Ask the Expert with Karen Pena - CBD for health and wellness

ask the expert
Ask the Expert with Karen Pena - CBD for health and wellness

Karen Peña is the Founder + CEO of Organic Guidance, a Health & Wellness company. She is a BioChemical Engineer who's previously worked for various Fortune 500 Biotech and international cannabis/hemp companies.

As a medical cannabis patient with a rare autoimmune disorder that pharmaceutical drugs had only complicated, she is passionate about ensuring product quality, consistency, and safety.

Her mission is to provide cannabis and hemp products of uncompromising quality that meet the lifestyle needs of modern-day health-conscious humans. Organic Guidance’s first line of products - premium tea blends formulated with CBD - to help people manage stress, stay focused, and live with more vitality.


Elaine: Hi everyone. Welcome. today is International Women's Day, and I thought it was perfect to bring on my dear friend Karen Pena, who is an expert in CBD. And I thought we could have a conversation about the wellness benefits of CBD. It's. I feel like there's CBD products everywhere you look. And I wanted to have an expert on, so this is part of our ask the expert series that I do once a month here on Instagram live. So Karen Pena is a leader in medical product design. She's an operational system specialist, and an advocate of functional medicine. Karen is trained, is a trained biochemical and quality engineer with a wealth of experience honed from working at various fortune 500 biotech and medical device companies. In 2019, Karen, co-founded a consulting firm here in the us as the COO. She led a team of world class experts across the life sciences, food pharma, natural products, medical devices, to help global cannabis companies successfully achieve product quality, safety, and efficacy, and combining her passion for cannabis and medical product design. She founded organic guidance and is on a mission to help you achieve more with ease and grace, organic guidance. First line of products are premium tea blends formulated with C B D to help people manage stress, stay focused and live with more vitality. And who does not want that? It's so good to see you. I'm so happy to have you here on international women's day. Karen: Yes, yes. What an honor. I'm so honored. I wanted to have you on one, because I know you are a scientist. You really understand CBD there's so many products out on the market, and I really want people to be able to tap into your wisdom and your expertise. So we can learn from you. What is CBD? Explain it to us. Karen: Yes. So CBD is short for cannabidiol and it's one of over a hundred different cannabinoids found naturally occurring in both cannabis and hemp plants. And I know it can seem like it's this new miracle substance we're seeing it everywhere in pet products, shampoos, deodorant. Mm-Hmm but I wanna make sure, I point out that it's been used medicinally by humans or the plants that it comes from have been used by humans for thousands of years. So it's, it's new in the sense that we're all just starting to become aware of it, but it's been around for a long time. Elaine: Right. Okay. And then, so tell us, because as you say, we we're seeing CBD added to everything. So how can it be used? How can we benefit from this plant medicine? Karen: Yes. So there are many uses for CBD. And the reason for this is because our bodies contain receptors for CBD all throughout. So we have receptors in our brain, on our skin and even our immune system. Some of the most common uses for CBD are for helping with inflammation, pain management and sleep support. Okay. I know a lot of us have experienced some form of chronic stress after going through a multi-year global pandemic. So something that comes from having chronic stress is systemic inflammation. And so usually a little bit of stress is good for us. It can help us grow. It's kind of like when you work out, you know, your muscles tear, they repair, but too much stress can be really overwhelming for our bodies. So CBD can be a really wonderful tool to help pretty much all of us. We've gone through this pandemic to start to bring our bodies back to, you know, at least a baseline to where we were pre pandemic. Elaine: Right. And, you know, I noticed in, when you wrote your bio to me, you talked about how you've gone through an autoimmune disorder. I've gone through that. Oftentimes what is underlying, all of that is stress. And so is so CBD can help, could it even help with autoimmunity to kind of bring that stress down in the body? Karen: Yes, absolutely. It is a really powerful an anti-inflammatory agent. I have noticed it when I use it. It works so well that I have these sort of flare ups where I develop this rash. And if I don't, if I'm not consuming my daily dose of CBD after about three days, all my flareups start to come up, I start to have joint pains and all, and then I know, you know, okay, it's been too long since I last had my little bit of dose of CBD. And so the effects are really almost immediate. And of course that varies, you know, because we all have different bio but really helpful with inflammation just overall in general. And again, all throughout the body, we have receptors everywhere So for women, I do wanna make sure I mention that we actually have many receptors too in our ovaries and all down in that area. So it's even really helpful for, I know a lot of women who experience cramps down there. And then there's also fibromyalgia, which is also related to a lot of inflammation. Elaine: Right, right. So I'm gonna add in some of these questions I love I love the people asking questions, please feel free to jump in. So TK is asking how often can we use CBD? Karen: Yeah. So it actually works best with daily use. You can really use it daily. It's incredibly safe, especially compared to its pharmaceutical counterparts. So yeah, daily, multiple times a day. And really at that point, you're just kind of finding what level or amount you need for any given reason that you're consuming it. So to reduce stress, right. That'll be a certain amount if you're wanting to just have sleep support, that's probably gonna be a little bit of a higher amount. So yeah. Just finding out what works for you. Elaine: Right. So you can't, or can you, can you take too much, I mean, there's lots of things in the world you can take too much of. So is there a threshold, can you take too much CBD? Karen: So you, I mean with anything, right. Even just with water, but the, about the, the worst side effect that you'll feel is just a little bit of drowsiness and tired if you take too much, but that's about as bad as it'll get. Elaine: And then we had someone say I'm a nurse and I constantly get questions from patients about CBD. Is there a certain form of CBD that works better over others? Like we can talk about this, right? This was one of our questions of, you know, I noticed CBD comes in all these different forms from bath bombs to liquid droppers, to gummies to, I'm sure you can tell us all the different forms that comes in. Karen: Yeah. So as a reminder, we have receptors for CBD all throughout the body. So something like taking a product that you ingest we'll have access to more areas in your body, through your bloodstream. And so it'll have a wide variety of effects. Something like a topical are, they're usually designed to have a more localized effect in the area of application. Elaine: Right. Okay. Awesome. Yeah. Two handset. What about dosage? Just try over the counter. So I think you did say, Karen: Yeah, so the dosage, so what's a really good rule of thumb is to start with between five to 10 milligrams and kind of see how that makes you feel. And then you can start to slowly increase from there by five milligrams each time. So just really finding what dosage works for you for any given need. I know two is very busy, you know, entrepreneur, she's managing multiple businesses and so she probably experiences different level of stress through different periods and seasons of her business. So if there's a season where she's really, you know, struggling to fall asleep, because she's thinking about a million things right before bed, a little bit of a higher dose at that point, definitely over the 10 milligram would be probably more effective, but that's something, again you can play around with and CBD is incredibly, incredibly safe. Elaine: Yeah. Well, and as you said, kind of deciding for different things, if it's for sleep or if it's for stress, if it's for pain, I think since you and I have been through autoimmunity, you really have to listen to your body. Right. Your body's always giving you feedback. Karen: Yeah, exactly. Ultimately, that's the number one thing, right. Even when you go to a doctor, they'll kind of help you, but they really need you to tell them what's going on, what you're taking to better understand how to help you. Yeah, definitely. Elaine: For sure. So you know, my platform focuses a lot on women over 40, so that's another big hormonal transition that women go through. So perimenopause menopause. So is there any science for CBD for things like hot flashes or night sweats or things like that? Karen: Yeah, so anecdotally, yes, there are many women who report using CBD to manage menopause symptoms like mood disturbances, pain, mitigating night sweats and to a lesser extent, hot flashes. Okay. Another symptom that come is related to menopause is the loss of bone mass . And with that, it can lead to osteoporosis and there have been a few clinic preclinical studies showing CBD can support the promotion of bone growth. And this might be a particular interest interest to you, Elaine. So actually CBD does this by increasing the production of enzymes that are involved in collegen and crosslinking and stabilization. Elaine: Wow. Okay. I learned something today. I didn't, I didn't know that. That's fascinating. Karen: Yeah. It's super exciting. I know the studies are preclinical, but I think it's really interesting and exciting area of research. Elaine: Oh, I, yeah, because that's a huge problem as people age, not just for women, but for men too. Karen: Yep, exactly. Elaine: Yeah. our nurse here is saying she can't wait until the medical community embraces CBD more. Yes, yes, absolutely. Okay. So I know when you and I were in the program together, you were talking a lot about quality. How do we know if we're getting quality CBD? Like we said, there's so many brands and everybody's selling CBD, so how do we know quality? Karen: Yeah. So unfortunately there's little regulatory oversight over both the manufacturing and selling of CBD products. It's one of the huge reasons I created organic guidance, but because of that, a lot of the onus does fall on the consumer to determine what products are of quality and what that looks like. So for me, when I'm looking at assessing or my interest in a CBD product, I'm looking for two things specifically, one does the product contain what it's supposed to contain. And so more specifically dosage, right. So does the product contain the amount of CBD that it says on the label? Just like number one, right. Does it have what it says it has? Right. And then number two, does it that it doesn't have anything that's not supposed to be in there. So something like contaminants, right. Pesticides. Right. I don't, I don't want any pesticides in anything I'm putting in my body. No. So that's just, yeah. Something I'm looking for. And then the way people can find out if the products have this information it's available should be available on lab test results and these are usually provided by companies. A major red flag for me is if I can't find the lab test results or they won't provide them, if I sort of, you could email companies and kind of reach out and ask them. But if I can't find that information and they're not willing to provide it to me easily, then that, you know, that's probably not a trustworthy source to buy my CBD product from. Elaine: Yeah. Yeah. Like, you know, in, in packaged foods, you know, we see the organic label or the non GMO label or all these different things. Is there anything in the CBD world that we should be looking for? Karen: Yeah. So last year they actually, the USDA was finally able to I think just establish their general procedure for giving hemp and any products that are derived from that, the hemp plants, right. The USDA a certified organic seal. So that is now something that you can start to look for in products. Elaine: Okay. Karen: Yeah. One of, so we're, we're getting there. Elaine: Right. And yeah, I think asking companies for their sourcing and if they don't share it since I'm in the supplement space, there's a lot of companies that don't wanna share anything. So that is a big red flag. Something to look out for. Yeah, exactly. So not all CBD is created equally and, and we definitely want to be aware of that, right? Karen: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And even something that's specific that can also be found, found on these lab test results is whether or not the products contain some amount of THC. And so if you are someone let's say that you either just don't want any THC at all, or you're, you have a job that regularly drug tests you for CBD or THC, or you're applying for a job, that's going to be testing you for THC though. The THC metabolites are what comes up on drug tests. So when you're going to buy a CBD product, you wanna make sure that it doesn't have any THC, if that's, you know, not something that you're looking for. Elaine: Right. Right. Which leads us to our next question. What is the difference between CBD and THC? What do, what do we need to know? Karen: Yeah. So molecularly the they're almost identical and they only differ by a single molecular bond, but that one molecular bond makes a world of difference on how both THC and CBD are treated legally and their effects on your body. And then perhaps I guess the most consequential difference between the two is that CBD doesn't give you that high or euphoric feeling that's usually associated with cannabis or THC, and this can be a good thing or bad thing, depending on what you're looking for. Elaine: Exactly, exactly. So I wanna know more about your teas, because again, when we were in our entrepreneurship program, I know you spent a lot of time researching tea. You wanted really high quality tea. You were also concerned about the dosage and the quality of the CBD and putting them together. I know that's no small feat to do that. So tell us about Organic Guidance Tea. Karen: Yes. So all Organic Guidance products are formulated with what we call broad spectrum CBD. And really all that means is that there isn't any THC in the product. There are CBD. Okay. And then there are a few other compounds that are also found in hemp, but there's no THC. Okay. Yeah. Formulating and sourcing, all of the products was took a lot more effort than I thought. It was a multi-year effort for sure. Show us them anywhere else or not on the website yet or anything like that. But I wanted to just give you and your viewers a little bit of a sneak peek. So I'll go in order from sort of how they're designed. So they're, they were set up and formulated help you from sunrise to sunset. So one of our morning blends is this rise in shine. And as you can probably guess it's a chai blend. Elaine: Ooh, I love Chai. Oh my gosh. I love so much. Karen: Me too. Me too. Yeah. So I had to have that in there as one of the first ones, you know? Yeah. Okay. And so this one in particular is formulated with five milligrams of CBD. So it'll have the caffeine in there from the black tea to give you a little bit of boost of energy. Then the CBD will help kind of calm you and keep you focused. So it won't make you kind of DRS. You're tired, anything like that. Okay. Next one we have is this fruits and veggies blend. Whoa. And this one is also formulated with the low dose of CBD. So it can be sort of like, you know, if you want something to just give you a little bit of hydration it has a lot of citrus fruits in it, so kind of make you help you feel awake and refreshed. So that's a bit about that one. Right. Then the next one, and this is came about from more for the fellows. I know guys usually just kind of take whatever their ladies suggest to them. So this is for, to support with digestion. So I thought I heard some feedback from people and doing surveys and what not, that digestion support, and especially through tea was something that people were looking for. So, and so this blend, because it's probably something that you take maybe after dinner, if you have like a heavy dinner, it has a little bit of a higher dose, so it's just 10 milligrams of CBD. Right. So it'll start to like give you a little bit more of a calming effect, but again, won't be too make you too sleepy or anything like that. Elaine: Right, right. Our nurse friend here, she's saying, yeah, my husband needs that digestion support. Karen: Perfect. And then the last blend is a chamomile blend and this one specifically for sleep support and just helping your body restore after a night rest. And this one, the sleep support will be the highest dose of CBD. And so it'll contain 20 milligrams of CBD. Oh. And all of them are such, such a low dose that if you end up needing more or even if let's say something like five milligrams, if you're a particularly sensitive person, right. You could just drink half a cup and sure. Kind of save, save the rest for later when you're, you know, feeling like you need a little bit more. So there's some little bit of flexibility there with each of them. Elaine: I like that. And then, so if, if I was to drink your tea, how, how long would it take before I start to feel the effects? Like, is it different with the tea than if I was to do like droppers or something else? How long does it take? Karen: Yeah, so that's highly dependent on the formulation. All of the Organic Guidance products are formulated with water soluble CBD. Okay. And it's been shown to be able to feel the effects between 10 to 15 to 20 minutes. So after about half hour, you should definitely start to, to have felt a difference. And then if you don't, again, you can just take a little bit more, wait another 10, 15, 20 minutes and see how you're feeling. So it's pretty relatively quickly. Something like the oils or anything like a food product takes a little bit longer to digest and absorb into your system. And so typically for those types of products, okay. That effectiveness is around. Probably a good rule is 30 minutes to two hours. The full, full effect. I've heard read some reports saying that after four hours you'll really have peaked as far as how much the dosage is really having an effect on you. Elaine: Wow. Okay. Good to know. And I'm, I'm curious, you know, it's, it feels like CBD just sort of came on really strong in yeah. In the last couple years. Like where do you see this going? Do you think the momentum will continue? And do you think the medical community will ever get to a place of embracing this since you're a scientist and you're in the community? What, what are you hearing? Karen: Yeah, absolutely. So it will definitely take its time to be adopted. I think in sort of more of a clinical setting, although there are, there is one pharmaceutically, FDA approved CBD product that one specifically formulated for. And I think it's even specifically for children who have a certain type of what are the it's seizures, it's a certain type of seizure that some kids are, are developed. So clinically in that sense, it is, I think that the more it's being just accept just regulated legally will allow institutions to start to conduct more research. And that's how some of that research preclinical research has been done on studying the effects of CBD with promoting bone growth and osteoporosis. So that's, it's all sort of at the beginning, but I definitely think it will be, start to be adopted a lot more and more and just to touch. Yeah, you mentioning it just kind of seems like it, it exploded and kind of seeing where it's gonna go. So the way I see it, and I think the way we talk about it and lesser medicine is just sort of set up this way is that CBD comes from both cannabis and hemp plants, but both of these plants contain hundreds of different compounds within them. That can be used medicinally. So right. CBD is just kind of having this moment in the spotlight, but, and I'm sure. And I don't know if you've heard, I'm sure. Just living in California, you know, there are other compounds like CBN, CBC C BG. So it just kind of goes down the line. And so I think what we'll start to see is more products formulated with each of these ah, and kind of different amounts. Elaine: Yeah. I have heard all these different combinations of, of letters and I'm like, oh, I have no, I have no idea. Yeah. so our nurse friend is saying in the last three years, I've been a nurse I've seen an increased use of CBD topical for orthopedic patients, stabilizing glucose in diabetics and, and sleep for people within insomnia. What do you know about stabilizing glucose for diabetics? That could be huge. Karen: Yes. Yeah. So again, all of this is mostly preclinical and anecdotal, but these are some areas that people have been finding relief and support with. So for example, you know, someone who is diabetic, if you're regularly testing your blood sugar, you could just sort of start to experiment on yourself, you know, consume something, test your glucose level, consume a little bit of CBD, right. And then wait a little bit for it to enter your bloodstream. And then again, test see what's, you know, how the levels are changing and then kind of find right. If you need a higher or lower dose to maybe find that, you know, stabilization definitely. Elaine: Right. Wow. And so is there any regulating body of CBD do you fall under FDA at all? Or are you considered a supplement sort of where, where do you fall? Karen: Yeah. So this is something that in general, the us government has not sort of decided what stance they're taking. Something that I know is typical of when a substance is FDA approved, that almost automatically makes it fall under the drug sort of pharmaceutical category. Yeah. But again, although that's happened and there is a pharmaceutical grade CBD product that's been approved right. The FDA has not, you know, called it and said, yes, we're going to be the body. That's going to be regulating this substance. So, right. That's something that's sort of ongoing. Right. And I know regularly the FDA does sort of pull and ask for really anyone as a consumer, you can kind of send them an email or a message, letting them know what your experience has been with the product because they're taking a lot of that information in to help them kind of form a decision and hopefully make one. That makes sense. Elaine: Oh wow. So is it considered a supplement or is it just kind of Karen: It's yeah. I mean, officially it hasn't been decided yeah. A Nutra, some people I've heard people throw around the word, you know, nutraceutical. Right. You know, and I think all of these have their different definitions, so yeah. There's, I don't think that there's any official stance on it, but yeah. I mean it could easily fall under the supplements category just as easily as the pharmaceutical. Elaine: Right. Cause I'm just thinking from a labeling standpoint, like, do you, is there any label on, on CBD products that we would be reading or not really? Karen: No. Not, not any that is required in any sort of official capacity. Okay. Yeah. Elaine: Okay. Wow. So you really need to do your due diligence on the products that you're buying and where they're coming from and where they're being manufactured. Karen: Yes, exactly. Yeah. I mean, if, you know, you're buying a CBD product and it, it doesn't say where the CBD is coming from, it might be coming from China, you know, and that is a completely different, you know, body of regulation it's being, you know, transported and then it, it comes here and there's no regulations in here about what, what standard that needs to meet in order to be used in a product, what type of product. Right. You know, topicals it's a little bit less risky than something that you ingest and put in your body so yeah, again, the onus is on the consumer to kind of like you said, do that due diligence and find those products that they're looking for. So I think the best bet is always checking for those lab test results. It's, it's pretty standard. Now I would say for most CBD companies to have those lab test results. Elaine: Right? Yeah. Because I mean, if there's that little regulation you who knows what you could be taking, right. Karen: Yeah, yeah. And who knows how much, you know, if you're taking a product and you're thinking, oh, this is the dosage that works for me for, you know, any given relief that you're looking for and right. There's no consistency in the product. And you're seeing that it's not providing you the relief or maybe it is making you drowsing when that's not what you were looking for then. Right. You know, then that's like a concern right there. It's like, okay, this isn't, this isn't when I'm being sold, you know, it's just, yeah. Elaine: Right. Yeah. Wow. So, so buyer beware definitely. Are there any other questions? I, I love our, our new nurse friend. Who's been asking all these questions and telling us what's happening out on the ground in the front lines, Karen: The front lines in the medical community. So I guess I do wanna touch on one quick thing. Yeah. just with the safety of CBD again, CBD is incredibly safe, especially compared to it's pharmaceutical counterparts. Right. However you know, just like with anything that you put in your body, there are risks associated with it. You know, I of course am biased. I use CBD but you know, it would be, I think just not great to not point to the fact that there are risks associated with really anything that we put in our bodies. And so most of the time these risks are due to, again, our individual biology and really anything else you're consuming or putting in your body. So for consumers, if this is something that you're particularly concerned about, please, please, please make sure to speak to your doctor before consuming an any CBD. I think that just in general is a really good rule with any ingestable. Elaine: Yeah, absolutely. Because I suppose it could have interactions with pharmaceutical drugs. Karen: Yeah. It has been shown to, so yeah. You know, that's something that you'd have to work with your doctor to sort of see, you know, what, what is, how is this drug acting in my body and does it, does, does the same way that it interacts with that drug interacts with CBD and that all of this information is available online. And if anyone's interested in sort of taking a deeper dive into any of the topics we touched on today, you can check out the organic guidance log or frequently asked [email protected]. Elaine: Oh, wonderful. Yeah. Karen is a wealth of knowledge. She's, she's a scientist. She, she knows what she's talking about. She's, she's in the field and she's consulting with, you know, big companies about this. So definitely seek her out. So Karen, how can we buy your tea? How can we connect with you? How can we stay in touch with you? Karen: Yeah. So please don't hesitate to reach out either at organic guidance or I am Karen Pena on Instagram, and then again on our website, you know, just, don't be afraid to reach out, send us an email. We're happy to answer any and all of your questions. So again, all of our products are available on the website, the new ones that I gave you all a little sneaky today aren't available yet, but they will be later this month. So keep an eye out for those. Okay. And if you wanna be one of the first to hear about it, you can sign up for our email list and subscribe and get 15% off your first order. Elaine: Oh, I love that. Perfect. Perfect. Cuz that try just sounds magical. Karen: You'll have to let me know what you think once you try it out. Elaine: Yeah. And do you, where do you ship? Do you ship? I, are you still in Canada? Karen: Yeah. So I'm in Canada on the, yeah, everything's set up in the us for shipping, but we also ship to Canada, so okay. Those Canadians out there, anything shop further. Elaine: Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. So if you're in the us or Canada, definitely check out Karen's tea, check out her website, her blog for more information, educate yourself, you know, then you can be a better informed consumer. So Karen, thank you so much happy International Women's Day and to our new friend, the nurse who was asking so many great questions. Thank you for joining us. And I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and your wisdom on our ask the expert series. So I do this series once a month. I ask all different kinds of experts to come and join me and help us on our own health and wellness journey. So thank you Karen. And I should say Karen and I will be doing a collaboration and Michaela. One of our friends from our entrepreneurship program is a nutritionist and a chef and she's creating a recipe using Karen's tea and my collagen, oh my gosh. I'm so excited. And that should be out I think, next week. So sign up for our email and we'll definitely be posting it here on social. So you don't wanna miss that recipe. Karen: My gosh, I can't wait. I'm so excited to see what Michaela's gonna create for us. Elaine: I know she puts together really, really yummy stuff. So yeah, definitely check back. So once again, thank you so much, Karen. I really appreciate you. And I really am just so amazed and blown away by your product and your tea and that you're sharing all your wealth of knowledge with everyone. Karen: Yeah, of course. Thank you so much for having me. This is so fun. Elaine: I know. So good to see you. You too. So thanks everyone for joining. Have a great rest of your day. Disclaimer: The conversation between Karen Pena and Elaine Morrison is for educational purposes only. This is not medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. Never disregard the advice of a medical professional, or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or watched in the video.

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