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September 29, 2022 5 min read
The interest in CBD products is rapidly growing. Many people looking for more natural remedies to manage various health issues opt for cannabidiol. But what is CBD, and is it a medicine? Is there evidence pointing to CBD as a medical substance? Keep reading to find out more.
Cannabidiol appears to have a real moment in the pharmaceutical industry. You may have had people touting various benefits of taking a regular dose of CBD for issues such as anxiety, insomnia, and even pain. CBD is now becoming a popular compound used for medical purposes. Research on how CBD works in our bodies is still ongoing. There is no reliable evidence pointing to CBD as a medical drug except for the recent FDA approval of Epidiolex. In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, as the most effective medicine to treat two types of epilepsy syndromes. Other CBD products are used for medical purposes, but most of them are not approved by the FDA. However, preliminary studies indicate that CBD may help manage various health issues.
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the one hundred plus components of the cannabis plant. Components of the cannabis plant are known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are responsible for the therapeutic benefits that cannabis is widely known for. CBD is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids and tetrahydro cannabidiol (THC). CBD and THC carry similar properties, except that THC is intoxicating while CBD is not. THC is a psychoactive compound that causes a "high" feeling when you consume cannabis. For this reason, many people have embraced CBD as the best compound to provide therapeutic benefits from the cannabis plant.
CBD can be extracted from hemp or marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are both plants of the cannabis family. Hemp is a term used to describe the type of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana is used to describe the kind of cannabis with more than0.3% THC. Hemp has a higher concentration of CBD than THC, while marijuana has a higher concentration of THC than CBD. CBD from hemp is considered legal because its THC content is insufficient to cause any head-high effect or intoxication. As a result, many states have legalized CBD from hemp, with very few legalizing marijuana.
CBD is generally considered safe to use. However, like any other pharmaceutical, there may be mild side effects. Some of the reported side effects associated with consuming CBD include; drowsiness, diarrhea, dry mouth, changes in appetite, and low blood pressure, among others.
Medical practitioners and scientists are still finding out how CBD works in the body. Currently, the only approved CBD product is the Epidiolex drug which was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for treating seizures of specific forms of severe epilepsy. Epidiolex is approved to treat two types of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. The FDA has clearly stated that Epidiolex is a safe drug and, therefore, can be used as a medicine for the above types of epilepsy. Moreover, laws concerning the use of CBD vary across different countries and states. CBD is now being studied as a potential treatment for various conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease (PD), schizophrenia, cancer-related symptoms, anxiety, and pain, among other health conditions. Research supporting CBD as a medical treatment is still limited. Thousands of CBD products are sold in the high street and online stores for medical purposes. These marketed products may not be categorized as medicine since most of them are not approved by the FDA. CBD is sold in consumer products such as oils, lotions, creams, food supplements, beauty products, and more.
CBD has been used to manage a wide range of health issues. The most substantial evidence is its ability to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy syndromes such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS). The two types of syndromes typically don't respond to traditional anti-seizure medications. Epidiolex, a CBD-based drug, is the first CBD product approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (2018) as a medicine for specific epilepsy syndromes.
Cunetti et al. (2018) evaluated CBD's pain-relieving effects in 7 patients experiencing chronic pain resulting from a kidney transplant. Six out of seven reported improvement in pain. One patient experience more pain with higher doses of CBD but was able to experience the best pain control with lower amounts of CBD.
Mental problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression are rising among teenagers and adults worldwide. Claims about CBD as a potential treatment for various mental health issues are still being investigated. Moltke & Hindocha (2021) found that most people use CBD to manage self-perceived anxiety, stress, sleep, and other symptoms, often in low doses, and these patterns vary by demographic characteristic. However, further research is needed to understand how low doses might impact mental symptoms generally in all users.
According to Legal (2022), CBD can be used to improve heart health by decreasing high blood pressure and improving arterial function. CBD can also relieve cancer-related symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, vomiting, and pain. However, more research is required to ascertain these claims, including human clinical studies. Lastly, CBD contains neuroprotective properties effective for neurological disorders, including severe forms of epilepsy syndromes.
CBD is still a controlled substance in several states and jurisdictions. However, CBD derived from hemp is legal as long as it meets the requirements set by that state. CBD has been used to manage several health issues, but the question of whether CBD is medicine is still a hard nut to crack. However, CBD has been approved by FDA under a drug known as Epidiolex, which treats specific types of epilepsy syndromes. Other products are used for specific health conditions, but the FDA does not yet approve them. Ongoing studies indicate that CBD may be helpful in pain management, mental health problems, improving arterial function, and managing neurological conditions.
Cuñetti, L., Manzo, L., Peyraube, R., Arnaiz, J., Curi, L., & Orihuela, S. (2018). Chronic Pain Treatment With Cannabidiol In Kidney Transplant Patients In Uruguay. Transplantation Proceedings (Vol. 50, No. 461e464, P. 461).
Legal, I. C. (2022). The Top Health Benefits Of CBD Oil–What To Know Before Using!. Sign, 68.
Moltke, J., & Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons For Cannabidiol Use: A Cross-Sectional Study Of CBD Users, Focusing On Self-Perceived Stress, Anxiety, And Sleep Problems. Journal Of Cannabis Research, 3(1), 1-12.
US Food And Drug Administration. (2018). FDA Approved The First Drug Comprised Of An Active Ingredient Derived From Marijuana To Treat Rare, Severe Forms Of Epilepsy. Published June, 25.
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