CBD is all the rage right now, with claims that it treats a variety of medical problems and acts as a remedy for common ailments like insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Touted for its non-intoxicating qualities and health benefits, CBD almost seems too good to be true. But what is CBD, what kind of effects does it have, and is it addictive? Plus, are all the CBD products out there safe? Here are the details you need to stay informed.
What is CBD?
There are hundreds of chemicals found in cannabis1 but most often, we only hear about THC. However, CBD is another chemical found in cannabis that is becoming increasingly popular, especially for use in wellness products.
CBD is an abbreviation that stands for Cannabidiol, which is a chemical compound that is found in marijuana and hemp (a cousin of the marijuana plant).2 It is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and then diluting it with another type of oil, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil.3 Although CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana, the CBD extracted from hemp is most commonly used in CBD products because it contains less than 1 percent THC.
|THC vs. CBD: What is the Difference Between THC and CBD?||Hemp oil vs. CBD oil: What is the Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?|
|While both THC and CBD are said to have many of the same medical benefits, the two chemical compounds are different. Unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive compound and it won’t get you high, as THC will.|
|Although hemp oil and CBD oil are both derived from hemp, hemp oil is pressed from the seeds of the plant and CBD oil is extracted from the whole plant. Hemp oil does not contain THC or CBD.|
Generally speaking, there is a lack of knowledge about CBD, how it works, and how it differs from other cannabis compounds like THC. However, the primary difference between THC and CBD is that CBD is not psychoactive. In other words, it won’t get you high.
There are several different kinds of CBD products out there, including gummies, chocolates, skincare products, and even pet treats, but CBD is not yet legal in every state. The legality of it is extremely murky, and while 33 states and Washington, D.C. have passed medical marijuana laws, and 14 states have enacted CBD-explicit medical laws, CBD is not yet legal everywhere.4 In fact, three states in which marijuana is legal (New York, Maine, and Ohio) are now banning CBD edibles due to a lack of regulation regarding adding CBD to food products and the potential dangers for consumers.5
What is CBD Used For?
CBD is often touted for its medicinal qualities and may be used to alleviate or treat the following ailments and conditions:
- Pain and inflammation
- IBS (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Mental disorders6
Although CBD is praised for its medicinal uses, researchers have found that the strongest scientific evidence of its effectiveness is in treating epilepsy in children. CBD has been found to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases, even stop them completely. Studies also suggest it may be beneficial in reducing anxiety and insomnia, but according to Harvard Health Publishing, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness in treating pain.7
What are the Effects of CBD?
CBD works by interacting with certain receptors in the brain and directing the body to use more of its own cannabinoids (these are already naturally produced by the human body). In a sense, the CBD tells the body how to perceive pain and inflammation, deal with anxiety, and better balance itself in general.
So, how does CBD make you feel? This is a common question that many people ask. According to user accounts, you don’t feel high when you use it and there are no noticeable psychoactive effects. Instead, many users claim to feel less anxious, more energized, and better rested. However, CBD does have some negative side effects that people should be aware of.
Possible side effects of CBD for some users may include:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes
- Possible liver inflammation or damage (due to increased levels of liver enzymes)8
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
Although there is a limited amount of research on CBD and its effects on humans, many experts suggest that CBD stays in your system for about three to four days before it is entirely cleared from your body, but the accuracy of this timeline is still disputed. One study found that the half-life of CBD is about two to five days.9
Is CBD Addictive?
CBD is still classified as a Schedule I substance, according to the DEA, which means it has a high potential for abuse.10,11 However, the specific formulation of the FDA-approved CBD in the medication Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome, was re-scheduled as a Schedule V drug in 2018.12
According to a 2017 report from the World Health Organization, the results of human studies have not shown CBD to be addictive.13 Regardless, it’s important to note that the number of human studies that have been conducted is extremely limited at this point. More research needs to be done.
What are the Risks of CBD?
Just because CBD is not considered an addictive drug doesn’t mean using it is completely risk-free. So, is CBD safe? The short answer is, not entirely. There are a few major risks associated with it.
- There is a lack of regulation. The murky legal status of CBD and its lack of regulation is not only confusing for consumers, but it’s also potentially unsafe. Even though CBD is marketed and sold as a supplement and many health companies add it to edibles, protein drinks, skin care products, and more, under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, CBD can’t be legally sold in conventional foods or dietary supplements.14
- People who use CBD products may not know exactly what they are consuming. Since there are no labeling standards or dosage guidelines for CBD products, these products may contain higher levels of THC than the consumer is aware of. In fact, one 2017 study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that almost 70 percent of CBD products sold online are incorrectly labeled and could cause serious harm to consumers.8
- There is a lack of research regarding efficacy. Although researchers have found that CBD can be effective in treating certain ailments and conditions, according to Harvard Health Publishing, we still don’t yet know the most effective dose of CBD for any particular medical condition.7
- Not all of CBD’s touted health benefits have been proven. As noted earlier in this article, although research has provided strong evidence that CBD may be effective in treating epilepsy, the benefits of using CBD for other purposes is still largely unproven. In most cases, CBD’s promising results for other ailments have mostly come from animal studies, with very few human studies.15
CBD: Do the Risks Outweigh the Potential Benefits?
At this point, it’s safe to say that the risks of using CBD may very well outweigh its potential benefits, especially for someone who has struggled with substance abuse problems in the past. Although CBD may not be addictive in the same way other drugs like cocaine or heroin are, users could still develop an unhealthy relationship with CBD due to false beliefs about its medicinal qualities instead of developing coping mechanisms to deal with life’s circumstances.
New drugs and supplements like CBD will always be emerging, but if you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse or addictive behaviors involving illegal substances, treatment is available, and you don’t have to be ashamed to ask for help. Call Nova Recovery Center today to speak with a member of our admissions team and receive more information on our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.