Around the turn of the century there weren’t that many people who likely knew what CBD was, save for the occasional science savvy pothead. But as medical and eventually legal Cannabis began to spread across the states so did the awareness of cannabidiol (CBD). However it was always mentioned in conjunction with the more popular Cannabis compound THC.
The Cannabis sativa plant produces around 100 bioactive compounds, but it is the THC that is responsible for its historic and worldwide popularity. The THC is responsible for the “high” users feel and most of the well-known effects. While THC and all Cannabis compounds are still in need of further study, potential signs point to pain control, anxiety reduction, appetite stimulation, and more. (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085)
There is so little research due to all the years of Cannabis being such a tightly controlled substance, but this changed overnight with the 2018 Farm Bill. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_Farming_Act_of_2018) Farmers could now legally grow hemp and researchers could get easier access to the other chemicals compounds of Cannabis like CBD. Hemp is Cannabis that has under 0.3 % THC content, meaning no one can use it in any shape or form to get a buzz from. For the most part farmers are able to control this low percentage, but occasionally problems do occur. (https://www.cannabisindustrylawyer.com/what-to-do-when-your-hemp-tests-hot/)
While it is great that research into CBD was suddenly possible (or at least easier), more farmers were growing it to cash in on the most recent dietary supplement craze. Overnight CBD was suddenly everywhere; in food, lotions, soaps, vapes, pet meds, and anything you can imagine! It is growing into a billion dollar industry on a potential mountain of false claims. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2019/05/20/cbd-market-could-reach-20-billion-by-2024-says-new-study/#16b6046949d0)
Many businesses selling CBD have jumped the gun on any legitimate studies and decided that they can pick and choose which miraculous cures it may have. In the world of dietary supplements the FDA makes it very clear that a seller cannot claim a drug prevents, mitigates, treats, or cures any disease. If a chemical has not been approved by the FDA, then it will always be stuck in this legal gray area. And unfortunately many people are willing to jump into this legal limbo to part you with your dollars as you wash away your woes with their CBD! (https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-15-companies-illegally-selling-various-products-containing-cannabidiol-agency-details)
Now there are some legitimate uses for CBD, it is not complete snake oil. In 2017 CBD was found to help treat drug resistant seizure disorders in children. (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1611618) There are also some early studies that show it may help with anxiety, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and opioid addiction. However these studies use massive doses of CBD, not the tiny dosages sold in most edible CBD products. The simple fact is we just haven’t had the time to do much proper peer reviewed research into cannabidiol. (https://ideas.ted.com/heres-the-truth-about-cbd-from-a-cannabis-researcher/)
And because we do not know that much about CBD yet, it makes it easy for the market to just simply fill in the blanks for the consumer. With a great design and hyped up graphic they can attract your attention and make you think they know something that you don’t! These new CBD companies also love to tell you the purity of their product from locally grown hemp. No doubt the product you bought is organic and full of laboratory tested CBD! However, we still have very little evidence that the CBD will have any legitimate effect on you at all!
Another aspect most CBD sellers stress is the complete lack of any THC in their product. This of course makes sense as that would make their product illegal and they could go to jail! Plus many consumers may be afraid of work related drug tests and be afraid of ingesting THC. The irony here is that CBD may not really be as effective without its chemical cousin THC. For the compound to have any use it may need to be in conjunction with other cannabinoids, we just don’t know yet.
All of these variables make it clear it is wise to take a step back and proceed with caution when it comes to CBD. Especially since some people are using it on pets and even children. It’s one thing to risk using a dietary supplement on yourself but using another as a lab rat is never a good idea! The simple fact is that the FDA has not approved CBD and still needs to do more research on that and Cannabis in general. If you or someone you know is thinking of using CBD, make sure first to educate yourselves with as many studies as possible. (https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis)
It still may be tempting to try CBD given the long history we have had in this country about changing our perspectives on various chemicals. Cigarettes used to be healthy and marijuana a dangerous addiction. Now we are finding that tobacco is a public health nightmare and maybe Cannabis has some great potential uses. Maybe you feel that CBD has such potential why let any time go to waste? Well in that case approach it with common sense.
Whether it is CBD, THC, or any compound or medicine for sale, keep an eye on what is being claimed. For example you will see outlandish statements about Cannabis curing cancer, which is not true! If it seems too good to be true, it always is. If anything CBD may help problems like anxiety and stress, those have potential. Of all the uses claimed by some CBD sellers it should be pretty obvious to pick out the absurdities vs the maybes. And it all matters whether or not you are safe with a maybe. Until CBD is studied further by the FDA and other health organizations, we simply will not know what the real uses are. In this day in age it is really easy to get caught up in the excitement, one may be tempted to jump on the bandwagon and try CBD for a variety of ailments. Just remember until more research is done you may be putting you or a loved one at risk. Be careful!