News from CRIS: What's the Risk? Cannabidiol (CBD)

April 22, 2024

What is cannabidiol (CBD)?

CBD is one of the more than 113 compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike Δ⁹- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive constituent in marijuana, CBD does not produce a "high." This non-intoxicating characteristic makes CBD an appealing option for those seeking relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.

What is the difference between hemp and marijuana?

Hemp and marijuana plants are both members of the cannabis family; however, they are primarily distinguished by the amount of THC they contain.

Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, meaning it does not cause humans to feel high. Unless bred otherwise, marijuana plants contain THC at levels that cause users to feel high.

People consume the vast majority of marijuana plants because they produce THC and CBD, which can occur at varying levels depending on the plant.

In the United States, only CBD derived from hemp is federally legal and available for sale in some states. Other hybrid CBD/THC products are available in states with medicinal and/or recreational marijuana laws.

How is CBD made? How is CBD sourced?

Manufacturers selling products in the USA extract CBD from the hemp plant, a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for industrial use.

Once extracted, CBD oil can be used in various products, including, tinctures, drinks, edibles (e.g., gummies), and more.

Does CBD reduce inflammation?

Yes, when people consume CBD in specific quantities, it can reduce the body's inflammatory response in specific conditions like arthritis and colitis.

However, not every inflammation-related condition can be aided with CBD consumption.

Does CBD reduce anxiety?

While some studies suggest CBD can reduce anxiety, the scientific literature results are inconclusive, and we need additional studies to determine if it's an effective long-term strategy for reducing anxiety symptoms (1,2)

Does CBD help conditions like epilepsy and multiple sclerosis?

Yes, CBD-containing prescription medications like Epidiolex and CBD and THC-containing medications like Nabiximols (Sativex) can help with the symptoms of some forms of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

However, these conditions need monitoring by a medical professional who can help determine the best treatment plan for pharmaceutical medications.

What are the health risks of taking CBD?

While CBD does have potential health benefits, CBD consumption is not risk-free (1,2). It's important for you to weigh the risks against the potential benefits to know if it's a choice that makes sense for you.

  • Adverse Reactions: CBD is generally well-tolerated, but some individuals may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, sedation, and dizziness.

  • Drug Interactions: CBD can interfere with the efficacy of various prescription medications.

  • Liver Function: At high doses, much greater than those typically consumed, there is evidence that CBD could adversely affect liver function.

  • Regulation Issues: CBD operates in a regulatory gray area in the U.S., so non-prescription CBD-containing products can vary significantly in purity, potency, or dosage. This can lead to considerable inconsistencies in product quality, with some products delivering doses that differ from what is advertised or even containing trace amounts of THC.

The TTB also requires sulfite labeling on wine and malt beverages (1,2).  


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