Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become 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 many of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD will be produced without the regulation, causing items 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 really is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say regardless of the hell he wants over a label and then sell it to people.”
Cannabidiol is obtained from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It will not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is brought on by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, according to Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, based on 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 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 from the CBD medication Epidiolex to treat two rare kinds of childhood epilepsy. “That’s actually the only area where evidence has risen to the point where the FDA has said this can be acceptable to approve a whole 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.
Throughout CBD’s potential uses, there is certainly simply inadequate evidence to make a firm conclusion. For instance, some human clinical studies advise that CBD could be great at treating symptoms 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 good gap between those two,” he explained. “There have been clinical studies in adults, but a lot smaller than the epilepsy studies which have been done in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness being an anti-inflammatory medication is the next most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
Most Other Uses Largely Unproven – The rest of the potential uses — as an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have been studied in animals, with only one or two examples of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies that have featured humans for these particular 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 actual effect from the drug or perhaps merely 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 caliber of CBD oil being produced along with its potential negative effects, professionals added.
Lack of Regulation Also Concerning – As a result of legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not yet stepped into regulate goods like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to put regulations set up, nevertheless they don’t possess 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 volume of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent of the products contained too little CBD, while about 26 percent contained a lot of, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is kind of a difficult drug because it’s not so well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Under 20 percent from 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 and his awesome colleagues found.
“That’s an issue because THC can increase anxiety. It could actually make seizures worse. These are the kinds of things you should be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “If I were a consumer, purchasing it for myself or my kid, I may wish to test it in order that I knew what it really actually had inside it, because I couldn’t trust that which was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions Along With Other Meds – Studies on CBD also have raised concerns about possible interactions with other drugs. For instance, epilepsy studies found that “there have been very clearly increases within the blood amounts of a few other anti-epileptic drugs when individuals were on CBD,” Welty said.