Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the hot new product in states which 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 many of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD has been produced without any regulation, leading to products which vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It is actually the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say no matter what the hell he wants on the label then 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 due to the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal or recreational marijuana is legal, based on Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, in accordance with Prevention magazine. Those are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, N . C ., Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Strong Evidence for Treating Epilepsy – Just one purported use for cannabidiol, to treat 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 truly the only area where evidence has risen to the stage where the FDA has said this can be acceptable to approve a new drug,” said Timothy Welty, chair in the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.
For the rest of CBD’s potential uses, there is simply inadequate evidence to produce a firm conclusion. For instance, some human clinical trials advise that CBD could be effective in treating signs of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. Here is the potential use for CBD with the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a reliable gap between those two,” he stated. “There has been numerous studies in adults, but a lot smaller than the epilepsy studies that have been done in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness as being an anti-inflammatory medicine is another most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
The Majority Of Uses Largely Unproven – The remainder of the potential uses — as being an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have got all been studied in animals, with only one or two samples of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies which have featured humans for these other CBD uses have either been case reports or studies that failed to compare results against a control group that failed to use the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how do you know if we’re dealing with the true effect from the drug or just merely 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 caliber of CBD oil being produced along with its potential negative effects, the experts added.
Insufficient Regulation Also Concerning – As a result of legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped directly into regulate products like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to put regulations in place, nevertheless they don’t possess the deep pockets of the government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller discovered that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the quantity of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent in the products contained inadequate CBD, while about 26 percent contained a lot of, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is sort of a tricky drug because it’s not too well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Less than 20 % of the drug is absorbed orally. If it isn’t made properly, you might not be getting much drug into your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in 5 CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller along with his colleagues found.
“That’s an issue because THC can increase anxiety. It may can make seizures worse. Those are the kinds of things you need to be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “Basically If 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 in it, because I couldn’t trust that which was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions With Other Meds – Studies on CBD likewise have raised concerns about possible interactions along with other drugs. For instance, epilepsy studies found that “there have been very clearly increases within the blood levels of various other anti-epileptic drugs whenever people were on CBD,” Welty said.