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Dear Miriam,

My kids have been suggesting I give my mom CBD for her anxiety and trouble sleeping. We haven’t had a lot of success with other medications her doctors have prescribed, and now that marijuana is legal in California, I’m more open to considering it. What do you suggest? I certainly don’t want to turn my mother into some sort of pothead, but her constant getting up at night and worrying is becoming difficult for the rest of us (and I don’t think she’s very happy, either).


Hi Tiffany,

Your question is one that’s becoming increasingly common, so I’m glad we can talk about it a little bit today.

CBD is the common term for cannabidiol, a compound of the cannabis (or marijuana) plant. While recreational marijuana is high in THC, the chemical that gives people that “high” feeling, CBD is less psychoactive and has been shown to have medical benefits for a variety of conditions, including pain, inflammation, and seizures. It has also been shown to help people fall asleep and combat anxiety.

There are different ways to use CBD, depending on what you’d like to target. For muscle and joint pain, for example, lotions and oils (available at places like Whole Foods) applied directly to the target area can offer relief. For sleeping and anxiety, small dosages of edibles are an option.

Whatever you decide, I suggest doing your own research and making sure to consult with your mom’s pharmacist and doctors before incorporating CBD into her healthcare regime. People react to medications differently and you will want professional advice prior to starting your mother on any new medications, even if it is now available over-the-counter.