But again, the flimsy regulations and conflicting laws around CBD can make it hard to ensure that your CBD product is high quality. “It’s hard, because on the Internet, it’s difficult to try to get all this information and figure out all of these things. And the FDA and others can’t close these false claims down fast enough,” Mauck says.
It’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting. A 2017 review of 84 CBD products published in JAMA found that only a third of the products accurately labeled CBD and THC levels: most over-labeled CBD and under-labeled THC.
“Oftentimes, the reflex is to say, ‘Well, I don’t know about that, but I’ve heard it isn’t safe.’ or say, ‘Oh, I’ll wait until I hear it’s safe,’” Mauck says.
“A lot of times patients won’t even bring this up because they think, ‘Oh, my doctor will just blow it off and they won’t take it seriously,” Mauck explains. The Mayo Clinic review is intended to provide health professionals with working knowledge to better advise their patients.
Snake Oil or Miracle Cure?
Despite these challenges, Mauck stresses that it’s important for health professionals to be as current on the research and developments as possible. She and her co-authors designed the review to be a clinical tool to help physicians more effectively advise patients on CBD use.
The review also looked at potential negative effects. The review found potential risks of CBD — liver damage, mislabeling, and drug interaction. Anecdotally, patients also report side effects of weight loss, diarrhea, and dizziness from CBD use, Mauck says. But potential side effects depend on how and how much you take in. Inhale CBD, eat it, or spread CBD lotion on your body, and the effects can vary.
But for conditions like depression, anxiety, migraines, and insomnia, only preclinical and pilot studies have been conducted, the Mayo Clinic review found. Most studies have been done on rodents, not humans, so there is not enough evidence to make concrete medical recommendations.
“I think it’s really too early to just try anything that you get at the gas station,” Karen Mauck, M.D., co-author on the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal and internist at the Mayo Clinic, tells Inverse. “Unless you’re a much more educated consumer getting it from these medical dispensaries, I think it’s too early to really take them for any sort of therapeutic effect right now.”
The big takeaway from the review is that no one knows exactly how effective or safe CBD really is. The researchers argue that more research on humans is needed to confirm many of the health claims made on the packaging of products containing CBD, short for the Cannabis-derived compound cannabidiol.
As consumer interest in CBD grows ahead of the Oct. 17 legalization of cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals, here's a primer to answer common questions about its health claims for seizures, pain and other conditions.
Doctors weigh the science behind cannabidiol claims
"The evidence has not caught up to the story that's in the public," Clarke said. "It's tricky. It's one of the first times in Canadian history where a medication has made it to the population without the science actually leading us there."
What is CBD commonly used for?
As of October 2018, the sale of dried cannabis, fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, cannabis plants and cannabis seeds are permitted under the the Cannabis Act.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oils are low tetrahydrocannabinol products derived from Cannabis sativa that have become very popular over the past few years. Patients report relief for a variety of conditions, particularly pain, without the intoxicating adverse effects of medical marijuana. In June 2018, the first CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of rare, severe epilepsy, further putting the spotlight on CBD and hemp oils. There is a growing body of preclinical and clinical evidence to support use of CBD oils for many conditions, suggesting its potential role as another option for treating challenging chronic pain or opioid addiction. Care must be taken when directing patients toward CBD products because there is little regulation, and studies have found inaccurate labeling of CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol quantities. This article provides an overview of the scientific work on cannabinoids, CBD, and hemp oil and the distinction between marijuana, hemp, and the different components of CBD and hemp oil products. We summarize the current legal status of CBD and hemp oils in the United States and provide a guide to identifying higher-quality products so that clinicians can advise their patients on the safest and most evidence-based formulations. This review is based on a PubMed search using the terms CBD, cannabidiol, hemp oil, and medical marijuana. Articles were screened for relevance, and those with the most up-to-date information were selected for inclusion.
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