Whereas the legalization of marijuana has been both heavily criticized and supported, its more medical counterpart, CBD oil, has been mainly overlooked. However, within the medical community, CBD oil has recently been received with praise and speculation due to just how much of a miracle drug it is being marketed as.
First of all, the most important thing is, of course, to understand what CBD oil is. CBD oil originates from marijuana, which contains the compounds THC and CBD. Whereas THC is what causes the “high” often associated with recreational marijuana, CBD is not psychoactive and does not “change a person’s state of mind.”
CBD oil is extracted from the “Cannabis sativa plant,” a plant also “used to produce hemp and marijuana.” The oil is created from “the resin of cannabis buds and flowers and usually diluted with another oil.” It is this unique concentration that notably prevents CBD oil from containing THC, meaning that it cannot induce the same “high” as recreational marijuana, according to Parsley Health.
Considering the increase of claims that marijuana has medical benefits, the interest in CBD oil is not surprising. Already a number of studies have demonstrated that CBD oil could potentially solve everything from chronic pain to cancer. In fact, here is a full list of all of the possible benefits of CBD oil:
Pain management for those with rheumatoid arthritis
Alleviate symptoms associated with cancer treatment
Reduce the symptoms of PTSD
Help treat epilepsy
Help people quit smoking
Provide a treatment for schizophrenia
Suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction
Protect against Type 1 diabetes
Reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease
To treat Huntington’s disease
To prevent sleep disorders
As a treatment for glaucoma
(Net Doctor and Medical News Today).
Clearly, if CBD oil could really accomplish all of these, it would be a major medical breakthrough. In fact, each of these possibilities have been verified by at least one medical study, which has encouraged scientists and doctors to increase research into verifying the benefits. It is no wonder that in 2016, Forbes estimated that CBD products could be a $2.2 billion industry by 2020.
However, the major issue is the lack of ample research. So far, there have simply not been enough studies to really verify CBD oil as a safe alternative to any existing treatments. Furthermore, because CBD oil lacks the mind-altering effects of THC, it is not as heavily regulated, and potential users should note the lack of FDA regulation. In fact, this lack of regulation was evident in a study published by the journal Pediatric Neurology Briefs that “tested 84 CBD products purchased online and found that 21 percent actually contained THC.”
Another potential problem is the unpredictable nature of CBD oil. According to Sara Ward, a pharmacologist at Temple University in Philadelphia “the physiological effects of cannabinoids can vary widely from person to person, and also depend on how they’re consumed,” according to Live Science. Obviously this could drastically alter how effective or potentially harmful the drug could be to each patient.
Alice Ding (11) sees the problem as one “that can only be solved with further research,” echoing the sentiments of most scientists and researchers. Overall, the only logical solution as of now is to wait and see what future research will bring, and how the medical industry will overcome the existing barriers.