Cannabidiol, or what is more commonly called CBD, is not a drug.

Technically, it is known as a nutraceutical – a pharmaceutical alternative that is more like a supplement such as fish oil or a food additive.

No prescription is needed for CBD; it is unregulated in the United States and sold over the counter.

Cannabidiol can come in the form of topical oils, gummies, coffee beans and candies. Like marijuana, it’s derived from the cannabis plant, but it is not the illegal portion of that plant. The chemical THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, and that is the illegal portion of the plant in Texas.

June 10, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law HB 1325, which legalized hemp with less than .3% THC, and that includes CBD oil.

A lot of research and documented studies exist about CBD oil and its beneficial effects in treating physical ailments. Many people tout its healing power. However, anyone who uses CBD needs to be cautious.

Cherise Branch, nurse practitioner and chief operating officer at Central Drug, 3502 N. Laurent St., is a proponent of CBD oil for pain management. But she strongly advises anyone using the oil to first visit with a health care provider who has experience and knowledge about CBD oil research and quality studies.

This cannot be stressed enough. According to a June 2018 World Health Organization report, “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”

That’s why Branch’s advice is so important.

She said, “It is critical that patients discuss their existing over-the-counter medications and prescriptions with a provider so they are not potentially endangering themselves by taking CBD incorrectly. For example, there is a definite interaction between blood thinners and CBD.”

Medical News Today, a leading online health care publishing company, reports that CBD research shows the chemical has beneficial effects in treating chronic pain, anxiety-related disorders, acne, insomnia and epilepsy.

“Authors of a review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found evidence that CBD significantly helped to prevent the spread of cancer. The researchers also noted that the compound tends to suppress the growth of cancer cells and promote their destruction,” according the Medical News Today article.

Branch said she has seen the research supporting CBD as an effective pain medication and anti-inflammatory agent.

“We receive regular reports of success stories from our patients and clinicians that we work with about patients experiencing an improved quality of life and often a decrease in narcotic medications or a reduction in polypharmacy – the simultaneous use of multiple drugs to treat a single ailment which may result in an adverse drug reaction,” Branch said.

This year, Hemp Industry Daily, an outlet specializing in cannabis industry news, estimates U.S. hemp-derived retail sales will be about $1 billion. By 2023, it estimates the industry will bring in about $7 billion annually.

The evidence shows that CBD is widely used. Its benefits are well-known, and the research is expanding annually to demonstrate the chemical’s medicinal impact.

Cannabidiol is not a drug, but people buying the supplement should treat it like one.

This opinion reflects

the views of the Victoria

Advocate’s editorial board.

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(2) comments

June Secrist

I have found hemp oil to be key to helping control pain. There are many strains of medicinal hemp and some are better than others. There are many other constituents of hemp that aid in pain control and lowering inflammation. It is best to research this well as my doctor was interested but knew little. A high dose of full spectrum cbd oil may cause your meds to be stronger so check out reactions with antidepressants, the dosage may need to be lowered, and can cause nausea . Also make sure the hemp oil is tested and free of pesticides. To work for pain you need to take oil a high enough strength for several days. I have very severe fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis and nothing, including opiods were working anymore. CBD Hemp oil has made it possible for me to exercise and lose weight for the first time in 20 years. My fibro fog is gone. It will be a long path back, but I still have some good years. Unfortunately the State of Texas has put pain suffers in a very sad position. Chronic pain, ostroarthritis, fibromyalgia, PTSD, cancer sufferers on chemotherapy are not approved for medical cannabis, which in Texas is really medical hemp, not marijuana with over .03 to .05 THC, from which no one can get high. These ailments have been treated successfully in other states and studied in Israel. I can't imagine why this was done by Texas Senate, other than pure ignorance, or money from opiate producing pharma. 60% of those using medical cannabis nationwide do so for pain. Because of this tragic ommission, in order to relieve pain, more CBD full spectrum oil must be consumed, to get benefits from the full spectrum, and this may eventually cause liver issues, especially if taking other meds that may react. Be sure to get blood tested regularly. To me being without severe pain is a great blessing. If I run out, or stop I am hurting again.

Glenn Wilson

"I can't imagine why this was done by Texas Senate..." -- Ask Dan Patrick. He's the one who refused to introduce the bill in the Texas Senate.

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