You might have noticed it touted as an ingredient in drinks, lip balms, lotions, drops, or even candies. CBD is all the rage right now and readily available at your neighborhood health store, coffee shop, or spa.
First, let’s get some background information on what we’re talking about here.
What is CBD oil anyway?
CBD stands for cannabadiol; a compound extracted from hemp plants. It is a component of marijuana, but it does not cause the euphoria or intoxication that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) causes. While marijuana contains both THC and CBD, CBD by itself does not appear to have any abuse or dependence potential.
Does CBD have any benefits?
There have been many claims that CBD oil can treat conditions such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, and insomnia; however, because both marijuana and hemp were considered illicit substances for so long, research on CBD has been very limited. In June 2018, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil, for treating two types of severe epilepsy in young children. As of today, this is the only FDA approved use of CBD oil.
Some preliminary research suggests that CBD may help with chronic pain. Animal studies showed CBD relieved arthritic pain and inflammation, but there have been limited human studies. The studies that were done were small, of poor quality, and showed mixed results.
Is CBD safe?
Potential side effects of CBD include nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, irritability, and liver abnormalities. CBD can also interact with certain medications. For example, recent reports warned how CBD can increase the level of the blood thinner Coumadin in your blood, and it may also increase other medications in your blood stream similarly to how grapefruit juice does.
One safety concern regarding CBD is that up until recently it was considered a supplement, and supplements lack regulation. For example, a 2017 study in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) showed that 84 CBD products from 31 different companies had less than half of the ingredients that they said they had in them. So you cannot know for sure that the product you are buying has what it says it has on the label. The FDA is now cracking down on companies marketing CBD as a cure-all for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and anxiety. The FDA is also currently reviewing pathways to better regulate the CBD market as a whole.
Furthermore, due to the lack of quality long-term human studies, we do not know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.
The Bottom Line
Don’t fall for the HYPE, but be hopeful that CBD will one day be proven to be HELPFUL.
Researchers are in the early stages of their controlled studies now on CBD, so be patient! We will have more evidence in the next couple of years, with hopefully more specific information on dosing.
Don’t fall for outlandish claims that CBD can cure everything. This is simply not true - there’s no data to support this.
If CBD is something you want to try, talk with your doctor. Remember that anything you put into your body has some type of effect. You should weigh the risks versus benefits with your doctor.
If you have any questions regarding CBD oil, I will be speaking with my colleagues Dr. Novak, Dr. Pietila, Dr. Baroudi, and Dr. Ferber, on October 31st at the Ocean Hills clubhouse. We will be presenting more in-depth information on CBD, and reviewing other topics as well such as arthritis and the upcoming influenza season. Hope to see you there!
About the Author
Vanessa Cordova, MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Nurse Cordova attained her Masters of Science in Nursing from Cal State San Marcos, and is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Tri-City Primary Care. Prior to becoming a Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Cordova was a Registered Nurse, specializing in cardiac and respiratory disease since 2010.
Nurse Cordova thoroughly enjoys being able to treat a variety of conditions and has a passion for Geriatrics