Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the hot new product in states which have legalized medical marijuana. The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a host of medical conditions — anything from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness. But experts say the evidence is scant for many of these touted benefits.

Worse, CBD will be produced with no regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “It truly is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the hell he wants on a label and sell it to folks.”

Cannabidiol is obtained from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It will not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, in accordance with Governing magazine.

Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books, according to Prevention magazine. Those are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, N . C ., Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Strong Evidence for Treating Epilepsy – Just one purported use for cannabidiol, to take care of epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it. Recently, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval in the CBD medication Epidiolex to deal with two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. “That’s actually the only area where the evidence has risen to the point in which the FDA has said this is acceptable to approve a whole new drug,” said Timothy Welty, chair in the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.

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For the rest of CBD’s potential uses, there is simply too little evidence to make a firm conclusion. For instance, some human clinical studies claim that CBD may be great at treating symptoms of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said. This is the potential use for CBD with the most evidence after usefulness in epilepsy, but “there’s a decent gap between those two,” he stated. “There has been numerous studies in adults, but a lot smaller than the epilepsy studies that were carried out in kids,” Bonn-Miller said. CBD’s usefulness as being an anti-inflammatory medication is another most promising, but those results come mostly from animal studies, experts said.

Many Other Uses Largely Unproven – The rest of the potential uses — as an antipsychotic, antidepressant or sleep aid “have been studied in animals, with only one or two samples of studies in humans,” Bonn-Miller said. And Welty said the studies which have featured humans for these other CBD uses have either been case reports or studies that did not compare results against a control group that failed to make use of the oil. “There’s no control, so it’s basically how can you tell if we’re dealing with the actual effect of the drug or perhaps merely a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” Welty said. There are concerns about both the quality of CBD oil being produced and its potential unwanted effects, the specialists added.

Lack of Regulation Also Concerning – Because of the legally murky nature of marijuana, the FDA has not yet stepped directly into regulate goods like CBD oil, Bonn-Miller said. States are struggling to set regulations set up, nevertheless they don’t possess the deep pockets of the federal government. Meanwhile, a 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn’t contain the volume of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent from the products contained not enough CBD, while about 26 percent contained excessive, Bonn-Miller said.

“CBD is sort of a difficult drug because it’s not too well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Less than 20 % in the drug is absorbed orally. If this isn’t made correctly, you possibly will not receive much drug to your rheudv circulation.” Worse, about 1 in five CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller and his colleagues found.

“That’s a problem because THC can increase anxiety. It may can make seizures worse. Those are the types of things you should be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said. “If I were a consumer, purchasing it personally or my kid, I would like to test it so that I knew what it really actually had in it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.

Potential Interactions Along With Other Meds – Studies on CBD also have raised concerns about possible interactions with some other drugs. For instance, epilepsy studies discovered that “there have been very clearly increases in the blood levels of various other anti-epileptic drugs whenever people were on CBD,” Welty said.

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