Update 3/5/20. CBD- cannabidiol is very popular. But does it really work or is it a scam? In this review, I’ll break down the CBD research and discuss what we know and what we don’t know. I'll give you tips on how to find a quality product, tell you which brand I recommend and why and help you figure out what you need to watch out for. Does CBD have any side effects? Yes, I’ll review those too. By the end of this review, you’ll know more about cannabidiol than pretty much everybody. This is the transcribed version of episode 4 of my Joe Cannon Health podcast with additional information.
What Is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of many hundreds of plant compounds found in marijuana as well as hemp. These compounds are called collectively cannabinoids. Another name that phyto-cannabinoid. The prefix phyto refers to plants. So:
all mean the same thing.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a specific type of cannabinoid in both the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. While CBD gets a lot of attention, it's good to realize that it’s not the only phyto-compound out there.
Here's a video from Business Insider
Types of Cannabinoids
So far, over 100 different types of cannabinoids have been isolated. You are probably familiar with THC, the stuff in pot that gets people high.
Most of the cannabinoids begin with the letter C, such as:
Each cannabinoid appears to have different effects. We're only now just starting to understand what they all do.
The History of Cannabidiol
Even though it seems like this stuff came out of nowhere, cannabidiol has been around for almost 100 years. CBD was first isolated in the late 1930s. Because of legal issues, it's been illegal to study it for the most part. That all changed with the passage of the 2018 farm bill, which essentially made hemp and CBD legal.
Well, kind of legal… Truth told it's complicated. While both hemp and marijuana come from the same plant – cannabis Sativa, only CBD that comes from hemp is legal.
To make matters more confusing, the FDA still could size CBD products sold in stores, if they want to. I know, it makes no sense. I think eventually this will all change. But, despite its popularity, the legality of hemp and CBD is still kind of on the fence right now.
Here's a video on the legality of CBD
Here's another video too:
By the way, black seeds -Nigella sativa – are a related plant that some say can cure everything except death. For more on black seeds see these reviews:
- Black seeds: 59 things you need to know
- Can black seeds cure HIV infection?
- Can black seeds help the thyroid?
Is CBD a Dietary Supplement?
According to the FDA CBD is not a dietary supplement. Products cannot be marketed as dietary supplements. I can understand why this is, because, as a rule, we don't eat hemp. Generally, dietary supplements have to be derived from things we come commonly eat. Since most of us don’t eat hemp or marijuana, neither are allowed to be called dietary supplements.
The other reason why it's not a supplement is CBD has been investigated as a pharmaceutical drug and supplements can't be drugs. So those are two reasons why CBD is technically not a dietary supplement.
Here's a lengthy video review about what dietary supplements are.
Where Does CBD Come From?
Cannabidiol is obtained from either marijuana or hemp. Both marijuana and hemp both come from the same plant – the Cannabis sativa. That said, CBD is usually going to be harvested from hemp, not marijuana (pot). The reason is that hemp contains 0.3% or less THC, the psychoactive (get you high) compound.
In contrast, marijuana may contain anywhere from 15% to 30% THC. This is why you often hear that CBD can't get you high. It's because the CBD isolated from hemp doesn’t have a lot of THC.
The Part of the Plant Matters
If you want to avoid getting ripped off and find a quality CBD product, you need to know which part of the hemp plant they're getting the CBD from? Generally, CBD is going to be harvested from either the flowering or budding parts of the plant or the leaves of the plant.
There is no CBD in this stems of the hemp plant. If the company/ seller cannot tell you the portion of the hemp plant the CBD product came from, you may want to consider bypassing that product.
Skip to 1 minute into this video about how hemp and marijuana are different
How Does CBD Work?
Nobody is sure. Originally it was thought that it might work with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is our internally naturally produced cannabinoids. One possible way it may function is by helping us utilize our naturally occurring cannabinoids better. It's possible it has multiple avenues of functioning.
Currently, most of the research involves epilepsy. There is evidence CBD can reduce seizures in certain types of epilepsy. In fact, there's actually a CBD based medication that was FDA approved in 2019.
But what about other health issues like:
There is research on various other health problems, but it's currently less than for epilepsy. For instance, there is some evidence that CBD may help people with Parkinson's disease sleep better and may help their mood. Unfortunately, it does not appear to help movement issues like spasticity associated with Parkinson’s disease.
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) has been getting some attention. Various reports hint that cannabidiol may help reduce anxiety levels in people and perhaps even help those with PTSD symptoms. For example, when researchers looked at 72 people with anxiety or sleep problems and after a month of taking CBD,
- 79% percent of them reported that they had less anxiety and
- 66 % said they were actually sleeping better
In addition, it only took a month for these benefits to kick in.
Preliminary evidence suggests CBD may have a role in managing arthritis pain and knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. It's possible it may help rheumatoid arthritis too but more study is needed.
The arthritis foundation recognizes animal studies and anecdotal reports that it works and suggests a beneficial effect but they state human research is needed to know for sure.
CBD and Exercise
Will cannabidiol help you you run faster, farther, jump higher or lift heavier weights? While human studies are lacking, WADA – the World Anti-Doping Agency – doesn't seem to think so because, in January 2019, they removed CBD from their list of banned substances. Other cannabinoids like THC are still banned. My guess is WADA removed CBD from their banned substances list because they believe it does not give athletes an advantage on or off the playing field.
Research suggests this might be true. The Cannabis Exercise, Performance, and Sport, the systematic review determined that THC did not enhance exercise performance or improve muscle strength. What about CBD? Studies need to be conducted.
CBD vs. Kratom
Kratom is an herbal product that can act as both as stimulant and depressant, depending on the dosage used. Some take kratom to reduce pain and others may use it to help them break an opioid addiction. Like cannabidiol, kratom is also not a dietary supplement. While both products are derived from nature, kratom appears to have no clinical research.
How kratom compares to CBD is not known. Until more is known it's not recommended to combine cannabidiol with kratom. For more insights see these reviews:
CBD Side Effects
Overall, cannabidiol seems to be well tolerated and in most healthy people. Reported side effects include:
- decreased appetite
- feelings of being tired
- elevated liver enzymes
Here are some general guidelines to consider. This list is not complete:
- Start with less than recommended for the first week to see how you respond
- Don’t take if pregnant or breastfeeding
- Don’t drive while taking CBD
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- Talk to your doctor first if you take any medications
- Talk to your doctor if you have addiction issues
- Don’t mix with prescription medications unless your doctor tells you its ok
- Some evidence hints CBD may make tinnitus (ringing in the ears) worse
CBD appears to interfere with an enzyme called P450 which helps us detoxify various medications. This means it's possible cannabidiol may have many drug interactions. Since cannabidiol seems to help epileptic seizures, it may, in theory, interact/interfere with epilepsy /seizure medicines.
When in doubt, speak to your doctor.
Quality Control Problems
How do you know if you're getting scammed? Unless you do your homework, it can be difficult. Heres why. In one study, researchers tested 14 different CBD products. Nine out of the 14 (64%) were labeled inaccurately. What they contained was not the same as what their labels indicated.
In a larger study, researchers tested 84 different CBD products from 31 different companies. Their findings proved many failures among companies.
Here's what they found:
- only 26 of the 84 products were accurately labeled. That’s only 30%
- 26 of the products tested had less CBD than their labels indicated
- the worst was the CBD vapes
- 18 of the products tested had enough THC to get people high
- Some products actually had no CBD in them
- CBD oils were the most accurately labeled
Remember, hemp is very low in THC. So how did some products contain enough THC to make people high? It's because some companies lack quality control.
This lack of oversight can occur outside the US too. Researchers in the Czech Republic tested 29 different CBD products and they noted that 69% of them tested higher than they should for PCBs. PCBs are found in plastics and are thought to be cancer-causing chemicals and hormone distributors. PCBs may interfere with testosterone, estrogen and thyroid hormones.
Furthermore, 60% of the oils tested did not mention anything about their THC content. What this means is you need to be educated. Unfortunately, right now, you can’t just trust any company you see on the internet, social media, or on a highway billboard.
Investigate who you do business with. Don't just go by online reviews from people you don't know.
How To Find a Quality Product
Quality product labels will tell you the milligrams of CBD it contains per serving. They should also mention something about their THC dosage too. If you see words like a proprietary blend this may be a red flag.
More importantly, ask to see the company’s certificate of analysis. The certificate of analysis is a report from an independent lab that ensures the product contains what the label says. The certificate of analysis can sometimes be found on the company website. If not, call the company and ask to have it emailed to you. Don't do business with any company that does not have a phone number.
Here's a video on lab testing
Does CBD Work?
There's no doubt we have receptors for cannabidiol so it does do something. Reports from people suggest it may have beneficial effects but there's still a lot we don't know. While the research so far is on epilepsy, as we learn more its likely other uses will reveal themselves.