CBD—a nonintoxicating component of marijuana
Consumption of cannabidiol, or CBD, is a new wildly popular fad being touted as a
miracle cure for a wide variety of ailments. CBD is one of more than 100 biologically
active components called cannabinoids that are in the cannabis plant. It is not
psychoactive, so it will not get you “high.” Even though it is promoted as a way
to relieve pain, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and even as treatments for serious
diseases like diabetes, cancer, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis, scientists know
only that it has a variety of neurological and anti-inflammatory effects, but there is
almost no evidence that it improves human health.
The Food and Drug Administration considers CBD to be a drug, so it can’t be marketed
as a food or in drinks or as a dietary supplement. In spite of lack of data and
a plethora of unproven claims, as of April 2019, 47 states, Puerto Rico and the District
of Columbia have passed laws making CBD legal for medical and other uses.
Usually sold suspended in oil, alcohol (as a tincture), or vaporization liquid, it is
good to keep in mind that CBD products are essentially unregulated, so their safety
and quality are questionable.98 One study found that 70% of 84 CBD products
purchased online were mislabeled with regard to the amount of CBD, and 20% of
them contained THC.
The FDA has approved only one drug containing CBD based on clinical trials that
found it reduced seizures in children with rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The
drug Epidiolex is a 99% pure form of CBD that contains less than 1% THC. Adverse
effects include elevated liver enzymes indicative of possible liver damage in
13% of patients and other side effects in about 10% of patients included, sleepiness,
decreased appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, rash, sleep problems, and malaise.
Epidiolex also caused blood abnormalities and an increase in suicidal ideation. The
FDA approved guidelines for the use of Epidiolex caution that bilirubin levels and
liver function tests should be obtained prior to starting treatment, and at one month,
three months, and six months, as well as at one month following a dosage change.
In summary, the CBD Epidiolex has a significant adverse effect profile, and the
long-term effects of CBD use are not known.
CBD may harm health either because of these known or unknown direct effects
of the drug or, because as is the situation with unproven claims for dietary supplements,
turning to CBD for medical therapy may keep some patients from accessing
appropriate, proven therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases. Until CBD
is proven by research now underway to be useful for the prevention of disease and
improvement of health, and better data on its safety profile is available, it is best to
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.