By now, you’ve probably seen or heard those three letters on advertisements for a wide variety of products, including pills, oils, balms, vaping devices (like e-cigarettes), edibles, honey, coffees, and alcoholic beverages, face creams and even pet food supplements. Or maybe you’ve walked into a convenience store and been confronted with packages of bright green “hemp bomb” drops or CBD gummies. Some specialty stores and online retailers even sell the hemp flower to smoke.
In whatever form, these products claim to promote a variety of health benefits, including pain, stress and anxiety and depression relief. Some studies suggest CBC may be beneficial in treating acne, reducing blood pressure, and preventing diabetes, as well as helping with some neurological disorders,
CBD is a cannabis-based derivative which contains a family of chemicals known as cannibinoids.
How is CBD different from marijuana?
“There are two families of cannabinoids,” said Dr. Andrew Dunn, a family medicine specialist with Blessing Health Services in Quincy, Ill. “They are CBD and THC.”
“THC is the substance responsible for the ‘high’ feeling from marijuana,” Dr. Dunn said, adding that marijuana has a much higher THC level than CBD.
CBD products cannot legally exceed 0.3 percent THC.
“Even though both are derived from the same plant family, they don’t have the same effects,” Dr. Dunn said. “CBD works on the peripheral nervous system, while THC affects the central nervous system.”
“I tell my patients that cannabinoids do have a role in medicine,” Dr. Dunn said, noting some CBD products are prescribed to stimulate hunger in cancer patients, or treat seizure disorders in pediatric patients.”
Why is the market suddenly flooded with CBD products now?
In December of 2018, a provision of the Farm Bill removed hemp (defined as cannabis with less than .03 percent THC) from the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp production became legal again in the United States, and that change opened the CBD floodgates, bringing all sorts of new products to market.
So, does CBD work?
“For the right person, yes, cannabinoids have their place,” said Dr. Dunn. “It’s not well understood how or why it works, just like many other health supplements. It’s not super well-regulated, but it’s not going to hurt anything to try it.”
Dr. Dunn noted the most common methods he has seen are liquid drops delivered under the tongue, edibles, and mixing a few drops into a lotion for topical relief.
What are the side effects?
According to a Mayo Clinic report published online in December 2018, some risks that are involved with the use of CBD includes having the certain side effects: dry mouth, diarrhea, not wanting to eat, making one tired and making one feel wore out.
“We don’t really know,” said Dr. Dunn. “It has not been studied well. I haven’t seen any in my practice.”
However, according the same Mayo Clinic report previously referenced, CBD can interact with other medications that people are taking daily, one known medication that has been discovered to have this effect is with blood thinners.
Can it really treat your pets?
Another use of CBD is used with pets according an article published on petmd.com by A. Semigran. Dogs can be given CBD by mouth to help treat them with issues such as treating seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, symptoms of cancer, as well as issues with the stomach. As long as the dosage is followed with its use, there is said to be no life-threatening side effects with the CBD for pets unless there is an overdose given to the pet.
How much should I take?
“Dosing instructions really have yet to be determined,” said Dr. Dunn. “It’s anybody’s guess how much and when you should take them.”
Like other dietary supplements, CBD is not well-regulated by the government, so people should discuss its use with their physicians.