgeon.

Currently, the DEA says as a Schedule I drug, marijuana has no acceptable medical use. That puts it in the same category as heroin, LSD and ecstasy.

The resolution would have no direct effect on any laws in Tennessee, but signals support for future medical marijuana legislation if the federal government makes a change in classification.

House Joint Resolution 85 has passed the Health committee and subcommittee and will soon head to the House floor.

Creating a commission to study medical marijuana

Another measure from Republicans doesn’t call for any changes to Tennessee’s marijuana laws, but would establish a group to study medical marijuana.

The legislation from Sen. Ferrell Haile, R-Gallatin, and Rep. Bryan Terry, R-Murfreesboro, would establish a “medical cannabis commission” consisting of multiple doctors and pharmacists.

Senate Bill 118/House Bill 490 would require the commission to “study laws and legislation regarding the medical use of cannabis” and report their findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation on setting up an “effective, patient-focused medical cannabis program in this state.”

The nine-member panel would meet at least every two months.

The legislation would also prevent the state from taking any action on medical marijuana until the drug is reclassified at the federal level.

The bill was referred by the Senate government operations committee to the judiciary committee with a negative recommendation, but could still be taken up.

Another Republican backed bill, House Bill 880/Senate Bill 667, would require the Tennessee Department of Health to study surrounding states’ medical marijuana programs. That legislation was introduced by Terry, a physician, and Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville.

Allowing some marijuana as medication

A bill filed by two Republicans, Rep. Ryan Williams of Cookeville and Sen. Page Walley of Bolivar, would exclude from the state’s definition of marijuana “a product approved as a prescription medication” by the FDA. It’s unclear what products would fit that description.

Currently, state law just excludes from the definition CBD-specific products approved by the FDA.

House Bill 976/Senate Bill 706, which has passed out of the House criminal justice committee, would not establish a medical marijuana program in the state.

Regulated medical marijuana

Two rural Republicans, including outspoken medical marijuana proponent Sen. Janice Bowling of Tullahoma, and Rep. Iris Rudder of Winchester, have filed legislation that would enact a full-fledged medical marijuana program in the state.

Senate Bill 854/House Bill 621, called the Tennessee Medical Cannabis Act, cleared the Senate government operations committee in early March but has not been taken up in the House.

It’s unlikely to advance very far this year, given Republican leadership’s hesitation about the issue.

Allowing some cancer patients to use cannabis oil

Another Republican-introduced initiative would allow certain cancer patients to legally use cannabis oil.

Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, successfully presented the bill in the House Health subcommittee last week, explaining the relief that could be offered for some patients if passed. Sen. Art Swann, also from Maryville, is the other sponsor.

House Bill 239/Senate Bill 1209 would allow patients to use the oil if they have life-threatening cancer and their doctors attest that all conventional treatment methods have been tried.

Allowing paralyzed veterans to use cannabis oil

Despite being a measure filed by Democrats, House Bill 666/Senate Bill 1493 was approved by the House health committee last week. The bill, introduced by Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, and Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Raumesh Akbari of Memphis, would allow veterans with quadriplegia to legally use cannabis oil.

The veteran must have sustained quadriplegia as a result of their service in the military.

Windle, a colonel in the Tennessee National Guard, said in committee he believed starting with wounded veterans would be a more palatable way to approach the subject of medical cannabis in the legislature.

Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Old Hickory, is quadriplegic and said he thinks being able to try cannabis oil could be beneficial for him.

Other marijuana bills

Most of these bills have not been heard in any committees, but would be unlikely to advance.

  • Prohibiting police searches based only on marijuana odor: HB 1568/SB 1045 from Faison and Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, would prevent police from being authorized to conduct a search based solely on smelling cannabis. It also specifies most hemp products cannot be seized.
  • Tennessee Marijuana Regulation Act: SB 697/HB 1099 is a bipartisan proposal from Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, and Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville, that appears to delete various portions of state law making marijuana possession a crime.
  • Tax on retail sale of marijuana: SB 1477/HB 1587 by Akbari and House Minority Leader Karen Camper, both Memphis Democrats, would allow for the retail sale of marijuana with a 12% tax.
  • Decriminalizing small possession: SB 1439/HB 413 is another effort by Memphis Democrats, this time Akbari and Rep. London Lamar, to remove consequences for marijuana. This bill would decriminalize the possession and exchange of less than one ounce of marijuana.
  • Recognizing other states’ medical marijuana cards: SB 25/HB 601 is an effort led by Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, and Rep. Jason Hodges, D-Clarksville to allow someone who holds a valid medical marijuana card from another state to have up to half an ounce of marijuana in Tennessee.
  • Judicial diversion for marijuana: SB 1475/HB 221 requires a court to grant judicial diversion for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, regardless of a defendant’s prior criminal convictions. Bill is from Akbari and Rep. Jesse Chism, D-Memphis.
  • Drug testing: SB 1359/HB 1330 prevents employers from taking adverse action against certain job applicants and employees if a drug test shows they have used marijuana. Bill is from Sen. Heidi Campbell, D-Nashville, and Rep. Torrey Harris, D-Memphis.
  • Reducing marijuana possession offense: SB 1476/HB 972 reduces from a Class A to a Class C misdemeanor the offenses of possession, casual exchange and distribution of small amounts of marijuana. It also establishes early release eligibility for nonviolent offenders previously convicted of Class A misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Bill is from Akbari and Rep. Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville.
  • Increasing amount of casual exchange: SB 1480/HB 1480 increases the amount of marijuana possessed or exchanged under the offenses of simple possession or casual exchange from less than one-half ounce to less than one ounce. Bill is from Akbari and Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis.

Reach Natalie Allison at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @natalie_allison.

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What I learned using CBD Oil

I am on a mission to learn and understand more about CBD oil. Is CBD oil a modern day equivalent of snake oil? Based on my experience this past month, I think not.

As I have previously written, my original intent when embarking on this journey was to see if CBD oil would work for my husband’s chronic back pain. I also wanted to see if by taking it myself, I felt anything at all, good bad or indifferent given I did not think I had any specific ailments to address.

To that end, those of you that follow me on Facebook know that I have been providing weekly FB updates relative to my personal use of CBD oil. It has been an interesting experience, filled with unexpected surprises.

In this article, I will share what I have learned so far while using CBD oil in my own household. As you read this, however, be aware that CBD works differently on different people and that what is working for my husband, Shelly, and myself, may be different for you.

The endocannabinoid system

Before starting, I want to share a bit more education on the endocannabinoid system and what it does.

CBD is just one of numerous pharmacologically active compounds called cannabinoids that can be extracted from cannabis and used for therapeutic value. These cannabinoids bind to special receptors in the body that are known as the endocannabinoid system or the ECS. This system regulates mood balance, fear perception, fight-or-flight response, memory, emotional outlook, sleep/wake cycles, pain sensation, motor control, immune system function, and body temperature.

Conceptually, this made sense but I wanted to learn more. So again, in non-technical terms, here is what I have learned after combing through tons of articles and most especially, including the best book I have found on the subject, CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis–Healing without the High.

The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was discovered in the early 1990s and is composed of receptors and chemicals throughout the body. These receptors are found in all animals, not just humans. Since then, scientists have found that ECS is responsible for moderating mood, appetite, inflammation and most importantly, maintaining balance in the body. Sometimes, though, this balance gets messed up.

We know that stress, inflammation, and sickness are normal responses to a biological and physiological imbalance, and when that happens we may suffer from either temporary or chronic pain, swelling, depression, sleeplessness and a host of other issues. Sometimes, we get stuck in a cycle when over time, our body does not correct this imbalance on its own.

One theory is that sometimes our bodies lack sufficient cannabinoids to rebalance itself. This is when phytocannabinoids like CBD can step in to help things along. More specifically, CBD works with our endocannabinoid system to mimicking and influence our body’s native production of cannabinoids and restoring homeostasis and wellness. An important point here is that some scientists believe the immediate relief from CBD may come from the perception that the pain is gone while in the background, CBD is working to restore our ECS balance.

Something else I learned was that phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids found in plants. In addition to CBD, they are found in green tea, chamomile, turmeric, dark chocolate, sardines, and many other food items. Who doesn’t feel better after eating a modest piece of chocolate? I know I do.

CBD oil for back pain

Let us cut to the chase. Did CBD oil mitigate my husband’s back pain?

Shelly has an L2 to L5 compressed disk and has undergone time-consuming and expensive medical treatments for the pain. These treatments worked great for 18 months and then he was back to square one.

Enter CBD oil. Following the recommended dosing to start slow and build up, he started with 2 drops (4 mg) daily and gradually worked up to 13 drops (26 mg).

Daily, I asked if the CBD oil was working. His initial response was variable, some days yes and others no. Then, about two weeks into it, he got up one morning and said, “Gaye, it’s working. More than that. It is REALLY working! .

Since then there has been no looking back.

Again, bowing to what I had learned, we increased the dosage slightly only to have him tell me he was doing better with less.

So there we stand. He is taking 26 mg a day, split between morning and night. Since we are using 1000mg CBD, that translates into 13 drops (2 mg per drop). With my next purchase, I will get a stronger concentration so that fewer drops are needed. For example, a 2500 mg full spectrum product in the brand I use will yield 5 mg per drop instead of 2 mg.

Something to note is that regardless of the brand and strength you use, be sure to verify the dosage per drop to ensure you are getting the desired dosage. Different brands will vary, depending on the size of the bottle.

How CBD oil has affected our sleep

For both of us, a side benefit of CBD for us was a remarkable and immediate improvement in our sleep. The first night, we both got up for a nocturnal potty break or two but then fell asleep again immediately. Normally, getting back to sleep has been a struggle.

By way of background, since the first of the year, I have been suffering from extreme tiredness daily at about mid-afternoon. After that first night using just a single drop of 1000mg CBD, I was no longer tired during the day. My guess? Somehow the CBD oil allowed me to enter a deep sleep state even with getting up for bathroom breaks. I have no other way to explain it.

About 3 weeks into my CBD use, I decided that since 1 drop was performing so well, why not bump things up to 2 drops. That, for me, was a mistake. The next day I had more than a bit of brain fog and felt off. I kept it up for 3 days and went back to 1 drop. The brain fog was and is gone.

The moral of this story, albeit anecdotal?

Less can be more and everyone reacts differently not only to CBD but to other plant-based remedies. Have some patience and keep a log. And change things up if you start to feel unwell.

Bonus: CBD oil for mild depression?

Whether from tiredness, the lack of deep sleep, aging or something else, I have been in a funk for quite some time. I do not totally love Arizona and the desert, and miss the beauty and serenity of the Pacific Northwest. The end result is that I became mildly depressed and more than a little bit moody. A few weeks after starting with CBD oil, that moodiness and the funk, which I now recognize as mild depression, was gone.

In trying to ascertain why CBD made me feel better, I learned that CBD increases the amount of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which responsible for the “runner’s high” and is the body’s natural antidepressant. More anandamide means more serotonin which generally means more bliss.

So there you have it.

What I have learned about CBD salve

The topical salve I made from CBD oil lived up to the hype and provided my husband with immediate relief from swelling and inflammation. That being said, at first the efficacy was difficult to assess because he switched back and forth between using my essential oil salve and the CBD oil salve. One day he hurt his shoulder moving some patio furniture, and the pain was so acute he switched to CBD salve exclusively.

Our thinking now is that using the CBD salve topically provides longer-lasting relief and reduces visible swelling to a greater extent than my essential oil salve.

That said, using CBD salve comes at a high cost. A 1-ounce jar will cost over $50 to either make or purchase and may only last a month. Still, the immediacy of the relief is so remarkable that if you can afford it, the expense is worth it.

What we do is use the CBD salve when there is acute or extreme pain and swelling and keep using it until the most dire symptoms are gone. By acute or extreme pain I am referring to the type of pain that prevents you from doing the activities you normally do as a part of daily life.

We find that essential oil salves are the best option for pain that is a mild annoyance such as the pain from leg cramps, insect bites, and a mild case of arthritis.

Why DIY may not be the best option

I really struggled with making a DIY CBD salve. The reason it was so difficult was that my base salve was created with the intent of adding pure essential oils measured in drops, not milliliters. The base salve itself was the carrier oil.

Alas, CBD Oil comes premixed in a carrier oil which, in the case of high-quality CBD, is MCT oil. Those of us in the EO world know that MCT oil is the same or similar to Fractionated Coconut Oil or FCO.

Sidenote: I am still not clear on the differences between fractionated coconut oil and MCT other than MCT may have lauric acid added back in and may be more of a food grade. Clearly, I need to do more research but for all intents and purposes, they are the same when it comes to salve making.

What this meant in practical terms is that using a tried and true base salve in a DIY CBD salve results in a liquid, lotion-like mess and not a rich and creamy salve. Ultimately, I experimented and came up with something that would work using a small about of organic coconut oil plus just the right amount of beeswax. To that, I added a full bottle of 500mg CBD oil and all seemed to be well.

What I found, however, is that over the period of a few weeks, the CBD salve became looser and looser to the point it was more like a lotion than a salve. It was still usable but not the most elegant application. The final straw came when a few days ago we accidentally tipped the jar and a third of the jar spilled. I was both pissed and sad. That very same day I ordered a commercial CBD salve from one of my preferred CBD vendors, Joy Organics.

But a DIY version is still on the horizon. I also have some CBD isolate in powdered form on order and will try again. It is logical to me that adding a CBD in powder form to my base salve will maintain its consistency. I may even add some CBD isolate to my Miracle Healing Salve in order to boost the efficacy with essential oils, creating a win-win with the EO boost of lavender, peppermint, and rosemary.

Resources for additional information

Every day I continue to learn more about CBD oil. Some days I am overwhelmed by information from commercial websites that are factual with a ton of information and others that seem only interested in a greedy grab for your money. Sadly, that includes some essential oil companies.

If you want to pursue some additional information, here are a few of the better resources I have found plus a link to another article I have written on the topic of CBD Oil.

Project CBD: This site is a wealth of information and all of it appears credible. Be sure to check out their 10 tips for buying CBD:

NY Times “Can CBD Oil Do All That?”: This subtitle is “How one molecule from the cannabis plant came to be seen as a therapeutic cure-all”. Published on May 14th, I learned a lot of this article.

CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medicinal Cannabis–Healing without the High: If you only get one book on CBD, consider this one. Most of the low-cost or free eBooks on Amazon are useless. This book, by Leonard Leinow, Juliana Birnbaum, and Michael H. Moskowitz is not cheap and not free. I have read it cover to cover and recommend that you make this book a part of your medical self-care library.

What You Need to Know About CBD Oil: This is a plain English article that I wrote in an attempt to breakdown the hype and mumbo-jumbo surrounding CBD oil.

Frequently Asked Questions about CBD Oil: This is top level FAQ answering questions such as “Will I get high if I take CBD?” Answer: No, CBD is non-intoxicating and cannot cause psychoactive effects) and What are the Side Effects of CBD. This FAQ is on the OrganicaNaturals site, another company that I order products from. It is actually my preferred company because their prices are less even though their product line, so far, is not as extensive as some other companies.

The Ultimate Guide to CBD Oil: This guide was written by Joy Naturals, one of the companies that I order from. Especially interesting is the history of CBD oil in both ancient and modern times.

Although I want these posts to be educational in nature and no-pitch, I would be remiss if I did not share information about two of the many companies I vetted prior to purchasing CBD oil for personal use. Both of these companies provide educational material that is credible and back their claims with peer-reviewed studies from respected sources. Their prices are fair, not the cheapest and certainly not the most expensive. I can not say enough good things about these companies.

OrganicaNaturals: This company specializes in tinctures for both humans and pets, including a zero-THC option. Their cannabis plants are from Colorado and California, where they grow outdoors under natural sunlight using organic and sustainable farming practices. The plants are non-GMO and pesticide free. All products are third-party tested and shipping is always free. Note: They offer a 15% discount code “gayelevy” at checkout.

Joy Naturals: This is where you can purchase a quality CBD salve. Note that all Joy Naturals products are broad spectrum and contain no THC. Products include flavored tinctures as well as gel capsules, salves, and skin care products. Their hemp is grown in multiple areas across the US with the final manufacture done in Colorado. They also have retail locations. Shipping is also free. Note: They offer a 15% discount using code “gayelevy15” at checkout.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for both Joy Naturals and OrganicaNaturals. This means that eventually if I chose to promote products, these companies will pay me a small commission. I chose these companies after researching at least a dozen different sources for CBD oil and feel they compliment each other in their product offerings. Time will tell whether I made the right decision but so far, each has taken the time to answer my questions, no matter how basic.

Summing it all up

This past month has been a journey of enlightenment as I have put CBD oil to use in my own household. To tell the truth, I did not expect the results to be so profound and so I continue to educate myself, and hopefully educate you in the process.

Back to the question at hand. Is CBD oil a modern day equivalent of snake oil?

I think not. I leave it up to you to try it yourself and come to your own conclusions. Just a reminder though: please check with your healthcare provider before using CBD oil or any other supplement. It is only prudent to do so since you want to be on the same page and the same team.