If you watch the news or go online even on a casual basis, then in all likelihood you’ve heard about CBD oil. Lots of advertising and marketing have come up regarding how it can treat a very long list of maladies. Yet the real facts may not quite be evident in these advertisements. The manufacturers and makers of CBD oil aren’t even harping the incontrovertible fact that the scientific community doesn’t know enough about the effects of CBD oil on the human system. In fact, there hasn’t been a consensus on how it works.
So, here are some facts that you should know about CBD:
You may have heard about Epidiolex, which is a new drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently passed. This is for treating certain types of seizure disorders. More specifically, the drug is for treating the seizures associated with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are quite severe forms of epilepsy, and these syndromes are actually quite rare. The drug is meant for patients who are at least 2 years old.
Epidiolex made the news due to 2 reasons. For one, it’s the first FDA-approved drug meant to treat Dravet syndrome. What even more “newsworthy” is that for the first time ever, the FDA approved of a drug substance that is derived from marijuana. Keep in mind that marijuana remains a banned substance according to federal law, and the FDA is a federal institution.
The news about Epidiolex naturally leads to discussions about CBD oil, because this time it’s about another product that can come from cannabis.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD, however, is different from THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is another type of cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant.
The human body also has naturally produced cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids. As a result, the human body also contains receptors for these cannabinoids, and these are the receptors that also bind with the cannabinoids we consume and absorb from cannabis products such as cannabis oil.
In the brain, you can find what are called CB1 receptors. There are CB2 receptors as well, which can be in other cells especially in the digestive and immune systems. These are the receptors to which the cannabinoids such as THC and CBD bind.
Both THC and CBD are thought to have therapeutic properties. The main difference between THC and CBD is that THC can get you intoxicated (“high”). CBD doesn’t make you feel high at all, which makes it okay for people who object to cannabis products due to its mind-altering properties.
In fact, CBD oil can come from hemp and there is now a federal law in the books designating all hemp products as absolutely legal all over the US. Hemp is by definition a different type of cannabis plant that’s distinct from marijuana. Hemp contains only 0.3% THC at the most.
Benefits of CBD Oil
The ongoing research on the therapeutic qualities and benefits of CBD oil is admittedly still ongoing. The evidence the scientific community has gathered so far can be considered preliminary. Yet the bulk of the evidence points to a rather long list of suspected benefits while indications are that CBD oil is relatively safe to use.
At the very least, there’s enough convincing evidence that CBD oil can help with seizures. Many of the states that allow “medical marijuana” specifically cite seizures as one of the medical conditions for which cannabis products may be prescribed. Even Epidiolex can be characterized as basically purified CBD oil made in the UK.
It’s not that Epidiolex is a drug that works every time since there’s no such thing. In the trials involving children with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Epidiolex helped to reduce seizures by 40% among the test subjects. It must be noted that not all of the test subjects responded to the drug, as some of the children didn’t improve at all. Exactly Just How Relaxing is CBD?
It must also be admitted that the bulk of the scientific studies regarding the use of CBD oil didn’t involve actual humans at all. Instead, laboratory rats and mice were used. These means these test subjects didn’t just have the same physical makeup as humans, but also that they didn’t have the same human concerns and problems.
In addition, much of the evidence used to promote the use of CBD oil relies on anecdotal evidence. In other words, an increasing number of people report that it works for them in alleviating conditions such as anxiety, depression, muscle and joint pain, headaches, and insomnia. This may, in fact, be the result of what’s known as the “placebo effect”. If you think something can help with your medical problem, that “something” can actually work.
Finally, the CBD oil industry isn’t strictly regulated. One study conducted in 2017 found that 26% of CBD oil products available online didn’t have as much CBD as stated on their labels. Some of these contained very little CBD at all. There are also CBD oil products that contained THC, even though the reason you opted for CBD oil in the first place is that you wanted to avoid the intoxicating effects.
The presence of THC also has legal implications, but the law on CBD oil tends to change and is different on a per-state basis. You may want to look up the particular laws regarding CBD oil use in your state before you buy some.
Another problem with the scarcity of scientific studies on CBD oil is that the scientific community also doesn’t know as much about the potential side effects. The clinical trials for Epidiolex do make clear that there are potential side effects to consider. One of these side effects is the effect on liver enzymes, which can then affect the effectiveness of the other medicines you may be taking too. This particular side effect has concerned the folks at the FDA, so much so that it is recommended for Epidiolex patients to have their liver enzymes monitored.
Just as we have plenty of anecdotal reports regarding benefits, we also have plenty of reports about side effects. These reports cite side effects such as changes in appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue.
It seems pretty evident that we still don’t know much about CBD oil use, so talk to your doctor first before you try it out. You may as well talk to your lawyer too so you can be absolutely sure about the law. Most of the evidence says that CBD oil is safe and helpful, and legal if it comes from hemp. But it sure does help to get some expert opinions!