The CBD industry is thriving with conservative estimates projecting it to hit $16 billion in the USA by 2025. The plant extract is already being added to breath sprays, toothpicks, and even cheeseburgers. Over 60% of people that use CBD have done so for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 individuals conducted by the Brightfield Group, which is a cannabis market research firm.
Insomnia, chronic pain, and depression are other reasons why people use CBD. For instance, Kim Kardashian turned to CBD when she started to “freak out” over the birth of her fourth child. Bubba Watson, who is a professional golfer, uses CBD to help him sleep better. Martha Stewart’s French bulldog also uses CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a lesser-known compound found in the cannabis plant; its more famous counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in cannabis that’s responsible for the “high” experienced by users. The plant traces its roots back to Central Asia, where it is believed to have been first used medicinally or for rituals around 750 B.C. Still, there have been other estimates.
THC and CBD are just two of the cannabis sativa plant’s over 100 cannabinoids. THC is psychoactive while CBD may or may not be, which is a matter of debate. THC may increase anxiety, but it is still not clear what the effect of CBD actually is, if any, when it comes to reducing it. THC can lead to cravings and addiction while CBD is currently being studied to aid those in recovery.
Cannabis that contains 0.3% or less of THC is hemp. While the recent Farm Bill in the United States legalised hemp under federal law, it still retained the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of cannabis-derived products such as Sativa Gold.
What Are the Claims?
CBD is marketed as offering relief for depression and anxiety, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also marketed to promote sleep. Part of the reason for the popularity of CBD is that it purports not to be psychoactive and that users can enjoy health benefits from using it without the high.
Just as hemp seedlings have started to sprout up throughout the USA, so has the marketing. From nasal sprays and oils to suppositories and lollipops, it seems that there isn’t a place that’s too sacred for CBD. Dr Brad Ingram, who is an associate professor of paediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Centre refers to CBD as a “monster that has taken over the room” considering all the wild uses for it currently. He is currently leading a clinical trial into the administration of CBD to teenagers and children suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy.
Is CBD Effective?
James MacKillop, who’s the co-director of McMaster University Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Hamilton, Ontario says that CBD is promising in many different therapeutic avenues since it is relatively safe.
A purified CBD extract, known as Epidiolex, was approved by the FDA last year for treating rare seizure disorders in patients two years or older after 3 randomised, double-bind and placebo-controlled clinical trials involving 516 patients, which showed that if taken along with other medications, CBD can help reduce seizures. Such studies are the gold standard in medicine whereby participants are divided by chance and either the investigator not the subject know which group is taking the medication or the placebo.
While there’s hope when it comes to treating other conditions with CBD, Epidiolex is still the only CBD-derived drug that the FDA has approved. Much of the research on cannabidiol has involved animals and its current popularity has outpaced science.