Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has been one of the most popular items to hit the wellness scene in the last year. Emerging research has suggested potential therapeutic benefits of the CBD compound and, while promising, it is still an area that needs more research and clarification.
Here are the top four things to know about CBD oil:
CBD oil is not marijuana. Cannabis is a plant that contains over eighty chemical compounds — the two most well-known are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound, meaning it does not produce the feeling of a “high,” or intoxication, derived from the cannabis sativa, or hemp, plant. CBD oil derived from industrial hemp plants by definition contains no more than 0.3% THC. This differs from the cannabis indica, or marijuana, plant which typically contains higher levels of THC, the psychoactive compound, along with CBD.
Yes, CBD oil extracted from industrial hemp plants is legal. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp, defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, from the Schedule 1 controlled substance list, meaning it is now an ordinary agricultural commodity. The 2018 Farm Bill did uphold the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate cannabis and cannabis-derived products, meaning it is subject to FDA regulations.
Current research is examining the potential therapeutic benefits of CBD, and a few published studies have focused specifically on the areas of pediatric epilepsy, irritable bowel disorders and pain relief. There is still much research that needs to be done, and consumers should be aware that there is a lot of misinformation and anecdotal claims of reported benefits online, so finding reputable sources for information is important. The FDA has approved one cannabis-derived medication, Epidiolex, as treatment for two forms of epilepsy, as well as three cannabis-related drug products for the treatment of anorexia associated with weight loss in people with AIDS. Other CBD products that are not one of the FDA-approved medications cannot make claims about curing or treating disease.
Currently, there is not much evidence-based research to suggest a benefit of CBD oil for diabetes management. There have been a few diabetes-related studies, but most have been done in rodents and have not been replicated with human studies. One human study on individuals with type 2 diabetes was published in 2016 in the journal Diabetes Care. The study examined the potential impact of CBD as well as another cannabis compound, THCV, on HDL (“good”) cholesterol, glycemic control, and insulin sensitivity, as well as other markers. Results showed that while CBD did improve levels of resistin, which is associated with insulin resistance, and increase levels of one of the incretin hormones, it was not found to improve glycemic control or have any metabolic effects. However, the other compound examined, THCV, was found to reduce fasting plasma glucose levels, and the study authors suggested this might warrant further research. It is clear that more research is needed to examine if there might be any benefit for diabetes self-management.
We will continue to learn more about CBD as the depth of research expands. In the meantime, make sure to use reputable sources for information and consider talking to your health-care provider before including CBD as part of your wellness routine.
Want to learn more about CBD? Read “Six Food Trends for 2019.”
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