Despite the growing popularity of CBD in the health and wellness industry in recent years, there are still more questions than answers about the product. It's made from cannabis, but it won't get you high. It is advertised as a cure for all types of diseases, but so far there is only one CBD drug that has been approved by the FDA. And depending on who you ask, it's either a miracle cure or snake oil of the 21st century. What is CBD and what should people know before trying it out for themselves?
What is CBD?
The chemicals in cannabis are called cannabinoids and in marijuana, a type of cannabis plant, the most widely used and best known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. The second most common active ingredient in the plant is cannabidiol or CBD, which itself does not cause any mind-altering effects. CBD can also be found in hemp, another cannabis plant with far less THC than marijuana (about 0.3 percent or less compared to 5 to 20 percent for marijuana). Instead of consuming it for recreation, people are looking for CBD for its purported therapeutic benefits, including help with pain and anxiety.
Does CBD work?
Name an illness and there is a good chance that CBD will be cured as that. However, according to Adriaan Zimmerman, longtime entrepreneur and co-founder of the hemp product company Ned, you should beware of anyone who advertises CBD oil as a miracle cure. "[CBD] has so many amazing benefits, but if you drink six cups of coffee a day and drink a bottle of wine at night, don't exercise, and eat processed foods, you're pretty much shoveling snow in a blizzard." he tells Mental Floss.
Followers of Ned's products seek the company's hemp oils for a number of reasons, including help with stress or insomnia. "The prevailing is a general feeling of calm or less fear," said Ned co-founder Ret Taylor, who also has a background in business. "So really only the ability to relax and unwind."
Although there is no shortage of sensational CBD headlines and claims to wade through, there is some evidence that CBD has promising medicinal properties for certain problems. "The most promising [applications for CBD] may be fear, pain, and insomnia," says Dr. Tim Welty, professor and director of research, innovation, and global initiatives at Drake University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, opposite Mental Floss
There are some early studies that support these claims. After analyzing thousands of scientific abstracts, a committee from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that cannabis can be used to treat chronic pain ̵
Welty notes that the placebo effect was observed in CBD studies in which diseases were examined on a broad front to find out whether or not they were shown to be effective in these areas.
Pet wellness is another area that CBD companies market, but Welty warns against giving one of the products to your dog or cat as he says research on the effects on animals is weaker than in human patients . "I would be very hesitant to use CBD on a pet because there is so little evidence that it is safe, number one, and also that it is effective," says Welty.
Only one CBD-derived product is currently available FDA approval – a drug called Epidiolex that treats two rare forms of epilepsy. CBD is still new to the market, which means that there is still no solid research to support the benefits. More research is needed to understand the relationship of the connection to diseases such as chronic pain and anxiety. However, if CBD works, it may work very differently than most medicines.
"It is not a kind of acute treatment," says Zimmerman. "It's really a cumulative effect, so it takes time and consistency to really feel the benefits of the product."
What are the risks associated with CBD?
Despite the small pool of studies and the lack of FDA regulations, many people are willing to bet on CBD because the risks appear to be relatively low. Nevertheless, the product is not completely free of side effects. "If CBD were a pure, clean drug with no side effects, no drug interactions, and all of that, I would probably say well, give it a try," says Welty. "But we know that there are side effects to CBD and that there are interactions with CBD. Because of these two things, you have to be very, very careful when experimenting with it."
According to the Harvard Health Publishing blog, common side effects of CBD are fatigue, nausea, and irritability. The New York Times also reported that some patients using Epidiolex had side effects, including elevated liver enzymes.
CBD can also be a problem if you are regularly tested for marijuana. Drug tests detect THC, and although CBD products do not have enough THC to reach high levels, there are some trace amounts that can potentially appear in tests. "It is unlikely, but there is a chance, and we do not believe that someone whose job depends on it should take advantage of the opportunity," says Taylor.
Is CBD Legal?
Since the adoption of the Farm Bill 2018 in the United States, there is no federal law against the purchase and use of CBD from a hemp plant with less than 0.3 percent THC. However, some states have issued their own restrictions on the use of CBD. For example, in Virginia, according to PBS, CBD can only be used with a prescription.
Laws for companies selling CBD are much stricter. All health products, supplements, and foods containing the ingredient are technically illegal unless they have been approved by the FDA. Sellers can circumvent this law if they do not make statements about the health benefits of their products. Any CBD product derived from a marijuana plant that contains a higher THC is still illegal at the federal level, although certain states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational purposes.
What should I look for when buying CBD?
CBDs The popularity has increased faster than scientists and government regulators can keep up, which means that the quality of the products on the market is very different. A rule of thumb to keep in mind when shopping for CBD is to avoid tricky money robberies. Coffee, smoothies, and snacks with CBD on the label may not contain enough of them to have real effects. You can also find CBD in non-consumable products like skin creams, but they haven't been tested enough to really recognize their effectiveness.
Over on the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Donald Levy, medical director of the Osher Clinical Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women & # 39; s Hospital and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School strongly recommends staying away from CBD products that you need to smoke. Instead, it is recommended to take products orally as tablets, chewable tablets or tinctures.
Another sign that a company should be avoided is if no tests are mentioned in its marketing materials. If you don't find any references to tests or studies on the product website, they are probably not there. "There are many products that do not have third-party laboratory testing," says Zimmerman. "When companies work with transparency, they basically shout their lab tests off the roof."
A third-party lab test confirms that a bottle of CBD oil contains everything that is on the label. Since CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, there is no reason to believe that you will get what you pay for if the seller doesn't offer evidence. So if you're on a CBD website, look in private labs for certificates for tests done on their products, like Ned.
Finally, you should always research where a CBD product comes from before you pay for it. CBD, like the products in your fridge, is a crop grown by farmers, and you can be as choosy with your hemp products as you are with your food. Ned's oil is made from organic hemp grown on a Colorado farm. It should be administered with a pipette directly under the tongue and held there for at least 60 seconds.
To harvest the oil from the plants, Ned uses a slow, cold extraction method that takes place at -17 ° F. "This reduces the heat and pressure from the extraction process," says Zimmerman. "So we're not burning any of the plant's or flower's good natural ingredients. And the bottom line is this incredibly aromatic oil."
The current CBD market can be overwhelming, and science can be confusing as well is early to say how effective CBD actually is, there are a variety of ways for consumers willing to give it a try – just make sure you research first.