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.