There might not be a product on the market today that’s more talked about than cannabidiol, or CBD. Depending on who you ask, hemp extract with CBD is either a miracle cure for a wide variety of ailments, or it’s this generation's snake oil.
Neither impression is helped by the fact that it is in everything from lattes to lotions to brownies, with different benefits being touted by different companies. In all the buzz, it’s hard to know what’s true and what’s a bunch of hot air.
This confusion is amplified by the fact that, despite its popularity in the public eye, research into the benefits of hemp extract and CBD is limited. While there have been some studies surrounding the benefits of CBD, large and well-designed clinical studies are limited to a few indications, so many of the reported benefits come from preclinical studies or case reports.
One of the major reasons for this is because research of cannabis, including hemp, has been hampered by restrictive regulations. This is made more complicated by legislative differences between the U.S. and Canada. In Canada, provided it is grown and processed according to licensing requirements, cannabis is legal. That includes tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and CBD.
In the U.S., CBD that comes from marijuana (i.e., a cannabis plant that contains more than 0.3% THC) is classified as a Schedule I drug. Even though CBD that comes from the hemp plant (i.e., a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC) is free from those restrictions since 2018, there are still FDA and state regulations to consider.
However, limited research doesn’t mean no research. If you’re interested in CBD and its potential health benefits, you need to look at what scientists know — instead of what marketers claim.
What the Research Surrounding CBD Suggests
While CBD and hemp extract have been touted as cures for a variety of ailments, there are three areas in particular where scientific studies resulted in promising findings.
The first and most well-researched area is epilepsy — specifically rare forms of childhood epilepsy. There have been multiple studies that have shown that CBD has been able to help reduce, and sometimes even eliminate, seizures that usually don’t respond to other medications. The research has been so convincing, in fact, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a CBD medication specifically for treating seizures.
In many ways, this research is what launched public interest in the benefits of hemp extract with CBD, but it’s not the only area where there's evidence to back up that interest. There have been a number of studies that have shown promise when it comes to CBD’s ability to act as an anti-inflammatory treatment.
In a study investigating inflammation in intestinal tissue extracts, CBD was shown to reduce inflammatory markers. It’s important to remember that these studies still need to be performed as clinical trials on humans before any conclusions can be made, but existing research has shown real promise.
Perhaps the possible benefit of CBD with the most buzz is its potential ability to help with anxiety and sleep. A retrospective study on data from 72 adult outpatients diagnosed with a sleep or anxiety disorder indicated that feelings of anxiety decreased within the first month in 57 patients (79%) and remained decreased during the duration of the study when CBD was taken as an adjunct to usual treatment, whereas sleep scores were reported to be improved within the first month in 48 patients (67%) but fluctuated over time. This is promising research, however, controlled clinical trials are still needed to better understand CBD’s role in sleep and feelings of anxiety.
Due to the fact thatCBD is well tolerated without the intoxicating effects associated with THC, its potential benefits are exciting to see as more research emerges. It helps that, so far, the research has been encouraging.
For those interested in trying hemp extract with CBD, it’s important to consult your physician, get it from a reliable source and start with a low dose. While it currently may not have the evidence to support its use as the cure-all people want it to be, as more research is performed we may be pleasantly surprised by what high-quality hemp extracts can really do.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create a high-quality cannabis extract.