CBD and You; Is it Worth the Risk?

CBD

CBD oil is really having a moment, isn’t it? Everyone and their dog (literally), is taking it. Is it something you should look into? Is it safe for your children?

This topic in particular can get confusing quickly and I’ve referenced multiple sites here to keep everything straight. You can run a quick google search using key words like “CBD and ADHD” to find other sources. Also, Project CBD has nearly all of the current scientific studies relating to CBD listed.

The Basics

Cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are not the same thing.

Cannabis “is a family of plants with two primary classifications; Indica and Sativa. Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis sativa family.”

Cannabis contains over 400 different chemical entities, the two most well known being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). Both have been proven beneficial to humans, but THC has a psychoactive component and CBD does not. Hemp has a very low concentration of the psychoactive THC, generally .03% or less, while marijuana has a much higher concentration, around 15-25%.

This means no, CBD does not get you ‘high’.

 

Now I’m not going to get into the complex science of how these chemicals affect the mammalian body and you can review the endocannabinoid system on your own. It’s really fascinating but more in-depth than we need for this article. Also, check out how the endocannabinoid system interacts with those who have autism!

CBD and Epilepsy

While we are all familiar with the concept of medical marijuana being used to relieve pain and nausea, say in those undergoing chemo or with glaucoma, most of us don’t know much, if anything about cannabidiol.

You may have heard of Charlotte’s Web when discussing children taking CBD for epilepsy. Well, Charlotte is a real girl and she has Dravet Syndrome. CBD helped her go from having around 300 seizures a day, to ZERO that first week.

CBD has been clinically proven to reduce seizure activity in those with epilepsy, specifically Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. The FDA has approved the use of a CBD drug called, Epidiolex for these two epilepsy disorders.

“It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes Marijuana is the only thing that works… It is irresponsible not to provide the best care we can as a medical community, care that could involve Marijuana. We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that.” – Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Neurosurgeon and Professor of Neuroscience.

Unregulated

Now that we are all on the same page about CBD and its effectiveness for those with severe epilepsy, let’s find out why so many neurotypical people are using it? Especially since the FDA has not approved CBD as a regulated treatment option. What that means is, except for Epidiolex, that I mentioned earlier, CBD is unregulated. There are zero regulations on how it is created or grown or anything else. So as a consumer, you are taking the word of the company.

Should you decide to try CBD, look for high quality,local, or at least USA made product. You want to make sure the company extracts their oils using a CO2 method, as other methods can involve harsh chemicals. Look for non-GMO and organic products. And remember, quality counts! Don’t expect the over the counter CBD oil from a generic drug store to be top of the line…

Why Try It?

CBD is scientifically backed to be a neuroprotectant, an anticonvulsant, an analgesic and have anti-inflammatory properties. Now, regardless of why you might choose to use CBD, many people can benefit from any of these outcomes.

Most adults report that they were getting little or no relief from anxiety, depression, or pain using the medications their doctors had prescribed. Nearly everyone says they took to the internet and after doing what they felt was due diligence, decided to try CBD oil. If you look on the internet for something long enough, chances are, you’ll find it. Whether this is a good thing or not, is undetermined.

ADHD

This was actually the main reason I started delving into this topic. I wanted to know if CBD oil would help children with ADHD. Unfortunately, there is currently no supportive clinical research on the use of CBD to decrease hyperactivity. In fact, it was difficult to find any scientific studies on CBD and ADHD. I’ve read several articles that mention studies with positive outcomes, yet no one ever cites them…

“In one study researchers looked at 64 adolescent males divided into different groups. Some of them had ADHD, some suffered from substance abuse disorders, and some suffered from both. What researchers found was truly amazing —that CBD oil can be used to treat kids with ADHD.

Another study a few years back asked participants to describe their symptoms before and after using CBD oil. Once again, based solely on the reports from the subjects, the study found that CBD oil can be used to treat ADHD in kids.” This was found here but neither study was cited.

Anecdotally, there are many testimonies about CBD making a mild decrease in symptoms. But based on the absolute lack of studies, I can’t say I would recommend it. In fact, go ahead and read this article, if you would like a few doctors who specialize in ADHD telling you the chemical reasons why you shouldn’t try it.

Anxiety

One of the most common reasons adults turn to CBD is to address anxiety and multiple studies have shown that if used properly, it does help. In fact, that is one of the few areas that is scientifically backed up. It’s relatively easy to run a search and find several studies that discuss how CBD can be a benefit to those with anxiety, substance abuse disorders, and PTSD.

“Preclinical evidence conclusively demonstrates CBD’s efficacy in reducing anxiety behaviors relevant to multiple disorders, including PTSD, GAD, PD, OCD, and SAD, with a notable lack of anxiogenic effects.” This is straight from the results of a study titled “Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders”.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

While there is no cure for autism, CBD has been scientifically proven to help decrease a few symptoms, namely, behavioral disturbances, anxiety, and communication issues. Though there were noted sleep disturbances and a decrease in appetite. Nearly all of the studies found referencing ASD and CBD, reported tentative success, but recommended further testing. This is understandable as ASD can present itself in a variety of ways.

Pain

We’ve already established that CBD is an analgesic and studies show it can be taken to avoid opiates. It has been proven to significantly reduce pain from arthritis, and to moderately lessen the pain from both fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

Final Score

CBD can reduce pain, inflammation and anxiety. It can lessen the effects of many different disorders and diagnoses. But, it is not a cure all and should not be used without a doctors supervision if you have a medically complex case as it is unknown how CBD interacts with nearly all prescription level medications.

About the author

Jennie Shafer

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