When it comes to CBD or Cannabidiol, you have surely heard what is said about the health benefits of this little known part of the marijuana plant, which comes from its flowers. Some say it relieves muscle aches, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, chronic pain and more.
What Does The Science Say?
Dr. Susan Weiss, an expert from the National Institutes of Health is the source of the information you'll see layed out in this article. Dr. Weiss is the director of the External Research Division of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
What is CBD?
CBD (or cannabidiol) comes from the cannabis plant (marijuana).
The chemical compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part of the cannabis plant that most people know because it is the one that produces the euphoric effect. Most of the effects of marijuana that people have heard about are caused by THC.
Most recreational marijuana has very little CBD. CBD products are sold in dispensaries, health food stores, mini markets and online. It is a widely used product that is not regulated and it is illegal to sell it for its health benefits, which for the most part have not been proven.
How does CBD work?
No one really knows the reason for the benefits attributed to him for mental and physical health. CBD acts on the body's serotonin system, which controls moods. It also influences other signaling pathways, but we still do not understand the mechanisms of action.
What is known about CBD as a treatment?
They say CBD treats more than 50 health problems.
We know that in some children, CBD contributes to the control of serious seizure disorders, such as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes, which have not responded to other treatments. Epidiolex is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that contains CBD and can be used for this purpose.
There are also data that suggest that CBD has potential as a treatment for schizophrenia and substance use disorders. But these possible uses are still in very early stages of development.
Are there any side effects?
At this time, we do not know of any serious side effects. But mild side effects, mainly gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, have been reported in epilepsy studies. Some interactions between medications have also been reported. That is why for safety reasons it is important that CBD and any cannabis product go through the Food and Drug Administration review process.
Are specific studies on CBD being done?
We are interested in the possibility of using CBD as a treatment for substance use disorders.
This is being investigated for opioid, tobacco and alcohol use disorders. If CBD helped prevent relapses in these cases, that would be really interesting. We are also interested in the treatment of pain. Finding less addictive pain medications would be very useful for many people.
We are concerned about exaggerated or incorrect health claims. The FDA has sent warning letters to several companies for stating unproven things about the health benefits of CBD. And in addition, their products did not always have the amount of CBD indicated on the label and, worse still, some had THC.
Another concern is that people use CBD to treat diseases for which there are FDA-approved medications. So you could be missing more effective treatments. And the uses of CBD and other cannabis products for unproven purposes are also worrisome.