Anecdotal evidence and medical studies claim that cannabidiol, an extract of hemp or cannabis -provides relief for depression, PTSD, chemotherapy, and stress and anxiety. Today, CBD is available in tinctures, capsules, oils, sprays, gels, and even food items.
But how safe are these products for you and your family? Are there risks you should know about? Health benefits that may improve life quality? And what does the science say?
Quick take: what are the health benefits of CBD?
- CBD can be used to treat or control seizures, autism, and anxiety in adults and children.
- The World Health Organization claims that CBD is safe.
- Smoking is more harmful than vaping.
- Vaping may cause lung irritation or ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome).
What is cannabidiol, and is it safe for you, your family, and your pets?
The worries many have at the mention of cannabis or marijuana are a consequence of the lies peddled by Harry J Anslinger, who was the first commissioner of the US treasury department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. According to the man, marijuana is of no benefit to humans and increases the risk of psychosis. In his words:
“Most marijuana smokers are colored people, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.”
Recent medical studies indicate that marijuana offers multiple health benefits, and the risk of addiction or death from using the drug is almost nonexistent. In other words, weed is much safer than alcohol and tobacco.
How does marijuana make you high?
Cannabis or marijuana contains over 100 distinct chemicals and compounds. One of the compounds is THC. THC is psychoactive and has some medical benefits. But our focus is on CBD, THC’s non-psychoactive cousin that offers users a vast array of medical and relaxation benefits.
CBD is good for:
- Good health.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- It is good for your hair and skin.
- CBD can slow down the symptoms of aging.
Medical-wise, you may use CBD to treat conditions including:
- Autoimmune disease.
- Chronic pain.
- Stress and anxiety.
It can be difficult to believe that one drug can offer relief for all the mentioned conditions and others, including chemotherapy side effects. My father died of Linitis Plastica, a rare form of colon cancer that causes severe pain and discomfort. Throughout his journey, CBD helped him cope with pain, it made eating easier, and he started sleeping better once he started taking CBD.
Is CBD Safe for your Family?
The Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) has approved a synthetic version of CBD known as epidiolex as a medicine for seizures. Currently, the FDA’s stand on CBD is:
“To date, the agency has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition. FDA has, however, approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products. These approved products are only available with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.”
The FDA holds that position because research on the long-term effects of CBD on children and adults is still ongoing.
What you need to remember is the CBD market is flooded with countless products, some are safe, and some may contain harmful additives. Consequently, it is in your best interest to buy from trustable local sources.
The medical community generally considers CBD a safe medicine for humans because the risk of addiction is nonexistent, and a negligible number of consumers report negative side effects, including dry mouth.
World Health Organization’s stand on CBD
In 2018, the World Health Organization announced that CBD poses no public health risk or potential for abuse. The report claims that, quote:
“In its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm. As such, CBD is not currently a scheduled substance in its own right (only as a component of cannabis extracts).”
The report also claims:
“Some countries have eased regulations around cannabidiol, to consider products containing CBD to be medical products. These include Australia, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.”
If you are outside that demographic, using CBD on yourself or your children may lead to legal problems. We recommend not traveling with CBD or cannabis products outside the country.
Is CBD Safe for your Family?
- Current evidence says yes, but if you have an underlying condition such as hypotension, consult with a physician before consumption.
Is CBD safe for pets?
At small doses, CBD is safe for cats and dogs. But some studies claim that at high doses, CBD may cause liver problems in pets. Also, CBD may cause sedation and sleepiness in pets at high doses.
In short, the effect CBD has on animals is dose-dependent. If you are considering using CBD on your pets, we recommend:
- Consult with a vet before giving your cat or dog CBD.
- Keep the dose low.
- Keep an eye out for allergic reactions(rare).
- Check drug interaction if your pet is on medication (read the label/flier).
- US law prohibits veterinarians from prescribing CBD to pets.
What are the side effects of using CBD?
As mentioned, many questions about CBD are still under investigation. What we do know is the chemical creates little to no risk of addiction or dependence, the side effects are mild and go away if you cease consumption, and the method of consumption matters.
If you have lung issues, you should avoid vaping CBD or THC because it may lead to diarrhea, breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and ARDS. ARDS, stands for “acute respiratory distress syndrome” a condition not caused by CBD, but by fluids filling up the lungs.
So, for health and safety reasons, we recommend sublingual consumption, pills, or other routes apart from vaping.
Medical uses for CBD and other cannabinoids
Current medical data says that CBD offers the following medical benefits for the user.
- CBD for autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease refers to a disorder in which your immune system attacks healthy cells. The symptoms include recurring fever, swollen glands, abdominal and digestive issues, pain, inflammation, and fatigue. The trigger could be bacteria or viruses. For autoimmune disorders, CBD may not treat the underlying condition such as anemia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or Addison disease. Instead, what it does is -help to keep the symptoms in check. Consequently, if you are on medication, do not abandon treatment. Instead, incorporate CBD into your healthcare routine.
- CBD for epilepsy. The FDA approved a synthetic form of CBD as medicine for epilepsy. According to users, early treatment can help prevent brain damage. Parents of children who have epilepsy and are on CBD report reduced incidences of seizures. There is also evidence to suggest that CBD can be used in the management of autism and other neurological disorders in children and adults.
- Inflammation. A study published in the National Library of Medicine claims, quote “Clinical studies have confirmed that CBD reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibits T cell proliferation, induces T cell apoptosis, and reduces migration and adhesion of immune cells. In addition, CBD anti-inflammatory activity has been shown to be antagonized by both a selective CB2 antagonist and AEA, an endogenous CB2 receptor agonist.”
- Chronic pain. Clinical studies claim that CBD can reduce pain through interactions with multiple biological processes in the body. The chemical offers users not only anti-inflammatory properties, but also antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-anxiety properties.
- Migraines. Anecdotal evidence and medical trials have shown CBD’s potential in alleviating migraines and headaches. The chemical’s anti-inflammatory properties may play a role. CBD also helps to relieve anxiety.
- Stress and anxiety. By promoting deeper relaxation and better sleep, CBD is known to lower or prevent anxiety both in human and animal trials. The effect is dose-dependent, thus at low doses, the chemical has a stimulating effect and at high doses, CBD may cause sedation.
Other uses for CBD
- Exercise. CBD offers stimulant, and sedative properties, and it is good for recovery. That means you may consume it before and after exercise. Before exercise, keep the dosage below 15 milligrams to enjoy its energy-giving and stimulant properties. Post-workout, you can use CBD to aid the recovery of muscles. CBD’s pain-relieving potential lessens the need to use harmful opioid-based and often addictive pain relievers.
- Good health. CBD has the potential to improve heart health, it can help you control anxiety and neurological disorders, and it has uses in treating insomnia. Less pain, better sleep, and minimal anxiety all equate to good health.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Clinical studies have shown that CBD can control cortisol secretion in the body, it can also regulate appetite.
- Relaxation. By helping relieve stress and anxiety, CBD promotes deeper relaxation without getting users intoxicated.
- CBD is good for your skin and hair. CBD promises smoother skin and faster hair growth. It may also thicken hair, making it stronger and less susceptible to breakage.
- CBD can slow down aging by preventing wrinkles and increasing energy levels.