Is CBD safe?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid, or chemical compound, found in and extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana, CBD does not have an intoxicating effect.
The Rise of CBD
The recent wave marijuana legalization in the United States reflects a national shift in attitude and access. That access and fresh perspective have also led to the booming popularity of CBD. Touted as a supplement, possibly even an alternative, to pain relief and anxiety medication, CBD is being infused into gummies, coffee, juice and just about any other food imaginable, as well as being offered in tinctures, balms and rubs.
More than $350 million worth of CBD products were sold in the United States last year, a number analysts predict could reach $2 billion within a few years.
But is CBD safe?
The full spectrum of CBD’s potential medical benefits will come into focus as more research is conducted. The good news is that CBD research is getting more attention than ever before.
Regarding the safety of using CBD, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a December 2017 report that “cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm.” The WHO added that the “therapeutic value” of using CBD to treat epileptic seizures warranted serious research.
Six months after the WHO report, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD-based drug for treating epileptic seizures. The approval of Epidiolex, produced by GW Pharmaceuticals, marked the first time a drug derived from marijuana had ever been approved by the FDA.
It’s important to note that some tremendous claims about CBD have not been backed up by medical research. Although CBD itself “does not appear to have abuse potential of cause harm,” as the WHO put it, one way it could be harmful would be if it was used as a complete alternative to traditional medical treatment. For example, even though the FDA approved a CBD-based drug, the agency has also issued warnings to companies making unrealistic or unsubstantiated claims, such as pushing CBD as a cure for cancer.