CBD vs Prescription Drugs [Effectiveness & Side Effects]

CBD vs Prescription Drugs - What About Side Effects?

This post IS NOT about whether CBD can or will completely replace pharmaceutical prescription drugs or not.  It is rather a detailed report of my personal experience with the side effects of traditional drugs and how CBD helped to eliminate some of the side effects.

CBD (cannabidiol  with less than 0.3% THC content)  appears to have lots of medical potential for a variety of physical conditions as well as mental health disorders. The demand for high quality CBD products is high and CBD consumption is on the rise, despite the fact that there is only one FDA approved CBD drug on the market (Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment).

It will take some time before clinical tests will confirm the CBD demonstrated effectiveness as medicine. These include: 

  • chronic pain 
  • anxiety, 
  • depression 
  • inflammatory illnesses,
  • migraines
  • schizophrenia and psychosis

Only then will we fully understand the true value of CBD.  Therefor, we will have to depend on reports from CBD users and, of course, our own experiences.

Today's post will focus on traditional medication after Quadruple Bypass Surgery,  Peripheral Artery Disease, the side effects of prescription drugs,  and the interaction with CBD Oil.

Quadruple Bypass Surgery

I suffered a massive heart attack in October of 2016, followed by quadruple bypass surgery the following November. That's the price I had to pay for smoking heavily for more than 40 years and not taking care of my body the way I should have. 

 We can't turn back the clock and can't change the things we did. However, we can learn from it. For example, the surgeon who did the bypasses told me that I suffered SEVERAL heart attacks in the past. The scarring on my heart was prove of that, although I never thought of rather mild symptoms in did notice as 'heart attacks'.

I also found out that symptoms can vary from person to person, and even from one episode to another in the same person. The most common and known symptom is severe chest pain, often described as 'feels like the heart is being squeezed'. 

However, other symptoms are more like mild discomforts accompanied by shortness of breath or nausea. Sometimes a heart attack feels like heart burn, or  mild pain in the upper part of your stomach, left arm or in the neck area.

Don't make the same mistake I did and dismiss any of these symptoms.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow in the arteries to and from the four valves is blocked. In order to fix it, a bypass surgery is necessary. Let me run by you real quick what a bypass surgery entails.

First, they remove a rather long piece of healthy blood vessel from one of your legs.  Then they cut your breastbone down the center, pry open your rib cage to reach your heart.  

To  restore blood flow to your heart muscle, the flow of blood will be diverted around the blocked arteries by using pieces of the artery removed from your leg. That's all there is to it, really! 

If there are no complication, patients will be released home 5 or 6 days after surgery.

PAD - Peripheral Artery Disease

I've dedicated a separate post to my bout with Peripheral Artery Disease and how CBD brings relief from the pain associated with it. As the name implies, PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs, most likely the legs. It is an accumulation of fatty deposits in the arteries and leads to reducing blood flow to heart and brain, as well as the legs.

However, the main cause for PAD is smoking, although non-smokers also can develop this disease. 

Symptoms of PAD

  • Painful cramping in one or both of your hips, thighs or calf muscles after certain activities, such as walking or climbing stairs
  • Leg numbness or weakness.​
  • Coldness in your lower leg or foot, especially when compared with the other side.
  • Sores on your toes, feet or legs that won't heal
  • Slower growth of your toenails
  • Shiny skin on your legs
  • No pulse or a weak pulse in your legs or feet
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Source: Mayo Clinic

I had 5 of these symptoms; the painful cramping in my legs in particular, but attributed them with 'just old age'.  

There is NO CURE for PAD and should not to be taken lightly. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your doctor!

Post Surgery Medication

For the first 3 or 4 months after the surgery I was put on a regimen of 7 different drugs. I had to visit the hospital every 10 days to get poked in the finger for a blood test every 10 days, and maintain a list with daily blood pressure results.

However, 3 years have passed since surgery and I am taking 4 different prescription drugs.





5 mg twice per day

Apixaban is used to prevent serious blood clots from forming due to a certain irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation)


50 mg twice per day

Metoprolol is a beta-blocker that affects the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins). Metoprolol is used to treat angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure)


5 mg twice per day

NORVASC® is indicated for the treatment of hypertension, to lower blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events, primarily strokes and myocardial infarctions.


40 mg once per day/eve

Atorvastatin is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It belongs to a group of drugs known as "statins."

Also:  One (1) LOW DOSE Aspirin at Diner Time

Side Effects of Medication

All four of the prescriptions I am taking do have several side effects. However, that does NOT mean that everyone experiences the same or all of the listed side effects. For example, I have not experienced any of the side effects listed for Eliquis or Amlodipine.

On the other hand, I do have a slight problem with breathing problems such as shortness of breath and wheezing when walking relatively fast, one of the side effects of Metropolol that does affect me.

Enter Atorvastatin and the whole issue looks completely different. Statins do come with a long list of possible side effects of which I experience quite a few. 

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath or other breathing problems
  • Muscle weakness or loss of muscle strength
  • Severe Muscle ache
  • Different Muscle pain
  • Limb pain
  • Mouth and throat pain
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Muscle inflammation, with or without pain
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Indigestion symptoms such as stomach discomfort or pain
  • Increased transaminases
  • Muscle spasms with or without pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain (pain that affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons bones, land joints
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea
  • Cold symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia

Highlighted items are the side effects of Atorvastatin that give me problems. Therefore, I set out to find a solution away from traditional medicine.

By the way: If you wonder IF there are any Hemp Oil Side Effects, according to the Majo Clinic, CBD  is        well-tolerated, and can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite or drowsiness. However, I am taking CBD now for over 6 months and have not experienced any of these side effects. 

CBD vs Prescription Drugs

Earlier in this post I referenced to my bout with Peripheral Artery Disease - PAD,  its symptoms and how CBD Oil helps to reduce the associated pain. Again, there is no cure for PAD and the only advise the cardiologist can give is 'to walk and more walk'. 

However, since taking CBD regularly now for over 6 months, the painful symptoms have improved by about 50%. 

Looking at this long list of side effects of Atorvastatin got me thinking: 

'What IF some of the pain I feel when walking or climbing stairs cannot be attributed to PAD but are instead side effects from taking the 'statin' pills, would it be better NOT taking those'? 

The reason to prescribe Atorvastatin is to control and keep low CHOLESTEROL  which is one main factor for heart disease. 

Let me tell you how I changed some habits since the heart attack and bypass surgery: 

I smoked my last cigarette on October 5, 2016 at about 22:00 and quit drinking alcohol (except for an occasional beer every 2 week or so). Also, I became a vegetarian...no more meat, no more bacon, no more fat dairy foods or saturated vegetable oils.


I conclude my CBD vs Prescription Drugs rant with the announcing my decision to stop taking Atorvastatin, if possible. 

Of course, I consulted with my doctor before I started taking CBD Oil from Nuleaf Natural to get relief from PAD, and everything worked out just fine.

Therefore, I consulted with him about trying to replace Atorvastatin with the full spectrum CBD (THC content less than 0.3%, you can't get high from it) and see how this will affect my cholesterol. 

Next week Monday, Dec 23 2019, we start a 30 day trial without Atorvastatin. However, he wants to closely monitor my blood, which means that I will have to have my blood tested once every week.

Wish me luck, and come back by the end of January 2020 for an update.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you have a question or something you want to share with us,  don't be shy and leave a comment on your way out

John Worthy

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