Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is one of the hot new product in states which have legalized medical marijuana. The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a host of medical problems — from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness. But experts say the evidence is scant for the majority of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD has been produced without the regulation, causing items that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry on the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It is actually the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on the label and then sell it to folks.”
Cannabidiol is obtained from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It will not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is brought on by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and recreational marijuana is legal, according to Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, according to Prevention magazine. Those are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Strong Evidence for Treating Epilepsy – Just one purported use for cannabidiol, to deal with epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it. Recently, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of the CBD medication Epidiolex to deal with two rare kinds of childhood epilepsy. “That’s really the only area where evidence has risen to the level where FDA has said this really is acceptable to approve a brand new drug,” said Timothy Welty, chair from the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Throughout CBD’s potential uses, there exists simply inadequate evidence to create a firm conclusion. For example, some human clinical trials advise that CBD may be good at treating signs of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. This is the potential use for CBD with all the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a good gap between those two,” he said. “There were clinical studies in adults, but a lot smaller than the epilepsy studies that were done in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness being an anti-inflammatory medication is the next most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
Many Other Uses Largely Unproven – The rest of the potential uses — as being an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have been studied in animals, with only a couple of types of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies that have featured humans for such other CBD uses have either been case reports or studies that failed to compare results against a control group that failed to use the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how can you determine if we’re coping with the true effect from the drug or simply simply a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that might be beneficial?” Welty said. There are also concerns about both the caliber of CBD oil being produced as well as its potential negative effects, the experts added.
Insufficient Regulation Also Concerning – As a result of legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate goods like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to set regulations in position, but they don’t possess the deep pockets of the government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller learned that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent from the products contained too little CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is kind of a difficult drug because it’s not too well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Less than twenty percent in the drug is absorbed orally. If it isn’t made correctly, you may not be getting much drug in your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in five CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller along with his colleagues found.
“That’s a problem because THC can increase anxiety. It can can make seizures worse. These are the sorts of things you need to be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “Basically If I were a consumer, purchasing it personally or my kid, I may wish to test it to ensure that I knew exactly what it actually had inside it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions With Some Other Meds – Studies on CBD likewise have raised concerns about possible interactions along with other drugs. As an example, epilepsy studies learned that “there have been very clearly increases inside the blood amounts of a few other anti-epileptic drugs whenever people were on CBD,” Welty said.