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story.lead_photo.caption Kathleen Miles and her husband Eugene at their home in Crossett.

Just a few months ago, Kathleen Miles thought she would never have a pain-free day.

After sustaining serious injuries in a car accident when she was 16 years old, Miles had suffered from chronic pain, depression and anxiety for most of her life. It wasn’t until she finally decided to try CBD oil that she started getting her life back.

“When I first started using it I was in quite a bit of pain, and I started noticing just within a couple of days that the pain started getting less and the nervousness started getting less and I wasn’t having as many muscle spasms and then, after about two weeks of it, my nausea was totally gone,” Miles said.

CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol, a cannabis compound without any of the psychoactive effects associated with THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that causes the high associated with marijuana use. CBD has had documented positive effects on medical conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and epilepsy, among others. CBD, or hemp, oil contains cannabidiol in a concentrated form.

According to a report from the New York Times, the National Institutes of Health database lists about 150 studies involving CBD as a treatment for a variety of conditions.

“And the research has led to medical treatments,” stated the New York Times report from Oct. 27. “In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved a cannabidiol-based drug called Epidiolex as a treatment for severe forms of epilepsy, representing the first government-sanctioned medical use for CBD.”

Miles’ health problems started in 1968, when she was 16 years old. A car accident kept her hospitalized for a year until she finally underwent neck surgery at 17. At that point, she was able to earn her cosmetology license; however, she was only able to practice for five years before another accident left her unable to work.

“Five years after the first surgery, I fell and injured my neck again. And from there it just kind of went downhill because I injured my back several times and had to have back surgeries,” Miles said.

By 28 years old, she was on disability. Miles also said she suffers from arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, migraines, nausea, high blood pressure and cholesterol, heart disease, restless legs, depression and anxiety. In 2012, she was in another car accident and fractured her neck again.

But, since she started treating her pain with CBD oil in March, Miles said she has seen her quality of life improve significantly.

“[I was homebound], other than going to the doctor and going to church, when I could go to church. But within the last couple of months I have been able to go to town and I have taken myself to the doctor a couple of times in the last month,” Miles said.

Miles was using an implanted morphine pump for 17 years until last December, when she had to have it removed due to a potential infection. The pump helped with her back pain, she said, but not her ongoing neck pain. When it was removed, she said nothing was helping her pain.

Miles said her doctor recommended trying CBD oil, emphasizing to get some without THC. She said she was initially hesitant to try it despite her doctor’s recommendation – she’d never tried marijuana and wasn’t looking to get high.

“It was the stigma that’s attached to it and I thought I would get high from it, all that such and such,” Miles said.

Eventually, though, she went ahead and bought her first bottle. She uses a brand called Real Scientific Hemp Oil, specifically the THC-free RSHOx liquid. Miles said she takes ¾ of a teaspoon twice daily; a bottle of the CBD oil lasts just a few days shy of a month for her.

The CBD oil was not covered by her insurance, though, and at over $150 per bottle, was out of Miles’ price range. That’s where Echo Connection, a nonprofit which promotes the use of CBD, came in.

Nathaniel Geoghagen, a media representative for both RSHO and Echo Connection, said insurance companies haven’t caught up with CBD oil yet, so it is rarely covered.

“If a family is on a tight budget, you know, it can be hard,” Geoghagen said. “A lot of families are looking at $300-$400 a month just for their medication if there’s one person in the family who needs the oil.”

Miles said that was the case for her. She said that after trying the CBD oil and having such a positive experience, she would consider seeking a medical marijuana license in the future if the need arises; before trying the CBD oil, she said she would have been too anti-marijuana to try it.

“I think all of this is wonderful, especially for someone that was such a skeptic and not believing that there was anything else that would work,” Miles said. “I want to let as many people know about this as I can.”

Miles said she has told many friends about her success with the CBD oil and that many have followed her advice. A wife, mother and grandmother who has lived in Crossett her entire life, Miles is not a typical marijuana advocate; however, after feeling its results, she said she’s glad she tried it.

“I’ve been getting quite a bit of relief and I’ve been able to be getting up and do a few more things than I was able to do in the last couple of months,” Miles said. “I am hoping and praying that with taking this hemp oil that I will get better.”

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or cbutler@eldoradonews.com.

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