CBD is gaining attention as a remedy for a number of ailments ranging from epilepsy to anxiety. While many consider it a safe cannabis compound, limited research on its ramifications requires caution by users while administering it.
According to Lindsay Slowiczek, PharmD, “It’s important to start with a low dose until you know how your body will react to CBD. A wide range of CBD dosages has been tested in clinical studies, but more evidence is needed before safe and effective dose recommendations can be made for specific uses.”
Currently CBD products can be broken down into five main categories: Oils, Pills, Vapes, Topical Creams and Edibles. Each product category might contain safe doses of CBD for an individual. But users must be wary of the compound effect of taking these different product varieties together.
According to toxicologist Thomas Lewandowski , adults must keep their consumption levels below 1500 mg. “Exposure to CBD products as directed seems to be safe, but manufacturers need to understand how their products may be used in ways they don’t entirely expect,” Lewandowski said.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a natural marijuana compound that is gaining increasing attention as an alternate medicine. The structure of the CBD compound is chemically similar to the human body’s endocannabinoids. This allows it to react with the cannabinoid receptors, affecting communication between cells.
Most of this information exchange is between cells that have roles in immune function, pain, sleep, stress etc. This is why CBD is known for its effectiveness for soothing symptoms of epilepsy, anxiety, various types of cancers and much more.
CBD also has a competitive advantage over THC, another cannabis compound. While THC may have psychoactive side-effects upon users, CBD is considered as a much safer version.
Effectiveness of CBD as an alternate medicine
A nationally representative survey conducted was by Consumer Reports whereby 1,300 adults were studied. About 13% of the participants claimed that they had used CBD to treat a health issue. Out of these CBD users, about 90% of those who used it said that the product really helped them.
Despite of numerous success stories, there is still a lack of studies on the effectiveness and safety of CBD. The lack of research stems from legislative regulations that have surrounded the cannabis industry since its infancy. These regulations do not allow using federal money for research into the ‘effectiveness’ of a Schedule 1 drug.
However, as more and more individuals and healthcare professionals are trying CBD for treatment, procedures to use it effectively are being developed.
In New Jersey, for example, the state’s health commissioner Shereef Elnahal, M.D has started taking initiatives. By meeting regularly with students and physicians, he hopes to help them understand the proper use of CBD. Out of his 200-300 visitors, the percentage of physicians seek information largely because their patients are already trying CBD.
Expert tips on using CBD effectively
When considering CBD as an alternative medicinal treatment, users should be ware of a few important facts.
Like any other product in the market, CBD also has varying qualities and potencies. This is why experts suggest buying products from states that have legalized both medicinal and recreational use of cannabis. As a result of the stricter standards in these areas, users will most likely get what they are paying for.
In addition to this, there are some key points which CBD users should keep in mind when considering it as an alternative treatment option:
CBD is NOT a Cure-all
CBD is used to help with a number of conditions including seizures, depression, psychosis and mental disorders.
Epidiolex was the first FDA approved prescription medication that was launched in 2018 for treating severe forms of epilepsy. The success rate of this medicine has been phenomenal with some patients. After just 14 weeks of taking the CBD infused medicine , seizures reduced by 42% to 40%.
But according to Donald Abrams, an oncologist, “The data in the medical literature in regards to what CBD does is limited to a handful of randomized controlled trials, prior to the Epidiolex studies.”
This is why it is important to keep in mind that while CBD might be effective for some conditions, others lack clinical proof.
Consultation with Healthcare Provider is necessary
For ruling out any probable drug interactions, it is very important to inform the healthcare provider about the supplements, drugs and dosages that are being administered by an individual.
CBD might impact the effectiveness of other medications
According to Donald Abrams, ” Highly concentrated CBD tinctures may interfere with the liver enzyme system that metabolizes a lot of pharmaceuticals.”
Some researches have indicated that CBD can reduce the efficacy of some drugs and higher doses can have dangerous side-effects upon interaction.