What Are the Benefits of CBD?
CBD, which stands for Cannabidiol, is a chemical derived from cannabis. CBD has recently risen in popularity as a natural remedy for stress and chronic pain. With the new legislation legalizing CBD to varying extents across the U.S., CBD is easy to find and purchase. Recent research has demonstrated promising benefits of using CBD for mental health, insomnia, chronic pain, and addiction management.
It’s essential that you consult your primary care provider and check your state laws before using CBD. For just $45 per month and no deductible, Mira offers exclusive health benefits, including affordable urgent care visits, low-cost lab testing, and discounted prescriptions. With a $5 virtual care copay, you can see a doctor the same day. Sign up today to get started!
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the 113 compounds, or cannabinoids, found in the cannabis plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not produce a high. However, CBD’s effects are currently being studied for a wide range of conditions. CBD is usually sold in oil form but can also be found as a vaporized liquid, capsule, gummies, topicals, and various other products.
CBD has the potential to improve/treat:
- Mental Health
- Chronic Pain
- Addiction Management
Benefits of CBD
In 2018, the FDA approved the first and only product with CBD as the active ingredient. This medication, named Epidiolex, treats epilepsy in patients two (2) years and older. Epilepsy is characterized as having two or more unprovoked seizures and is caused by a disruption in nerve cell signaling in the brain.
Although the way this medication works is unknown, clinical studies have demonstrated that it is safe and effective in preventing seizures. Specifically, Epidiolex has shown efficacy in patients with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome. The FDA advisory panel unanimously approved the clinical use of Epidiolex as an oral solution.
Although CBD does not have psychoactive effects like THC, several studies have been conducted on the value of CBD for the treatment of anxiety, schizophrenia, social anxiety, and ADHD. In 2011, a study with 57 healthy male participants found that 300 mg of CBD significantly reduced anxiety before public speaking.
As a mental health treatment, CBD can prove to be especially beneficial as its side effects are mild compared to the current standard of treatment for anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. Additionally, CBD has proven to have no addictive tendencies or trends of dependence which is a promising advantage when compared to drugs like benzodiazepines.
However, it is essential to note that a lot of current research around CBD and mental health has been conducted with small sample sizes. As such, much more research and evidence need to be demonstrated before CBD can become a complete alternative to the current standard of therapy for mental disorders. In the meantime, talk to your doctor to see if CBD can help improve your quality of life.
More research is needed before CBD can be considered a definitive sleep aid, but some smaller studies indicated that CBD products might be a good option for insomnia treatment. Insomnia is defined as a sleep disorder in which someone might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This condition can be short or long-term but can significantly affect your day-to-day life and activities.
New research has shown that the receptors that bind to CBD in your brain have a possible role in regulating your sleep. Specifically, these receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system directly affecting your circadian rhythm. The endocannabinoid system is a major biological system that CBD interacts with within our bodies. Your circadian rhythm functions as your body’s “internal clock” and essentially control your daily sleep schedule. As a result, CBD has the potential to regulate and restore your natural circadian rhythm.
Another way CBD might treat insomnia is by lowering cortisol levels in your body. Studies have found that CBD interferes with the production of cortisol. Cortisol is known as your body’s main stress hormone. In patients with insomnia, it was found that cortisol levels were often raised, especially at night.
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Due to the dangerous impact of the opioid epidemic, non-opiate and non-addictive alternatives have been at the forefront of pain management research. CBD has been readily researched as a promising alternative to opioid pain relief. The endocannabinoid system can play an important role in pain reception and inflammation.
There is currently no FDA-approved pain management product that contains CBD; however, CBD’s role as a pain reliever has been explored in numerous clinical trials. Many researchers have investigated the use of CBD in combination with THC for chronic pain. For instance, a survey conducted in California found that most participants expressed a positive attitude about CBD as a treatment for pain, with 59% claiming that these products have helped manage their pain.
Adverse Effects of CBD
Though the future of CBD usage in clinical practice seems to be promising, CBD can cause various side effects and interact with frequently used medications. Although generally well-tolerated, CBD can cause the following adverse effects.
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite, decreased weight
- Low blood pressure
- Liver injury
Liver injury is one of the more serious side effects of CBD usage. Although the research is not entirely conclusive, CBD has been found to increase your liver enzymes and lead to abnormal test results. Specifically, in a mouse study, high doses of CBD contributed to severe liver damage in mice. Although the doses of CBD generally used in practice are not as high as tested in the study, this potential for liver damage is still something to be aware of.
In pregnant people
Particularly in pregnant or breastfeeding people, CBD can pose serious risks to a fetus or to a nursing baby. The FDA strongly recommends against using any cannabis product during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Specifically, CBD can lead to issues with brain development in a fetus and also increases the risk of premature birth. Additionally, it is vital to keep in mind that breastmilk can contain THC for up to 6 days after consumption. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant and a regular user of marijuana products.
Interactions with other drugs
CBD has the potential to interact with over 57 medications. This large profile of CBD-drug interactions can largely be attributed to CBD’s ability to inhibit a major enzyme in your body responsible for metabolizing many different medications. Serious drug-CBD interactions include but are not limited to:
- Warfarin and other blood thinners
- Amiodarone: medication to treat irregular heart rhythms
- Levothyroxine: medication for thyroid disorders
- Anti-seizure medications
Lack of regulation
Another reason to be extra cautious when using CBD and choosing a CBD product is the current lack of regulation around CBD products. Due to this lack of regulation, the CBD market has recently grown drastically. Legally, CBD cannot be marketed as an over-the-counter (OTC) product or as a cure/prevention/diagnosis for any disease.
The FDA has already sent warning letters to companies who have been selling CBD products in illegal formulations, in conjunction with other products, or as a cure for a specific disease.
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Cost of CBD
CBD prices can range dramatically based on what form you buy it in and also based on the manufacturer. The manufacturer may opt for more quality procedures which can contribute to a rise in costs. Before purchasing CBD, it is vital that you look for the completion of certain quality procedures that can ensure that your product is safe. Quality procedures to look for include CBD that is sourced from organic farming practices, CBD that is extracted without the use of any toxic solvents or chemicals, and finally companies that opt for 3rd party testing and verification.
Most commonly, CBD comes in oil form. Below is a range of some potential prices of CBD. Keep in mind that the amount of CBD you should take will vary depending on your disease state and your body weight. Make sure to talk to your physician before starting routine CBD use. However, for your reference, here are some potential dosing regimens for CBD based on disease state:
- Anxiety: 300-600mg daily
- Chronic Pain: 5mg twice daily
- Epilepsy: 2.5mg/kg daily
- Addiction: 400-800mg daily
CBD Costs Across Different Manufacturers
|Nuleaf Naturals||Full Spectrum||$63.20 for 900mg/30mL|
|Premium Jane||Full Spectrum||$124.00 for 1000mg/30mL|
|Joy Organics||Full Spectrum||$55.96 for 900mg/30mL|
|Fab CBD||Full Spectrum||$47.20 600mg/30mL|
|Cornbread Hemp||Full Spectrum||$74.99 750mg/30mL|
|R+R Meds||Broad Spectrum||$49.99 1000mg/30mL|
CBD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Consider the following questions before taking CBD.
Is CBD legal everywhere?
As of 2022, all hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal on a federal level. However, state legislators have the final say as to whether or not CBD is legal. States such as Nebraska, Idaho, and South Dakota have not yet legalized CBD. Additionally, CBD is legal to different extents in different states; some states have legalized CBD for medical purposes, whereas others have legalized CBD for recreational and medical purposes. Check here to see if CBD is legal in your state.
What is the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are both natural chemicals derived from the Cannabis plant. The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that THC produces a psychoactive effect, often referred to as a “high.” Additionally, CBD is more often derived from a hemp plant rather than a marijuana plant due to the lower amount of residual THC. In order to be sold, CBD must have a THC count of < 0.3%.
Does CBD show up on a drug test?
Whether or not CBD will show up on drug tests depends mainly on the type of drug test. Most commonly, it is very unlikely that CBD will lead to a positive THC reading. In typical urine drug tests that employers and universities use, drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates are screened for. Although CBD might contain a trace amount of CBD, the concentration of THC in your body from consuming a normal dose of CBD product will most likely not show up on a drug test. However, it is important to note that this depends on when the CBD product was consumed and the metabolism of the individual.
Ultimately, more research is needed before CBD can be classified as therapeutic or as a medication. Although the effects of CBD seem to have promising efficacy and safety, it is always important to exercise caution when trying new supplements. Many individuals have had positive experiences with CBD, but that is not always going to be generalizable to the rest of the population. Everyone’s body is different and experiences will always vary, so contact your primary care provider before trying CBD, especially if you are currently pregnant or taking prescription medications.
For as low as $45 a month, Mira can provide you with adequate healthcare resources to determine whether or not CBD could be beneficial to your health and well-being. As a Mira member, you will have affordable access to a variety of primary care providers, urgent care centers, prescriptions, and lab testing. Sign up for Mira today!
Sophie is a 2024 Pharm D. candidate studying pharmacy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has a passion for healthcare and writing and hopes to make meaningful contributions to healthcare transparency and accessibility. In her free time, she likes to take care of her houseplants, cook, and hang out with her cat.