CBD—the abbreviation for cannabidiol, a substance that’s generally derived from the hemp plant—has skyrocketed in popularity over the last five years. In fact, according to some research, “CBD” as a Google search term remained stable from 2004 to 2014 but has since ballooned by up to 605%.
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Can Interact With Other Medications
It’s important to point out that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and therefore dosages might not be accurate. It’s also difficult to know what an appropriate dose is the first time you try a new product.
“CBD is not an intoxicating substance, whereas THC is a psychoactive that can get you high,” explains Dr. Jas Matharu-Daley, a physician and consultant for a brand that specializes in CBD production.
In some cases, those who ingest CBD supplements might experience nausea, says Dr. Matharu-Daley. This depends on how sensitive the person is to CBD, as well as the amount they ingest.
By acting on the ECS, CBD may have many different effects on the body. Examples include: balancing the body’s overall physical functions (homeostasis), reducing pain sensation, and lessening the body’s reaction to injury or infection (inflammation).
The takeaway about CBD is that the initial research is promising but there is still much to learn. It may help with some conditions like long-term pain and sleep.
What Are the Medical Uses of CBD?
CBD is from the hemp plant and its main property is healing. THC is the main cannabinoid in the marijuana plant. It is mind-altering.
Another review with meta-analysis of 104 studies evaluated cannabinoids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. Within this review and analysis, the effect of cannabinoids on sleep was also examined. There was low-quality evidence of improved sleep.
The dose of CBD also depends on the form and strength and whether or not it has other active ingredients.
CBD oil comes as full-spectrum oils or in forms that contain CBD isolates. Unlike isolates, which contain CBD only, full-spectrum oils contain a variety of compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant, including proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll. Alternative practitioners believe these compounds offer more substantial health benefits, although there is no clear evidence of this.
Part of this response could be explained by the way that CBD acts in the brain. In low doses, CBD may act as an agonist to several receptor sites, meaning it acts similarly to surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor, enhancing the signalling of those receptor sites. At higher doses, however, too much activity at the receptor site can lead to an opposite effect, negating the beneficial effects of CBD.
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.
What to Look For
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution used for the treatment of certain rare forms of epilepsy in children under 2—Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both are exceptionally rare genetic disorders causing lifelong catastrophic seizures that begin during the first year of life.
In all but a few studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) improved some symptoms of anxiety. Higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) exhibited virtually no effect.
If you are thinking about using CBD oil to treat a health condition, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is the right option for you.
Here are a few tips to help you find the best CBD oil: