Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and CBD products are exploding in the U.S. You probably see CBD oil and products everywhere. From your local health food store to coffee shop, there is a seemingly limitless supply. Some claim its benefits are innumerable, treating everything from chronic pain to acne. But where the benefits are promising, there are things to beware of when considering CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol is found in the buds and flowers of marijuana and hemp plants. It is one of 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa. It is extracted then diluted with a carrier oil like hemp seed or coconut oil. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes marijuana’s intoxicating “high,” CBD reacts with different receptors in the brain and is not psychoactive.
The human body has a specialized system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which regulates many functions including sleep, pain, appetite, and immune system response. The body produces endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system.
CBD oil can be taken by itself by mouth, or by one use of one of the products that has it as an ingredient such as:
- Chewable gels
- Tinctures you drop under your tongue
- Vape cartridges you breathe in
- Creams on your skin
- Food, like chocolate bars
Positive Effects of CBD
There is criticism for the lack of study done on CBD and its effectiveness. This has not stopped many in the medical community from finding promising results, however. For example, recent studies have shown that CBD can have many positive effects on people with chronic painful conditions. CBD may reduce pain and inflammation be impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity.
The list of benefits of CBD in lengthy depending on the source, but the highlights of conditions treated include:
Sativex, an oral spray containing CBD and THC was found to reduce 75% of muscle spasms in the case of 276 multiple sclerosis patients tested. Other studies have shown that CBD oil has helped the quality of life and sleep quality for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Treatment for Anxiety and Depression
An alternative to benzodiazepines and SSRI pharmaceutical drugs, CBD has shown promise in reducing anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies.
Research has linked CBD with the ability to lower blood pressure, which could prevent heart damage.
Studies have shown the CBD might help those diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Substance Abuse Treatment
CBD can modify circuits in the brain related to drug addiction. A study done on rats shows its ability to reduce heroin-seeking behavior and morphine dependence. New research is being done to find if CBD can help treat Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
Is CBD Oil regulated?
The problem with CBD oil is its lack of regulations. The areas of legal medical marijuana are kind of murky and the FDA has not stepped in yet to regulate products that contain CBD. Many doctors warn that there is very little oversight for what’s actually in the CBD products you buy. It’s the “Wild West” out there, warns Marcel Bonn-Miller, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Joe-Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on a label and sell it to people.”
Bonn-Miller and his team have conducted several studies of CBD oils on the market and found several problems:
- Nearly 43% of products contained too little CBD, while about 26% contained too much.
- Less than 20% of the drug is absorbed orally and if it isn’t made right, not much is entering you circulation.
- Approximately 1 in 5 CBD products contain THC, which might actually increase anxiety in those taking CBD to reduce it.
- About 10% of CBD users had increased liver enzymes, which could indicate possible liver damage. (Approximately 2 to 3 percent had to discontinue the study because their liver enzymes rose to dangerous levels)
- Many studies cited by CBD product producers about its effects have only been conducted on animals to date
Much research is still needed on CBD before all of its benefits and side-effects can be fully understood. There is also a need for more regulations to assure that the CBD being used is most beneficial. While results look promising, it is a relatively new form of treatment that will be better understood in the future.
If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, these new alternative treatments show promise. If you need advice on next steps, Rock Recovery Center in West Palm Beach, Florida can help. Call our 24-hour helpline or chat live with us now.
Time Magazine: Is CBD Oil Legal or Healthy?