The use of CBD oil has exploded in recent years. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2019, 1 in 7 American adults have used CBD oil. With many doctors limiting the prescription of opioids due to the opioid epidemic, it’s no surprise that pain relief is one of the most popular reasons people turn to CBD oil. Americans have begun using CBD oil for many other ailments too.
Today, CBD oil products can easily be purchased over-the-counter online and even at some grocery stores. But before you begin using CBD oil, here are some things you should know to help you use it effectively.
1. CBD oil is legal in all 50 states
A recent change in federal law is one of the reasons why CBD oil has become so widespread. Cannabis has been used as an herbal medicine for centuries, but in the United States, its use has been restricted. Cannabis is listed as a scheduled drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and as a schedule 1 with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. However, the passage of the 2014 Agricultural Act and the 2018 Farm Bill, which distinguished between hemp (the main source of CBD) and marijuana (the main source of THC), allowed CBD oil to be used legally by consumers across the United States as long as it contains no more than 0.3% of THC.
2. CBD oil is not intoxicating
The most common misconception about CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, one of the many phytocannabinoids, is that it is can be psychotropic or give users a “high,” which is false.
The compound predominately responsible for that effect is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD itself is not intoxicating. In fact, some sources say CBD can counteract the “high” from THC. CBD is derived from agricultural hemp (cannabis sativa) and products made from the plant parts or extracts, including flowers, contain no more than 0.3% THC.
3. CBD oil can be used to treat many conditions by adults and children
CBD oil can help treat many conditions not only among adults, but children too. In fact, there is an FDA-approved purified CBD pharmaceutical used to treat some forms of pediatric seizures, such as Dravet syndrome.
In addition, pain, anxiety and support for stress are among the most common conditions CBD oil is used for. With reports that one-third of Americans suffer from chronic pain, CBD can be a very effective option that can help reduce the amount of pain medication needed.
Other conditions CBD may be effective for include sleep disturbance, occasional inflammation resulting from exercise and daily activities, elevation of mood/general well-being and relaxation.
4. CBD oil may be a better option than smoking marijuana and using other forms of CBD
CBD comes in a wide variety of products, including creams and patches to use topically, but oil is still the most common and a good place to start. It is very shelf stable and easy to take.
While it is now legal in some states to use recreational marijuana, consuming CBD oil is safer than smoking cannabis as it avoids the damage that can be done to the respiratory tissues. Because CBD products are very safe, they can be a safer option than some pharmaceuticals too.
5. Questionable CBD oil products may be prevalent
With the plethora of different kinds of CBD oil products out there, its important to understand how to identify a quality product. CBD products can change based on newer information from studies, but they should always be labeled “hemp-derived” with less than 0.3% THC. Products should show how many milligrams are in each recommended dose.
Preferably, the CBD should be combined with a whole hemp plant extract. This supports other compounds in the plant, like essential oils, to work synergistically with the CBD. If the product makes broad claims to treat disease on the label, it should be avoided.
6. CBD oil has few side affects.
Studies show CBD is very safe to take. No adverse cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological have been reported. It is even safe for adults to take on a regular basis. However, the FDA has stated that it cannot conclude that CBD is generally recognized as safe (GRAS), especially in food. There are little to no cautions/adverse reactions to CBD, but there can be some drug interactions. Meeting with a clinician who is knowledgeable about herb interactions, like a naturopathic physician, is recommended if you’re thinking about using CBD oil.
7. A naturopathic doctor has specialized training to better understand how to properly use CBD oil
It is always a good idea to see your clinician before starting a new treatment, especially if you are on multiple medications and have several different conditions, or if you are a parent wanting to use it for your children.
Naturopathic doctors receive more training than the average medical doctor regarding cannabis, CBD and other botanical treatments. Because many of the conditions that people might use CBD for are chronic and caused by multiple factors, visiting with a naturopathic doctor who is trained to treat the whole person, could benefit their health in many ways.
Like naturopathic doctors, CBD oil is helping to fill gaps within the mainstream health care system regarding chronic conditions like pain and anxiety, which are conventionally treated with pharmaceuticals that often come with more side-effects. As a result, CBD oil isn’t expected to be just a fad. It may continue to be popular and easily accessible well into the future.
About the Author
Lorinda Sorensen, ND, MSAc,