(by Dennis Thompson, HealthDay News) — Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become the hot new product in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
The non-intoxicating marijuana extract is being credited with helping treat a host of medical problems — everything from epileptic seizures to anxiety to inflammation to sleeplessness.
But experts say the evidence is scant for most of these touted benefits.
Worse, CBD is being produced without any regulation, resulting in products that vary widely in quality, said Marcel Bonn-Miller, an adjunct assistant professor of psychology in psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
“It really is the Wild West,” Bonn-Miller said. “Joe Bob who starts up a CBD company could say whatever the [heck] he wants on a label and sell it to people.”
Cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It does not produce intoxication; marijuana’s “high” is caused by the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
As of May 2018, CBD oil is legal in 30 states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, according to Governing magazine.
Seventeen additional states have CBD-specific laws on the books as of May 2018, according to Prevention magazine. Those are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Only one purported use for cannabidiol, to treat epilepsy, has significant scientific evidence supporting it.
“That’s really the only area where the evidence has risen to the point where the FDA has said this is acceptable to approve a new drug,” said Timothy Welty, chair of the department of clinical sciences at Drake University’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, in Des Moines, Iowa.
For the rest of CBD’s potential uses, there is simply too little evidence to make a firm conclusion.
For example, some human clinical trials suggest that CBD could be effective in treating symptoms of anxiety, particularly social anxiety, Bonn-Miller said.
“There’s no control, so it’s basically how do you know if we’re dealing with the true effect of the drug or just simply a placebo effect because somebody thinks they’ve been given a drug that will be beneficial?” Welty said.
There also are concerns about both the quality of CBD oil being produced and its potential side effects, the experts added.
“CBD is kind of a tricky drug because it’s not very well absorbed orally,” Welty explained. “Less than 20 percent of the drug is absorbed orally. If it isn’t made in the right way, you may not be getting much drug into your systemic circulation.”
Worse, about 1 in 5 CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC, Bonn-Miller and his colleagues found.
“That’s a problem because THC can increase anxiety. It can actually make seizures worse. Those are the sorts of things you need to be careful about,” Bonn-Miller said.”If I were a consumer, purchasing it for myself or my kid, I would want to test it so that I knew what it actually had in it, because I couldn’t trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded.
1. Answer the following questions about this commentary:
a) Why do CBC products vary widely in quality?
b) What is Epidiolex? (Note: For the rest of CBD’s potential uses, there is simply too little evidence to make a firm conclusion.)
c) There is no regulation or quality control of CBC products. For what reasons is the lack of regulation concerning?
2. What is the main idea of this commentary?
3. The purpose of an editorial/commentary is to explain, persuade, warn, criticize, entertain, praise or answer. What do you think is the purpose of Mr. Thompson’s editorial? Explain your answer.
4. Who would have an ulterior motive for promoting CBD oil or for questioning the use of CBD oil?