There has been a flood of CBD products in recent times, providing users with a plethora of options at their disposal. However, since the CBD products available in the market are not regulated by the government, odds are high that many consumers may not get what is actually promised to them on the labels of the physical product or in larger-than-life advertisements.
For those who are not well-acquainted with the term CBD – Cannabidiol, better known by its acronym CBD, is a naturally-occurring non-psychoactive chemical found in the cannabis plant.
Dr. Esther Blessing, an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University, and Margaret Haney, professor of neurobiology at Columbia University Medical Center are wary of various branded CBD oil being sold at both online and offline marketplaces. The two have highlighted the following issues with the CBD oil that ought to be addressed at the earliest:
Does branded CBD oil contain the advertised quantity of CBD?
You go to the market and come home with a CBD oil bottle in your hand, thinking that you have bought something healthy. However, professors Blessing and Haney are of the view that the product you have purchased may have little to no CBD oil as the market is highly unregulated.
They even went on to say that a major portion of the bottle might just be ‘snake oil.’
What’s more disappointing, however, is the fact that CBD oil –that is theoretically supposed to be cannabidiol dissolved in hemp seeds or coconut – may not even contain these ingredients whatsoever.
The patients who are buying these products thinking that they will eventually get better from the health benefits being promised to them may simply be throwing away their hard-earned money.
How valid are the health claims made by CBD oil manufacturing companies?
Since cannabis still remains federally legal, only a limited amount of research is available on the health benefits promised by CBD.
Presently, Cannabidiol is medically used to treat seizure syndromes and arthritis pain. Once more research and results of the clinical trials are available, professors Blessing and Haney are quite confident that CBD would be the primary treatment method for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, dementia, HIV symptoms, neuropathic pain resulting from damage to the nervous system caused by diabetes or chemotherapy.
The problem, however, with CBD oil firms is that they are already ‘boasting’ about easing the symptoms caused by the aforementioned diseases, conditions without the backing of any scientific research.
The two professors believe that there is a dire need to regulate the ways these companies market their products. Promoting a product merely on theoretical claims is neither an ethical practice nor a ‘breakthrough’.
Furthermore, as of now, there is no conclusive study that could confirm if the long-term use of CBD has no harmful effects on the brain and its development.
Can positive word of mouth for CBD oil act as a placebo?
When it comes to the medicinal benefits of cannabis derivatives, one just can’t simply ignore the possibility of a placebo effect.
Consider a woman who is a ‘victim’ of mild arthritis. She took pain-killers every now and then, which though effective, took a huge toll on her body. She didn’t have many options at her disposal. One fine day, she heard about the ‘magical’ effects of CBD and cannabis from a number of people; then she sat down in front of her computer and carried out some research. Indeed, the testimonies of patients looked impressive. As a result, she went to the market and purchased a CBD-based product, like oil, for regular consumption. She is on her way home and she has already begun feeling better because of the belief that she will eventually be fine, courtesy of the word-of-mouth that she had heard and read. After a few days, the woman feels that her pain has faded away over time because of the CBD product. But, couldn’t the overwhelming results be simply a placebo (the reaction to her belief) that she’d be fine?
Certainly, it can’t be ruled out.
What kind of CBD’s are legal and what kind are illegal in the U.S.?
Cannabidiol derived from Hemp plant (containing no more than 0.3% THC) was legalized across the United States last year as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. Though, CBD extracted from other cannabis plants is still federally illegal, even if it’s legal in some states.
States like Maine and New York have even ordered the restaurants to not include cannabidiol in its food items as it has not yet been “deemed safe as an edible item”.
Risks associated with the consumption of CBD oil?
- As stated earlier, CBD oil that you come across in the nearby health store may be ‘adulterated’. It may have less or no CBD at all in the absence of active regulation.
- The oil may contain higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which might give you a high and may even interfere with the other medicines you might be taking.
- No research is available to confirm the long-term effects of CBD on the brain. Hence, consuming CBD oil on grounds of wanting a constantly healthy body is always a NO-NO! In order to stay healthy, following a balanced diet and exercising regularly should be enough.
Unless absolutely necessary, staying away from CBD oil should be the wisest thing to do until strict regulation and more scientific research is available.