The buzz around cannabidiol (CBD) has been growing lately, with more media coverage and interest than ever. Some talk about using it for pain relief, while others see it as a performance enhancer. CBD is turning up in all sorts of places and all kinds of products. What is driving CBD’s popularity?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, usually abbreviated to CBD, is one of the hundreds of compounds found in the cannabis plant. It’s the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis, after the more famous THC. Unlike THC, CBD does not have a psychoactive effect (it does not cause users to experience a ‘high’). The World Health Organization has studied CBD extensively and reports that it is unlikely to produce any dependency or show any potential for abuse.
The legal status of CBD
The precise legal status of CBD is questionable and subject to rapid change. Currently, it’s very easy to obtain in every US state, as well as in many other countries. With that said, the federal government classes CBD in the same category as cannabis; it’s simply that they don’t routinely enforce prohibition regarding CBD. The position is rendered even murkier because CBD derived from hemp is regarded differently under the law than CBD derived from cannabis. There are no moves to enforce a prohibition against CBD, particularly as the laws on hemp itself are being lifted.
Does CBD have health benefits?
CBD is promoted as offering relief for a range of conditions. In studies, it has shown significant promise as a pain-relieving agent, especially in cases of chronic pain. Most of the available studies rely on animal models, with more research being required. With that said, the evidence so far is promising. CBD oil was demonstrated to be useful for arthritic pain and inflammation when applied topically to the skin of animal test subjects. It also shows promise as a remedy for neuropathic pain.
Sufferers of anxiety and insomnia widely use CBD. Some studies indicate that it may help reduce stress and anxiety. There is also good evidence to show that CBD can help insomniacs in both falling asleep and remaining asleep.
One of the most important applications for CBD may be for seizure disorders. There is a solid body of evidence to support its use in people with epilepsy, particularly in certain very severe forms of childhood epilepsy. Conditions such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which are notoriously treatment-resistant and which pose a grave risk to patients’ survival, have been shown to respond well to CBD.
CBD and safety
Although it does seem to be a promising treatment for a variety of conditions, CBD is not without some unwanted effects. In some individuals, it can cause issues like nausea, fatigue, and mood disturbances. Some users report irritability when taking CBD.
If you’re taking other medications, you should be very cautious when using CBD. It can affect the way your body processes some drugs, such as blood thinners, increasing levels in your blood to a dangerous level.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that CBD is not regulated as a medication. The FDA regards it as a food supplement; these are very lightly regulated, and their safety and purity are not guaranteed. This means you cannot be sure that any CBD product contains the concentration of CBD advertised. You will also have to take on trust that the product doesn’t contain any toxic substances.
If you’re suffering from chronic pain or other health issues, you should talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies such as CBD. Your doctor will be able to suggest approaches to your condition, prescribe medication, or refer you to a specialist. Your doctor will also be able to warn you about any drug interactions that might occur if you begin taking CBD. If you do decide to start taking CBD, choose a reputable brand with plenty of good reviews from confirmed buyers. You should also buy a small sample initially rather than a significant amount.
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