Cannabidiol (CBD)—a cannabinoid in the cannabis plant— has become the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana. In some states, you can even find it on the shelves of health food stores, in cafes and yoga studios, even in bars with promises of health and well being. Retailers claim it can treat ailments including nausea, sleeping disorders, anxiety, cancer, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. The truth about CBD is that scientific evidence hasn’t yet caught up to anecdotal evidence and stories.
Plus, in many cases, CBD is produced without any regulation. While that’s likely to change now because of its popularity, it will difficult to enact quality controls on this runaway industry, partly because of patchwork legalization laws that currently affect different states. While states that allow for medical or recreational sales allow for cannabis CBD sales and require lab-testing, hemp CBD is sold across the nation and isn’t held to any rigorous standards.
Given this misinformation and regulational void, what is the truth about CBD? This post is an attempt to separate the truth from the morass of dubious claims.
What We Do Know About CBD
It won’t get you high. While both CBD and its sister cannabinoid THC have the same chemical formula—21 carbon molecules, 30 hydrogen molecules, and two oxygen molecules—their structures are different. So, while THC can bond with receptors in the brain, causing the high associated with marijuana, CBD cannot.
“Entourage Effect” Seems Highly Possible
The pharmaceutical industry has been researching extracts, like CBD and THC, from the plant. However, many say that CBD works better with the whole plant—cannabinoids, terpenes, and additional components of the cannabis plant. When used with CBD, even low levels of THC seems to enhance the benefits of CBD on pain and inflammation, at least in one rodent study. Research has recognized that “whole plant” cannabis research is worth studying further.
It’s Legal, Sort of
CBD derived from cannabis is legal in 30 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal. Hemp-derived CBD, however, is legal everywhere. However, the two aren’t exactly synonymous when it comes to quality.
There is one use for CBD that has gained significant scientific evidence through rigorous clinical trials. In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating two types of epilepsy. Besides epilepsy, these other neurological diseases and conditions seem to be aided by CBD (and THC) according to some human and animal studies:
- Sleep Disorders
What We Don’t Know About CBD
Some Health Benefits Based on Anecdotal Evidence
There are many claims being made about CBD. Some gastrointestinal impacts of CBD and THC appear hard to refute from strong anecdotal evidence, such as in decreasing nausea, but there are some clinicians who say even those need more research before they feel comfortable prescribing it officially.
The Truth about CBD: Is it Safe?
Even when you do know CBD is good for treating a health condition, products are often misleading. The hemp-based CBD industry, for example, is rampant with mislabeling. A recent 2017 Penn study led by Marcel Bonn-Miller found nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of cannabis extract promised on the label, and only 30% of 84 CBD products purchased online were accurately labeled for CBD content. This makes it tough to know what you can buy. The CBD products you see may not be helpful and may even be harmful.
Have a Heart and the Truth About CBD
Have a Heart knows buying quality and accurately labeled CBD can be a challenge. In an industry with constantly shifting regulations and players, it can be hard to know which retailer to trust. Have A Heart takes the stress away by only selling CBD products that are laboratory-tested for cannabinoid potency and contaminants.
Bottom line? CBD is an interesting compound that deserves further study. It has been proven to defeat some forms of epilepsy through rigorous medical trials, and some evidence exists that it alleviates other neurological diseases too.
It is also true that pure CBD oil with no contaminants will not hurt you and is worth trying if you want to use a natural product. Just keep in mind that when you order a “CBD latte” at your favorite cafe, there is a good chance the cafe will not know how much CBD is actually in there, if it is uncontaminated, and if it actually does what is claimed. It might just be good coffee.