In 2018, US Congress passed a bill that regulated the production of hemp, or cannabis with extremely low levels of THC, allowing it to be grown and manufactured into products. But not all states have adjusted their laws, so CBD is still illegal in some states including Idaho, Nebraska, and Iowa.
CBD has a very wide therapeutic range, with doses ranging from 10 mg per day up to 800 mg per day. “The only way to find one’s dose is to start at a low dose and increase little by little, looking for the dose that gives the best effects,” Goldstein says.
“CBD has over 65 different targets in the brain and body, working at many receptors and other areas to change messages that cells are sending to each other. If the message of pain is being sent from one cell to another, CBD can block or diminish this message,” says Bonni Goldstein, MD, the Medical Director of Canna-Centers, a California-based medical practice devoted to patients about the use of cannabis for serious or chronic health conditions.
CBD has been widely studied as a natural, non-addictive way to manage and treat pain symptoms — especially as an alternative to opioids for patients with severe pain.
How to use CBD oil safely
“Anyone with serious medical conditions who take medications should avoid using CBD without medical supervision,” Goldstein says. “Patients on certain medications such as blood thinners or other medications for serious illnesses should always have medical supervision.”
CBD is different from marijuana though, and will not make you “high.” That’s because it does not contain the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, which is the chemical responsible for the intoxicating feeling associated with consuming marijuana.
However, much research on CBD oil is still preliminary, and there are also various health risks to consider before using it.
Risks of CBD oil
Early research has found CBD may reduce symptoms of a number of anxiety disorders, including:
“There is preliminary research that points to neuroinflammation as a cause of anxiety. CBD is a well-proven potent anti-inflammatory which may contribute to its anxiety-reducing effects,” Goldstein says.
CBD comes in many forms, including oils, extracts, capsules, patches, vapes, and topical preparations for use on skin. If you’re hoping to reduce inflammation and relieve muscle and joint pain, a topical CBD-infused oil, lotion or cream – or even a bath bomb — may be the best option. Alternatively, a CBC patch or a tincture or spray designed to be placed under the tongue allows CBD to directly enter the bloodstream.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer or COVID-19, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may prove to be a helpful, relatively non-toxic option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies, we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD currently is typically available as an unregulated supplement, it’s hard to know exactly what you are getting.
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status has been in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. In 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States, making it virtually impossible to keep CBD illegal – that would be like making oranges legal, but keeping orange juice illegal.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory. One of hundreds of components in marijuana, CBD does not cause a “high” by itself. 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.”
How can CBD be taken?
People taking high doses of CBD may show abnormalities in liver related blood tests. Many non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), have this same effect. So, you should let your doctor know if you are regularly using CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is often covered in the media, and you may see it touted as an add-in booster to your post-workout smoothie or morning coffee. You can even buy a CBD-infused sports bra. But what exactly is CBD? And why is it so popular?
Side effects of CBD include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level of blood thinning and other medicines in your blood by competing for the liver enzymes that break down these drugs. Grapefruit has a similar effect with certain medicines.
Is CBD safe?
Animal studies, and self-reports or research in humans, suggest CBD may also help with:
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. So, you cannot be sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. In addition, the product may contain other unknown elements. We also don’t know the most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.