An explosion of cannabidiol (CBD) brands has hit the marketplace thanks to anxious millennials who increasing use the substance to keep calm. Faithful To Nature sells anything from hemp kombucha and CBD-Infused Espresso Coffee to its customers, with strong infusions of cannabidiol oil.
There’s a lot of talk about CBD, but do the substance’s substances benefits live up to the hype? Dr Peter Grinspoon, a contributing editor at Harvard Medical School’s Health Publishing argues that cannabidiol’s scientifically-proven benefit is with treating epilepsy. “CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether,” he writes in an article headlined Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don't."
“CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep,” Dr Grinspoon writes, adding that CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain.
“A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat.” The good doctor advises, though, that more study in humans is needed to substantiate claims of CBD’s usefulness with pain control.
Is CBD safe? On this score, Dr Grinspoon counsels that the side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. “CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner Coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication.”
Because legislation and regulation is nascent, governmental bodies currently don’t regulate the safety and purity of CBD dietary supplements, the doctor warns. “You cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other (unknown) elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.”
The problem with the marketplace is that there’s a lot of misinformation and rumour about CBD. That’s not useful. What’s useful is hard, cold, scientific advice. Dr Grinspoon writes in his piece that more research needs to be done to prove that CBD is a validated option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
“Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.”