Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is considered 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 — 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 is being produced without any regulation, causing products that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry on 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 a label and sell it to individuals.”
Cannabidiol is obtained from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It will not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is due to the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, in accordance with 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, N . C ., Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Strong Evidence for the treatment of 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 forms of childhood epilepsy. “That’s actually the only area where evidence has risen to the level where 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 rest of CBD’s potential uses, there is simply too little evidence to create a firm conclusion. For example, some human numerous studies claim that CBD might be great at treating symptoms of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. Here is the potential use for CBD using the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a reliable gap between those two,” he said. “There have been numerous studies in adults, but a lot smaller than the epilepsy studies that were carried out in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness as an anti-inflammatory medication is another most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
Many Other Uses Largely Unproven – All of those other potential uses — being an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have been studied in animals, with only one or two types of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies who have featured humans for such other CBD uses have either been case reports or studies that failed to compare results against a control group that did not utilize the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how do you know if we’re coping with the real effect from the drug or perhaps just a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug which will be beneficial?” Welty said. There also are concerns about both the quality of CBD oil being produced as well as its potential negative effects, the experts added.
Absence of Regulation Also Concerning – As a result of legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not yet stepped directly into regulate items like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to place regulations set up, 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 from the products contained too little 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. “Lower than 20 % in the drug is absorbed orally. If it isn’t made in the right way, you might not receive much drug in your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in five 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 actually make seizures worse. Those are the sorts of things you should be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “Basically If I were a consumer, purchasing it personally or my kid, I would want to test it in order that I knew exactly what it actually had within it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions Along With Other Meds – Studies on CBD likewise have raised concerns about possible interactions with some other drugs. For instance, epilepsy studies discovered that “there have been very clearly increases inside the blood levels of various other anti-epileptic drugs when people were on CBD,” Welty said.