Wading through the clutter of advertisements, government rules, and medical claims on cannabidiol (CBD) based products and medical marijuana can be downright befuddling. Everywhere you look today, somebody is selling CBD or talking about CBD. Is it really a miracle product? Or is it another supplement with unproven claims? Inflammatory bodies want to know.
Inflammation is one of the biggest issues we face, as our bodies age. Conditions like arthritis, chronic pain, even mental fog, can be traced to inflammation in the body. Some claim that CBD, hemp, or medical marijuana have been used by societies as long as people have existed, to treat inflammation and chronic conditions. If that is true, then why are we just now hearing so much about it?
Regulation. This is where science and government collide. Cannabis, the plant where CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are derived, has been classified as a controlled substance since the passing of The Marijuana Tax Act 1937. There are two main types of cannabis – Hemp and Marijuana- which were both classified as controlled substances in the U.S. So the scientific community could study CBD – and there is definitely some good research, on a global level, indicating CBD can have healing properties – but the federal government, which funds so much of the medical research in this country through universities and non-profits, could not fund it. And any research was likely illegal. But that has now changed.
Enter the 2018 Farm Bill. The new farm bill defines Hemp – having less than 0.03% THC – as legal to grow. Marijuana, the other type of Cannabis, typically has more THC and remains a controlled substance. This paved the way for the legalization of hemp, which means it can be grown here and used in the production of related products such as oils, creams, and salves ( CNN article). The CBD industry in the U.S. is now pushing $22 billion.
The question still remains, will CBD help me feel better? Many doctors and health practitioners think – Yes. According to an AARP article:
Mikhail Kogan, M.D., medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine, has prescribed CBD for his patients since the compound was legalized for medical use in the District of Columbia in 2011. Kogan says cannabinoids are “safer than Tylenol or caffeine by tenfold. If you compare them to opiates, they’re about 10,000 times safer.” He recommends placing a few drops of the oil under the tongue.
I would really like CBD to work. Not only does the appeal of a botanical treatment sound holistic to me, but there is the other issue. In my home state, people – especially young people – are overdosing on opioids. Prescription pill addictions are destroying families in our own communities. But we need to be realistic too. Is CBD going to solve your problems? Will it move people away from narcotics? Will it truly help patients with chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, inflammation, arthritis, and crippling mood disorders? Is it even worth all the attention it has been getting?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not sure. They are scurrying to find answers. This New York Times article has an excellent report on the most recent CBD forum. What is the FDA concerned about?
- Quality control and consistency
- Contamination of infused products (i.e. pesticides, heavy metals)
- Dosage and concentration concerns
CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications. Several countries have modified their national controls to accommodate CBD as a medicinal product. To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
Admittedly, I didn’t do all this research before trying CBD for my own inflammatory problems. I am only now reading though the sources and opinions on CBD. But I did buy my supply from a well-known local medical supply company. They have always provided good quality medical supplies and equipment. They have sourced from reputable suppliers with experience and knowledge. So I purchased a bottle of CBD oil from Charron Medical, who is sourcing from CBD MD. The supplier has a great buyer’s guide to help you make your decision about CBD. Because in the end, it is going to be up to you and your doctor. Will you try it? How will you know if it is making a difference? What does your doctor or pharmacist say about potential drug interactions?
If CBD is proven to provide relief to those suffering with chronic pain and inflammation, as well as anxiety and sleep disorders, then we will all be hearing more about it from our doctors and caregivers.