Is CBD the New Snake Oil?? Everybody’s smoking it. They’re also rubbing it on their skin, putting it in their food and dropping it under their tongues. We’re not talking about marijuana; we’re referring to CBD oil.
It seems like everyone is talking about CBD oil these days. Some tout it as a miracle cure. Others say that it’s just a lot of hype. Is CBD snake oil? The product, which is infused with a component of the marijuana plant that does not have psychoactive properties, is largely unregulated. Many consumers say that CBD oil has cured their ailments or wiped out symptoms of disease. But does science back up those claims?
CBD and the FDA
Is CBD legit? CBD oil is made from cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating compound that’s abundant in cannabis plants. The substance seems to be everywhere. It’s sold in foods, supplements, lotions and pet products. Changes in state law are making cannabis products more acceptable. In 2018, the Farm Bill differentiated hemp from marijuana, saying that hemp was not a controlled substance as long as it contained less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive component of the plant. Any product that claims to have specific health benefits needs to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA.
The FDA has approved Epidiolex, a medication that contains CBD, for the treatment of specific types of seizure disorders. However, CBD has not been approved for the treatment of other ailments even though some research has found that it has a wide range of healing properties. Some studies have found that CBD can improve symptoms of the following conditions:
• Neuropathic pain
• Skin conditions
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Sleep disorders
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Parkinson’s disease
• Traumatic brain injury
The list goes on and on. Plus, many people say that CBD is therapeutic for maintaining general wellness. If this is true, you might wonder why you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. If you have, you may or may not have noticed that CBD makes you feel better. People who have experienced benefits from taking CBD often rave about the product to their friends and loved ones.
If you haven’t observed any changes in your health after taking CBD, though, you might warn people that it’s a waste of money. There are so many different CBD products out there. Different products have distinct effects and absorption rates. Eating a gummy may not work as quickly as dropping CBD oil under your tongue. However, the effects may last much longer when you take the product orally. You may need to experiment before you find the product and dosage that works for you.
7 Ways That Science Says CBD Oil Can Improve Your HealthWe have compiled a list of some of the conditions that CBD oil has been found to help with. These may help you answer the question, “Is CBD legit?” There are several studies and peer-reviewed articles that support the use of CBD oil for these issues. However, not all of the research has been conducted on humans. Many of the studies involve petri dishes, test tubes and animals. Some people feel that more clinical studies using humans need to be conducted before they’ll be sold on the fact that CBD is a wonder remedy.
CBD and Pain
One of the common uses for CBD oil is treating pain. Approximately 20 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain. This type of discomfort has been linked to several factors, including dependence on opioid medication. Narcotics are often prescribed for chronic pain, but they’re highly addictive. They change the way that your brain responds to pleasure. Ultimately, people who depend on prescription painkillers may end up worse off than they were before they took the medication.
CBD oil has been found to alleviate certain types of pain. However, studies are limited. Many of them have to do with neuropathic pain and multiple sclerosis. CBD efficacy for other types of pain hasn’t been well studied. But CBD does relieve inflammation, which is often a trigger for physical discomfort. Therefore, the product seems promising for relieving pain that stems from inflammatory conditions. What researchers do know is that the body’s endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in pain management. CBD works on cannabinoid receptor in the body to provide analgesic effects.
You may hear that CBD oil can help reduce cancer pain. The product has been approved in Canada for managing this type of pain. However, the U.S. FDA hasn’t approved CBD for treating cancer, its side effect or its symptoms. Still, the fact that other countries are adopting the substance for this type of use is assuring.
CBD and Mental Health
CBD isn’t just used for physical health issues. It may also help regulate mood and reduce symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, PTSD and bipolar disorder. When CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it mediates the release of certain chemicals. These neurotransmitters are responsible for many psychological symptoms that are associated with mood disorders.
CBD has therapeutic potential for reducing compulsive thoughts and behaviors and reconsolidating traumatic memories. It may even encourage the body to produce new brain cells in the hippocampus region. The implications of these positive effects are significant. The potential that CBD has for improving psychological symptoms is enormous. However, more clinical research needs to be done to come to a concrete conclusion. Still, some people use CBD for mood disorders. Many admit that CBD helps them relieve stress and think more positively.
Self-treatment may be problematic, especially if individuals aren’t working with a professional mental health counselor. However, CBD could be useful in managing psychological conditions when it’s part of a comprehensive treatment plan. CBD certainly has fewer side effects than many pharmaceuticals that are used to treat anxiety and depression. That’s one of the reasons that some patients prefer CBD oil to prescription medications. However, you should never stop taking a drug without consulting with your doctor first.
Many people have heard that CBD is effective for treating mental health issues and choose to use it to maintain their general psychological well-being. If it puts you in a better mood and doesn’t have side effects, trying it might seem like a no-brainer. But everyone’s endocannabinoid system works differently. So many different factors go into the way that CBD may interact with your body. That’s one reason that scientists have found it challenging to show that CBD has a direct effect on mental health condition. The dynamic interplay between CBD and your psychology may have beneficial effects for some people but not for others.
CBD and AddictionAlthough you might be hesitant to trade one substance for another, CBD has been shown to help people conquer addictions. In one study, researchers found that participants who used a CBD inhaler every time they felt the urge to smoke reduced their cigarette use by about 40 percent. Another review discussed several studies that found CBD to be effective for reducing cravings and reducing the risk of relapse in heroin abusers. CBD may modulate the way that certain receptors in your brain and central nervous system interact with substances like heroin and nicotine. It may even reduce the toxic effects of certain drugs, such as alcohol and cocaine.
CBD and EpilepsyOne area that has been well studied when it comes to CBD oil is its ability to treat epilepsy. The only FDA-approved form of CBD is available in a medication called Epidiolex. This pharmaceutical has been approved for treating Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome, which are severe and rare types of seizure disorders. These kinds of epilepsy are difficult to treat with other pharmaceuticals. CBD may prevent seizures in people who don’t respond to other medications.
CBD and Gastrointestinal Problems
Many gut issues are caused by inflammation. Irritable bowel disease, colitis and Crohn’s disease can damage the lining of the intestines, causing further damage and chronic symptoms. Many people with these conditions suffer without getting relief. They may experience frequent nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, abdominal pain and fatigue.
There is evidence that CBD is a promising treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases. The cannabinoid mediates immune responses that exacerbate gut inflammation. It also reduces the intestinal damage that is caused by the inflammation. CBD also reduces gastrointestinal motility. It may subdue the muscle spasms that cause abdominal cramping and help with symptoms of other gastrointestinal motility disorders, such as reflux disease, fecal incontinence and irritable bowel syndrome.
CBD and Skin Conditions
Not all CBD products are intended to be inhaled or taken orally. Many topical products are available. Some of these are helpful for managing muscle or joint pain. CBD can also be used to help with skin problems. The endocannabinoid system extends to the skin. It plays a role in many biological processes that have to do with your oil glands, hair follicles and skin cells.
When your endocannabinoid system is out of balance, you could experience issues such as acne, dermatitis, psoriasis and hair growth problems. It makes sense that applying CBD externally could modulate some of the receptors that lie toward the outside of your body. Research shows that CBD can inhibit oil production and reduce inflammation in oil glands. Because of this, CBD may be an effective treatment for acne. It might also reduce the redness, swelling and pain that are associated with severe acne problems and other skin conditions.
CBD and Sleep Disorders
Do you have trouble sleeping? The endocannabinoid system may be partly to blame. Signaling among the endocannabinoid receptors helps to modulate your sleep cycles and circadian rhythm. CBD efficacy in treating sleep disorders isn’t cut and dry, though.
One study showed that low levels of CBD can actually keep you awake. If that’s the case, it might help people who get sleepy during the day. If you can remain alert long enough to avoid your afternoon nap, you might be able to sleep better at night. Many sleep disorders are caused by other health issues and behaviors, such as pain, anxiety and nicotine use. If CBD can improve the symptoms of those problems, it could help you get some more shuteye at night.
Is CBD Safe?
The FDA hasn’t concluded that CBD is safe in every instance and for every individual. However, there are hundreds of supplements that aren’t regulated by the FDA. Most experts say that CBD is generally well-tolerated. But the product can cause some mild side effects, including:
• Reduced appetite
• Dry mouth
CBD may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners. Your body uses liver enzymes to break down many medications. Those enzymes are also necessary for metabolizing CBD. If you take CBD along with another medication, the enzymes might not be able to do their work on the prescription medication. Your body might not be able to process the other drugs.
Some doctors believe that CBD could interfere with benzodiazepines and over-the-counter NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen. Low levels of CBD shouldn’t impair your body’s ability to metabolize medications. However, not enough studies have been done to show how to safely use CBD along with other drugs.
One of the main concerns when it comes to CBD products is their lack of regulation. If all CBD products were forced to go through FDA regulation processes, they would be more difficult to access. The fact that just about anyone in most states can sell CBD products as long as they don’t contain THC makes CBD easy to get a hold of.
But all CBD manufacturers don’t create their products based on the same standards. Unless you purchase the CBD from a reputable company, you may not know exactly what it contains. Sometimes, the claims on the labels differ from the actual ingredients. How do you know if you’re buying high-quality CBD oil and not CBD snake oil?
Look for third-party lab tests. If a company conducts this kind of testing, it should make the reports available. A certificate of analysis confirms that the product has been examined for THC and CBD content levels. It also verifies that the oil doesn’t contain contaminants. If a company doesn’t display a certificate of analysis on the website, you could try calling them to determine whether it can be produced. Lab testing should be compliant with the International Organization for Standardization.
You should also find out where the cannabis is sourced from. Products that are made from internationally grown hemp may not be safe because their farming practices may not be regulated. Find out whether a company uses pesticides or other synthetic chemicals to grow its cannabis.
Another concern when it comes to CBD safety is the concentration. Without knowing how much CBD is in the bottle and each dose, you may not know how much to take at once. Many experts say that the inconsistencies in dosing recommendations are problematic too. A good rule of thumb is to choose a product with a low concentration if you’re just beginning to use it. You can always increase the dosage as you learn how it works for you.
The Bottom Line
CBD efficacy for treating different ailments has been researched since 1978. Many studies support the therapeutic benefits of CBD oil for a wide range of symptoms and conditions. Therefore, why would anyone try to denounce its effectiveness?
Many of the studies are too small to apply to the entire population. Furthermore, the risk and safety profile has not been extensively investigated. CBD oil is a relatively new product on the market. Experts aren’t sure whether it has long-term side effects. Even though the FDA approved Epidiolex in 2018, the administration recognized that CBD can increase the risk of liver damage. Although these dangers can be mitigated when a patient uses the product under medical supervision, questions remain as to whether these hazards can be managed when CBD is used by the general public.
Dosing recommendations vary widely. Different studies have demonstrated therapeutic effects from varying amounts of CBD oil. In some cases, the amount that the participants used was far greater than what the general public would take. More research needs to be done to conclude whether CBD is safe in a variety of situations.
Some questions that are being researched include:
• Does CBD interact with other foods, supplements or drugs?
• Is CBD safe for animals?
• What are the cumulative effects of CBD?
• What are the long-term effects of CBD?
Most of the CBD products that are available to consumers are not approved by the FDA. In fact, they’re not regulated at all. FDA tests have shown that the labels don’t always match what’s inside the product. Some CBD oils contain unwanted contaminants, such as pesticides. If you want to use CBD oil or product containing CBD, you must make sure that you’re getting a high-quality product that’s made by a reputable manufacturer.
A trustworthy supplier should be able to provide you with reports that show the makeup and safety of the product. Also, remember that the FDA doesn’t regulate any nutritional supplements. If you choose to take them and find that they improve your health and well-being, that’s great. But you shouldn’t self-diagnose a disease or avoid seeking professional medical advice just because CBD makes you feel wonderful.
Finally, be careful when you’re interacting with the marketing ploys that many manufacturers use to convince you that CBD will fix all of your ailments. Some brands do make it sound like CBD oil is a wonder cure. Nobody should be making promises that aren’t substantiated by science. Reputable manufacturers may suggest that CBD could help with certain health problems. However, a guarantee that CBD will alleviate all of your conditions is often a red flag that the company is just trying to sell you CBD snake oil.
If you believe you suffer from any of the purported symptoms or ailments that CBD has been shown to be effective, then CBD can and should be taken into consideration, but solely on the conditions we've discussed above.