CBD is Everywhere, But Does It Really Work?

CBD frenzy is taking over the US. New products are popping up everywhere: from oils and gummies to vapes and creams, everything can be found on supermarket shelves or specialty chains. There are even cosmetic treatments and massages with CBD. 

The CBD market is rapidly growing proportionally with the number of people believing that this is the miraculous cure-all we’ve been waiting for. But is it really so? 

What’s the Deal with CBD? 

All these products contain Cannabidiol (CBD) but not Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana that makes users ‘high’. 

Most of them are made from industrial hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family with THC concentration less than 0.3%, which makes them completely safe to use without any mind-altering effects. 

The frenzy started after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which lifted the prohibition on cultivating hemp. Now, the plant can be legally grown throughout the USA by licensed farmers. 

What Does Research Say?

The human body contains a system of endocannabinoid receptors that respond to the compounds found in the cannabis plant (cannabinoids), including CBD and THC. Emerging evidence shows that the body’s endocannabinoid system may play a significant role in the regulation of various functions like mood, sleep, memory, energy levels, and metabolic processes. This fact sparked interest in researchers to study the potential health benefits of CBD. 

Even though more extensive research on the effects CBD has on the human body has just begun, initial results are quite promising. The studies conducted so far have shown that CBD can help with various ailments ranging from anxiety to cancer. 

So far, only one use of CBD has been backed by substantial scientific evidence — mitigating the symptoms of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved Epidiolex, the first cannabis-derived drug that treats the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and the Dravet syndrome. Medical evidence has confirmed that Epidiolex can help ease seizures.

CBD can also help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Acne
  • Chronic pain 
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Glaucoma
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Substance withdrawal
  • Parkinson’s disease

Here are the findings from recent studies on the possible health benefits of CBD:

Cardiovascular Health

A study published in the journal JCI Insight shows that CBD could help prevent harmful blood pressure changes resulting from stress. The study included 9 healthy volunteers (all male) who took a dose of CBD or placebo. The subjects who took CBD had lower blood pressure even after stressful events compared to those who took a placebo. 

Substance withdrawal

A review published in the journal Substance Abuse suggests that CBD can help people with psychostimulant, cocaine, opioid, and tobacco addiction. There is also evidence that CBD could help treat marijuana addiction by blocking the mind-altering effects of THC.

Anxiety

A report published in the journal Neurotherapeutics shows that CBD could be an effective treatment for anxiety. Relying on a number of clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and experimental research, the report confirms that CBD can treat anxiety disorders including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

Possible Side Effects

Even though adverse side effects are rare, some research indicates that CBD may trigger the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Mood swings
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea

For these reasons, experts recommend that people who plan to use CBD should consult a healthcare professional first. 

Are CBD Products Safe to Use?

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that seven out of ten CBD products did not contain the amount of CBD shown on the product’s label. Almost 45% of the products had too little CBD, whereas about 25% had too much. Furthermore, one in five products contained more than 0.3% THC. 

Not all products available on the market are safe to use. That’s why you need to conduct thorough research before buying any CBD product and check whether they have certificates of lab tests that confirm content and purity. 

In addition, consumers should consider using CBD products from state-run programs. Certain states like Iowa and Georgia have established such programs in order to make CBD available for medicinal purposes. Products from state-run programs have a system to control the purity and origin of CBD. 

Is CBD Legal?

CBD products can be easily obtained throughout the US, even though CBD’s legal status is still confusing. Different states have different laws concerning CBD with varying degrees of restriction. 

Back in 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. At the moment, many people can purchase CBD online even without a medical license. 

The government’s position is perplexing and depends on the CBD source, i.e. whether CBD comes from marijuana or industrial hemp. 

Final Thoughts

A number of manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for making bombastic claims such that CBD can cure cancer, which is not the case. However, medical trials have confirmed that CBD can help ease the side effects caused by chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, such as nausea and vomiting. More research is needed in order to confirm that CBD is effective in easing pain, insomnia, and anxiety as well.

If you decide to try CBD oil or any other CBD product, make sure to talk to your doctor first, especially if you’re already taking other medications. 



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