The last thing I thought I would be posting about is CBD oil. I am not a proponent of legalized marijuana. Having worked in support services for law enforcement we do not need more reasons for people to drive under the influence and create traffic hazards. That said, I felt it was necessary to address the popularity of CBD oil.
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is available in the states that have legalized medical marijuana. I live in California, a state that has done so. So I had a friend ask me if I would recommend CBD oil as a natural remedy for pain. I told her I didn’t know enough about it to recommend it. But with it’s popularity I figured I needed to be better informed. Hence the reason for this post. In fact, through the program I am using for ads to be posted to my site (and thus getting a small percentage of the cost if a person purchases through the link), I see that there are ads for CBD. This is another reason for me to research this topic. I hope to answer these questions. Is it safe? What research has been done? Is it effective?
The oil is made from the flowers and buds of marijuana or hemp plants. It may or may not contain the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the high one gets from marijuana use. Some sites I researched said it didn’t contain THC, but some sites said it did. (See VeryWell Health.) Popular claims are that it can help ease pain and inflammation, ease anxiety, help you sleep better, and have some effect on epileptic seizures. An article in WebMD states that there isn’t much evidence or studies to back up these claims. (This is an excellent article and I recommend you check it out if you want more information.) Furthermore, there is currently no regulation for the oil, which means that the product quality is very questionable.
Is It Safe?
So, is it safe to use? Some sources say it isn’t. Some say it is. Apparently the World Health Organization weighed in on November 2017. The link is the report from Expert Committee on Drug Dependence in Geneva . Now what I read on page 31 of this report is that there doesn’t seem to be a relation between use of CBD and dependence. So, we can say that use of CBD oil doesn’t cause dependence on the oil. But I didn’t find information on research about whether or not it is safe to use. Shouldn’t we all want information about the safety of something we put in or on our bodies? I couldn’t find anything that addressed this.
And what about side effects? The main side effects appear to be light headedness, drowsiness, dry mouth and a lowering in blood pressure. It is recommended that pregnant women not use the oil. That’s enough reason for me to conclude it just isn’t safe. And for the time being CBD oil is not regulated. This means you don’t really know what you are getting or what the quality is. These are good reasons to be cautious in using this oil.
What About Research?
A study that stated there were benefits to Multiple Sclerosis patients from use in a nasal spray (Sativex, GW Pharmaceuticals), states that it may have some positive effect on certain symptoms. But there is no data if used alone. This particular product is also not available in the United States. Other limited studies have been done regarding issues such as social anxiety, bipolar disease, Parkinson’s, and insomnia but the results are not conclusive. (See this link.) Most of these studies are from animal testing. However, I did see more positive studies that stated that cannabis was effective for pain and inflammation treatment. (Go here for more information.) These studies report that marijuana can actually help with pain relief. But that is another topic. Given my objections to any substance that impairs my brain, I am not willing to recommend marijuana use. There seems to be scant information regarding studies on humans and the use of oil. I am also concluding that more testing and research needs to be done to decide if there are actual benefits from the oil. The studies just don’t exist. The proponents of CBD oil are quick to say there are so many uses for the oil, but I just can’t find the data to back that up.
Is It Effective?
Effectiveness has not been proven either. The use of cannabis has been studied and conclusions are that it is effective. But there just isn’t information about the effectiveness of the oil. Further studies are needed. Why put something on you or in you that may not be effective? Or even spend money on it?
The reason I am writing this article is because I have chronic pain. I am always researching natural remedies for my pain. The popularity of this product forced me to research it. Normally I want nothing to do with marijuana or anything related to it. I confess a strong bias.
Because the oil isn’t regulated and because there is hardly any data on the oil’s effectiveness, I am choosing to not use or recommend the oil as a natural remedy for pain. My anti-drug philosophy also strongly influences my views. I continue to search for natural remedies, and have posted on this site regarding some of the modalities that have helped me. See my posts: Pain and suffering; is there hope in a natural remedy? or Other Natural Pain Remedies. I am also in the process of checking out filters for the ads on my site so that I do not promote CBD oil.
If you do choose to use CBD oil, there is strong recommendation that you consult with your primary care physician. I hope they are better informed about this topic. I intend to ask my doctor the next time I see her.
I am open to discussion on this topic and welcome comments. I would especially appreciate information regarding studies of the effectiveness, safety, research and regulation of CBD oil. Please leave your comments below.