What is CBD — and is it safe?

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You see it advertised, but what is CBD, and does it really have health benefits? Is it safe?

CBD, which comes from the cannibis plant has been credited with relieving anxiety, inflammation, insomnia and pain, although currently there is little scientific proof that CBD works, except for epilepsy.

In Missouri, there are no regulations on purchasing CBD products besides hemp source and THC content restrictions. CBD may be purchased in wellness centers, dispensaries, vape shops, grocery markets and convenience stores. In addition, there are also online stores selling CBD that can be accessed in Missouri.

In 2018, the U.S. Congress passed and signed into law the Agriculture Improvement Act. This law removed hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, effectively legalizing CBD if it comes from hemp. However, a few states have not removed hemp from their state’s controlled substances acts, so the legality of CBD products differs across states.

THC VS. CBD
Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant, which makes a thick substance full of compounds called cannabinoids. The cannabis plant produces more than 100 cannabinoids, including the two main ones, CBD and THC, which cause drug-like reactions in your body. THC is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant. It’s what makes you feel “high” when you smoke marijuana or eat an edible.

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It’s also made from the cannabis plant. CBD is related to THC, but it’s not psychoactive, so it doesn’t make you “high” like THC does. CBD is easier to find in the U.S. than THC, but each state has different laws and restrictions on selling CBD.

CBD comes in many forms, including oils, extracts, patches, vapes and topical lotions, and it’s said to have various health benefits. It’s also the active ingredient in Epidiolex, the first medication made from a marijuana ingredient approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy.

IS CBD A MEDICINE?
Scientists are still learning about how CBD affects the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a medicine that contains purified CBD from hemp, to help treat rare seizure disorders. The FDA has concluded that this drug is safe and effective for this intended use. However, other marketed products and uses of CBD may not be FDA approved.

Animal studies and self-reports or research in humans suggest CBD may also help with:

  • Anxiety. Studies and clinical trials are exploring the common report that CBD can reduce anxiety.
  • Insomnia. Studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
  • Chronic pain. Further human studies are needed to substantiate claims that CBD helps control pain. One animal study from the European Journal of Pain suggests CBD could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis when applied to skin. Other research identifies how CBD may inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are difficult treat.
  • Addiction. CBD can help lower cravings for tobacco and heroin under certain conditions, according to some research in humans. Animal models of addiction suggest it may also help lessen cravings for alcohol, cannabis, opiates and stimulants.

BUT IS CBD SAFE?
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.

Though it’s often well-tolerated, CBD can cause side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications you’re taking, such as blood thinners. Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products.

CBD use during pregnancy is not recommended. The potential health effects of using CBD products during pregnancy are currently unknown. In animals, high doses of CBD have caused negative effects on developing fetuses.


 

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