Cannabidiol (CBD), which is extracted from hemp, seems like a promising treatment for conditions involving psychological discomfort and chronic pain. CBD’s popularity as a powerful treatment for various conditions has led numerous sellers to emerge with their own products, with CBD oil being the most common.
However, this sudden boost in popularity is met with skepticism, primarily because hemp, the main source of CBD, is a cannabis genus that is related to marijuana, which contains the infamous cannabinoid THC. This leads a lot of people to wonder if it’s actually safe and legal to use.
In the U.S. around 30 states have legalized the use of cannabis for either recreational or medicinal purposes. Additionally, the recent 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized the cultivation and products extracted from industrial hemp under certain conditions (different from marijuana plants.) However, the issue remains as to the safety of the CBD products that people use.
The Issue of Safety
It’s difficult for regulating authorities like the FDA to classify CBD as safe because the central question is whether it’s a medicinal drug or a food supplement. While medicinal drugs are considered unsafe to use until proven safe, food supplements are considered safe until proven otherwise.
There are no recorded instances of disruptive long-term effects of CBD use or negative reactions between different medicinal drugs (Palleria C, 2017). In fact, studies show that humans can handle large CBD doses of up to 1500mg per day (Zuardi AW, 1995).
The Real Risks
The real debate surrounding CBD safety doesn’t focus on how safe the compound actually is, but rather the quality of products that suppliers provide to customers. Specifically, researchers are concerned with regard to the contaminants that these products can contain.
What is it Safe for?
The wave of CBD use and its therapeutic effects started when parents started using it to treat epileptic symptoms in their children, who suffered from Dravet syndrome. This was followed by trials and research that proved the claim (Devinsky O, 2017). In addition, there is clinical evidence that CBD is an effective and safe treatment for conditions like anxiety (National Academies of Sciences, 2017), schizophrenia (McGuire P, 2018), and even Parkinson’s disease (Chagas MH, 2014).
Aside from these conditions, a large number of CBD users consume products for self-medicating and treating chronic pain (Russo, 2008), which is associated with autoimmune diseases like diabetes.
How is CBD Different from Medicinal Drugs?
Aside from being a safe alternative to conventional medication, it also has minimal side effects on the body. Medicinal drugs are classified into categories like NSAIDs, non-narcotics, and opioids, all of which can have drastic side effects on the body.
The most usual side effects include symptoms, like dizziness and nausea. Statistics show that prescription medication is the leading cause of more deaths than illicit drugs, and overdose death rates have risen significantly from only a decade ago.
Take chronic pain, for instance; it’s something that many patients need to take medication such as Vicodin or Tylenol to manage. Over time, these drugs can lead to addiction as well as other side effects. Comparatively, CBD can effectively reduce muscle spasms and alleviate pain, without inducing long-term side effects.
One Helps with Pain, While One Helps the Body
Although both are effective at what they do, it’s an unfair assumption to think that prescription medication and CBD do the same thing. While analgesics work to relieve the pain and nothing more, CBD stimulates the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which helps the body in healing itself over time. Agreed, it isn’t fast, but it’s effective (Fine, 2013).
CBD and Addiction
Let’s not forget that unlike prescription medication, patients can’t get addicted to CBD. Although the 1970 Controlled Substances and Drugs Act may say otherwise, the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence released a new report, explaining how this isn’t the case.
It would be rather far-fetched to say that all medication that doctors prescribe is harmful to our bodies. Many of them actually provide much-needed relief. However, the abuse of such medication, especially in the cases of drug addicts, who need to reduce symptoms, can be dangerous.
Opioids function by allowing the user to experience an artificial euphoria, which is a result of producing endorphins and dopamine. To experience it again, a user will need to take the drugs again. Over time, their body fails to produce these hormones on its own, which can lead to dependence and abuse when they take more of the substance in order to create the same effect.
CBD works differently than opioids. It doesn’t cause a euphoric effect, so it’s not possible to get addicted in the first place. They do, however, ease pain and allow your body to focus on healing itself.
The Different Ways of Consuming CBD
CBD is a cannabinoid similar to THC, but while the latter is usually available to smoke or mixed in butter to make brownies, the former is commonly found in a variety of forms. This includes gummies, oils, topical creams and lotions, and vape liquids.
This means that you can mix it in your food, take it directly, eat it in measured portion sizes, apply it to the desired area or smoke it. The kind of CBD you use highly depends upon what condition you have and what you find most convenient, even though all methods are fairly effective.
It’s an all-rounder approach; it allows your entire body to benefit from CBD use, but this is subjective too. You see, taking CBD oil directly by placing it under your tongue lets it go into your bloodstream directly, so the effects are somewhat quicker. Comparatively, adding it to juice or a smoothie also does the trick, but it takes much longer.
It does, however, make it much easier to give children, who may need the supplement to deal with seizures or pain. Despite the efficacy, it’s critical that you choose to buy CBD oil from a reputable supplier because contaminants and additives can do more harm than good.
Vaping is considered to be a new trend but many health authorities are still on the fence about it. Vaping CBD also has a similar effect because it allows the cannabinoid to rapidly enter the bloodstream.
Here at Real Good products, we don’t carry products designed specifically for vaping (although we do have some that can also be used as vape oil.) It seems like many instances of contamination come from vape-related CBD products, and we’re not willing to take that risk for our customers.
Usually found in the form of gummies or chocolate, they contain a fixed amount of CBD per edible. It’s much easier to regulate your consumption instead of guessing how many drops you’ve taken. Even though there is little proof that you can overdose on CBD, you still want to avoid taking more than you need.
Many people prefer taking CBD this way because it is easy, convenient, and discreet. Just keep in mind that edibles can contain various other ingredients as well, like artificial sweeteners, gelatin, and artificial colors. Although these aren’t generally harmful, you should be wary of using such products if you have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients.
These are useful for relieving pain, discomfort, and inflammation from the outside. Applying a CBD-infused cream, gel or lotion to the skin doesn’t allow it to pass into the bloodstream. Nonetheless, it’s ideal for people who would only prefer to use it as a means of reducing pain from the outside.
In some cases, applying CBD topically can benefit a user more than consuming it, so it just depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
How to Ensure Safe CBD Use
It’s true that CBD offers a ton of benefits to your body, but it’s still crucial that you take certain steps to ensure that you’re using it safely.
Consult Your Doctor
You should always consult with your physician to make sure that you should be taking CBD, especially if you’re using prescription drugs.
You should always start CBD use (after consulting with your physician) by supplementing it with your current routine rather than replacing your medication completely (unless that’s what your doctor advises.)
CBD and Drug Interactions
The main reason why it’s so important that you talk to your doctor first is that your current medication can interact with CBD to create a harmful reaction. Just like all supplements, CBD can hinder the efficacy of certain medications.
For example, at high concentrations, CBD can have a counter-effect on the liver’s enzymes, which processes certain drugs. Hence, make sure to ask your doctor whether you’re taking any medication that CBD use can interfere with and if there’s a way that you can take it safely.
Look For a Proper Supplier
Since there’s a lack of regulation, almost everyone with a little experience has started making their own CBD tinctures. At the same time, there’s no certified and official training for people who handle these products, so there’s no way to be sure whether what you’re using is completely safe.
This is one of the reasons we carefully select suppliers that can back the quality and purity of their products with independent third party lab tests.
Check if there’s THC
THC, CBD’s psychoactive cousin, is also present in hemp plants, albeit in a much lower concentration. For example, products we offer at RealGoodHemp.com have no more than 0.3% THC, and we offer products that have none.
This can be important not only for people who want to avoid the “high” associated with marijuana, but also for people concerned about their ability to pass a drug test.
The Safety Problem with CBD Vape Liquids
Since CBD regulation fails to fall under one authority, you’ll encounter a good many problems while looking for the perfect tincture to help you’re your chronic pain or anxiety. Despite being wholesome and beneficial by nature, you can’t turn a blind eye toward the harmful effects that contaminants can cause, especially in the case of CBD vape liquids.
Mislabeling and Adulteration
Research by VCU showed that many of the CBD e-liquids in the sample had mislabeled the concentration of CBD in the vape (L.Poklis). Among the sample size of ten different products, two contained more THC than labeled, which has psychoactive effects on the body and mind.
If suppliers make a mistake in processing a hemp plant, it can further lead to complications when the liquid is burned and smoked. For instance, the waxy material on a plant’s leaves needs to be broken down before extracting CBD. Otherwise, smoking such an e-liquid can cause the waxy material to accumulate inside the lungs, which can result in irritation.
Lack of Regulation
According to health officials, these factors, among various others, make vaping CBD the most risk-prone of all the other methods. These e-liquids can also be laced with synthetic cannabinoids, which don’t work the same way as the real thing.
The biggest issue stems from the fact that there is no regulation on the production of such products, so it can be difficult for users to vape CBD safely and cautiously.
Now, if you’re asking why users can’t just smoke CBD oil itself, the problem is its consistency; CBD oil is too thick to flow through a vape pen, and it would require a thinning agent in order to be smokeable.
Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?
After looking through so many factors, you might be wondering if the benefits outweigh the risk. That’s a decision only you are qualified to make.
We all know that the reality is far more complex and that the only way to wholly benefit from CBD use is to do so with caution. Although there are certain safety issues, the same often applies to FDA-regulated medication.
We started RealGoodHemp.com because we believe that non-THC cannabinoids can provide tremendous benefits to users. We hope to earn a spot as your trusted source for industrial hemp products.
This article was originally written by Brandi Marcene for RealGoodHemp.com. We provided some edits, and this represents the best of our knowledge at the time. We encourage you to do your own research. We did before we started using CBD.
Chagas MH, Z. A.-P. (2014). Effects of cannabidiol in the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease: an exploratory double-blind trial. J Psychopharmacol , 1088-1098.
Devinsky O, C. J. (2017). Trial of cannabidiol for drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome. New Engl J Med .
Fine, P. G. (2013). The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Med J .
L.Poklis, J. (n.d.). The unexpected identification of the cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and dextromethorphan in commercially available cannabidiol e-liquids.
McGuire P, R. P. (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD) as an adjunctive therapy in schizophrenia: a multicenter randomized controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry , 225-231.
National Academies of Sciences, E. a. (2017). The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: the current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Washington, National Academies Press .
Palleria C, C. G. (2017). Safety profile of the newest antiepileptic drugs: a curated literature review. Curr Pharm Des , 5606–5624.
Russo, E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutic and Clinical Risk Management , 245-259.
Zuardi AW, M. S. (1995). Mechoulam R: Antipsychotic effect of cannabidiol. J Clin Psychiatry , 485–486.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
As with any dietary or nutritional supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor or a trained medical professional. It’s also important to keep in mind that the information in this article should not be considered medical advice.
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