Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is one of the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana. The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a host of medical conditions — anything from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness. But experts say the evidence is scant for most of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD is being produced without any regulation, leading to products that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It really is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say no matter what the hell he wants over a label then sell it to people.”
Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It will not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is due to the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal or recreational marijuana is legal, based on Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, in accordance with 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 the treatment of Epilepsy – Just one single purported use for cannabidiol, to take care of epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it. Recently, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval from the CBD medication Epidiolex to take care of two rare kinds of childhood epilepsy. “That’s really the only area where evidence has risen to the stage where the FDA has said this can be acceptable to approve a 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.
For the rest of CBD’s potential uses, there exists simply too little evidence to make a firm conclusion. For example, some human clinical trials suggest that CBD could be effective in treating signs and symptoms 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 decent gap between the two,” he said. “There have been numerous studies in adults, but a lot smaller compared to the epilepsy studies that were completed in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness being an anti-inflammatory medication is the following most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.
The Majority Of Uses Largely Unproven – The remainder of the potential uses — as an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have got all been studied in animals, with only one or two examples of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies which 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 make use of the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how can you determine if we’re coping with the actual effect in the drug or just simply a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” Welty said. There are concerns about both the caliber of CBD oil being produced as well as its potential unwanted effects, professionals added.
Insufficient Regulation Also Concerning – Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not stepped in to regulate items like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to put regulations set up, but they don’t hold the deep pockets of the federal government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the quantity of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent from the products contained inadequate CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said.
“CBD is sort of a tricky drug because it’s not too well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Under 20 % from the drug is absorbed orally. When it isn’t made in the right way, you possibly will 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 an issue because THC can increase anxiety. It may can even make seizures worse. Those are the kinds of things you should be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “Should I were a consumer, purchasing it for myself or my kid, I may wish to test it so that I knew what it actually had inside it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
Potential Interactions Along With Other Meds – Studies on CBD also have raised concerns about possible interactions with some other drugs. As an example, epilepsy studies found that “there was very clearly increases in the blood amounts of various other anti-epileptic drugs when individuals were on CBD,” Welty said.