Labeling of Cannabidiol Products: A Public Health Perspective 1 The Center for Medical Cannabis Education, Del Mar, California, USA. 2 Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Most common benefits of CBD oil are its relaxing effect and pain relief. Read on to know about the lesser known but highly beneficial uses of CBD oil. CBD oil is a new option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or prescription drugs.
Labeling of Cannabidiol Products: A Public Health Perspective
1 The Center for Medical Cannabis Education, Del Mar, California, USA.
2 Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), Portland, Oregon, USA.
3 Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, CV Sciences, Inc., San Diego, California, USA.
4 Communications Department, Americans for Safe Access, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.
5 Graduate School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences, University of Redlands, Redlands, California, USA.
2 Helfgott Research Institute, National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM), Portland, Oregon, USA.
5 Graduate School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences, University of Redlands, Redlands, California, USA.
* Address correspondence to: Jamie Corroon, ND, MPH, The Center for Medical Cannabis Education, 428 8th Street, Del Mar, CA 92014, USA [email protected]
Introduction: Interest in the therapeutic use of cannabidiol (CBD) has reached a fever-pitch in recent months, as CBD-containing products appear everywhere from online retailers to grocery stores and gas stations. The widespread availability of hemp-derived CBD products is confounding given that CBD is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug, and thus precluded from being added to food and beverages, or included in dietary supplements. The use by manufacturers of disease-related claims on marketing materials and product labels, along with the federal legalization of hemp in December 2018, has created political pressure on FDA to promulgate regulations.
Conclusions: Accurate and informative labeling of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products is an important public health issue. FDA-regulated product labels are considered an essential tool for protecting consumers and enabling informed decision-making. Untruthful or unsubstantiated health-related claims, and unallowed Drug Claims, in marketing materials and on labels of CBD products may create harm by enticing consumers to forgo more evidence-based medical interventions. Furthermore, missing or inaccurate labeling of the amount of CBD, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and potentially harmful contaminants such as pesticides, naturally-occurring yeast and mold or heavy metals may result in harm and/or lack of efficacy. Manufacturers of these products may reasonably be expected to understand and adhere to FDA regulations for labeling and marketing of food, dietary supplements and drugs, both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription, even though FDA has interpreted federal law as excluding them from these categories. As manufacturers prepare for forthcoming regulations, a better understanding of the basic framework for FDA labeling and marketing regulations for food, dietary supplements and drugs is warranted.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa L., a plant more well-known colloquially as marijuana or hemp. 1 CBD was first isolated in 1940 and characterized structurally in 1963. 2,3 Interest in the therapeutic use of CBD has reached a fever-pitch in recent months, as CBD-containing products appear everywhere, from online retailers to grocery stores and gas stations.
Widespread availability of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products is confounding, given the position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which maintains that CBD is an approved drug, 4 and thus precluded from being added to food and beverages, or included in dietary supplements. 5 To date, FDA enforcement has been limited to sending warning letters to manufacturers, largely for mislabeling or misbranding their products as unapproved new drugs, or for making claims that a product is indented to treat a disease condition on labels and marketing materials (FDA considers all sales materials, including consumer testimonials used in marketing, to be extensions of the label). 6–8 Political pressure on FDA is mounting. The agency had initially indicated it would expedite its deliberations regarding regulation of hemp-derived CBD products, 9 however, a late 2019 update promised only to inform stakeholders “as quickly as possible.” 10
The public health imperative
Accurate and informative labeling of CBD products is an important public health issue. Product labels, and associated marketing materials, provide vital information about that product’s composition and ingredients, as well as the potential risks and benefits of use. Unsubstantiated health-related claims, and unallowed drug claims, on labels of CBD products may create harm by enticing consumers to forgo more evidence-based medical interventions. In addition, absence of disclosure of major food allergens or solvents or excipients, if present, would constitute misbranding; and inaccurate labeling of the amount of CBD, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or potentially harmful contaminants such as pesticides, naturally occurring yeast and mold, or heavy metals may result in harm and/or lack of efficacy.
Manufacturers of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products intended to be sold and marketed as food or dietary supplements may reasonably be expected to understand and adhere to FDA regulations for labeling and marketing of such products, even though FDA has interpreted federal law as excluding them from these categories. Similarly, manufacturers of products intended to be sold and marketed as drugs must comply with a different, more rigorous, set of FDA regulations that are specific to that category.
What’s in a Label?
In the United States, the label of FDA-regulated products, which include food, beverages, dietary supplements, drugs, and more, represents the product’s identity card. Product labels provide important information about that product’s composition and ingredients, as well as the potential risks and benefits of use. FDA-regulated product labels are considered an important tool for protecting consumers and enabling informed decision-making. 11
Widespread mislabeling of hemp and Cannabis products has been documented by both independent researchers and the FDA and other organizations. 12,13 Underlabeling and overlabeling of both CBD and THC content have been reported. The actual contents of available products can vary considerably from what are disclosed on the label; sometimes no CBD is present at all. Inadequate label information also poses risks of unintended, unwitting, or overconsumption of THC, the primary intoxicating compound in Cannabis, as well as potentially harmful contaminants.
Identity and Composition
FDA regulations mandate that food, dietary supplements, and drugs prominently display a “statement of identity” as one of the dominant features of the principal display panel of the label. This descriptive statement is used to identify the product (e.g., “Crackers,” “Cereal,” “Herbal Supplement”) and allow consumers to easily interpret its intended use (e.g., food for nourishment, a dietary supplement to supplement the diet, or a drug for therapeutic purposes). A “statement of identity” is also important for hemp-derived CBD products. While the statement “Dietary Supplement” is required for products intended to supplement the diet, statements that identify other forms of CBD products, such as “Vape cartridge,” or “Ointment,” may help consumers more easily identify products that are not intended to supplement the diet.
Declarations related to the principal constituents of a food, dietary supplement, or drug are made within FDA-regulated Fact Panels. Most FDA product category requires a Fact Panel (i.e., Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts, and Drug Facts) on the label to convey the information required for the safe, informed use of the product. For food and dietary supplements, the “Serving Size” and the “Servings Per Container” must also be stated within the Fact Panel. For prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, the active ingredients per dosing unit (e.g., tablet, capsule, and packet) and adequate directions for use are stated in the Drug Fact panel. The presence of Fact Panels on labels implies the product is in compliance with all FDA requirements for the corresponding category (i.e., food, dietary supplement, or drug).
CBD and THC content per serving is often intentionally absent from the label of hemp-derived CBD products marketed as dietary supplements. In the case of CBD, this omission is often intended to reduce the risk of enforcement actions by FDA or other federal agencies. In the case of THC, it may be due to the presumption that levels are low enough to be nonpsychoactive.
The presence of trace amounts of THC in hemp-derived CBD products is not unlike the presence of trace amounts of alcohol in certain beverages. For example, Kombucha products (i.e., fermented tea beverages) containing 0.5% or less alcohol by volume are not deemed alcohol beverages and not subject to Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau regulations ( Table 1 ). 14
Allowable Amounts of Selected Ingredients
|Labeling claim||Legal threshold|
|Hemp||0.3% dry weight THC|
|Kombucha and N/A beer||0.5% ABV|
|No calorie||5 calories per serving|
|Fat free||0.5 g per serving|
|Sodium free, salt free||5 mg per serving|
|Sugar free||1.0 g per serving|
The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as the plant Cannabis with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3% by dry weight. The Farm Bill does not define a level that applies to finished consumer products. However, the Farm Bill explicitly maintains FDA’s authority to determine a safe level for consumer products that it regulates such as foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and drugs.
ABV, alcohol by volume; THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; FDA, Food and Drug Administration.
FDA allows “free from” claims for food products that contain trace amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar. However, hemp-derived CBD products should not carry a “THC-free” or similar claim until a specific legal threshold has been established. At least one consumer lawsuit has been filed based on a presumably faulty “THC-free” claim. 15 Similarly, if manufacturers use the term “Broad Spectrum” to suggest that a product is free of THC, then that needs to be defined in terms of an exact quantity and a specific analytical method.
Health-Related Claims on the Label
Health-related label claims are important because they communicate to consumers a given product’s intended use, potential benefits and harms, and anticipated effects. FDA guidelines describe four categories of allowable health-related claims on labels of food, dietary supplements, and drugs. These include the following: (1) Nutrient Content claims; (2) Structure/Function claims; (3) Health claims; and (4) Disease claims. Each category of claims requires a certain level of evidence for substantiation of the claim that is in accordance with FDA regulations.
FDA Nutrient Content Claims
Nutrient Content claims simply characterize the level of a nutrient in a food, food component, or dietary ingredient, using terms such as free, high, and low (e.g., “low-calorie,” “high-fiber,” “fat-free”). Claims that use these terms are only allowed for nutrients with established Daily Values (i.e., Reference Daily Intakes or Dietary Reference Value). Nutrient Content claims can also compare the level of a nutrient in a food to that of another food, using terms such as more, reduced, and light (e.g., “reduced-sodium,” “more fiber,” “light” [referring to reduced fat]). 16 The use of Nutrient Content claims is grounded in nutrition science to avoid arbitrary use of these terms and to help consumers accurately identify and compare the nutritional value of foods.
The use of terms such as free, high, and low, while currently prohibited, may be helpful for hemp-derived CBD products when referring to biologically active compounds such as phytocannabinoids (e.g., “high in CBD,” “THC free”). Standardized label terminology will reduce misuse of descriptive terms on labels and facilitate consistent communication to consumers. Industry stakeholders would benefit from engaging in an open process to reach consensus on harmonized constituent thresholds, as well as terminology for characterizing the composition of these products. Ultimately, appropriate terminology and thresholds should be negotiated with FDA and adopted by industry before being used in marketing.
FDA Structure/Function Claims
Structure/Function claims describe the role of a food or dietary ingredient in terms of its effect on the normal structure or function of the human body (e.g., “calcium builds strong bones,” “fiber maintains bowel regularity”). Labels of foods and dietary supplements, as well as drugs, can display Structure/Function claims. Structure/Function claims for conventional foods are limited to physical attributes such as taste, aroma, or nutritive value (e.g., beef provides iron to support hemoglobin levels). For dietary supplements, Structure/Function claims may include non-nutritive support (e.g., supports memory and focus), general well-being, and claims related to nutrient deficiencies (e.g., vitamin C prevents scurvy). Structure/Function claims do not require premarket approval by FDA; however, the manufacturer must have substantiation that the claim is truthful and not misleading. A notification with the text of the claim must be submitted to FDA no later than 30 days after marketing the product. 17
Claims related to a product’s effect on normal function may help set expectations for consumers of hemp-derived CBD products. Nondisease-oriented claims (e.g., promotes a restful sleep or fosters stress resilience) can be supported with the appropriate scientific evidence, if available. Manufacturers should avoid referring to specific disease states (e.g., insomnia or anxiety), and instead use appropriate terminology that describes the anticipated effect for most users. This framework for claims making would encourage marketers to conduct research on unique cultivars, formulations, and delivery technologies to determine if, in fact, different products lead to different effects.
It should be noted that the use of Structure/Function-type claims presents a risk of misinterpretation by consumers and misuse by manufacturers. The current use of Structure/Function claims for food and dietary supplements has been criticized because consumers may be confused and interpret a nondisease-oriented claim such as “promotes a restful sleep” as a therapeutic claim for a sleep disorder. 18
FDA Health Claims and Drug Claims
Health claims and Qualified Health claims (Health claims) describe the relationship between a food or dietary ingredient and reduced risk of a disease or health-related condition (e.g., “adequate calcium throughout life may reduce the risk of osteoporosis”). Health claims pronounce disease risk reduction and therefore require FDA preauthorization and a higher level of substantiation. Alternatively, they may be based on an authoritative statement of the National Academy of Sciences, or a similar scientific body within the U.S. government that has responsibility for public health protection or nutrition research. When a product bears a label claim that states or implies the product is useful in diagnosing, curing, mitigating, treating, or preventing a disease, that claim is considered a drug claim and designates that product as a drug according to the FDA. 19
Drug claims for prescription and OTC drugs are roughly analogous to Health claims for nondrugs but allow for statements beyond risk reduction (i.e., diagnosing, curing, mitigating, treating, or preventing). These claims are product-specific and subject to the most rigorous FDA premarket approval process, requiring both preclinical and clinical trials, including multiple phase 1–4 clinical trials. Results of these trials lead to clearly established indications and contraindications for use of the drug in specific diseased populations. 19
FDA regulations prohibit any product that has not received premarket approval as a drug from making a Drug claim on its label or in marketing materials. Epidiolex TM , an FDA-approved prescription form of CBD, can be marketed with Drug claims. Hemp-derived CBD products cannot.
Multiple manufacturers in the emerging CBD industry have made marketing statements that qualify as Health or Drug claims ( Table 2 ). FDA has delivered cease-and-desist letters to more than 40 companies since 2015—the number more than tripled to 22 in 2019—for making such claims about their CBD products in labeling, including claims that they treat, or even cure, Alzheimer’s disease, opioid withdrawal, pain, and anxiety. 20
Selected Examples of Labeling Claims Cited by Food and Drug Administration in Warning Letters
|Company||Location of claim||Claim|
|Curale af, Inc.||Webpage||“CBD can successfully reduce anxiety symptoms, both alone and in conjunction with other treatments.”|
|Advanced Spine and Pain, LLC (d/b/a Relievus)||“Cannabidiol Fights Against Cancer CBD and other chemicals found in Cannabis have an anti-tumor effect and could be used to improve standard treatments. Please visit our website for more information!|
|Nutra Pure, LLC||Webpage||“Cannabidiol (CBD) Treats Neuropsychiatric Disorders”|
|PotNetwork Holdings, Inc.||Webpage||“Interestingly, however, in some lab studies, CBD has also shown the ability to kill cancer cells directly without the help of our immune system.”|
|Green Roads of Florida, LLC||Webpage||“[CBD] has antipsychotic properties, which makes it very useful for treating bipolar disorder.”|
|Natural Alchemist Alurent, Inc.||Webpage||“I was pleasantly surprised to find that CBD helped my arthritis…I have shared with my son and he states he is a big believer in CBD for. .. TBI [traumatic brain injury] after being acquainted with military personnel who have tried it.”|
|Dose of nature||“CBD May Reverse Brain Deficits in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s”|
To underscore the importance of FDA preapproval of all Drug claims, FDA requires labels of dietary supplements that make any claims to include a disclaimer which states that the FDA has not evaluated the claim(s) and that the product “is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” 21
Accurate and informative labeling of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products is an important public health issue. Untruthful or unsubstantiated health-related claims, and unallowed Drug claims, in marketing materials and labels of CBD products may create harm by enticing consumers to forgo more evidence-based medical interventions. Furthermore, missing or inaccurate labeling of the amount of CBD, THC, and potentially harmful contaminants such as pesticides, naturally occurring yeast and mold, or heavy metals may result in harm and/or lack of efficacy. Manufacturers of these products may reasonably be expected to understand and adhere to FDA regulations for labeling and marketing of food, dietary supplements, and drugs, both OTC and prescription, even though FDA has interpreted federal law as excluding them from those categories. As manufacturers prepare for forthcoming regulations, a better understanding of the basic framework for FDA labeling and marketing regulations for food, dietary supplements, and drugs is warranted.
Design, research, and article writing, oversight—J.C. Design, research, and article writing—D.M. Research and article writing—W.D.
|ABV||alcohol by volume|
|FDA||Food and Drug Administration|
Author Disclosure Statement
J.C., ND, MPH, is the Medical Director at The Center for Medical Cannabis Education, a for-profit clinical and consulting entity. D.M., ND, has no conflicts to disclose. W.D., MA, is a paid consultant for Americans for Safe Access Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization.
No funding was provided for this article.
Cite this article as: Corroon J, MacKay D, Dolphin W (2020) Labeling of cannabidiol products: a public health perspective, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 5:4, 274–278, DOI: 10.1089/can.2019.0101.
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Benefits of CBD Oil That Are Rarely Talked About!
Let’s start with some real basic facts here, which will help address a lot of the confusion around CBD:
- Hemp is a member of the cannabis (cannabis sativa) plant family.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both phytocannabinoids found in hemp.
- While CBD is a safe, non-addictive and non-psychoactive substance, THC is a psychoactive compound that causes the high or intoxication that cannabis has been associated with.
- The fundamental difference between what gives a “high” and what doesn’t at all, is the amount of psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a plant from this family produces. While the intoxicants can contain up to 30% THC, hemp contains no more than 0.3% THC.
The source of a CBD product is crucial to its legality. If the CBD is hemp-derived CBD, then the purchase, sales, or possession of hemp CBD products are completely legal in all 50 States.
How is CBD Oil Made?
CBD hemp oil is extracted from hemp plants that contain low amounts of THC. Pure CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from hemp. The extract is then diluted with a carrier oil like coconut, olive or hemp seed oil, to get a product that is more practical to use. Since it is non-psychoactive, CBD oil is a better alternative for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without any mind-altering effects.
CBD Oil Uses
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a regulatory system in the body has significantly advanced our understanding of health and disease in relation to the role of the endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids, named so because of their likeness to the compounds found in the cannabis plant. The ECS regulates a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response.
Cannabidiol is a prevalent natural remedy used for many common conditions. Since the legalization of hemp, several CBD oil uses have been brought to the fore and have been gaining momentum in the health and wellness industries, backed by scientific studies endorsing that they may help in a variety of ailments like chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, depression and many others.
How Does CBD Oil Really Benefit Us?
CBD oil benefits have been extolled by ancient doctors and healers, who prescribed CBD to treat pain thousands of years ago because they witnessed its medical benefits. In the last half of this century, modern science rediscovered CBD hemp oil benefits in helping reduce inflammation & pain, supporting the onset of sleep while also promoting calmness & relaxation. There is now ample light being shed on its biological processes. Since CBD (cannabidiol) is very similar to the chemicals created by our own bodies, its products integrate better with our body than many synthetic drugs.
Extensive scientific research and more and more accounts from patients and physicians highlight CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range (but not limited to) conditions, including:
- Neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury
- Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)
- Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
- Chronic pain and pain from autoimmune diseases (fibromyalgia, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
- Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)
- Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
- Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
- General aches and pains
- Improved sleep
- Mild depression, daily stress and anxiety
- Nausea and lack of appetite
CBD has proven neuroprotective properties and these benefits are being examined at several academic research centers all over the world. As therapeutic alternatives for the sick and a precautionary avenue for the healthy, CBD oils have been gaining importance as all-purpose palliatives for pets as well as people of all ages.
CBD Oil for Pain Management
Cannabinoids have shown an anti-inflammatory effect in numerous studies. The human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) produces endocannabinoids – neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our nervous system – involved in regulating a variety of functions including pain and immune system response.
Scientists have discovered that CBD has pain-relieving effects which help reduce chronic pain by influencing the endocannabinoid receptor activity, interacting with neurotransmitters and reducing inflammation.
CBD may be effective in reducing pain linked with ailments like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD Oil for Cognitive Health
CBD oils could prove to be an alternative worth considering as pharmaceutical drugs for the treatments of anxiety and depression usually cause a number of side effects including drowsiness, agitation, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and headache.
In recent years, CBD oil has become a commonly preferred therapy for anxiety, with people using CBD oil to soothe their everyday worries, whereas others have turned to it for help with more severe generalized anxiety disorders. Using CBD oil has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression in both human and animal studies because of CBD’s capability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
CBD Oil for Acne Treatment
Known to affect more than 90 percent of world population at some point in their life, acne is a common skin condition, caused by a number of factors, including genetics, bacteria, inflammation and excessive production of sebum in the skin. CBD may be helpful in soothing acne due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to dampen the production of sebum from the sebaceous glands present in the skin.
CBD Oil for Cardiovascular Health
Through extensive research CBD has been linked with several benefits to the heart and the circulatory system. It has shown a natural and effective ability to lower high blood pressure, owing to its stress- and anxiety-reducing properties.
CBD for Blood Sugar Management
Diabetes is a common disease inflicting millions of people around the world. Excess insulin encourages the conversion of sugars into stored fat, in our body, leading to diabetes, weight gain and obesity. CBD oil helps in progressively reducing blood pressure, which is very important for diabetics. Several studies have shown 16 percent lower fasting insulin levels following the use of CBD, and 17 percent lower levels of insulin resistance.
CBD for a Healthy Sleep Cycle
With supporting medical research CBD has proving to be an effective remedy in improving symptoms of insomnia. While CBD is associated with feeling relaxed and sleepy, using CBD oil to treat sleep disorders is slightly more complex than merely making you feel drowsy, especially for people who have sleep problems due to anxiety, because the way it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD oil can improve your stress response and help you relax.
CBD Oil for Bone and Joint Health
Researchers have recently started focusing on CBD oil’s effects on several conditions that cause pain, including rheumatoid arthritis and relieve the associated inflammatory pain. CBD oil interacts with receptors in the body to reduce pain and the effects of inflammation. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could also help to slow down or stop the advancement of rheumatoid arthritis, which causes permanent damage to the joints. These effects could also reduce other inflammation-related symptoms, such as fatigue and fever.
Other Benefits of CBD Oil
Over the years, CBD oil has been studied for its antipsychotic effects – Studies suggest that CBD may decrease psychotic symptoms in people with schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
What are the Side Effects of Using CBD Oil?
Though CBD is generally well tolerated and considered safe, it may cause adverse reactions in some people. Common CBD oil effects observed in studies include:
- Changes in mood
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
Before you start using CBD oil, consult your doctor to avoid any potentially harmful interactions with other medications.
For the Entrepreneurs – How Can You Start Your Own CBD Oil Supplements Brand?
The hemp and CBD-related supplement market is a $20+ billion industry today. All the benefits listed above, showcase the huge business opportunity that it could present to those thinking about starting a supplement company. Even if you have no prior knowledge of the CBD supplement industry, or for that matter, about the actual nitty-gritty of creating, owning and operating any supplement brand, our Simple 10-Step Guide for Starting a Dietary Supplement Company would be a good first step in your CBD supplement journey. A well-planned business approach that focuses on producing safe, innovative, high-quality, well-researched products that address specific consumer health needs and making them easily available is what makes for supplement success today.
For more information about our contract manufacturing services, give us a call at 855-492-7388 or send us your request to receive a free nutraceutical manufacturing price quote.
What are the Benefits of CBD Oil
Chances are, even if you have not yet tried a cannabidiol (CBD) product, you might have at least been recommended one by a friend or family member. Unfortunately, these kinds of suggestions are often dismissed because many still consider CBD to be just another passing health fad — or at worst, a snake oil pitch.
However, the increasing prevalence of CBD products has made many would-be skeptics take a second look at this unique compound. After studying the already considerable research that has been done regarding its potential properties, some have decided that CBD might be worth trying out after all.
Currently, CBD products come in many different forms, including tinctures, capsules, drinks, gummies, and even cbd oil for dogs. This is all despite the fact that the FDA has yet to definitively conclude that CBD, in addition to the other compounds in cannabis, has any true type of medicinal purpose. As such, most CBD companies are not allowed to specifically state that their products have efficacy in terms of treating any particular disease or condition.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means it is one of hundreds of cannabis compounds that are specifically designed to interact with internal cannabinoid (CB) receptors that function as part of our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Out of the many varieties of cannabis, hemp is known for containing the highest amounts of CBD, which is why most CBD companies use extract that has been derived from hemp.
Recently, scientists have been conducting a multitude of studies in order to determine the various properties and characteristics of individual phytocannabinoids, with a particular emphasis on CBD. So, what are the benefits and uses of CBD?
Treatment of Epileptic Seizures
At present, the only type of CBD medication that has been granted approval by the FDA is Epidiolex, which utilizes an isolated form of the compound. The studies showed that CBD can have considerable efficacy in the treatment and prevention of epileptic seizures that are associated with certain forms of the disease, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
The testing was performed through double-blind studies where patients were given varying doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg of CBD, twice per day. Its researchers concluded that CBD was safe and effective, which the FDA confirmed through commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who stated:
“Because of the adequate and well-controlled clinical studies that supported this approval, prescribers can have confidence in the drug’s uniform strength and consistent delivery that support appropriate dosing needed for treating patients with these complex and serious epilepsy syndromes.”
The approval of Epidiolex has also brought up an interesting quandary regarding the legal status of CBD, which is considered a somewhat grey area because of the FDA’s reluctance at allowing full spectrum hemp extract products that contain CBD to make any sort of medical claims.
Relieve Aches and Pain
A few studies have looked into the potential pain relieving properties of CBD and other cannabinoids, as some research has indicated that CBD could possibly assist with helping to thin the synovial membrane, which is what provides a buffer between our joints. When the synovial layer thickens, it can cause pain and stiffness, and this is often associated with arthritis pain.
The research was conducted to see how CBD might be able to affect other systems that regulate pain. The ECS works through the potentiation of other sub systems, including the opioid system. This is significant because the opioid system is involved with the regulation of pain receptors, as well as playing an essential part in mood modulation.
Sooth Nerves and Calm Feelings of Stress or Anxiety
While everyone has to deal with the common, everyday pressures of life, some may find them overwhelming. Many people are curious as to whether CBD can help sooth nerves and calm feelings of stress or anxiety. Part of this concerns the involvement of other body systems and receptors that work to improve your state of mind. For instance, serotonin is one of many neurotransmitters that assist with mood regulation, and a myriad of conditions are specifically associated with serotonin deficiency.
A lot of studies have been directed at finding out the mechanisms that are utilized by the ECS when it comes to modulating other systems. For instance, some research has shown how CBD may possibly help with attenuating behavior associated with acute stress reactions in rats, through the activation of 5-HT1A serotonin receptors, as serotonin is particularly associated with anxiogenic properties.
Alleviate Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Cannabinoids, including CBD, are often used as palliative care in patients with terminal cancer, partly because they are thought to have a potential to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy, which include lack of appetite, nausea, and exhaustion.
This makes sense as some of the key side effects associated with CBD include an increase in appetite as well as sleepiness. A combination of THC and CBD has also been studied in order to determine their efficacy for helping pain associated with cancer.
Could Help with Substance Abuse Disorder
As mentioned before, scientists have worked towards learning about what abilities the ECS has with regard to modulating other body systems — and this is important for many reasons. A big question remains as to whether CBD can help with substance abuse disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose deaths numbered at 67,367 in 2018. This number has steadily crept up in the last few decades, something which has been partially attributed to the overprescription of opioid painkillers. So, how does CBD factor into that?
Although all of the compounds in cannabis are psychoactive, including CBD, the only cannabinoid that has psychotropic properties is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-9-THC. This also means that THC is the only cannabinoid to facilitate addiction, as repeated use can lead to tolerance as well as emotional and physical reliances to be formed. Interestingly, CBD is able to mitigate these effects in THC, by inhibiting the mechanisms that allow THC to bind with specific CB receptors in the brain.
Similarly, researchers have speculated whether the ECS is able to modulate the processes of the opioid system, because a potential for allaying the addictive properties of opioids could be essential in defeating the current epidemic that has already killed thousands of people.
Support Sleep and Relaxation
Scientists are also working to determine whether CBD can help to support sleep and relaxation in patients who suffer from insomnia as well as other sleep disorders. One study in particular speculated that “evidence points toward a calming effect for CBD in the central nervous system.”
Chronic insomnia afflicts around 10-15% of the population, and it can have a significant impact on energy levels, as well as the ability to perform everyday tasks. This is another reason why people are eager to discover the full capabilities of CBD, because lack of sleep can affect almost every aspect of your life.
Whatever the reasons a person has for wanting to try a new CBD supplement, it is important to examine the quality of the CBD and trustworthiness with the brand that is being considered. This is why it is vital to choose companies that utilize third party laboratory testing. In addition, verified testimonials can be a great way of gauging the potential quality of a particular product. Ultimately, you should always consult your physician to determine whether trying CBD is something you may want to consider.
The information shared within this article was gathered from trusted medical journals online, and the sources are linked within this article. Our intention is to share this information with our viewers in a structured layout which might help answer some common questions. We are not making any medical claims about our products or providing medical advise in any way. Always consult your physician to verify information.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.