Currently the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one CBD product, a prescription drug called Epidiolex to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. In July, the FDA expanded what the drug is approved to treat, saying it can also be used for seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.
Advocates believe there are many potential health benefits, but clinicians say more research needs to be done.
FDA to hold its 1st public hearing on CBD
The FDA has tested various products and found that many didn’t have the amount of CBD they had advertised, and has often sent warning letters to companies that make unfounded health claims.
Most of the products claim to ease pain and anxiety. But whether or not these products actually contain the amount of CBD they advertise is up for debate, since they’re not approved by the FDA.
Celebrities are also getting in on the craze. Martha Stewart recently released a line of CBD wellness products. Rob Gronkowski has one, too.
Every variety of the cannabis family produces cannabinoids, including hemp. While CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many different types, and only recently have significant resources been poured into their study. Our brains have specific receptors designed to accept cannabinoids, known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are responsible for the assimilation of cannabinoid molecules into your system, resulting in the psychoactive and immune responses correlated with cannabis consumption.
A 2017 clinical trial published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that CBD was highly effective in reducing seizures in people with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. The FDA subsequently approved an oral CBD solution, called Epidiolex, for treating the rare disease.
Research on CBD
Scientific observation takes time, and the research community has only just begun to pursue scientific inquiry into the discrete effects of various cannabinoids. That said, many researchers believe the potential carried by CBD is promising.
Atkinson emphasized that “CBD, like many other substances, probably should be avoided in pregnancy.” Additionally, since the commercial cannabis market is mostly unregulated, there is no good way to know that what you buy is actually what you get in terms of dosage or content of product. “In studies done by the state of California it appears that a good deal of product labeling is incorrect — the dose or percentage of CBD or THC is usually overstated,” he said.
In the last few years, there have been many advances in cannabis processing and consumption methods. Concentrated products such as oil and rosin (a sap-like product extracted via heat and pressure) have allowed for cleaner ingestion methods, such as vaporization, to become more widespread. These new technologies have brought more consistent, identifiable dosages to patients and enthusiasts alike, while potentially enabling safer methods of consumption. Finally, more accurate and detailed studies of cannabis effects and usage are underway, as prohibition continues to be challenged.
Tempted to give your pup one of those CBD dog biscuits? "Generally we expect CBD products to be safe, and they could show some benefit for anxiety in pets," says John Faught, DVM, a veterinarian based in Austin, Texas.
There's no question that CBD is the buzzy wellness product of the moment. If you live in a state where it's currently legal, you might feel like CBD has gone from being sort of around to absolutely everywhere all at once. Coffee shops sell CBD lattes, spas offer CBD facials, beauty companies are rushing to release lotions with CBD or hemp oils in their formulas. And everyone from your anxious coworker to your arthritis-suffering dad wants to get their hands on some CBD gummies.
Figuring out how much you should take is challenging as well; the dosage that alleviates one patient's pain might do very little for someone else. "And until we can study it, it's the wild west," Dr. Danesh says.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
Nope. The cannabis plant is made up of two main players: CBD and THC. "CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so what that means is you won't have any effects like euphoria," says Junella Chin, DO, an osteopathic physician and a medical cannabis expert for cannabisMD. "You won't feel sedated or altered in any way."
But the challenge when considering CBD products for pets is the same as with people: lack of research. "I believe there are good products out there today, but I also don't know how to distinguish them at this time," Faught says.
You can find CBD products in shopping malls, convenience stores, even coffee shops in many states right now. But when in doubt, natural grocers are a safe brick-and-mortar place to buy CBD, Beatty says. "Typically they have a vetting process that does some of the legwork for you."
This means that "consumers everywhere, if they're compliant with their state, can grow hemp and use hemp products," Parrish explains, "and among those will be CBD."