CBD is derived from hemp, which is almost devoid of THC. THC is the chemical in marijuana that gives you a high. By law, hemp must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be considered hemp, otherwise, growers are at risk of prosecution under federal law.
Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 20, 2020.
Be aware that CBD is quite a bitter substance, and a lot of gummies contain large amounts of added sugar to disguise this taste.
Are CBD products legal?
Cannabis is a plant, and there are two main types; Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. While marijuana can be derived from both types, hemp is only derived from the Cannabis Sativa family.
There is still a lot of confusion over what exactly is CBD, with many people thinking cannabis, hemp, marijuana, CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the same thing. They are not.
Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level; however, may be legal in some states. Check your state laws on CBD products.
The main active ingredient in hemp is CBD, and CBD does not have any psychoactive properties. Instead, CBD has been credited with relieving anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and pain, although “credited” does not mean proven.
However, the effect of CBD on each addiction type was often very different. With opioid addiction, for example, CBD showed little effect in minimizing withdrawal symptoms in the absence of THC. By contrast, CBD on its own appeared effective in minimizing drug-seeking behaviors in users of cocaine, methamphetamine, and other psychostimulant drugs.
Human studies evaluating the use of CBD in treating chronic pain are lacking. Those that do exist almost invariably include THC, making it difficult to isolate CBD’s distinct effects.
Many of these interactions are mild and require no adjustment to treatment. Others may require a drug substitution or the separation of doses by several hours.
Common symptoms include:
Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In low doses, CBD may act as an agonist to several receptor sites, meaning it acts similarly to surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor, enhancing the signalling of those receptor sites. At higher doses, however, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to an opposite effect, negating the beneficial effects of CBD.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
Is cannabidiol legal?
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. 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.
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."