“Not oil it’s cracked up to be” (CBD)


CBD oil is touted as a cure or mitigation for a wide range of illnesses and conditions. CBD is one of many chemical compounds that are isolated from cannabis, with CBD and THC being the most well-known. THC is what gets marijuana smokers stoned, whereas CBD has no such impact.

But will CBD make a patient healthier? There are a few conditions it might help, but there is inconsistency among CBD products. Depending on location, CBD oil might be available only on the black market or have quasi-legal status, and in these instances, there is no oversight with regard to product quality and uniformity. By contrast, in some countries where cannabis is legal, licensed dealers must have independent validation of CBD and THC content, as well as verification of quality.

In either case, the evidence for CBD oil as a medicine is scant, and its efficacy is established for only a few conditions. Those include Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, but there is insufficient reason to believe it acts as a painkiller, and there is zero evidence it treats or prevents cancer.

Now, CBD does have some impact on the body, which also means side effects. CBD oil can hamper or increase the effects of some pharmaceutical drugs, so any patient popping prescription pills should know the risk of combining their medication with CBD oil. Furthermore, aggression, anger, irritability, agitation, and sleepiness have all been reported with CBD products. With no set dosage prescribed and little in the way of controlled, double blind studies, unknowns about CBD oil include its efficiency, its long-term effects, and its safety.

The fact that marijuana was illegal for so long despite suspected medical benefits and it being much less dangerous than tobacco and alcohol seemingly lends credence to the idea that there was a government and Big Pharma cover-up. But in truth, legislation was based on panic, not corruption. And the pharmaceutical industry would have profited from the product were it legal.

While marijuana, which includes CBD has shown some medical promise, smoking it or eating it in brownie form would be far less efficient than identifying, isolating, and extracting the active ingredient and distributing it at the proper dosage.

Dr. David Gorski of Science-Based Medicine writes that most research cited by proponents as suggesting cannabis cures cancer are either in vitro or animal studies. Most often, these do not translate to human use or benefit.

Cannabis will not cure cancer, either in smoked form or extracted as CBD oil. Gorski further cautions that even in purified form, naturally-derived or synthetic cannabinoids demonstrate only modest antitumor abilities in preclinical models. This means they would have to be added to existing chemotherapeutic regimens to possibly have any benefit. Gorski explains, “If they do find their way into the routine clinical treatment of cancer, it will be through rigorous pharmacological studies and rigorous clinical trials, the latter of which, in particular, are painfully lacking.”

Further research is justified, but at this point, CBD oil’s status as a near-panacea is unjustified and such assertions are almost always a pseudoscience giveaway.

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