Via the HuffPost, experts weigh in on the many ways that CBD effects the human body and the mind in this new feature, written by Colleen Travers.
If it seems like everyone’s selling CBD (short for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis plant), that’s because they probably are.
Unfortunately, most of these sources are unregulated, said Dr. Jordan Tishler, member of the medical advisory board at cannabisMD and president of the Association of Cannabis Specialists. This means that if you’re not careful about where you’re buying CBD from, you may actually be buying a product that contains little or no CBD at all.
“Many over-the-counter CBD products contain no CBD, or worse, may have dangerous ingredients in them like heavy metals or opiates,” Tishler said.
And it’s these easy access options, such as online retailers and even gas stations, touting CBD products that often leave people skeptical of it. But that shouldn’t necessarily be the case either, said Dr. Ethan Russo, director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute.
“It’s easy to say because of the profusion of [CBD on the market] that it’s all witchcraft or snake oil, but that’s not the case,” Russo said. “CBD is a very versatile medicine that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves over the decades.”
The other tricky part is that there haven’t been enough clinical studies conducted with CBD yet. And while there are plenty of anecdotal studies out there, this can make it difficult for physicians to educate both themselves and patients about CBD.
So, what does CBD actually do? Here, experts break down what they know for sure, including its role in your body, how much you need to feel its effects and what you should know before buying it.
You may experience less inflammation.
According to Dr. Rahul Khare, founder of Innovative Express Carein Chicago, CBD attaches indirectly to cannabinoid receptors in the body (these are responsible for a variety of functions throughout the body such as appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory). This process can also help decrease inflammation. In turn, CBD may help reduce chronic pain for some people.
“CBD won’t completely take the pain away like a morphine would,” Khare said, “but it may decrease it to a point where it makes the pain more tolerable.”
A review published in the journal Molecules found thatmedications containing CBD from a cannabis plant may be able to enhance a patient’s drug treatment for chronic pain and inflammation conditions. But note: They may work as a complement rather than a replacement to treatment, and one that is very dependent on the preparation, dosage and formulation.
You may feel less anxiety.
“People talk about CBD as being non-psychoactive, which isn’t quite true in the sense that if CBD were helping you with anxiety, then it would be psychoactive as it’s acting on your emotional well-being,” Tishler said.
In this instance, psychoactive doesn’t mean intoxicating, as is often associated with THC. Research published in the journal Neurotherapeutics found that CBD may help short-term in cases of generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.
It’s also worth noting that cannabis with a higher CBD-to-THC ratio were used, and researchers found lower anxiety levels in THC-induced anxiety (a common side effect of THC) when administered together as opposed to using CBD alone.
A separate study from The University of Montana found that CBD may attach itself to a serotonin 1A receptor in the brain, which has been a found mediator of anxiety, Russo said.