But is it as safe and effective as its advocates say it is?
As an increasing number of states legalize medicinal and/or recreational use of marijuana, the market for cannabis products has exploded. One of these products, cannabidiol (CBD) oil, has gained recent popularity for its purported ability to reduce pain, insomnia and anxiety without producing any “highs” like its psychoactive cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD is an active ingredient derived from cannabis. While CBD has been considered legal in varying degrees according to state laws, it is still considered an illegal substance by the federal government with specific medical exceptions.
“CBD oil has reportedly had benefits in behavioral conditions such as anxiety and PTSD along with helping with sleep disorders and pain management. However, the use of CBD has only been approved for safety and effectiveness by the FDA for specific childhood epilepsy conditions,” cautions Dr. Desler Javier, an internal medicine physician at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
Dr. Javier adds that though there have been studies citing benefits of CBD oil in multiple medical conditions ranging from anxiety to even skin disorders, much more research needs to be done to validate the safe and effective use of CBD oil for conditions other epilepsy.
There are also risks with taking CBD products. In addition to experiencing side effects such as drowsiness, lethargy and sedation, CBD has also been associated with liver toxicity, especially when taken with other types of drugs. For this reason, consumers interested in purchasing CBD products should speak with their physician about the potential risks with its use, Dr. Javier says.