“Storage almost full,” my iphone nagged repeatedly, yet with back-to-back dance recitals and a school band concert, I could not be bothered.
I deleted a few apps – fortunately there’s always a surplus of those – and was back in business, high on the contagious pride overflowing from my girl’s every smile.
Exactly one year ago this week, also nearing 100% capacity was Caroline’s social calendar. She was at the top of her game. Happy and loving life!
Every ounce of joy bore enormous gratitude that we were beyond the hard days spent treating autism and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome).
Until one fateful instant when everything came to a halt. Immediately following a band concert at a school with a history of mold issues, my little drummer’s PANS was triggered again.
The very next morning she regressed before our eyes. From that moment, my phone instead began to fill with videos of neurological tics, oversized pupils, loud vocalizations and heartbreaking OCD behaviors.
The summer was wrought with panic, fear and countless medical appointments.
After what felt like endless searching, a positive DNA Connexions test revealed Lyme and Bartonella as additional culprits.
Our year’s been filled with research and supplements and treatments. Some of the successful ones you’ve read about in our past posts: Generating new mitochondria, Detoxing die-off, and even reducing androgens.
But her daily pain, anxiety, rigidity, OCD and other symptoms caused by brain inflammation still needed improvement.
To be comfortable around friends again, to live more moments like the ones in my camera roll, we needed more wins.
CBD Oil quiets the storm
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major non-psychoactive component of the cannabis sativa plant. It’s legal in every State and it’s popularity as a treatment for anxiety and pain relief has increased widely in the past several years. By now, it seems almost everyone with these conditions has at least considered CBD as a treatment option.
Near the onset of Caroline’s PANS flare, we tried one popular brand of CBD oil but didn’t notice it helping. Regrettably, I didn’t investigate enough to realize that different brands / strains can produce very different results.
Only recently did I learn how to determine what she needed, how to effectively use it, and how extraction methods and terpene profiles make all the difference.
In this post, I will provide links to the information I found most helpful, share what we’re using, how we’re dosing, and the very remarkable results we’ve seen!
Whether you’re new to using CBD or new to experimenting with adding your own terpenes to increase effectiveness, I hope to provide beneficial information.
Please skip to a section that matches your experience level or interests and know that all of the clickable links have been thoughtfully chosen as articles I found very helpful.
The Benefits of CBD
For anyone new to CBD, it’s not to be confused with medical marijuana. It contains trace (0.3%) or no THC (the component delivering psychoactive effects), making CBD ideal for people seeking benefits of the plant without feeling high.
To learn more about the basics including how our endocannabinoid system is interconnected with our nervous and immune systems and how CBD can bring far-reaching soothing & relaxing effects, please read: CBD Information – The Ultimate Cannabidiol Information Guide.
The above guide contains answers to each of the following topics:
- What is CBD / Cannabidiol?
- CBD vs THC: What is the Difference?
- What is Cannabidiol’s Legal Status?
- How Does CBD Work?
- Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?
- What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil from Medical Marijuana and CBD Oil from Industrial Hemp Oil?
Who may want to consider CBD?
A large body of scientific research has shown CBD to help alleviate the following conditions and more:
Anxiety • Epilepsy/Seizures • Neurological Disorders • Stroke Rehabilitation • PTSD • Pain • Inflammation • Insomnia • Colitis • High Blood Pressure • Liver Injury
The quantity of studies is so vast, it’s overwhelming! To see a compilation of results from select studies published in 2017, see this Illustrated CBD Research Roundup / Infographic.
For some additional notable studies from years past, please see the CBD section of this Scientific Review. You can also google CBD + just about any symptom, to find much more information too.
One scientifically documented case report which I found helpful because it detailed specific observations and dosage amounts for a 10-year-old girl is: Effectiveness of Cannabidiol Oil for Pediatric Anxiety and Insomnia as Part of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
One especially hard day, after she was awake most of the night and I was out of options to calm her, I decided to try 5 mg of CW Everyday CBD Oil under her tongue. Shockingly, her incessant obsessive thoughts stopped almost immediately and her mind was quiet!
It lasted for 3 hours, and then they came back. I gave more and continued to use it for the next week. I noticed however that she was also less present, had more brain fog, and something wasn’t quite right.
I asked other parents and Caroline’s doctor for a different recommended brand and after quite a bit of research, selected Palmetto Harmony. I’ll explain more about the decision process below.
When it arrived, I hurriedly opened the package and noticed within minutes that even at the same dose (5mg), it was different. Caroline was calm, but also happier, in less pain, and more present. It was a MUCH better fit for her needs.
The reasons two brands of CBD Oil, when given at the exact same strength, produced such different results are extremely important for anyone considering what to purchase.
How to Select a Brand of CBD products
There are several criteria that can significantly influence the effectiveness of a brand:
Growing Methods – An organic certification is the only way to ensure the products are free of residual agricultural toxins: pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, GMOs, mold, and synthetic fertilizers/soil additives.
Each company should provide you with a verification report such as this one: PH Batch 1007 Labs
No added ingredients or fillers – This one goes without saying and yet, needs to be said because of the many companies that produce inferior / diluted products.
Extraction Methods – When concentrating the CBD to make it useable, differences in extraction methods can greatly affect the end product and it’s potency.
Older methods use butane, alcohol / ethanol, or carbon dioxide to extract the cannabinoids from the plant. Unfortunately, this can leave behind residual solvents that affect quality. Consequently, several manufacturers are now using a solventless extraction process instead.
A Guide to Extraction Techniques explains the different methods and credits solventless as the most enjoyable, highest quality, and most unadulterated form of cannabis extracts, preserving the most terpenes.
Strains & Terpenes – Each plant variety and strain have unique terpene profiles that are CRITICAL to the effectiveness of the product.
- Terpenes are the essential oils of plants, responsible for it’s healing qualities. For example, a major terpene in lavender is linalool, if you remove it, no healing benefits remain.
- Terpenes, like cannabinoids, bind to receptors in your brain and produce certain effects. Terpenes work in tandem to either inhibit or activate the effects of other compounds within the plant.
- Terpenes also give plants their flavors. A common question asked in our group is, “Which CBD product has the least taste?” The answer is easy — CBD isolates have no taste at all. They are stripped of all terpenes and flavinoids.
- You can use a CBD isolate, but before you do, I recommend this excellent easy-to-read guide, Terpenes 101 that explains the critical importance of terpenes in CBD.
With the right terpenes, CBD does not merely outwardly improve symptoms, it will also effectively treat many underlying causes.
For a more in depth review, the neurologist Ethan Russo, M.D., details how terpenes and cannabis compounds influence each other’s mechanisms in his study, Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.
Dr. Russo found that even small amounts of terpenes, when combined differently can have an entourage effect and produce unique results.
Further in this article, I will explain how to determine which terpenes are present in your CBD products and also how to add terpenes to make them perfectly suited to the symptoms you need to heal.
General Dosing Guide
Once you’ve decided to try CBD and selected a brand, the next questions are often:
- Which type of product should I try… Vape, Liquid / Tincture, Capsules, Creams?
- How much should I take and how often?
The below information may help answer those questions.
Tinctures: Many people notice effects from tinctures within a few minutes. It’s advised to hold the oil under your tongue for up to one minute to maximize absorption. There are approximately 24 drops in 1 mL – this may help with precise dosing from a dropper.
Vaping: The fastest acting delivery method, perfectly suited for neurological and inflammation issues. Vape products penetrate the blood brain barrier in several seconds.
Vaping requires CBD vape oil (different than the oil used for tinctures). More info and our product recommendations below. You must be 18 or older to purchase vape products, but the law does not regulate age for their use.
Topical Application: Most effective for localized skin conditions or pain relief only, unless you’re using specially designed transdermal patches to maximize absorption.
Starting slow (5 mg or less) and increasing gradually, until you see the desired results – separating increases by a few days – is what I usually advise.
It’s sometimes advised to use CBD two hours away from medications, but some say that it can increase the effectiveness when given just prior to certain supplements and medications. Drugs that May Interact with CBD Oil lists affected medications and explains further details.
Read more in-depth information information about delivery choices at: Top CBD Delivery Methods.
The Brands, Products and Dosing we’re using
Note: None of these companies are sponsors, they are merely quality brands I came across in my research and they have delivered excellent results for us.
1. Palmetto Harmony – CBD Oil, Vape Oil, Topical creams
Factors that influenced our choice:
- Organically grown – Report here: PH Batch 1007 Labs
- Solventless extraction
- Trusted brand among many parents and recommended by her physician
- Transparency – on their Facebook page you can find pictures of their facility and growing area
- Rich and diverse terpene profile (ppm): B-Caryohyllene (30), Myrcene (25), Limonene (12), Linalool (8), A-pinene (7), Humulene (6), Nerolidol-trans (5), A-bisabolol (4), B-pinene (3), Guaiol (2) (See report above for details)
Caroline’s Dosing (80 lbs):
- CBD Oil Tincture – 12 drops (10 mg) 3x per day.
- Vape Oil – 3, two-second inhalations, as needed for effective, immediate relief of any anxiety attacks.
The coupon code: ph10off will give you 10% off all products at palmettoharmony.com
The Vape Device we use with PH Vape Oil is the Suorin Air (see below photo).
I selected it because it’s easy to use. Simply charge the battery, turn it on and fill the reservoir – no button pressing required while you inhale.
2. Flower Child – Vape Pen
Reasons why we like this disposable vape pen:
- Pre-filled with organically grown CBD
- Very small and easy to carry (see above photo on iPhone for size)
- No buttons to press, always on, battery lasts product life
- Foolproof – if you can use a vitamin vape pen or a straw, you can use this
- Extremely cost effective option to try vaping
Our Dosing: 3, two-second inhales, as needed. I noticed a calming effect immediately when trying this pen.
Note: This vape oil is more herbal tasting than Palmetto Harmony, as a result of their different terpenes and also possibly their alcohol-based extraction.
Terpene Profile (ppm): B-Caryohyllene (20), A-Humulene (6), Terpinolene (4), B-Myrcene (2).
The coupon code: ref5858908 will take $10 off the price at flowerchildcbd.com making it very affordable for $25 with free shipping.
There’s a non-disposable option also. We prefer the disposable pen for it’s concealed case. The product quantity is the same for both (150 Servings).
3. True Terpenes
True Terpenes sells organic, steam-distilled terpenes from natural plant sources (not cannabis) from around the world.
If desired, you can add terpenes to your quality CBD oil to even more effectively target and heal certain conditions.
Note: This is a step to consider AFTER you are up & running with using a good brand of CBD oil. If you haven’t yet started CBD, you may want to skim and focus only on step 1 below – to determine what terpenes are in your oil.
The terpenes can be purchased individually (as isolates) or pre-mixed as strain profiles designed to match the terpenes in select Cannabis strains.
One of their strain profiles that I purchased is OG Kush. “OG Kush is a hybrid strain with a distinctive earthy, pine, woody aroma. EFFECTS: Attention, motivation, drive, and improved focus...” all things that many of our kids could use more of at times!
5 Easy Steps to use Terpenes to Supercharge your CBD Oil
Because the role of terpenes in plants is to fight unwanted invaders & pathogens and protect the plants, in the same way, they can help our bodies heal. We simply need to match the proper terpenes to our symptoms.
“Cannabinoids are jet engines, required for getting off the ground and staying in flight, while terpenes are the rudders on the wings, used for controlling where the craft will fly and how comfortable the experience will be.” (R)
1. Determine which terpenes are already in your CBD oil
You can contact the company and they should provide you with a report that looks something like this: (this report is from Palmetto Harmony)
If you’re familiar with medical marijuana, you know that the terpene profile is often listed on the package and it’s very well known which strains produce certain results.
For CBD products, the terpene profiles are no less important, but they are not commonly discussed.
People tend to know that brands work differently, but there are not yet any established guides that give information such as, “If you want to treat asthma, try ‘XYZ’ CBD oil brand because their strains have ‘ABC’ terpenes.”
Further, there are certain terpenes that aren’t found in plants grown for low THC content. For this reason, adding them from alternate sources is very useful.
Terpines can be sourced from many plants and according to True Terpenes, “The molecules themselves are identical no matter what plant they come from.”
Adding terpenes to CBD oil is as easy as using essential oils. A few drops are all you need to customize and amplify the healing properties.
2. Decide if you want to add an entire strain profile or simply individually selected terpenes
Depending on which terpenes your oil contains (as listed on the report) and which symptoms you want to treat, you may want to either add an individual terpene or two, or an entire pre-blended strain.
To decide, it’s helpful to:
- Review Strain Profiles to see if any match your desired effects.
- Review Individual Isolates that are recommended for the following categories:
More information about select individual isolate terpenes (also click on names for links):
Alpha – Bisabolol – HEALING
- Scent/Flavor: fresh, clean aroma, citrus and floral notes
- Effects: Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, calming, antioxidant
- Conditions: Wound healing, pain relief, neuroprotection, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
Carophyllene (alpha & beta) – HEALING
- Scent/Flavor: Spicy, sweet, clove, peppery
- Effects: Anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antifungal, gastro-protective
- Conditions: Chronic pain, inflammation, infections, GI disorders, depression
Eucalyptol / Cineole – STIMULATING
- Scent/Flavor: Minty, spicy
- Effects: Brain stimulation, memory, reduces oxidative stress, uplifting
- Conditions: Neurological deficiencies, Alzheimers, Autism
Humulene – PAIN RELIEVING
- Scent/Flavor: earthy, woody, spicy
- Effects: reduces inflammation, relieves pain, antimicrobial, anti-cancer
- Conditions: Chronic Pain, Cancer
Limonene – ENERGIZING
- Scent/Flavor: Citrus, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
- Effects: Improves mood, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, antifungal, immune booster
- Conditions: Infection, anxiety, depression, cancer
Linolool – RELAXING
- Scent/Flavor: Floral, citrus, candied spice
- Effects: Anti-anxiety, sedative (one of the main terpenes for anxiety / sleep)
- Conditions: Anxiety, depression, seizures, insomnia
Myrcene – RELAXING
- Scent/Flavor: Clove, citrus, mango, mint, hops
- Effects: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic antioxidant, anti-carcinogen, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxing, increases GABA activity
- Conditions: Infection, heart conditions, depression, muscle and joint issues, insomnia
Nerolidol – CALMING
- Scent/Flavor: Floral, rose, apple, and citrus
- Effects: Sedative, skin healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial
- Conditions: Insomnia, infections
Pinene (alpha & beta) – STIMULATING
- Scent/Flavor: Pine needles, rosemary, dill, parsley, basil, hops
- Effects: Mental focus, improved alertness, bronchodilator, topical antiseptic, increases GABA activity
- Conditions: Neurological issues including ADHD, Asthma
Pulegone – NEURO-PROTECTING
- Scent/Flavor: Mint, rosemary, candy
- Effects: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, memory enhancement
- Conditions: Alzheimer’s, Autism, stress reduction
- Scent/Flavor: Floral, lilac, citrus, apple, orange, lime
- Effects: Sedative, antibacterial, antiviral, increases GABA activity
- Conditions: Insomnia, anxiety, stress
To learn more about any of the terpenes, please click on their names above and also see, 15 Cannabis Terpenes Explained for more information, scientific reviews and a helpful visual guide.
Anther useful general reference is the below chart. The colors correspond loosely to scents / flavors: SPICY – WOODY – FRUITY – HERBAL – REFRESHING – FLORAL.
3. Consider additional condition-specific terpene research
You can find articles on almost any ailment by searching “terpenes” and “your condition.”
As an example, I selected insomnia and sleep… something with which many of us struggle.
I found many articles, including these two excellent resources:
- Sedative and Anxiolytic Effects of Cannabis Terpenes – GABA / Glutamate Focus (because increasing GABA and reducing glutamate is extremely important for sleep)
- Terpenes for Insomnia
I learned that Myrcene and α-pinene can increase GABA receptor activity and α-terpineol can increase GABA activity in cells.
Linalool (from lavender) along with Myrcene and Terpineol are commonly known as the most sedative terpenes. Pinene is not sedative (so I don’t use that at night), but it would be useful during the day for a child who has excito-toxicity from excess glutamate.
I decided make a custom sleep blend by adding Terpinol, Linalool & Myrcene (less myrcene because the Palmetto Harmony strain is already rich in it) to Caroline’s oil. These additional terpenes help her fall sleep even better than the CBD oil without them.
They can each be found in the “Sleep” category at the True Terpenes website.
4. Mix It Up
When you’re trying new terpenes, you don’t want to make too much of any one blend until you know how it will perform. I created this simple illustration to show how to make the minimum quantity:
Observe, take notes and create new blends based on the results. It’s empowering to take charge and add even greater capabilities to the amazing healing benefits that quality CBD oil delivers.
If your child (or you!) would also like additional specific flavors, True Blue Terpenes sells over 35 amazing flavor drops that you can buy here.
Filled with hope for the future
We’ve only been using CBD oil for one month and already Caroline’s anxiety and inflammation have decreased more than with any other supplements, medicines or treatments (for PANS or Lyme) in the past year. Every day, she continues to steadily improve.
Her obsessions are decidedly less. She’s happier, less stressed and her neurological issues caused by brain inflammation appear much more seldom.
Along with settling of the frantic pace of her racing mind, she’s more aware, engaged, and her body is calm.
Also before CBD, she was clearly in pain. She wouldn’t talk about it much, but her dilated pupils, eye pain, headaches and body aches were everyday occurrences. Now, all of those things are simply gone.
I’m grateful for the companies like Palmetto Harmony who take such care in creating organic, trusted products, rich in terpenes, that we can safely use with our children.
CBD oil has definitely been a “win” we needed and without it, I wouldn’t feel as confident that once again, we will be ok.
The triumphs filling my phone aren’t yet grandscale, but they don’t need to be.
The simple moments have become huge to us.
Hugging her music teacher who she was too anxious to see months ago, reading books again because her head doesn’t hurt, and sharing genuine smiles like we simply didn’t see before CBD oil are now more than enough.
Today, as we sat together glancing through photos from vacations and happy times in the past, the light in her eyes once again shown bright. She was engaged, interested, and in that moment, I realized my bittersweet lament has finally been replaced with hope, so very much hope!