A drastic increase in products containing CBD or Cannabiods which is chemical component of cannabis, are popping up at grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores, and internet marketplaces. Celebrated for its proven therapeutic effects and legal when derived from hemp—a form of the cannabis plant—CBD can be found in hand lotions, shampoos, skin creams, and even dog treats. Far-reaching medical claims tout its success at treating various conditions such as anxiety, acne, insomnia, addiction, inflammation, and Parkinson’s disease.
But it is noted that such assertions often go far beyond what science has shown, according to cannabis researcher Vandrey Ryan, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He amidst other researchers are working to understand the effects of the compound and what conditions it might actually help. He recently spoke with Dome about his research and his concerns about the growing CBD market.
Does CBD get you high? What does the research say?
THC, another chemical component of cannabis, drives most of the effects we typically associate with the drug, such as the subjective “high.” There’s this perception that CBD is not psychoactive, but I think that’s inaccurate. Research from our lab and others shows that CBD can produce subjective drug effects. CBD drug effects are different from THC and do not seem to produce intoxicating effects where performance or cognition is impaired. While that’s not a bad thing, impacting mood and behavior is a psychoactive drug effect. For example, caffeine is a psychoactive drug because it affects brain function and mood.
Are products that contain CBD safe?
There’s an inadequate regulatory framework to ensure that these products are tested, appropriately labeled, and free of contamination. There’s no way to tell how much a person should take or how to determine if it’s even helping their condition, and we still don’t know what kinds of patients are going to best benefit from CBD versus another medical intervention. Researchers are most commonly studying CBD’s application in anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and inflammation, and autism.