Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana. The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a host of medical conditions — everything from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness. But experts say the evidence is scant for the majority of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD has been produced without any regulation, causing products that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It truly is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say no matter what the hell he wants on a label and sell it to people.”
Cannabidiol is taken from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It does not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal, according to Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, according to Prevention magazine. Those are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Strong Evidence for Treating Epilepsy – Only one purported use for cannabidiol, to take care of epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it. Recently, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval in the CBD medication Epidiolex to treat two rare kinds of childhood epilepsy. “That’s actually the only area in which the evidence has risen to the stage where FDA has said this really is acceptable to approve a new drug,” said Timothy Welty, chair from the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.
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Throughout CBD’s potential uses, there is simply inadequate evidence to produce a firm conclusion. For instance, some human clinical trials advise that CBD may be effective in treating signs of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. This is actually the potential use for CBD with the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a reliable gap between those two,” he explained. “There were numerous studies in adults, but a whole lot smaller than the epilepsy studies that were carried out in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness as being an anti-inflammatory medicine is the following most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
The Majority Of Uses Largely Unproven – The remainder of the potential uses — being an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have been studied in animals, with only 1 or 2 types of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies that have featured humans for these particular other CBD uses have either been case reports or studies that failed to compare results against a control group that failed to utilize the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how do you know if we’re dealing with the real effect in the drug or just simply a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” Welty said. There are also concerns about both the quality of CBD oil being produced and its potential side effects, the experts added.
Lack of Regulation Also Concerning – Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped directly into regulate goods like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to set regulations in position, but they don’t possess the deep pockets of the federal government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller discovered that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the volume of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent of the products contained not enough CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is sort of a difficult drug because it’s not too well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Lower than 20 % of the drug is absorbed orally. If it isn’t made correctly, you may not be getting much drug in your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in five CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller and his awesome colleagues found.
“That’s a difficulty because THC can increase anxiety. It could can even make seizures worse. These are the types of things you have to be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “Should I were a consumer, purchasing it for myself or my kid, I would like to test it so that I knew what it really actually had within it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions With Some Other Meds – Studies on CBD likewise have raised concerns about possible interactions along with other drugs. As an example, epilepsy studies learned that “there have been very clearly increases within the blood amounts of some other anti-epileptic drugs when people were on CBD,” Welty said.