CBD – What is and what is not known
CBD has received extensive coverage throughout the media in recent years and consumption of CBD oils, CBD capsules and transdermal CBD patches have taken off and the UK market is estimated to be worth in the region of £400m.
How does CBD differ from Cannabis?
For those who are unfamiliar with CBD or even cannabis, there is a common question that is often asked. What is the difference between CBD and cannabis or marijuana?
CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of the cannabis plant. CBD is derived directly from the hemp plant and it doesn’t not cause the user to experience the infamous high, often associated with all cannabis based products whether it be smoking a joint or legal cannabis oils. According to a report written by the World Health Organisation CBD does not exhibit any effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. There is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.
Is CBD Legal?
CBD is totally legal in the UK so long as the THC concentration of the product is below 0.2%. However, there is new Novel Food legislation coming into force on the 31st of March 2021 that will ensure that all ingestible CBD products sold in the UK are compliant with the new legislation. Any formulated products that are not encompassed within either a raw material supplier’s application or a bespoke Novel Food application will be deemed unfit for purpose and the Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) will have a remit to remove the products from the shelves.
This new legislation provides clear guidance on the industry standards that CBD brands have to reach in order to be compliant. This will allow the industry to become more reputable and the public will begin to trust CBD products more. The stigma surrounding cannabis will slowly subside resulting in the industry becoming more valuable and the quality of the products improving.
Is there evidence for CBD health benefits?
There are numerous health issues that CBD has been proclaim to assist with and allow the sufferer a better quality of life. The strongest scientific data for CBD’s effectiveness is in treating some of the most awful childhood epilepsy syndromes, like Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Both Dravet syndrome and LGS do not typically respond to standard anti-seizure medications. Many studies suggest CBD is able to reduce the frequency of the seizures and even in some cases eradicate them all together.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety and for patients who suffer from horrendous conditions like insomnia, chronic pain and depression, many studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and with staying asleep so you have a more healthy and comfortable night’s sleep.
CBD may offer an alternate option to those who suffer with chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain illustrated using an animal study that CBD applied to the skin could help lower inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. Another study demonstrated that the mechanism which CBD uses to inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. There is a great deal more research that needs to be undertaken in humans in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain relief, pain management and pain control.
Is CBD Safe?
CBD does have side effects, these include nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level of coumadin in your blood, which is a blood thinner and CBD can raise levels of certain other medication in your bloodstream in similar way that grapefruit juice does. One safety concern with CBD is that it is primarily marketed and sold as a supplement and not as a medicine. The new novel food legislation should assure customers that the CBD they are purchasing is safe and has gone through the appropriate safety tests and is labelled correctly.
It is still unknown what the optimal therapeutic dose of CBD is for certain conditions, this means that when taking CBD for a condition people have to experiment to see what works best for them which is not ideal and a definitive dose for each medical condition would help people maximise the positive effects of CBD.
The Novel Food legislation was implemented due to some CBD manufacturers making indefensible claims and this should be put to rest in the next year with the CBD market rid of bad actors. More research is needed to prove the efficacy and safety of CBD, so consumers can have more confidence in the products and the industry as a whole. Sufficient high-quality evidence is required in human studies so scientists can pinpoint what effective doses are for different conditions. If you have underlying health conditions, it is always best to speak to your doctor before taking CBD to ensure it will not affect other medications you are currently taking.