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Is CBD Safe and Effective?

The number of people who have tried cannabidiol (CBD) products is growing, and many are finding CBD to be both safe and effective for addressing a number of different health and wellness challenges they face. Many more people would probably give CBD products a try if they knew there was more regulation in terms of quality control or had more evidence of CBD effectiveness. The two-fold question the industry as a whole needs to take seriously and address with evidence-based information is this: Is CBD Safe and Effective? You’ll find our answer to this question below. 

What Exactly is CBD?

The terminology you see in the media and on the internet can be confusing. There’s cannabis, hemp, medical marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD), and other related terms that are enough to make your head spin. The important thing to know is that CBD is an extract from cannabis plants, and the amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the cannabinoid in the plant resulting in a “high”) can be controlled in various cultivars so there’s no danger of getting “high.” Products containing CBD are available in a wide range, including CBD oil and all kinds of food and beverage products as well as dietary supplements.

Why People Are Using CBD Products

The reason people are consuming CBD oil and other products is that they find them helpful in the treatment and management of a variety of health and wellness challenges, including pain, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, nausea control, stress, and appetite stimulation. There is also one brand-name drug, Epidiolex, that has been approved at the federal level for the treatment of epilepsy-type seizures caused by certain medical conditions. This is important because some of the worst seizure conditions in children such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) often don’t respond to other anti-seizure medications. 

There are, of course, some companies out there making outlandish claims about what their CBD products can do, such as claiming effectiveness in the treatment of medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. Until the federal government steps in to more adequately address the marketing and sale of CBD products, consumers have to use their own best judgment about such claims.

Is CBD Even Legal?

Hemp was made legal at the federal level in the Farm Bill of 2018, and Indiana followed suit that same year. THC and Marijuana, on the other hand, are still considered Schedule I controlled substances by the federal government. But the federal government has been dragging its feet on coming up with a regulatory framework specific to CBD products.

Because of the lack of coherent federal guidance, it’s up to each state to determine the legality of CBD products. In the state of Indiana, CBD oil was made legal in 2018 as long as its THC levels are 0.3 percent or less. Retailers selling CBD oil must have a certificate showing their products meet the legal threshold for THC. What’s most needed now in the industry is for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to step up with a reasonable regulatory framework that will help ensure consumer safety is being protected from poor-quality products being marketed with outlandish claims for the treatment of serious medical conditions. For more information on the legal and regulatory issues around CBD, see our recent blog article, National CBD Rules from the Federal Government.

An Overview of the Scientific Evidence About CBD

There need to be many more studies for CBD to gain more traction among consumers in order for them to be able to answer the question of whether or not CBD is safe and effective, but here are some of what we think are important items to highlight:

Pain and Anti-Inflammatory. A 2018 Harvard Health Blog article noted the following: “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. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.”

Side Effects. As important as evidence around treating various medical conditions is understanding any potential side effects. That same Harvard Health Blog article mentioned above had this to say about side effects: “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.” Clearly, more studies are needed to clarify possible side effects and especially how CBD interacts with other medications. If you’re considering using CBD products and you do take other medications, we strongly recommend checking first with your doctor.

Drug Addiction. According to an article on the Northwestern Medicine website, there are some early promising possibilities for helping those trying to recover from drug addiction: “Due to its inhibitory effect, CBD oil may help manage triggers for cravings and anxiety in people who use heroin…Some research has found that men and women using CBD oil experienced reduced cravings in drug-abstinent individuals. In a short-term study, 42 patients taking CBD oil reported reduced cravings for up to one week after their dose of CBD…suggesting that CBD oil could be a powerful tool in helping individuals seeking help for addiction.”

Chronic Pain. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence about people finding pain relief with CBD products, but scientific studies have yet to catch up to confirm CBD’s efficacy for treating pain. As one recent overview in Current Pain and Headache Reports puts it: “Since there are currently no approved pharmaceutical products that contain CBD alone for the management of pain, this review focused on nabiximols (which is a combined product of THC/CBD in a 1:1 ratio) as the only pharmaceutical product available that contains CBD and is being used for the management of pain. It is difficult to definitely attribute the therapeutic properties to CBD alone since it is always administered with THC. Based on the available literature, it is difficult to make a recommendation for the use of CBD in chronic pain management. It is also important to note that there are many CBD products currently available as supplements, but these products are non-pharmaceuticals and lack the appropriate clinical studies to support their efficacy claims.”

Is CBD Safe and Effective? The Bottom Line

As of right now, in terms of the scientific evidence, the jury is still out. We can only hope more studies will occur that prove with science the benefits millions of people have already discovered using CBD products: Less stress, anxiety, depression, pain from arthritis and other conditions, insomnia, and drug cravings, and better relaxation and sleep.

The scientific community has its work cut out for itself, especially given the wide range of products used to deliver CBD to a consumer, including oil, capsule, gummy bears, vaping and vaporized, lotion, food, and beverage forms. We also think it’s important to point out that a lack of scientific studies that correlate with anecdotal evidence does not mean CBD is ineffective. It just means more well-designed studies are needed to begin amassing proof of CBD’s effectiveness, along with FDA regulation to ensure retail products are safe in terms of quality and purity. 

Indy CBD Plus: Your Locally Owned and Operated Trusted Source for CBD 

Our mission at Indy CBD Plus is to ensure Hoosiers in and around Indianapolis have a trusted source to explore the many benefits of CBD products. As a locally owned and operated CBD retail outlet, we depend on repeat business from loyal customers. This is why we ensure every product we carry is of the highest quality, offers excellent customer service, and caters to individual needs. 

We’d love to see you at our store! Stop in at 5144 Madison Avenue, Suite 5 from 10 am – 6 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am- 5 pm on Saturdays, and 12 pm – 5 pm on Sundays. And if you can’t make it to the store, don’t worry, we even deliver! Need more information? Got questions? Always feel free to call us at (317) 961-0191 or email us at info@indycbdplus.com.

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