The FDA has tested various products and found that many didn’t have the amount of CBD they had advertised, and has often sent warning letters to companies that make unfounded health claims.
Advocates believe there are many potential health benefits, but clinicians say more research needs to be done.
The law depends on where you live, and whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The Farm Bill of 2018 legalized hemp. Marijuana is trickier because the federal government still considers it an illegal drug, although states have their own swiftly changing laws. Some states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, while others have legalized medical marijuana. Still others have introduced CBD-specific legislation.
How do you use CBD?
CBD is everywhere lately — in skin care, coffee and even pet treats. But is it really all it’s hyped up to be?
In addition to treating epilepsy, research has shown CBD may help reduce anxiety for people who have schizophrenia or psychosis, or who are addicted to opiates.
“But you need studies to really be able to give us knowledge about how much CBD each day someone should take for their particular illness, and how it might interact with other medications they take,” she said. “That’s what you get with a clinical trial.”
Currently the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug called Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. In July, the FDA expanded what the drug is approved to treat, saying it can also be used for seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
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Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from 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."
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.