Legalization is so important for people who use cannabis medically on a regular basis

An experienced physician, Chicago-based Dr. Rahul Khare, finds his patients benefit from CBD and THC but cautions against accepting below par products. He recently shared his thoughts on the present and future of cannabis.

Your thoughts on legalization?

Dr. Rahul Khare: It’s great. It is so important for people who use cannabis medically on a weekly basis. Even assuming some recreation, I’d rather have my patients use a microdose of medical cannabis. It’s less addictive and has no liver toxicity. It does impair you but not to the extent that alcohol does. If you’re using it medically more than a couple of times a week, you’re going to save 30% on the taxes. That’s a huge amount. Secondly, you can grow up to five plants at home if you’re using it for pain or anxiety (in Illinois). You will know exactly where it came from and exactly what’s in it. There’s something beautiful about growing your own medicine. 

How would you prescribe for pain management?

Now, we have high CBD content cannabis. It used to be just ibuprofen and Tylenol. Now there’s something stronger if you can’t sleep at night because of pain. Cannabis is the go-to. Yes, it’s great. A small micro dose of edibles is really changing the way we’re dealing with pain management.

Does the public need to protect itself from these products?

Well, yes and some of it is garbage. Some of it is coming from China. Don’t buy your medicine from the grocery store. Buy it from a reputable source and only buy something that’s been lab tested. All CBD is not made the same. It’s not FDA approved, it’s not looked at by the government and it’s not quality-tested. To be certain of quality you probably have to pay a little bit more. But it is worth it for anything you are putting in your body.

How would you prescribe for anxiety relief?

It is going to take you down from a baseline anxiety of six or seven (out of 10) to a four or five. It’s not going to reduce it all of the way. But, it is a natural way to decrease anxiety.

How important is dosage?

You can’t really overdose on it. But you don’t want to take too much because with any medication you should take the smallest amount that works. With CBD you want to start with about 8mg twice a day, and then you can up-titrate.

What advice would you offer cannabis users?

If you use cannabis get your card. Then you can go to the dispensary and freely talk about it with educated people and you can pick your strains and know what you are getting. Now you have a lab-tested cannabis. 

Let’s step away from cannabis and talk about hemp and the CBD products. If you’re going to buy CBD, go to a place where you can look at all the different types for your symptoms, and then try it for a month. If it doesn’t work for you, so be it. But if it does, then you always will have it if there are times in your life when the anxiety goes up or your chronic pain flares up, and you will know what to do.