My trouble falling asleep has never been a major problem. But when I recently learned that nearly 60 percent of people taking cannabidiol—better known as CBD, one of the over 80 compounds found in the marijuana plant—are doing it to help with sleep, I was intrigued. (That stat's according to a survey conducted by Brightfield Group and HelloMD, an online community that brings doctors and cannabis patients together.)
Based on the existing scientific literature, it is impossible to conclude whether CBD is therapeutically effective as a treatment for anxiety disorders – especially when administered chronically and/or over a long-term. However, considerable evidence supports the efficacy of CBD when administered acutely for: social phobia, public speaking anxiety, and environmental stress. Acute administration of CBD appears to improve subjective, physiological, and objective measures of anxiety in stressful situations.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to widespread use of CBD is price. High-quality tinctures from brands like Floyd’s of Leadville and PlusCBD cost $35 or more; the bottles contain enough tincture to last about a month if you’re using an eyedropper’s worth per day. Prevail’s 2-ounce topical salve, which the company says should last most users between 30 and 45 days, costs $133. A one-month supply of a daily gel typically costs $30 to $60.
Indeed, hemp oil products have grown out of a market largely devoid of regulations or safety protocols. The state of the CBD industry harks back to the age of elixirs and potions hawked from covered wagons to the awed denizens of pioneer towns. There are no industrywide standards in place to ensure that CBD oils are consistently formulated batch-to-batch. There is no regulatory body screening products for pesticides, heavy metals, solvent residues, and other dangerous contaminants. The laboratories that companies contract to test their CBD products are themselves neither standardized nor consistently regulated. No medical research exists to recommend how much CBD a patient should take, nor is there detailed, reliable documentation of how CBD interacts with most epilepsy medications.
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana and it is what people are searching for when they want a product that gives them a "high." Unlike THC, CBD isn't known to cause psychoactive effects, and is therefore attractive to those who want to avoid the high but who believe there are other benefits of CBD, said Sara Ward, a pharmacologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. [Healing Herb? Marijuana Could Treat These 5 Conditions]
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