Cannabidiol is everywhere now, marketed to the public as CBD oil. This oil is being touted as the best thing since sliced bread, with users raving that it has helped them with their back pain, migraines, seizures, heart health, stroke recovery, and more. What is factual and what is not true? How do you know? Taking a look at some actual research studies and opinions from Harvard Medical School, we’ll try to give you the facts.
What We Know
Cannabis is one of the most primary compounds found in cannabis. This includes hemp and marijuana. It is a very important compound in medical marijuana, but when it is extracted and marketed to the general public as CBD oil, it is extracted from industrialized hemp plants. This is because hemp has little to no THC, which is the psychoactive compound responsible for causing you to get high when smoking weed.
THC can cause hallucinations in some people and the medical strains that are developed to have higher levels of THC in them have landed some people in the ER for the overwhelming response they have had from too much THC. Because they don’t feel it immediately, they make the mistake of taking using more. This ends up cause THC reactions in some people that are not life threatening but can be quite alarming and make people feel ‘not right’ enough to seek help.
CBD, on the other hand, has no such effects. CBD actually has the ability to improve focus and improve mental clarity. This has been reported time and time again in those who have participated in research questionnaire studies for ADHD and other similar issues.
In 2015 regulations on CBD were eased so that research could be conducted. Since then, new laws took effect in December of 2018 which leaves some shady gray area for interpretation, but manufacturers of CBD products took it as a go ahead to begin selling their products in all fifty states. While this leaves things in a but of a state of confusion, no agency seems to be questioning the sale of these products. In fact, many local governments have taken it upon themselves to introduce legislative measures that protect the sale and shops that carry CBD products.
The best case we have for the effectiveness of CBD is the usefulness in controlling childhood onset epilepsy. When all other medications have failed, Cannabidiol has worked for these patients. It worked so well, that in clinical trials the FDA was convinced to give approval for a new medication called Epidiolex. This medication is used as a last resort, when patients do not respond to other treatments. It’s worked incredibly well and some people still continue to use CBD oil to treat their seizures. Epidiolex became the first medication made from CBD to win approval from the FDA. This was a big step and proponents of cannabis cheered loudly that the compound was finally seen as having medical purposes.
Other research studies exist that seem indicate that CBD can help with insomnia, as well as reducing pain and inflammation in some patients. There is still ongoing testing being done in these departments so there isn’t conclusive evidence as of yet. Clinical trials have not been done with human beings as of yet. Most CBD testing has been done on animals and what little data we have from humans has been in the form of questionnaires through studies with volunteers.
Some CBD users indicate that they feel nausea, lethargy, and occasional grumpiness. These seem to be rare side effects and not overly worrisome. CBD also tends to act as a natural blood thinner so those who are on blood thinners prescribed by their doctor should not use CBD without consent from their doctor.
CBD is also largely marketed and sold as a supplement, which means there is no FDA regulation for it. You have no way to know if the product you are buying is actually what the bottle says it is or if those are the only ingredients. There are good companies out there, with great products, but sadly there are also some companies that are more concerned about making money than they are about your health. Choose your supplier very wisely. Ask to see third-party testing results from your CBD batch.
Since the products are not medically regulated by the FDA, there is also no regulation on dosage. You are largely on your own to figure out what works best for you. This isn’t ideal. Again, reputable companies will have a recommended dosage but the overall implication is that you don’t know who made this recommended dosage up or whether it is based in scientific fact.
Some companies will make claims that CBD is a cure. It is not a cure for anything at the present time. We should say that there is not any proof for such claims. While it may very well be a viable option for helping people with pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety and more, far more research is necessary before anyone starts making claims of curing anything.
For now, CBD is a largely unregulated supplement that is difficult to know what dose is the right dose, or if you are actually getting what the bottle states you are getting. It is always wise to discuss any supplements that you are taking with your doctor. Ask them for advice and their opinions. You’ll find that even doctors don’t agree. While one highly recommends CBD oil the next doctor may shy away from using it at all. Talk to people who have used CBD oil and see what their opinion is as well.
Research the brands you are interested in and make sure that they have proof of testing and also that they are organically grown. This will at least ensure that you shouldn’t be getting toxic chemicals in your CBD oil.
Take all things into consideration and don’t fall for the ‘cure’ marketing. It may very well work to help with symptoms, but it won’t cure you of anything. Yet.