What is CBD? 5 honest truths

Jul 18, 2023 | 0 comments

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is the second most abundant active compound found in cannabis (marijuana). Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not cause a psychoactive “high” on its own. It is derived from the hemp plant or can be produced in a lab. With hundreds of components in marijuana, cannabidiol is an essential element of medical marijuana. According to a report by the World Health Organization, cannabidiol exhibits no signs of abuse or dependence potential in humans. Furthermore, there is currently no evidence linking the use of pure cannabidiol to any public health issues.

CBD is widely available in most areas of the United States, although its precise legal status has been subject to change. Each state has its own laws regarding cannabidiol, which vary in terms of restrictions. In December 2015, the FDA eased regulations to permit CBD research trials. Additionally, the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 legalized hemp nationwide, practically making it impossible to outlaw CBD. It’s akin to legalizing oranges but banning orange juice. The Farm Bill excluded all hemp-related products, including cannabidiol, from the Controlled Substances Act, which criminalizes possession of drugs.

This essentially means that cannabidiol derived from hemp is legal, but cannabidiol derived from cannabis (marijuana) is not, even though it’s the same compound. Many individuals currently purchase cannabidiol products online without a medical marijuana license, a practice that is legal in most states.

Is CBD good for health?

cannabidiol has gained recognition for its potential to address a range of health concerns. However, the most compelling scientific evidence supports cannabidiol’s efficacy in treating severe childhood epilepsy syndromes like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically do not respond to conventional antiseizure medications. Multiple studies have demonstrated cannabidiol’s ability to reduce seizures or even halt them completely. Notably, Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived medication containing cannabidiol, has gained FDA approval for these specific conditions.

Furthermore, preliminary animal studies and human self-reports or research suggest that cannabidiol may offer benefits in the following areas:

  • Anxiety – Studies and clinical trials are currently exploring the potential of cannabidiol to alleviate anxiety symptoms.
  • Insomnia – cannabidiol shows promise in promoting both falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Chronic pain: Additional human studies are necessary to validate claims regarding pain-relieving properties. However, one animal study in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD applied topically to the skin may help reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Other research suggests that cannabidiol may inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, both of which are challenging to treat.
  • Addiction – Certain human studies indicate that CBD may help reduce cravings for tobacco and heroin, under specific conditions. Moreover, animal models of addiction suggest that CBD might also alleviate cravings for alcohol, cannabis, opiates, and stimulants.

These findings showcase the potential of CBD beyond epilepsy treatment, although further research is needed to fully understand its capabilities in addressing these various health concerns.

Is CBD safe?

CBD can potentially cause side effects like nausea, fatigue, and irritability. It can also interact with certain medications by competing with liver enzymes responsible for their breakdown, leading to increased blood levels of these drugs. A similar effect is observed with grapefruit and some medicines.

High doses of cannabidiol may result in abnormalities in liver-related blood tests, which is also seen with other non-prescription drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Therefore, it’s crucial to inform your doctor if you regularly use cannabidiol.

One major concern with CBD is that it’s primarily marketed and sold as a supplement rather than a medication. As a result, its safety and purity are not regulated by the FDA for dietary supplements. This means that there is uncertainty regarding the accuracy of listed ingredients and the presence of unknown elements in cannabidiol products. Additionally, determining the optimal therapeutic dose of CBD for specific medical conditions is still an ongoing process, lacking definitive information.

How to consume CBD?

CBD is available in various forms such as oils, extracts, capsules, patches, vapes, and topical preparations used on the skin. If you’re seeking relief from inflammation and muscle or joint pain, a CBD-infused oil, lotion, cream, or even a bath bomb might be the optimal choice. Alternatively, you can try a CBD patch or a tincture/spray placed under the tongue to allow direct entry into the bloodstream.

Beyond the United States, Sativex, a prescription drug containing cannabidiol, is approved for managing muscle spasticity linked to multiple sclerosis and alleviating cancer pain. In the US, Epidiolex is approved for specific epilepsy types and tuberous sclerosis.

Make sure to choose the product that suits your needs for effective results!

Commonly asked questions about CBD

  • What are the effects of CBD?
  • Generally it is known to have calming effects. It is rarely reported to have negative or strong impact on one person. But it usually helps with anxiety, stress and helps with sleep disorders.
  • Does CBD help with arthritis? There is no confirmed consensus and the benefits seem to vary from person to person. Since there still needs to be more research done we have yet to learn concrete facts.

Final thoughts on cannabidiol

Certain manufacturers have faced government scrutiny due to making unsubstantiated claims, such as cannabidiol being a universal remedy for cancer or COVID-19, which is not the case. While more research is needed, cannabidiol shows potential as a relatively safe option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Due to the lack of high-quality evidence in human studies, determining effective doses is challenging. Additionally, as cannabidiol is currently available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to ensure its quality and contents.

If you decide to explore CBD, it’s important to obtain it from a reputable source. Additionally, consulting with your doctor is crucial to ensure it doesn’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.

Interested in learning more about cannabis strains?

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