CBD oil: Is it safe?
As an increasing number of states legalize medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana, the market for cannabis products has exploded. One of these products, cannabidiol (CBD) oil, has gained recent popularity for its purported ability to reduce pain, insomnia and anxiety without producing any “highs” like its psychoactive cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
But is it as safe and effective as its advocates say it is?
CBD is an active ingredient derived from cannabis. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in late December 2018, industrial hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC), from which CBD oil can be made, is now considered legal. The FDA, however, will continue to regulate any marijuana- or hemp-based cannabis products marketed to have therapeutic benefits.
“CBD oil has reportedly had benefits in behavioral conditions such as anxiety and PTSD along with helping with sleep disorders and pain management. However, the use of CBD has only been approved for safety and effectiveness by the FDA for specific childhood epilepsy conditions,” cautions Dr. Desler Javier, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
Dr. Javier adds that though there have been studies citing benefits of CBD oil in multiple medical conditions ranging from anxiety to even skin disorders, much more research needs to be done to validate the safe and effective use of CBD oil for conditions other than epilepsy.
There are also risks with taking CBD products. In addition to experiencing side effects such as drowsiness, lethargy and sedation, CBD has also been associated with liver toxicity, especially when taken with other types of drugs. For this reason, consumers interested in purchasing CBD products should speak with their physician about the potential risks with its use, Dr. Javier says.
*Editor’s note: A previous version of this article did not include the 2018 Farm Bill legislation around the legality of CBD.
About the Author
Jaimie Oh, health enews contributor, is regional manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has nearly a decade of experience working in publishing, strategic communications and marketing. Outside of work, Jaimie trains for marathons with the goal of running 50 races before she turns 50 years old.