CBD, The Real Deal or Snake Oil

By Melissa Martin, Ph.D.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp. Folks, CBD oil is not a magic potion or miracle lotion. It’s not the Holy Grail with healing powers. CDB is not a cure for 21st-century anxiety; an anti-jittery juice. It’s not the cosmetic fountain of youth. Is CBD the flavor of the month? The irrational fanfare is mind-boggling. Buyer beware—before the green stuff in your wallet magically disappears. Just follow the money trail. Who is getting rich off of crazed consumers? Who is conning customers? Will the nationwide boom end up being a bust? Is the hemp hype a trend that will eventually end?

hemp leaves on wooden background, seeds, cannabis oil extracts in jars.

CBD is not permitted in foods and beverages. Read that again. So, CBD infused honey, chocolate bars, gummies, teas, syrups, and pet treats are not approved by the FDA. Capsules, oils, tonics, salves, lotions, creams, and bath salts have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Read that again.

Section 12619 of the Farm Bill removes hemp-derived products from its Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act, but the legislation does not legalize CBD generally. Read that again.

The FDA approved a cannabidiol-based drug called Epidiolex as a treatment for severe forms of epilepsy, representing the first government-sanctioned medical use for CBD. The federal government categorizes CBD products other than Epidiolex as a Schedule 1 drug, like heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

There are many unanswered questions about CBD products: How much CBD is safe to consume in a day? How does it vary depending on what form it’s taken? Are there drug interactions that need to be monitored? What are the impacts to special populations, like children, the elderly, pregnant or lactating women and pets? What are the risks of long-term exposure? What are the side effects? Is it safe? What happens if you buy a bogus batch? Will CBD help one ailment, but cause another? Where’s the science? The hemp plant has been on earth for myriad years, but so has poison ivy and hemlock.

The FDA put out a press release about CBD on March 05, 2020. “Over the past year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has embarked on a comprehensive evaluation of cannabidiol (CBD) products, with a focus on educating the public about the risks and unknowns of these products, gathering the science needed to better understand both these safety concerns and potential benefits to inform our regulatory approach, as well as taking steps when necessary to address products that violate the law in ways that raise a variety of public health concerns.”

Yes, I am a CBD skeptic. Show me the research. Show me the studies. Show me the clinical evidence—not anecdotal stories. If CBD has a medicinal pain management purpose, I want to know. Show me the research results, instead of the money trail.


MELISSA MARTIN, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com.


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