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cbd healing

At Golden State Greens shop, Jake C. told me that CBD containing THC is highly regulated by the state of California, and he believes the products to be safe and labeled appropriately. However, he said over-the-counter hemp-derived CBD (depending on state regulations) or black-market cannabis product, could have wildly varying amounts of THC and CBD, to say nothing of potential contaminants.

I visited three stores in the San Diego area. At the Golden State Greens shop, the supervisor, Jake C. told me his customers use CBD primarily for stress, anxiety, insomnia and pain, including several cancer patients who found that the product helped them sleep and perhaps regain some weight they’d lost while undergoing treatments. Shawn McManigal, owner of the Injoi CBD store in La Jolla, said a 92-year-old customer of his stopped taking his constipating pain medications after realizing that CBD gummies relieved the pain and allowed him to rest. “I’m not saying this is a miracle cure,” McManigal told me, “but there is science behind it and it really proves what it does.”

CBD’s popularity has skyrocketed because of its purported therapeutic benefits, along with a low potential for abuse. There’s also plenty of it, and it’s profitable. According to Julian Wright, Founder of Science and Recreation, farmers can make $60,000 per acre to produce hemp high in CBD, versus $750 per acre in hemp sold for fiber. The commercial market for CBD, meanwhile, is projected to rise from an estimated $500 million in 2018 to $1.8 billion by 2022.

The FDA is investigating reports of CBD containing such dangerous contaminants as unhealthy levels of heavy metals (including lead), pesticides, bacteria and fungi. Law enforcement agencies found that 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states had synthetic marijuana in products being sold as CBD.

Though CBD is legal to sell, the FDA has made it clear that unapproved CBD products cannot be in food, beverages, cosmetics or sold as a dietary supplement; neither can they be marketed with unsubstantiated health claims. CBD can be purchased as oils, tinctures, sprays, creams, capsules, lollipops, chocolates, energy bars, trail mix and gummies, among other things. It can even be vaped. (According to Pam Miles, past president of the Association of Food and Drug Officials, one restaurant chain offered sandwiches infused with CBD as part of a promotion, so you know we’re already there in terms of availability.)

You can see the limits of existing CBD research: multiple small trials that yield conflicting results, along with RCTs and meta-analyses that too often include marijuana and mixed THC/CBD compounds rather than just pure CBD products—many of them in varying amounts. These certainly influence the results, and they also leave consumers rightly wondering what the proper dose for them might be.

Does it, though? The question of what pure CBD (without THC) has been proven to treat is genuinely difficult to answer. Much of the peer-reviewed research looks at CBD as a medicinal drug or includes cannabis in the study. In a review of 79 randomized clinical trials (RCTS) of cannabinoids for the below indications, the authors found moderate-quality evidence for cannabinoid use for the treatment of chronic pain and spasticity, and only low quality evidence for improvements in vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, weight gain in HIV infection, sleep disorders and Tourette syndrome. But the study was limited because it included multiple cannabinoids that were evaluated at different doses by different routes, with many products containing THC.

The CBD industry is flourishing, conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025. Already, the plant extract is being added to cheeseburgers, toothpicks and breath sprays. More than 60 percent of CBD users have taken it for anxiety, according to a survey of 5,000 people, conducted by the Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research firm. Chronic pain, insomnia and depression follow behind. Kim Kardashian West, for example, turned to the product when “freaking out” over the birth of her fourth baby. The professional golfer Bubba Watson drifts off to sleep with it. And Martha Stewart’s French bulldog partakes, too.

By Dawn MacKeen

What is CBD?

Some CBD products may contain unwanted surprises. Forensic toxicologists at Virginia Commonwealth University examined nine e-liquids advertised as being 100 percent natural CBD extracts. They found one with dextromethorphan, or DXM, used in over-the counter cough medications and considered addictive when abused; and four with a synthetic cannabinoid, sometimes called Spice, that can cause anxiety, psychosis, tachycardia and death, according to a study last year in Forensic Science International.

A recent chart review of 72 psychiatric patients treated with CBD found that anxiety improved, but not sleep. “Over all, we did not find that it panned out as a useful treatment for sleep,” said Dr. Scott Shannon, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, Denver and the lead author of the review in The Permanente Journal.

But he cautions that the side effects could have been because of an interaction with other medications the children were taking to control the seizures. So far, there hasn’t been a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (the gold standard) on sleep disorders and CBD.