CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It has seen a lot of interest recently, which has created a rush to establish a foothold in the rapidly-growing, emerging market. Accelerating this market boom is CBDâ€™s purported medicinal properties, and since, for the most part, the compound, found in both cannabis and hemp, is marketed as a nutritional supplement, the ability to make health claims is encumbered only by a disclaimer that the FDA has not evaluated said promises. Unsurprisingly, CBD today is marketed as a miracle cure-all, treating everything from headaches to cancer, as well as aid in mental wellness. But has the CBD market outpaced the known science?
Two of the most popular ailments that proponents claim are sleep improvement and anxiety. One recent study, published in January of 2019, found promise in using CBD to treat anxiety-related disorders but concluded that controlled, clinical studies are needed, especially in light of so much interest within the lay population.
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Pain management is another area in which CBD shows promise, with many current and retired athletes, individuals known for pushing their bodies for maximum performance, at the expense of lasting, chronic pain. Traditional pain and inflammation treatments, such as Ibuprofen, can cause long-term damage to internal organs, or in the case of more potent pain killers, like OxyContin, lead to addiction. Last year, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances, perhaps a sign of CBDâ€™s popularity and efficacy. But once again, research finds that while there is promise, no conclusive evidence exists because of a lack of consistent studies, also cautioning that longer-term trials are needed to understand the long-term effects and efficacy of CBD with regards to pain management.
The FDA has approved a pharmaceutical version of cannabidiol, sold under the name Epidiolex last summer, for the treatment of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. Both syndromes begin to affect patients in childhood, with Dravet-related seizures appearing within the first year of life. CBD helps control seizures and improve quality of life. To date, the FDA has not approved use of CBD for any other conditions however.
Despite the science of how CBD works on our minds and bodies still being less than conclusive, at least by medical standards, that hasnâ€™t stopped people from using and swearing by the curative properties of the cannabis-derived substance. And since the supplement is not as tightly regulated as medicine, those interested in using CBD should do their research into the manufacturer, and discuss it with their physician prior to use.