Is CBD Oil Safe And Effective?
An increasing number of people are using CBD oil to treat various ailments. Is it effective? More importantly, is it safe to use?
News media coverage on CBD oil has undoubtedly increased, and this is especially true in the states that have authorized the use of medical marijuana. More and more online articles have appeared, all claiming that CBD oil may be able to treat an increasingly longer list of medical ailments. Some of these articles may even claim that CBD oil may be taken as a supplement for improved general health.
Some of the supporters of CBD oil treatment claim that this compound can help patients who suffer from ailments such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and epileptic seizures. It can help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, and it may even help in treating cancer itself. Some studies have even indicated that it can help treat acne.
Some experts, on the other hand, are not yet convinced. They believe that the studies on CBD oil are inly in the initial stages and that so far not enough definitive evidence to warrant such claims.
These skeptical experts are also concerned about the comparative lack of regulation regarding CBD oil products. This has resulted in CBD oil products that can range rather widely in terms of quality.
According to leading experts in the subject such as Marcel Bonn-Miller (adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine), the CBD oil market is basically “like the Wild West”. Anyone—with or without proper oversight—is basically able to set up their CBD oil company, print whatever they want on their product labels, and sell their wares to consumers.
What is CBD?
CBD refers to cannabidiol, which is one of the chemical compounds called cannabinoids that can be found in marijuana and hemp. This is a different cannabinoid from THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the cannabinoid that acts as a psychoactive agent and it is this compound that recreational users seek. THC is also the primary reason why marijuana is illegal according to federal law.
CBD oil is legal in at least 30 states in which it is legal to sell medical or recreational marijuana. Another 17 additional states have laws authorizing the legal sales and use of CBD oil. However, a more recent law allowed for CBD oil extracted from hemp to be legal in all 50 states. That’s because hemp contains very little THC, and therefore it is not a mind-altering drug.
Can CBD Oil Treat Epilepsy?
According to some expert scientists, only one claimed benefit of CBD oil is actually supported by significant scientific evidence. This is the claim that CBD oil can help treat epilepsy.
Timothy Welty, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa, contends that this is the only claim about the medical benefits of CBD oil that has enough supporting evidence that the FDA has been convinced to find it acceptable to approve a new drug.
Welty and other experts say that for the other supposed benefits of CBD oil, there is simply not enough evidence that has been collected and discovered to justify the claims.
Another of these supposed CBD oil benefits is that it can help with the symptoms of anxiety (and of social anxiety in particular). After epilepsy, anxiety is considered to be the next ailment for which CBD oil promises to be an effective treatment. There have been some human clinical trials involving adult patients.
However, the number and scope of these trials is far below that when compared to the clinical trials conducted in support of CBD oil treatments for epilepsy. The evidence for CBD use for epilepsy is sufficient to convince many experts. But the level of scientific evidence for the use of CBD oil to treat anxiety is still deemed inadequate.
CBD Oil Benefits & Evidence through Animal Studies
The next most promising potential use for CBD oil is for inflammation. Again, it is true that some studies do suggest this use. But according to the expert scientists, the bulk of the studies that support this contention have come from animal studies and not studies involving human subjects.
In fact, the vast majority of studies trying to discover medical benefits of CBD have involved laboratory animals. Only a handful of studies have involved human test subjects.
In addition, many scientists such as Bonn-Miller and Welty contend that these human studies were not conducted with the proper amount of proper scientific control. Either the human studies were simply case anecdotal reports about particular medical cases or the human studies were not properly conducted with a control group.
In more proper studies, test subjects are divided into 2 groups. One group may receive the CBD oil, while the other receives group of test subjects gets the placebo. None of them are aware if they’re getting the CBD oil or the placebo.
Concerned scientists say that in many CBD studies involving human subjects, there is no control group given placebos. Because of the lack of a control placebo group, reported improvements in human patients who receive CBD oil may not actually have improved because of the therapeutic quality of the CBD. Instead, the patients may have improved simply because they thought they were receiving an effective medicine. This is the well-known placebo effect.
Because of the low number of human studies, experts are also concerned about the possible side effects. Some studies have shown that a few people who take CBD oil had increases in liver enzymes. This is a sign of possible liver damage.
No one really knows about the side effects that can come up after long term use of CBD oil. The use of CBD oil is simply too new. Possible interactions with other drugs must also be considered.
The Truth About Low Quality CBD Oil Products
Another fact that must be considered is that watchdog groups such as the FDA have not been overly thorough about regulating the CBD oil market. Some states are trying to set up their own regulatory departments, but they do not have the budget to match the federal government.
Independent studies regarding the quality of CBD oil have found that about 70% of the CBD oil products did not contain the amount of CBD as printed on the label. Some have not enough CBD, while others contain more CBD than stated on the label.
Up to 20% of CBD oil products also contain THC, which is the psychoactive compound that causes people to feel high.
The bottom line is that people who take CBD oil should be very careful. It’s best if consumers take the CBD oil under the watchful eyes of a doctor or healthcare provider who is familiar with CBD.
The real truth about CBD oil is this: It shows promise in treating many medical ailments. But there is still not enough evidence to make too many definitive claims about the therapeutic qualities of CBD oil.