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  1. #1
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    Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?
    By Richard A. Friedman, MD, in the New York Times
    December 27, 2018

    Letís see what the research says before pouring it into our tea and rubbing it all over our bodies.

    Suddenly, CBD is everywhere. CBD, short for cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp, is being promoted as the latest miracle cure. Enthusiasts rave about its supposed anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant and, well, anti-everything-you-donít-like effects.

    You can get your CBD in a cocktail (a ďStoney NegroniĒ is being served at a Queens bar), skin creams and coffee. Itís only a matter of time before it turns up in avocado toast.

    From pills to edibles, CBD is wildly popular, and it is easily available online and in stores. Indeed, sales are predicted to reach $22 billion by 2022, according to the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm.

    I first encountered CBD while on sabbatical a few years back. As I drove up the Oregon Coast Highway, it was hard to miss all the cannabis shops along the Pacific. I stopped in one, perused the menu, and selected two marijuana specials ó Nine-Pound Hammer and Trainwreck ó and some CBD gummy bears. The cannabis was, well, as advertised, and the CBD candy, as far as I could tell, was a fruit-flavored placebo.

    Many of my patients have tried it or want to learn more about it. One of them, an educated, successful and anxious man in his 40s, recently told me he triedmixingCBD oil in his tea, but it didnít make him calmer. Then he rubbed the oil on his injured knee, and pronounced it a magic cure.

    Which invites the critical question: Just how effective is CBD, and for what kinds of ills?

    Cannabidiol has little direct effect on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so it is largely devoid of the euphoric effects of THC, the major intoxicant in marijuana. But if CBD really had no psychotropic effect at all, it would be hard to understand its popularity. In fact, because it alters the brainís serotonin receptors and may interfere with the breakdown of anandamide ó a cannabidoid that is produced naturally in the brain ó it could well affect feeling and thinking.

    But what does the evidence show?

    In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine convened a panel of experts to review the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. They examined more than 10,000 studies, most of which examined marijuana, not CBD. They found evidence that some cannabinoids ó not including CBD ó are effective for pain, nausea from chemotherapy and muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis.

    When it comes to CBD, the panel found only a few small randomized clinical trials, and concluded that there was insufficient evidence that CBD was effective in treating conditions like insomnia, addiction to cigarettes and Parkinsonís disease, and limited evidence in its ability to treat anxiety.

    This year, the Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a CBD concentrate, for two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, on the basis of several clinical trials.

    To be fair, the paucity of data about CBDís efficacy and safety in part reflects the federal governmentís irrational restrictions on cannabis research. Because cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, you need a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration to research it and, until two years ago, you could use only the cannabis grown at the University of Mississippi.

    The good news is that in 2017, the National Institutes of Health funded cannabinoid research to the tune of $140 million, including $15 million on CBD. The F.D.A. also loosened restrictions on CBD research in 2015 and has announced that it is considering ďpathwaysĒ to allow the sale across state lines of CBD in food and beverages, sales now confined to states that have approved CBD use.

    Still, the explosive popularity of CBD is way ahead of any evidence to support its efficacy ó or reliable reassurances that it has no serious adverse effects. Where is the healthy skepticism when we need it?

    The public, rightly, is quick to demand proof of safety and efficacy when it comes to synthetic pharmaceuticals. Why should natural products, like CBD, get a pass?

    Perhaps itís because many people have romantic and misplaced notions about nature. Some even point out that we come hard-wired with cannabinoid receptors in our brains and they must have a purpose, so why not use them? This is not exactly a persuasive argument: Nature endowed us with our own cannabinoids, so unless you have a deficiency of them or sluggish receptors, you really donít need supplementation.

    Consumers who are still keen on the idea of CBD might want to know exactly what they are getting for their money ó considering that the manufacturing of CBD products is completely unregulated.

    Here, the evidence is not going to make them happy. A 2017 study in JAMA reported that only 26 of 84 samples of CBD oils, tinctures and liquids purchased online contained the amount of CBD claimed on their labels. Eighteen of them contained THC, which could lead to intoxication or impairment in some individuals. And a quarter had less CBD than advertised. The F.D.A. has likewise found many products that did not contain the amount of CBD they were claiming.

    Future studies may show otherwise, but at present CBD looks more like an expensive placebo than a panacea.

    Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer.

  2. #2
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    So the ones purchased from the government offices would have the appropriate amount of CBD and minute amount of THC. I am really being pushed into trying this really and i am not for taking anything that will alter my mind let alone something that is not proven. Yet if i dont do something i dont know.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  3. #3
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Who is pushing you into trying CBD?

  4. #4
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Husband ,therapist, twin omg i really am afraid of everything they don't understand that.

    Husband quite angry with me today saying mean words um omg saying my choice the way i am because i won't try the dam CBD. um I don't like it when people use anger with me saying words that for some reason i have blanked out i have blanked out usually words never leave me.

    I am not wanting to be like this omg im sorry
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  5. #5
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    I'm surprised that a therapist would even suggest CBD oil at this point. Might as well be pushing lavender aromatherapy until there is more research.

    Unfortunately, such ignorance among family members is not as surprising. (For example, no one in my family except me thinks therapy is worthwhile.)
    ďOut beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there.Ē ~ Rumi

  6. #6
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    That is unfair, FMN, but in reality CBD probably won't hurt you in any way. Whether it helps is another matter but I think you're safe in trying it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Hi FMN

    I used to smoke pot occasionally, but I stopped after a couple of experiences of paranoia afterward. Until then marijuana had no negative effects on me at all. So my understanding is that the mind-altering part of pot is the THC (tetrahydracannibinol - sp?) not the CBD. My own guess is that it was the THC that disagreed with me on those two occasions - either it was just too strong, or it didn't mix with my bipolar meds. I feel that trying CBD is worth the small risk (and what medication doesn't entail some risk?) My feeling has always been, I'm willing to try *anything* that could improve my symptoms. It's just unfortunate that people around you are being so pushy about it - that seems unreasonable to me given the spotty evidence of its efficacy.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

  8. #8
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Thanks luaprelkniw i am going to try to make appt tomorrow with my gp. Not doing so great holding on i will discuss it with him i really wish they would all understand how putting me in a corner has only increased my anxiety and my depression.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

  9. #9
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    Re: Is CBD Helpful, or Just Hype?

    Tried 3 times now to get a hold of my doctor but each time it says call back again not to leave a msg they are busy with other pts ugggggg ok finally i was able to get someone to answer phone

    i am booked tomorrow at 1015 have to get checked up for pain in my right arm having it alot lately maybe just anxiety but it seems to be more in the glands and also pressure in r side of my head forgot to tell nurse that. Hope he can just check it out. will mention cbd to him but don't know if he will even understand not too many doctors have information about it.
    Words always stay inside ones soul

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