4 tips for using CBD safely
Americans are turning in droves to cannabis for its potential health benefits and the booming industry is reflecting the interest, but how much do we really know? There is as much misinformation about cannabis, particularly the promising chemical compound known as CBD, as there is excitement. The bottom line is that much more research needs to be conducted before we’ll fully understand the health benefits (and any possible downsides) of using CBD.
Before you jump on the CBD train, we recommend perusing the MyCBD.org site to familiarize yourself with the science, frequently asked questions and industry behind the phenomenon.
Here are four tips for using CBD safely:
- Have realistic expectations. Some of the coverage around CBD has become sensational and unrealistic, and does a disservice to the public by promoting CBD as a miracle treatment for everything. Medical literature on CBD is still limited. It’s true that the Food and Drug Administration approved the first CBD-based drug for epilepsy this summer, and that the potential therapeutic benefits of the chemical compound are undergoing tests to treat other ailments, but the jury is still out on exactly which health benefits CBD can deliver.
- Consult with medical professionals about your CBD usage. It’s true that CBD is plant-based, and that the World Health Organization boldly stated last December that it has absolutely no abuse or dependency potential, but it’s always prudent to keep your healthcare provider in the loop about what drugs and supplements you’re taking. Even if your doctor is not familiar with CBD, they are familiar with your medical conditions and standard treatment options. Many patients are fearful that they’ll be talked down to or castigated if they mention CBD, but as it becomes more mainstream doctors will have to acknowledge it’s an option that serious and responsible adults are considering.
- Remain aware of harmful drug interactions. This is another reason to consult with a medical professional before diving headfirst into the world of CBD. Although CBD itself has not been found to have any negative side effects, preliminary medical research suggests that it can undermine some prescription drugs and increase the risks of others. For instance, highly concentrated CBD may interfere with the liver enzyme system that metabolizes a lot of pharmaceuticals.
- Use CBD as a supplement, not a replacement. One of the only ways that CBD can hurt you is if it’s treated as a total replacement for prescription drugs or treatments recommended by your healthcare provider. Until more research is available to the public, CBD should be viewed as supplemental, albeit a promising supplement, to other options. Patients should not, for example, forgo traditional cancer treatments in favor of a CBD regiment, and should remain cautious of overblown claims about CBD on the internet.
Keep in mind the difference between marijuana-derived CBD and hemp-derived CBD. Marijuana-derived CBD contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. Hemp-derived CBD contains minuscule amounts of THC and does not have any psychoactive effects. The American Academy of Neurology claims that THC can have detrimental long-term effects on learning ability and memory loss, while no such claim has been made about pure CBD.