Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. So, you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
Is CBD safe?
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CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
Consroe, P., Laguna, J., Allender, J., Snider, S., Stern, L., Sandyk, R., Kennedy, K., and Schram, K. Controlled clinical trial of cannabidiol in Huntington’s disease. Pharmacol Biochem.Behav. 1991;40(3):701-708. View abstract.
Bloomfield MAP, Green SF, Hindocha C, et al. The effects of acute cannabidiol on cerebral blood flow and its relationship to memory: An arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging study. J Psychopharmacol. 2020;34(9):981-989. View abstract.
Likely Effective for
Pretzsch CM, Voinescu B, Mendez MA, et al. The effect of cannabidiol (CBD) on low-frequency activity and functional connectivity in the brain of adults with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). J Psychopharmacol. 2019:269881119858306. View abstract.
Arkell TR, Vinckenbosch F, Kevin RC, Theunissen EL, McGregor IS, Ramaekers JG. Effect of Cannabidiol and ?9-Tetrahydrocannabinol on Driving Performance: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2020;324(21):2177-2186. View abstract.
Knaub K, Sartorius T, Dharsono T, Wacker R, Wilhelm M, Schön C. A Novel Self-Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SEDDS) Based on VESIsorb Formulation Technology Improving the Oral Bioavailability of Cannabidiol in Healthy Subjects. Molecules. 2019;24(16). pii: E2967. View abstract.
A study published in May 2018 in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that prescriptions for opioids decreased in states that have medical marijuana laws. Researchers looked at Medicare data from 2010 to 2015 and found that states with active dispensaries saw 3.742 million fewer daily doses of opioids filled by pharmacies. (8)
The cannabis plant, from which marijuana is derived, is often smoked for recreational purposes. But people are increasingly using marijuana to treat medical conditions — and this medical marijuana is not always smoked. It comes in many forms:
Medical Marijuana for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
The endocannabinoid system also helps regulate gastrointestinal functions, and this may explain why medical marijuana seems to help digestive disorders like IBS.
This NASME report, one of the largest of its kind, looked at more than 10,000 studies published since 1999.
Scientists think that CBD acts in yet to be determined ways that protect the brain against inflammation and oxidative stress. (13)