The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD, but there’s still a lot of confusion.
When I saw the words "CBD lattes" pop up on sandwich boards around my neighborhood, I knew CBD had "made it." Around the same time I was gifted a box of CBD gummies. My coworker and I popped two our mouths and waited for something to happen.
But then, nothing did. I took two more — but still, nothing. I was struck by the overpowering sweetness of the gummies, instead of any actual relief or change in my body. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, this makes sense. In a segment for The Dr. Oz Show, he explained what's next for CBD, and that you actually need to take hundreds of milligrams of it to feel any kind of effect. Most over-the-counter CBD products only contain about 2-22mg of actual CBD.
CBD is short for cannabidiol. It's a chemical found in both marijuana and hemp, but marijuana also has the addition of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the chemical that creates a psychological “high.” Hemp is cannabis that has less than 0.3 percent of THC. Basically, CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana, but hemp only contains CBD without the presence of THC, and therefore produces no psychedelic high.
The FDA actually approved CBD use before it was legal on the federal level. It wasn’t until the passing of the Farm Bill in 2018 that hemp was legalized, therefore legalizing the CBD found in it. Even though there’s still confusion, both Dr.Gupta and Dr.Oz stress that authorities aren't likely to knock down your door for CBD possession. The legal lines are blurred from state to state and authorities seem to be taking CBD possession on a case-by-case basis.
Case in point: Just this month on May 13, 2019, a woman visiting Disney World was arrested after a guard found CBD oil in her purse. After quickly providing a doctor's note, she was released without being charged. Brooke Alpert, cannabis practitioner and editor-at-large of CBD Snapshot believes this is because there’s still so much confusion surrounding CBD. “CBD from industrial hemp can be legally bought over the counter, so most people will not have a doctor’s note to provide,” she tells DoctorOz.com. If you are found with medical marijuana, you will need to provide a doctor’s note if you’re not in a state where medical marijuana is legalized.
With so many questions floating around about CBD, here’s what you should know about it from a doctor's perspective.
CBD's Quick FDA Approval
According to Dr. Gupta, the CBD craze all started with what's known as "Charlotte's Web." A little girl named Charlotte was suffering from seizures, and her mom turned to CBD as a last resort. After Charlotte was given CBD oil, she went from 300 seizures to absolutely none in just one week. This drastic reduction in seizures caught the attention of the FDA, and in just five short years, the first CBD prescription drug for epilepsy was approved. As Dr. Gupta points out in his segment with Dr. Oz, the FDA moved quickly in this situation — much faster than usual.
An End to the Opioid Epidemic?
States that have legalized CBD have also seen a noticeable decline in opioid prescription rates, according to Dr. Gupta. As the opioid epidemic continues to grow with no end in sight, doctors are paying close attention to how CBD can change the way people are prescribed painkillers. Alpert agrees: “There’s a lot of research showing that marijuana can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, and that when opioid use is necessary, using it together with marijuana has a better benefit for pain reduction and withdrawal symptoms,” she says. “I’m happy to see doctors beginning to recommend CBD before jumping to their prescription pad for pain relief, anxiety, insomnia, and more.”
Dr. Gupta has also interviewed PTSD patients who claim CBD helped change their lives for the better. All of these potential uses mean doctors are eager to learn more about how they can provide CBD relief to their patients.
What's Next For CBD?
Both Dr. Gupta and Dr. Oz have made public calls for more CBD research to help real Americans with medical issues, and Dr. Gupta took a strong stance on CBD products. “There’s a legitimate medicine in here,” said Dr. Gupta on The Doctor Oz Show last year. “And I worry when we start to see products like this that it could minimize the importance of what CBD could do.”
Now that CBD is legalized on the federal level with the Farm Bill, the research Dr. Oz and Dr. Gupta called for may finally be underway — without the distraction of trendy products and the confusion of how laws once varied state by state.
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