Cannabidiol or CBD is a compound obtained from the buds and flowers of marijuana plants or hemp plants. CBD is not psychoactive and therefore does not cause a high. It is becoming increasingly popular as a natural treatment for a wide range of conditions. Many people choose it instead of using prescription drugs or in conjunction with them. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the plant and adding carrier oils like hemp seed oil or coconut oil. Since its use is still quite new, there are concerns about its safety and effectiveness. This article will discuss some of the uses of CBD oil then address some of the concerns.
Purported Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD has been reported to reduce several types of pain. Some studies have indicated it may relieve chronic pain by acting on endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation and interacting with the brain’s neurotransmitters. Studies on rats found that CBD reduced pain at surgical sites and reduced sciatic nerve pain. Meanwhile, research in humans showed a combination of CBD and THC treated pain from multiple sclerosis and arthritis effectively.
CBD oil is also said to show promise as a treatment for mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. It has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia in children with post-traumatic stress disorder. CBD may also help people with neurological disorders like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. Many of the studies relating to these conditions have only been conducted in test tubes or on animals.
There are several other potential benefits of CBD oil. These include alleviating cancer-related symptoms, reducing acne and improving heart health. The problem is that not enough scientifically sound studies have been conducted on humans to prove them. The use of CBD oil is therefore controversial.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved the prescription use of a purified form of CBD oil known as Epidiolex for treating two types of epilepsy. This is the only FDA-approved use of CBD. Clinical trials revealed several adverse effects including problems with the central nervous system, breathing problems, decreased urination and appetite, liver problems and gastrointestinal problems, among others. The leaflet accompanying the drug warns of worsening suicidal thoughts or depression.
Meanwhile, small studies looking into the safety of cannabidiol concluded that adults seem to tolerate it well. There were no significant effects on the central nervous system, mood, or vital signs. Tiredness was a common side effect and some people reported diarrhea or changes in weight or appetite. There is no data on long-term use or research involving children.
Before You Try CBD
Given all the uncertainty surrounding CBD, anyone considering using it should speak to a qualified medical practitioner. When drugs are not FDA-approved, the user doesn’t know if the product contains the amount of CBD it says it does or whether it is effective or harmful. A 2017 study found that 7 out of 10 products containing CBD didn’t contain the level of marijuana extract manufacturers claimed. It was led by adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Marcel Bonn-Miller. More than 40 percent of the products did not contain enough CBD, while more than 25 percent contained excessive amounts.
Timothy Welty, chair of the department of clinical sciences at the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Drake University, also expressed concern. He said many studies on the use of CBD oil were either case reports or studies which did not include control groups. He said this means there is no way to know if the drug is effective or if what was recorded was a placebo effect.
Many medical professionals have reservations about the effectiveness and safety of CBD oil. As regulation and research continue, more will be known. As it stands, after rigorous research, CDB is only FDA-approved for use in two forms of epilepsy. A medical professional should be consulted before using it to treat any condition.