A chemical found in the marijuana plant, CBD (sometimes referred to as cannabidiol) has been on the rise as a popular way to treat a range of ailments. Currently, research is being done to assess if CBD can help with a variety of illnesses, including general pain, diabetes, mental disorders (anxiety and depression), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s. CBD has been established and approved to treat seizures, but there is not enough research to determine the benefits and safety for other ailments.
While derived from marijuana, CBD does not contain THC, so it is not a psychoactive and will not get consumers high. CBD has risen in popularity as a sort of “wonder drug” used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia, inflammation, and acne, among other things. CBD can be ingested in foods or applied topically. It is frequently found in edible oils, honey, and baked goods, as well as topical creams and lotions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one form of CBD oil called Epidiolex, and this specific product is only approved to treat epilepsy. Since the FDA controls food and drugs on a national level, most CBD is handled by state laws, which vary greatly. New York City has banned foods containing CBD from being sold in restaurants, but it falls under a grey zone of state-wide legislature.
While many people report positive results from using CBD for pain and anxiety, there are some risks to keep in mind. CBD may appear as seemingly harmless, as it’s simply a bi-product of a plant, but it’s not monitored by the FDA, so it’s nearly impossible to know what you are actually getting. Studies have shown that many products include more or less CBD than stated on the label, making it hard to check the purity or dosage at the consumer level. Side effects can also include dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite.
With the current lack of research and regulations, using CBD remains somewhat of a risk. Talking to your primary care provider is a good way to assess if CBD could help your specific issues. Your doctor may also be able to able to recommend a particular CBD producer that has a better reputation or is known to be of good quality.