Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is considered 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 the majority of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD has been produced without the regulation, causing items that 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 really is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on the label and then sell it to individuals.”
Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It can not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is due to the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal, based on 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. Last month, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval in the CBD medication Epidiolex to take care of two rare types of childhood epilepsy. “That’s actually the only area in which the evidence has risen to the stage in which the FDA has said this 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.
For the remainder of CBD’s potential uses, there is certainly simply inadequate evidence to produce a firm conclusion. For instance, some human clinical studies advise that CBD may be great at treating signs and symptoms of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. Here is the potential use for CBD with all the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a decent gap between the two,” he said. “There has been numerous studies in adults, but a great deal small compared to the epilepsy studies which have been completed in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness being an anti-inflammatory medication 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 all been studied in animals, with only 1 or 2 examples 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 did not compare results against a control group that failed to utilize the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how can you tell if we’re working with the actual effect from the drug or just just a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” Welty said. There are concerns about both the standard of CBD oil being produced as well as its potential side effects, professionals added.
Insufficient Regulation Also Concerning – As a result of legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate items like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to place regulations in position, however they don’t have the deep pockets of the federal government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent in the products contained inadequate CBD, while about 26 percent contained excessive, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is sort of a difficult drug because it’s not so well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Lower than 20 percent in the drug is absorbed orally. If this isn’t made correctly, you may not be getting much drug to your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in five CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller and his colleagues found.
“That’s an issue because THC can increase anxiety. It can can even make seizures worse. Those 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 want to test it in order that I knew exactly what it 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 also have raised concerns about possible interactions with some other drugs. For instance, epilepsy studies discovered that “there have been very clearly increases in the blood levels of various other anti-epileptic drugs when people were on CBD,” Welty said.