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The hemp-based compound CBD is exploding in popularity. It is sold across the country in everything from oils, coffees and food. While it is said to have a calming effect on the body and has shown promising early results in treating certain conditions, there just isn’t enough known about CBD to make any definitive conclusions.
That’s why knowing exactly what you are putting into your body is so important. Attune Health’s clinical research coordinator, Amit Kumar, details the breakdown of CBD products and why reading the label is crucial.
Click here for Part 1 in this series, which explains the composition, legality and effects of CBD oil.
What is the dosage of CBD in consumer products?
Understanding how much CBD is in a typical commercial product is crucial. A standard CBD-infused latte contains 5 mg of CBD. Researchers, however, have found that the minimum dose required to induce a calming effective is 300 mg, meaning it would take 60 lattes to feel any true effects of the CBD.
While the concept of microdosing — using small amount of a very powerful drug to induce an effect — is valid for certain drugs such as psilocybin, no studies have demonstrated its effectiveness with CBD.
Research on CBD microdosing is very limited. Only one study has examined the application of low-dose CBD on Crohn’s Disease, which concluded that microdosing did not produce a discernible effect.
Are CBD products a scam?
No, not at all. It’s just that there hasn’t yet been enough research to make any scientific conclusions.
One alternative that could potentially validate the anecdotal success of CBD products is the placebo effect. Although it may seem dubious to suggest that the tens of thousands of CBD consumers are all being “hoodwinked,” there is a vast body of literature that demonstrates how powerful the placebo effect can be, particularly in reducing anxiety symptoms.
How can I tell which CBD products are good quality?
All CBD products are not created equal. Because of CBD’s heavily unregulated status, knowing exactly what’s in the product you are consuming is critical. Some high-end stores are extremely transparent, citing exactly where their products are sourced and publishing lab results on their website that detail exact amounts of THC and CBD within those products. On the opposite end of the spectrum are companies that reveal nothing of the CBD/THC content of their products, let alone where they source their products.
Esther Blessing, a professor and researcher at NYU who performs and reviews clinical trials on the utility and efficacy of CBD, reports that two clinical managers of pharmaceutical companies performed tests on various CBD oils found for sale. The findings on some of the products were alarming. Not only was the CBD content much lower than advertised, the THC content was also determined to be far greater than what is considered legal. Several products even had high enough THC levels to impair driving, making these products potentially dangerous.
Can I use CBD with my prescription medication?
Although research about drug interactions with CBD is minimal, there is evidence that CBD should not be taken with a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Prozac or Lexapro. The reason is that CBD can affect P450 enzymes, which metabolize SSRIs. Studies have shown that CBD inhibits these enzymes, which could dramatically raise the level of the drug in your body, and potentially lead to an overdose.
The application of CBD as a potential medication is frustrating. While researchers like Blessing are incredibly excited about its promise in treating conditions such as schizophrenia, as well as its anti-inflammatory effects, there is just too little we understand about how CBD affects the brain. When no one knows much about a product, anything can be implied, leading to a chaotic marketplace with products varying wildly in quality.
If you are going to choose CBD products, take care to note what you’re buying and always consult with your physician. At the end of the day, you can’t put a price on what you put into your body.
Nosowitz, Dan. “CBD, the Super-Popular Cannabis Compound, Explained.” Vox.com, Vox
Media, 1 Nov. 2018, www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/1/18024806/cbd-oil-vape-hemp.