In today’s world, marijuana use and CBD-based products are becoming more acceptable and widely used both medicinally and recreationally. This topic remains a largely debatable topic for many people.

As marijuana is now legal for medicinal purposes in 32 states, and for recreational uses in 10 states, it is becoming much more socially acceptable and more frequently discussed among both younger and older generations. One particular product which is trending and being more commonly used in medicine is CBD oil.

The marijuana plant contains two significant compounds. The first is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive ingredient which causes the mind-altering “high” effect.

The other ingredient is CBD (cannabidiol) which does not alter your state of mind but has been proven to have effects on the body. This cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers or buds of marijuana or hemp plants. This CBD oil is legal in 32 states – where marijuana has been legalized for medical uses.

Conditions Claimed to be Treatable with CBD Oil

CBD oil has been popularized and believed to be a treatment for several different diseases and ailments ranging from epilepsy to anxiety and chronic pain. It has been recognized by many to be a more natural pain-relief alternative to over-the-counter drugs or prescription pain relievers.

There are numerous studies which do test and validate these claims. However, the majority of these claims are unproven or not backed up by sufficient research.

FDA Approved Epidiolex, a CBD oil for treatment of Epilepsy

One condition which has been proven and supported by substantial research is the treatment of epilepsy with CBD oil. In fact, in June 2018, the FDA did approve the prescription use of Epidiolex, a purified form of CBD oil used for treating two types of epilepsy. Epidiolex is used to handle two rare forms of childhood epilepsy.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) occurs between ages 3 to 5 and causes multiple seizures. Dravet syndrome (DS) is a rare genetic condition which occurs during a child’s 1st year causing frequent fever-related seizures. The symptoms of these two conditions are incredibly difficult to manage with other kinds of medications.

CBD Oil for Pain Management

One of the other claimed medical uses of CBD oil is in pain treatment. It is believed to have substantial anti-inflammatory benefits. Although this claim has not been fully proven, there is a substantial amount of research that has been done and continues to be done on this subject.

However, most of the research we currently have is based on solely animal trials. One example that proves this theory comes from a study of mice and rats which shows a significant reduction in pain after use of the oil. The use of CBD oil for chronic pain management and stiffness is promising, with many people endorsing its benefits.

CBD as an alternative in Mental Health Treatment

CBD oil has also become recognized as a possible method of treatment or management of mental health conditions. One particular condition it is believed to benefit is anxiety, and in particular, social anxiety. Despite it being recognized as a natural remedy for anxiety treatment, it remains largely unsupported by research.

Some research suggests that CBD oil may influence the receptors involved in the composition of serotonin. However, the evidence is mostly unfounded as there continues to be a lack of research and trials being performed. The majority of the research in this area stems from animal trials.

The evidence collected from these trials shows some promise in treatment for conditions including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and social anxiety disorder.

Other claims suggest that CBD oil could function as an alternative to antidepressants and antipsychotics, helping to manage conditions such as depression, insomnia, and even schizophrenia. Although there is encouraging evidence and claims of success, CBD as a treatment to all of these conditions remains unproven.

Inconclusive Research

CBD oils and products continue to be a topic of debate – as to their efficacy in treating various ailments and conditions. Although there have been numerous success stories, there continues to be a lack of scientific research on its success, proper dosing requirements, and possible side effects.

However, this lack of evidence is mainly due to government regulations which limit scientists’ ability to use federal funds to research it thoroughly. As marijuana and marijuana-based products are officially classified as “schedule 1 controlled substances”, the same as drugs such as heroin or ecstasy, it is difficult to get the money to conduct substantial research on the topic.

Many studies and case reports which have been conducted did not have a control group (people who did not use the oil) to compare with, which makes it difficult to prove whether its effects resulted from the actual benefit or simply the placebo effect.

Unregulated production causes Safety Concerns

Because of the lack of research and changing opinions on the use of CBD oil, much of the current production and sale of CBD oil is unregulated. The fact that the majority of these products are unregulated poses numerous concerns for safety. It also means that products people are purchasing can greatly vary in their quality, and in turn, their effectiveness as a treatment.

A 2017 study discovered that about 7 in 10 CBD products did not contain the amount of marijuana that was stated on the label – with 43% containing too little CBD, and 26% containing too much. About 1 in 5 of these products did contain the psychoactive ingredient, THC. This is particularly alarming and concerning as THC can negatively impact many of the conditions people would use the oil to treat – known to increase anxiety and worsen seizures.

This can be very worrisome as it is unknown how this could impact people – and even cause the possibility of toxicity. Generally, it seems people can’t trust what they find of the label of these CBD oils. Another concern is the possibility of interaction with other drugs, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, and cholesterol medications – as it could cause many adverse side effects.

Should you trust these products?

Because of the lack of research and frequency of falsely-labeled products, people should consider if they trust their source and the quality of what they are getting. If you are considering purchasing CBD oil, you are likely to get a more authentic product if is coming from states that have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana use. These states tend to have stricter standards for their products. Its also important to consider the different forms of cannabinoids (oils, rubs, drops, vape pens, etc.) and the pros and cons of shopping online.

It is no question that these oils and cannabinoids have the potential to benefit our health and function as alternatives to more traditional pharmaceutical medicines. However, it is essential to consider that many of their claims are not substantially backed up and may pose safety concerns – and even risk toxicity if it is not labeled correctly.