What We Don’t Know About CBD

What We Don’t Know About CBD

January 18, 2019

With new headlines coming out every week, it feels like Cannabidiol (CBD) is truly everywhere. From ads you see online to local products at a CBD store near you, what do we really know about the CBD research studies that say these products are safe to use?

Examining What We Know About CBD

CBD stands for cannabidiol, the second most prevalent cannabinoid found in the cannabis  or marijuana plant. CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, but it can also be extracted from the hemp plant.

While CBD is one of hundreds of chemicals compounds found in marijuana, using CBD doesn’t result in a psychoactive experience, also known as a “high.” According to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Is cannabidiol legal?

While CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, its CBD’s exact legal status is still being determined. Currently, all 50 states have versions of laws that legalized CBD, albeit with varying degrees of restriction. The federal government however, still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana.

Currently, many consumers in America obtain CBD oil and products online without a medical cannabis license or going to a state-legalized dispensary. Given the demand by consumers and lawmakers alike for change in CBD’s legal status, the legality of CBD is expected to change. Currently, both cannabis and hemp enjoy bipartisan support in Congress.

The support for cannabidiol health benefits

While CBD has been promoted to ease symptoms of a wide variety of health issues, the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness as medical treatment is oriented around epilepsy. More specifically, CBD has been found to effectively combat some of the most severe childhood epilepsy syndromes, including Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Both of these forms of epilepsy are treatment resistance; meaning that pharmaceutical intervention isn’t an effective option. In numerous studies however, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures experienced by patients, and in some cases it was even able to stop the seizures altogether. It is because of CBD’s benefits, that the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine called, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.

CBD is also commonly used to address anxiety, stress, and OCD. For patients who cope with the difficulties insomnia, studies have been published suggesting that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.

CBD has also been found to be an effective option for treating different types of chronic pain. As an example, the European Journal of Pain published their findings of an animal study in which CBD applied on the skin helped ease pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study found the mechanism by which CBD is able to inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain patients and doctors contend with. While more study in human patients is needed, the potential of CBD to help fight pain and addiction to pain medications is irrefutable.

Is cannabidiol actually safe?

While more study is needed, scientists have begun to discover potential side effects of CBD. For some, side effects of CBD use include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can also increase the your levels of a blood thinner called Coumadin. CBD has also been found to interact with our bodies and medications in by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does, making it a drug that some patients with heart issues may want to discuss with their doctors before consuming.

One of the primary safety concerns with CBD is that it many companies market the compound supplement, not a medication. Because the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements, this makes it difficult for consumer to know for sure that the product they’re purchasing has the active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. Further, because of the limitations on the industry at large, we also don’t know what the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD is for any particular individual or for various medical conditions.

Know Your CBD Facts

Many CBD manufacturers have come under scrutiny for making wild, indefensible claims about their products. For example, some products sell themselves as a CBD cure-all for cancer, which is simply untrue. As an industry, we need more research to support the health claims surrounding CBD. Nevertheless, initial findings do support the stance that CBD can be an effective option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain, among others.s

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