In addition to safety risks and unproven claims, the quality of many CBD products may also be in question. The FDA is also concerned that a lack of appropriate processing controls and practices can put consumers at additional risks. For example, the agency has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed. We are also investigating reports of CBD potentially containing unsafe levels of contaminants (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals, THC).
Misleading, unproven, or false claims associated with CBD products may lead consumers to put off getting important medical care, such as proper diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. For that reason, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best way to treat diseases or conditions with available FDA-approved treatment options.
Unproven medical claims, unsafe manufacturing practices
The FDA is committed to setting sound, science-based policy. The FDA is raising these safety, marketing, and labeling concerns because we want you to know what we know. We encourage consumers to think carefully before exposing themselves, their family, or their pets, to any product, especially products like CBD, which may have potential risks, be of unknown quality, and have unproven benefits.
Despite the 2018 Farm Bill removing hemp — defined as cannabis and cannabis derivatives with very low concentrations (no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis) of THC — from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, CBD products are still subject to the same laws and requirements as FDA-regulated products that contain any other substance.
You may have noticed that cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be available almost everywhere, and marketed as a variety of products including drugs, food, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and animal health products. Other than one prescription drug product to treat seizures associated with Lennox Gastaut syndrome (LGS), Dravet syndrome (DS), or tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) in people one year of age and older, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any other CBD products, and there is very limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.
If you’re considering using CBD oil, you should speak to your GP or other healthcare professional to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you to do so.
For all the above uses of CBD, more human studies are needed to draw conclusive results.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
What is CBD oil used for?
A small number of patients in the UK may be prescribed a cannabis-based medicine to treat epilepsy or nausea during chemotherapy. Visit the NHS website for more information on medical cannabis.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid – a chemical compound that acts throughout the body, including on certain parts of the brain, and is becoming increasingly popular in the health world. It comes from the cannabis plant; however, unlike its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the ‘high’ from marijuana, CBD, derived from the hemp plant, is non-intoxicating and some believe it may have potential health and wellness benefits. Once extracted from the cannabis plant, it is diluted with a carrier such as olive or coconut oil – this improves its bio-availability.
Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a Registered Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Contrary to popular belief, CBD oil is legal in the UK as it is not a controlled substance. There are, however, strict restrictions over its THC content. CBD oil that isn’t medically prescribed can only have a maximum THC content of 0.2%. CBD oil products that have a higher THC content may be available to buy online, but not legally.
All that being said, if you’re taking CBD for a condition like anxiety or epilepsy, the potential drawbacks are generally milder or less of a nuisance than the side effects you might expect from traditional medical treatments.
To make sure you’re getting a legit product, research the brand before purchasing from it and find out where it sources its CBD. If you can find a company that’s vertically integrated—meaning they have control over the growth of their plants—that’s ideal, notes Capano. (It’s not essential, though, and might be difficult to find a vertically integrated brand, as only a handful of companies in the U.S. are.)
What are the side effects of CBD?
Unlike smoking a joint, using CBD won’t leave you with a giggling fit or the munchies. It can, however, make you sleepy. “The most common side effect is drowsiness, so don’t take it for the first time and get behind the wheel or head into a big presentation,” advises Capano. Wait to see how your body responds, just in case. In some cases, CBD can exacerbate heartburn or lead to mild allergic reactions, such as hives (though this is likely a reaction to the carrier oil added to the CBD, says Capano). Using CBD can also cause diarrhea or change in appetite or weight, according to a recent German study.
The real concern when it comes to side effects, says Capano, is whether or not the CBD in your medicine cabinet is legitimate. You first need to find out if it’s even real CBD, as synthetic can be dangerous. Then look into how the plants are grown, how the product is manufactured, and what quality-assurance tests the brand conducts to ensure safety and the elimination of pesticides, chemicals, microbes, and molds. “It’s an unregulated industry, and there’s a lot of great branding and marketing out there, but unfortunately transparency is rare and not knowing what you’re getting is common,” warns Capano. “Usually that risk just means wasting your money, but it could be harmful, if there are dangerous chemicals in there, for example.” Contact the company with these questions; any reputable brand will be willing to provide customers with all these details.
Get ready to kiss that nagging knee or back pain goodbye. Along with improvements in sleep and mood, chronic aches are the main reason people are turning to CBD. That’s because cannabidiol is an anti-inflammatory agent. In other words, it helps reduce the inflammation causing the pain, rather than reducing your perception of pain. “Percocet will just make you feel like you don’t have pain while CBD will get at the root cause,” explains Capano. CBD also helps nix pain because it’s an antioxidant itself, increases our own natural antioxidants, and works on serotonin receptors.