Most people these days have heard about CBD products and the health benefits they’re supposed to offer. But though we may know a bit about cannabidiol, we still don’t know a lot about it.
If you’ve spent some time online reading the news (or even just watching cable news), you probably have stumbled upon a news report regarding CBD and its numerous supposed health benefits. These news reports are already plentiful, but then you also have lots of advertisements from CBD manufacturers lauding their products. It’s hard to avoid all these things, so you must have heard about CBD by now.
But what is it, really? What do we know about it? Does it really help with various medical conditions? Can it get you high? We do know some answers to these questions, but then again we also don’t know a lot about CBD either. The problem is that research on CBD is still in its early stages, though we do have some facts to present.
The term CBD is basically a nickname for cannabidiol, which is one of the most important chemical compounds that can be found in the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, which is a special type of chemical compound found in cannabis.
However, CBD oil doesn’t have to come from marijuana. It can come from hemp, which is another type of cannabis. Hemp by definition can only have 0. % THC at the most. If a plant has a higher THC level, then it is by definition marijuana.
It is the THC compound which is the cannabinoid mainly responsible for the “high” sensation. CBD, in contrast, is the cannabinoid that offers health benefits without the high. The World Health Organization considers pure CBD as a safe chemical compound. It is regarded as something that cannot make a person addicted, nor can it be abused in any way.
The initial research on CBD also indicates that there is no health problem that can be caused by the consumption of CBD. It’s really safe, or at least that’s what the initial research indicates.
The Legality of CBD
CBD in itself is legal, but the case can be a gray area if you’re talking about CBD oil laced with THC. Some states (at least 30 now) allow for the use of medical marijuana, and this is largely due to the benefits of CBD. The problem is that some of these products also have high THC content, and that’s why some states don’t allow for medical marijuana. The federal law on marijuana remains on the books—it’s illegal in all 50 states.
Keep in mind that if the product has more than 0. % THC, then it’s a marijuana product. Some states allow medical marijuana, but each state has its own list of medical conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. It may be legal to use medical marijuana for Parkinson’s in one state, but not in another state.
Even the rules regarding access to marijuana can differ depending on the state. Some states have dispensaries where you can buy medical marijuana, but you can’t grow the marijuana yourself. Other states may allow for homegrown marijuana (within certain volume limits) but not have dispensaries. You also have states that allow for both homegrown and dispensary-sold medical marijuana.
If you’re lucky, you can be in a state where even recreational marijuana is legal. That means you won’t have to go through the red tape of getting a medical marijuana card and a valid prescription. These include. As of June 2019, 9 states and Washington, DC allow for recreational marijuana for users over 21 years of age.
Then again you also have some states in which even medical marijuana is not allowed. In these states, ordering cannabis oil online can get you into legal trouble. But then CBD oil can come from hemp, and all hemp products are legal. That’s explicitly stated in the 2018 Farm Bill. This means that everywhere in the US, you can buy CBD oil with no worries about an arrest.
Is There Real Evidence for the Health Benefits of CBD?
It’s true that a lot of the evidence comes from anecdotal reports. However, there have been quite a few studies and trials for CBD, and the results have been encouraging.
- The FDA has approved of the use of Epidiolex for certain types of childhood epilepsy conditions, specifically Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. This drug contains CBD and it’s the first-ever FDA-approved drug that’s derived from cannabis. To get FDA approval, there would have been drug trials that involved human patients.
- Other studies indicate that CBD can reduce anxiety levels.
- Some studies also show that CBD can help against insomnia and poor sleep.
- A study published in the European Journal of Pain used lab animals and indicated that applied on the skin, CBD can reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
- Then there’s also a study showing that it can reduce neuropathic and inflammatory pain. These 2 types of pain are generally considered among the most difficult cases of chronic pain to treat.
CBD Side Effects
In general, CBD is considered safe. But there have been reports of side effects, including irritability, fatigue, and nausea. It may affect how other medications work, especially blood thinners like coumadin.
The best way to avoid side effects is to follow the usage directions and to keep the dosage within tolerable limits. You also may want to go with more reputable brands, while you keep the THC levels low.
The problem is that CBD may work better in tandem with high THC levels, and that means the CBD oil you’re using is considered medical marijuana.
It’s obvious that we need a lot more research to definitively conclude that CBD can work for specific conditions. Right now, we do not know the proper dosage to use for each condition, or if the CBD should be used with THC and other cannabinoids. There’s also very little data regarding long-term use. These are the unknowns that make some experts wary, even if other doctors are hopeful about the therapeutic benefits of CBD.
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