You’ve probably heard a lot about CBD oil and tried to figure out what the fuss is about. We’re here to answer that.
How does cannabidiol differ from cannabis?
When discussing CBD, it is important to distinguish it from medical marijuana and understand that its chemical composition is similar, though quite different. THC levels, or what makes you “high” in marijuana, are much lower in CBD.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It comes from the cannabis plant and is the second most prevalent active ingredient in the plant. While CBD is similar to marijuana, it is derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant, and while it is a component in marijuana, it is not a factor in causing a “high”.
According to a report of 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.”
Efficacy of CBD
Evidence of the health benefits of cannabidiol CBD has been provided for a wide range of health concerns, but the strongest clinical evidence is for its effectiveness in dealing with some of the most difficult adolescent epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome LGS, which typically do not respond to seizure medication. In numerous research studies, CBD has been able to reduce the number of seizures and in some cases stop them completely. The FDA recently approved the first cannabis-derived, and CBD containing medication for these conditions, Epidolex.
CBD and Sleep, Stress
CBD is often used to relieve stress and anxiety, and for patients suffering from sleep disorders, research studies review the connection of CBD and sleep and show it could help people both fall asleep and fall asleep.
CBD and Pain
CBD could be an option for treating various types of persistent pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain has shown that CBD, which is used on the skin in animal experiments, could contribute to lower symptoms and inflammation caused by to arthritis. Another study showed the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. At this point, further studies in humans are needed to confirm the claims of CBD advocates about controlling symptoms.
Benefits of CBD
So far, there is a lack of comprehensive scientific evidence of the medical benefits of CBD, partly because the laws on cannabis have made research more difficult. Until we find out more, it is a good idea to remember that few high-quality research studies have been conducted.
- In 2018, the FDA approved a drug derived from CBD for the treatment of rare forms adolescent epilepsy. This drug has been shown in randomized medical studies to reduce the incidence of seizures (see hereand here).
- Some research studies have shown that CBD may improve stress and anxiety, but the studies were small and of poor quality (see hereand here).
- Some laboratory studies on human cells suggest that CBD may have anti-inflammatory results on oil-secreting glands in the skin. This could have implications for acne and other inflammatory skin diseases, but more research is needed to confirm this. And, although CBD in skin products is unlikely to harm you, many dermatologists agree that there are more efficient and better studied medications and treatments for acne and inflammatory skin diseases.
Using CBD Oil
The first thing to consider when thinking about trying CBD oil is to determine the desired outcome. The second is to consider your specific circumstances, specifically as it relates to the potential of drug testing. While CBD products with under 0.3% THC are legal according to the US Federal Government, some states and other obligations, do not accept those levels as legal. Even at that low level, a CBD oil containing THC can result in that showing up in a standard drug test.
Returning to what the target goal is, Some of the research studies that are evolving into CBD and its use consist of:
- Stress and anxiety.
- Sleep disorders.
- Persistent discomfort and inflammation.
- Cognitive support.
- Rebuilding new nerves.
When choosing a product, it is important to consult with someone who has experience in cannabinoid therapy, as there tend to be a variety of drug interactions. Furthermore, the dosage varies considerably depending on the use and the higher the dosage, the more sedative it becomes. There are currently over a thousand products on the market and no real enforcement requirement for labelling or product quality, so you need to make sure you speak to someone who is informed about the choice of the product best for you.
Safety and Side Effects
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritation. CBD can increase the level of the blood thinner Coumadin in your blood, and it can increase the level of certain other medications in your blood through the same mechanism as grapefruit juice. A major safety concern with CBD is that it is predominantly marketed and sold as a supplement and not as a drug. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements, so you cannot know for sure that the item you are buying contains active ingredients in the dose indicated on the label. In addition, the product may consist of other unknown elements.
We also do not understand the most effective dose of CBD for curing a certain medical condition. That being said, CBD is usually well tolerated and considered safe, although it may cause adverse reactions in some people. Negative effects noted in research studies include:
- Changes in cravings and weight.
CBD is also known for a number of medications. Before you start using CBD oil, discuss it with your doctor to ensure your safety and prevent potentially harmful interactions.
This is especially important if you are taking medications or supplements that include a “grapefruit warning.” Both grapefruit and CBD interfere with cytochrome P450 CYPs, a group of enzymes necessary for drug metabolism.
A study in mice found that CBD-rich marijuana extracts have the potential to cause liver toxicity. Some of the mice in the study were force-fed at very high doses of the extract.
Downsides to CBD
CBD is usually considered safe, but can still cause dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth and rarely liver problems. There may be uncertainties about the strength or purity of CBD products, as they are not controlled like prescription drugs and CBD can interact with other drugs.
There are also potential risks to pregnant women as it relates to inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies. There’s not definitive information if this is a similar concern with CBD.
For patients on a pain management regimen, there have been some concerns raised by pain specialists that CBD may interfere with the body’s natural pain regulation response, which creates issues with increased tolerance levels of other medications (meaning that higher doses of pain medication are then required to reach the same effect. This is particularly concerning as many of the prescription pain medications have adverse side effects and risk of addition.) The risk of addiction to CBD, however, remains low, per general consensus among specialists.
The other major downside to CBD therapy is the cost. CBD (and related product, CBG) are not cheap. CBD costs vary significantly depending on the dose, frequency, and formulations. A recent review of products showed it could cost over $120 a month, which is typically not covered by insurance. The other side is that the cost may be determined to be worth the benefit. It’s a personal choice.
The short answer is no. The US Federal Government does not recognize cannabis as a legal product, however, different states have different laws with different restrictions on the products, typically relating to the inclusion of THC.
In December 2015 the FDA relaxed regulatory requirements to allow scientists to conduct CBD studies. Currently, many people purchase CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The federal government’s position on CBD is confusing and partly depends on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change as there is currently a bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp plant legal, which would make CBD difficult to restrict in all respects.
Here are a few suggestions to consider when deciding whether to use CBD oil.
- When considering a CBD product, choose one that has been separately assessed for purity, effectiveness and safety — for example, look for one that has received GMP certification for “good manufacturing practices.”
- CBD must be part of a strategy for treating general discomfort, which consists of non-medication measures such as workouts and psychological support.
- Choose oral treatment, such as a CBD liquid or a CBD tincture, instead of inhaled items and start with a low dose taken at night. There are also CBD Oral Spray products, and Edible CBD products, often referred to as “edibles”, to consider.
- Set provisional treatment targets within a reasonable period of time – for example, for pain management — set a goal of reducing knee pain that will allow you to walk the block within 2 weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be changed.
- Inform your doctor about your prepared and existing CBD treatment; monitor your condition and adjust the medications with your medical suppliers rather than with non-medical professionals like those who sell CBD products.
CBD oil has actually been investigated for its potential function in relieving the signs of several common health problems, including anxiety, anxiety, acne and heart problems. For cancer patients, it may even be a natural option for pain and symptom relief. Research into the potential health benefits of CBD oil is ongoing, so new therapeutic applications need to be found for this natural treatment. There is much to learn about the efficacy and safety of CBD, and recent studies suggest that CBD could provide a safe, effective natural treatment for many health concerns.