CBD (cannabidiol) is becoming extremely popular as a health and wellness product. Found naturally in Cannabis sativa — hemp and marijuana — the compound is showing up as an additive in foods and beverages and is sold as pills, creams, tinctures, sprays and in other forms.
Does CBD work? The jury is still out on CBD, but there is growing evidence that CBD can be used to effectively treat the symptoms of epilepsy and related neurological disorders — even in cases where traditional medical treatments have been unsuccessful. For other conditions, anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies indicate CBD may be a highly effective and possibly safer method of treatment. One important thing anyone contemplating using CBD should know: CBD does not have psychotropic effects — in other words, it will not make you “high.”
The drug’s fuzzy legal status in the U.S. makes it hard to pin down the efficacy of CBD. As of now, CBD extracted from marijuana is a controlled substance. This means it is not approved by the FDA as a prescription drug or dietary supplement. CBD extracted from hemp is approved as a cosmetic ingredient, but for now, that’s it. The FDA has, however, approved a drug called Epidiolex, which contains CBD, for the treatment of childhood epilepsy.
Will all this in mind, the legal status of CBD is in flux because U.S. states are rapidly changing the legal status of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, and in some cases have their own laws with regard to CBD specifically. Despite the gray areas and ever-changing legal status, some states allow the unrestricted sale of CBD, and it is being sold openly online and in many brick-and-mortar health food stores around the country.
If you are considering using CBD for a medical condition, the infographic below, A Beginner’s Guide to CBD Products, provides an excellent, high-level overview of what types of conditions CBD may be helpful for, and the various ways the product can be used. You’ll want to check with your doctor or healthcare professional as well, since, as with any drug, dosage, drug interaction and best delivery system vary depending on an individual’s specific health profile.
Two attractive features of CBD is that it is a natural product, and does not appear to have the extremely adverse side effects of various prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, inflammation and other conditions. Nevertheless, adverse side effects are possible with CBD, depending on your underlying health, the dosage, and the delivery system. In particular, we echo the infographic in being extremely careful about vaping, as this form of CBD delivery is being carefully studied for safety or lack thereof. For more information, please continue reading below.