Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently been covered in the media, and you may have even seen it add to your post-workout shake or morning coffee. What exactly is CBD? Why has it suddenly become so popular?
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most widely used active ingredient in hemp (marijuana). While CBD is an essential ingredient in medical marijuana, it comes directly from the cannabis plant, which is the cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is an ingredient in marijuana (one in hundreds), it doesn’t get you high by itself. According to a report from the World Health Organization: “In humans, CBD has no effects indicative of potential abuse or dependence…. So far, there is no evidence of public health problems associated with the use of pure CBD. “
Is cannabidiol legal?
CBD is readily available in most parts of the United States, although its exact legal status varies. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restrictions, and while the federal government still considers CBD to be the same class as marijuana, it usually doesn’t enforce it. In December 2015, the FDA relaxed the regulatory requirements to allow scientists to conduct research on CBD. Today, many people get CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is misleading and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change as there is currently a cross-party consensus in Congress that the cultivation of cannabis should be legal, which would make it difficult in all respects to ban CBD.
Evidence for the health benefits ofcannabidiol
CBDis being touted for a wide variety of health problems, but the strongest scientific evidence shows its effectiveness in treating some of the most cruel syndromes of childhood epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which usually do not respond to anticonvulsants. In many studies, CBD has been able to reduce the number of seizures and in some cases it has been able to stop them altogether. Videos showing the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available online for viewing and are quite striking. More recently, the FDA approved the first-ever drug for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is commonly used to treat anxiety, and research suggests that for insomnia patients, CBD may help both fall asleep and stay asleep.
CBD may offer a treatment option for various types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain found that using an animal model, CBD applied to the skin can help reduce pain and inflammation caused by 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. More human research in this area is needed to substantiate the claims of CBD advocates for pain control.
Is cannabidiol safe?
CBD side effects include nausea, fatigue, and irritability. CBD can increase blood-thinning coumadin levels, and it can also raise blood levels of some other drugs through the same mechanism as grapefruit juice. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is marketed and marketed primarily as a supplement, not a drug. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So you cannot be sure that the product you are buying contains the active ingredients in the dose stated on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also do not know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any disease.
Some CBD producers have come under government scrutiny due to wild, untenable claims like CBD being a cure for everything it is not. We need more research, but CBD may prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies, we cannot determine effective dosages, and since CBD is mostly available today as an unregulated supplement, it is difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you do decide to try CBD, talk to your healthcare provider – if only to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.