Let me make one thing perfectly clear up front: Although they are derived from the same hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L), CBD oil and medical marijuana are two completely different things. However, the difference in medical marijuana and the weed sold by the friendly neighborhood dealer is – nothing. Medical marijuana is just regular ol’ weed, but in the states where it is legal, you need a valid medical reason to buy and/or smoke it.
The most common reasons for medical marijuana use are pain and nausea. There have also been claims made that it is also effective in treating anxiety disorders, Chron’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Glaucoma. We can explore the validity of these claims at a later date, but for now we will concentrate on CBD oil.
The property in medical and recreational marijuana that gives you the buzz is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Both THC and cannabidiol, or CBD, are among a host of compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. The CBD compound, usually mixed with Sunflower oil or Olive oil, is commonly referred to as CBD oil. THC is psychoactive. CBD oil is not. Simply put, THC will get you high. CBD oil will not.
How It Works
Just as your brain produces natural pain and stress-fighting chemicals called endorphins, it also produces natural cannabinoids. Researchers believe that CBD facilitates the use of more of these natural cannabinoids, which produces the benefits of medical marijuana without the buzz-producing effects of the THC. Although there is still much research to be done, CBD oil appears to have a lot of medical potential. In addition to the above-mentioned uses for medical marijuana, CBD oil also shows potential for treatment of:
- psychiatric diseases
- cancer – researchers note that CBD oil tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction
This is pretty impressive, but it gets even better. Researchers noted that CBD oil reduced physical and psychological symptoms of substance abuse such as anxiety, mood-related symptoms, and insomnia. It also eliminates the craving for nicotine, and people who used an inhaler with CBD oil in it smoked fewer cigarettes.
What’s Not To Like?
At this point, there’s not a lot known about the long-term effects of CBD oil. Although it is all over the news these days, it is still just a few years on the market. A World Health Organization (WHO) review came to the conclusion that there is no evidence of any public health-related problems associated with the use of CBD oil. Presently, much of the concern centers around the quality of the products offered.
Having said that, there are a couple of things to be concerned about. First off, CBD oil has been approved by the FDA to treat only one of the conditions that I have listed above: epilepsy. There is a mountain of credible evidence that documents its effectiveness in all the other situations, but no FDA approval. Due to the lack of oversight and regulation by the FDA, the quality of CBD oils can vary widely.
In fact, according to adjunct assistant professor of psychology Marcel Bonn-Miller, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 43% of CBD oil products contain too little CBD, and about 26% contain too much. Bonn-Miller and his colleagues also found that approximately one in five CBD oil products contained enough THC to get you high and cause you to flunk a drug test. However, when properly produced, CBD oil contains no THC, that is why it is important to get it from a reputable source.
Consult Your Physician
Since the study of CBD oil is still in its infancy stage, there is always the possibility of a negative reaction with other drugs that you are taking. For example, if you are taking drugs for epilepsy, there could be increases in the blood levels of those drugs if you are also taking CBD oil. Your doctor might have to decrease the dosage of those drugs to prevent any side effects.
CBD oil could also be bad on your liver. About 10% of people in CBD oil studies had increases in liver enzymes, which could indicate possible liver damage. If you are considering using CBD oil, talk to your primary care physician. If he or she is not thoroughly familiar with the pros and cons of CBD oil, find someone who is. “My bottom line advice is people really need to be under the care of a health care provider who understands CBD,” says Timothy Welty, chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “They need to be monitored and managed by that individual, and not just go out and buy CBD thinking it’s going to be the answer,” he added.
Although CBD oil is the most popular vehicle to administer CBD, there are other methods of delivery:
Since CBD is not listed in the Controlled Substance Act, There are no federal laws prohibiting its use. So, that makes it legal, right? Well, yes and no. It depends on where you live and who you ask. It’s actually the reverse of the medical marijuana legal situation. Since marijuana is listed in the Controlled Substance Act, it is against federal law to smoke, sell or possess it even in the states where it is legal. By contrast, even though it is legal from a federal standpoint, CBD is not legal in all 50 states.
If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Even in the states where it is legal, laws governing the use and sale of it differ. The best way to CYA is to check out the rules in your state. Some companies that sell CBD products assume that since it is legal by federal law, it is legal everywhere. Again, it is not. Do your homework.
Investigation Is Worth The Effort
By all accounts, CBD is the way of the future. It is only a matter of time before it gets FDA approval. Once only available in head shops, you can now find it in natural food stores, beauty aisles, cafes and even doctors’ offices. This past December, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing the production of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp contains less than .3 percent of THC, which makes for pretty lousy weed, but a great source for CBD products. This paves the way for more comprehensive research and production of CBD-related products.
According to the Brightfield Group, cannabis industry analysts, the CBD market will hit $22 billion by 2022. Now that the waters are clearing somewhat, major pharmaceutical companies are looking to get a piece of the action. However, as it stands now, most CBD products will be available as over-the-counter medications. Although many of its uses are not yet approved by the FDA, credible medical professionals attest to its potential. If you have symptoms or conditions that fall within the purview of CBD products, it will certainly be worth your while to consult your physician to determine whether it will be beneficial for you to add any of them to your medical regimen.
P.S. Thank you, Baby Sis.