CBD is Ubiquitous, but are Cannabidiols Legal?
Are cannabidiols legal?
CBD, or cannabidiols, just got a big boost thanks to US lawmakers. On Thursday, December 20th, 2018, President Trump signed into law the farm bill, which contained a provision legalizing hemp.
Historically, hemp has been illegal to sell or grow in the US, although it’s legal to buy from international sources. Hemp has commonly been used as a material for carpets and sweaters — it’s the main material of Baja hoodies, those textured pullovers.
How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?
CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high” and is in no way psychoactive. According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
Cannabidiols have been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control, but anecdotal reports mirror the results in animal models.
Is cannabidiol safe?
Possible side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does. A significant safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement, not a medication. Currently, the FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. The best practice to determine the quality of the product that you are considering is to look at the Lab Results or Certificate of Analysis. At a minimum you can verify if the product is full spectrum or an isolate, and you can verify the level of THC which must be <.3% to be considered legal. As with all supplements it’s always wise to start low, and go slow and pay attention to the effects.
Who should avoid cannibidiols?
The following was taken from Chris Kresser’s article on How CBD Works and its Potential Benefits:
CBD is generally well tolerated and has an excellent safety profile. However, certain people should avoid CBD—including pregnant and breastfeeding women and those taking pharmaceutical drugs.
CBD should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding because the effects of CBD on the growing fetus and infant are not well understood. However, THC is known to cross the placenta and enter breast milk, and it is likely that CBD does the same.
You may also need to avoid CBD or consult with your doctor before trying it if you are taking any pharmaceutical drugs that are metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP450) enzymes. CBD interacts with CYP450 enzymes and may enhance or inhibit the metabolism of drugs that pass through this system. Whether inhibition or enhancement occurs depends on the dosage of CBD, the dosage of the medication, and a person’s unique genetics and biochemistry.
Sixty percent of prescription drugs are metabolized by the CYP450 system; if you are taking any of the drugs in this list, please check with your doctor before trying CBD: (38)
- Angiotensin II blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- HIV antivirals
- HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (aka statins)
- Immune modulators
- Oral hypoglycemic agents
The bottom line on cannabidiol
We need more research but CBD may prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain plus inflammation. Human studies are expensive and are often funded by big Pharma – it’s unlikely we will get the funding necessary for proper studies in the near future. However, so far anecdotal evidence points to cannabidiols being safe and effective for a large sector of the population as well as our companion animals. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor or veterinarian if your pet is on medications to make sure it won’t have any adverse effects.