Cannabidiol (CBD) oil holds promise for those whose ailments have not responded to traditional medical treatment.
In addition to reducing seizures in epileptics, CBD can potentially treat anxiety disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, inflammation, chronic pain, and cancer.
With so many health benefits, one might be eager to purchase the first CBD product they find; however, because cannabidiol is largely unregulated, consumers must do their own homework to find the safest and purest CBD oil on the market.
To aid you in your search, here are 4 things to consider before buying CBD oil:
- THC levels. Depending on the manufacturer’s extraction methods and plant source, CBD oil can contain varying levels of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana. Cannabidiol is found at varying levels across all cannabis species, including Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, Cannabis ruderalis, and their hybrids.
CBD extracted from hemp, a variety of Cannabis sativa, is probably best, as industrial hemp has the lowest levels of THC, usually less than 0.3 percent. THC content at these concentrations are highly unlikely to get you in the Dude’s state of mind.
Despite the unlikelihood of intoxication, the THC found in some CBD oils can show up on a drug test. Before using CBD oil, you should consult your company’s drug policy and check into the testing methods (i.e. how sensitive are the tests?).
- Product quality. Because CBD oil is not well regulated in the US, consumers need to do their own homework. When looking for quality cannabidiol products, consumers should consider the following:
- Is the CBD synthetic or natural? CBD is one of over 80 cannabinoids, the active components of cannabis. Synthetic cannabinoids are often far more powerful than naturally-occurring ones and come with a host of adverse side effects, including vomiting, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and even death. For everyday use, natural may be safer.
- What extraction method was used? There are a variety of methods that can be used to extract cannabidiol, including processes using carbon dioxide (CO2), ethanol, or butane. Certain extraction methods may leave behind chemicals that could irritate users with certain conditions.
- How potent is the CBD oil? CBD levels are not the only factor that influences a product’s potency. CBD products can be manipulated through various means, including liposomal delivery systems, to enhance the absorption rate, or bioavailability, of the cannabidiol.
- If naturally derived, how was the cannabis plant grown? Hemp plants tend to absorb heavy metals and pesticides from the soil. Ask companies for more information on the soil conditions and growing methods of the cannabis plants used to produce their CBD products. If they’re unsure, you may want to purchase elsewhere.
- The required dose. The dose of CBD required to relieve symptoms will depend on the condition and the person. For effective treatment, certain conditions require high doses of cannabidiol, sometimes the equivalent contained in an entire bottle of CBD oil. And CBD oil is not cheap. A 50mL bottle of high-quality CBD oil can set you back as much as $100 – a cost medical insurance providers do not cover.
To boot, finding the right dosage may take some experimentation. You might be a few bottles in before you find the perfect dose for you.
Despite the high price tag, CBD oil could be a worthwhile investment if traditional medical intervention has failed. In any case, you should always consult your doctor before starting any health regimen.
- Possible side effects. Though a meta-analysis of studies and clinical data regarding the safety of CBD found severe side effects were rare, cannabidiol may pose a health risk for people with certain medical conditions and taking certain prescription medications. For instance, CBD may interfere with how particular drugs are broken down and absorbed by the body, reducing their effectiveness.
The most common side effects reported were fatigue, diarrhea, and changes in weight and appetite.
- Legal status of CBD oil in your state. Despite the numerous scientific studies demonstrating the possible health benefits of cannabidiol and the unlikelihood of producing psychoactive effects, the federal government has classified cannabis and all cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol, as Schedule I drugs, deeming them illegal.
However, the use of marijuana or other cannabis products for medical purposes is legal in 29 states, of which 9 allow recreational use. In 17 other states, CBD products with no or low THC content are allowed, while all other cannabis products remain illegal. Only Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas align with federal law, prohibiting the use of all cannabis products. Before purchasing CBD oil, make sure you are complying with your state’s laws.
CBD oil may be all the rage, but before you hop onto the bandwagon, do your research – some cannabidiol extracts are better than others. Once you do find the CBD oil you feel confident in, remember to take it slow, as everyone’s tolerance level and needs are different.